Other IA Generally

HRIA Compendium Groups

General – HRIA’s relationship to other areas of IA

  • Esteves AM et al (2017) Adapting Social Impact Assessment to Address a Project’s Human Rights Impacts and Risks. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 67: 73–87.

ABSTRACT: We address the weaknesses inherent in the social risk assessments undertaken for business, especially in the extractive industries. In contrast to the conventional approach that considers consequence to the company rather than to impacted communities, conformance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights requires that consequence to affected communities has precedence. In order for social risks to be properly assessed, we consider that: companies need to know and understand the human rights impacts of their activities; contemporary approaches to project impact and risk assessment need to be adapted to consider human rights; and environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment (SIA) methods need to be adapted to give greater attention to impacts on human rights. Using an example from the mining, oil and gas sector, we provide a method that differentiates social risks from business risks, and we position impact assessment as an instrument that actively facilitates the improved identification, analysis and management of social risks. Practical adaptations to SIA activities and risk assessment processes are provided. Taking human rights impacts into account and using the dimensions of gravity, extent, vulnerability and remediability, we nominate criteria to assess the significance of negative social impacts.

ABSTRACT: “We examine key commonalities and differences between social impact assessment (SIA) and human rights impact assessment (HRIA) conducted for private sector projects to consider what these two fields might learn from each other. As HRIA is an emerging practice, current approaches are diverse and there is a lack of a robust understanding about how HRIA and SIA relate to each other. We suggest that the two fields have much in common in terms of: their objective to identify and address adverse impacts; their focus on process as well as outcomes; and their consideration of how to ensure the meaningful inclusion of vulnerable individuals and groups. However, there is also significant divergence in terms of: the standards applied; the relevance of project benefits; and the recognition of stakeholders as rights-holders and duty-bearers. We suggest that the further exploration of these areas of difference has the potential to create valuable cross-learning between SIA and HRIA, as well as the potential to open up spaces for joint initiatives where the two fields might address current shortcomings together.”

ABSTRACT: “Business and human rights are often thought to be antithetical, but as societal expectations on companies have grown, it has become increasingly important for businesses to understand and act upon their legal and moral obligations to respect human rights. The authors of this paper begin by charting the evolution of the rights paradigm and its incorporation into the corporate sphere of influence. Second, the concept of human rights due diligence is examined, owing to its prominence in John Ruggie’s ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework. Human Rights Impact Assessments, as an emerging due diligence tool, warrant further attention, theorization and critique. Finally, it is suggested that human rights due diligence could be consolidated within existing corporate risk management systems. Reframing human rights in the context of social and business risks may provide a path for companies to understand the need for human rights due diligence by linking rights considerations with business concerns.”

ABSTRACT: “Historically, impact assessment practice has not explicitly considered human rights. That human rights are relevant to business has been confirmed through the United Nations Human Rights Council’s endorsement of the ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’. Special Representative to the Secretary-General on business and human rights, Professor John Ruggie, advocated awareness of ‘rights-holders’ and ‘duty-bearers’ and a shift from third parties “naming and shaming” companies as a way of addressing human rights harms to companies also “knowing and showing” how they are taking responsibility for their human rights impacts and managing their human rights risks. Consideration of human rights should therefore be central to impact assessment for private sector projects, especially those affecting livelihoods, environment, health, safety and security, land and property, culture and gender dynamics. We provide an introduction to the business and human rights debate, discuss the relevance of human rights to the field of impact assessment, and examine a range of challenges associated with integrating the fields of human rights and social impact assessment.”

  • MacNaughton G, Hunt P (2011) A Human Rights-based Approach to Social Impact Assessment. In: Vanclay, F, Esteves, A (eds) New Directions in Social Impact Assessment. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, 355-368.

ABSTRACT: “In this chapter, we seek to introduce a human rights-based impact assessment to the SIA community. The chapter begins by reviewing the common core values of SIA and human rights. It then introduces the sources of human rights legal obligations, and follows by outlining the primary methodologies available to governments to ensure the realization of human rights for all. The chapter then focuses specifically on human rights impact assessment (HIRA) as a key method of implementation, and finally recommends integration of human rights law into SIA. In the end, the proposed methodology is a human rights-based approach to SIA.”

ABSTRACT: “Health impact assessment (HIA) is increasingly being used to predict the health and social impacts of domestic and global laws, policies and programs. In a comprehensive review of HIA practice in 2012, the authors indicated that, given the diverse range of HIA practice, there is an immediate need to reconsider the governing values and standards for HIA implementation. This article responds to this call for governing values and standards for HIA. It proposes that international human rights standards be integrated into HIA to provide a universal value system backed up by international and domestic laws and mechanisms of accountability. The idea of mainstreaming human rights into HIA is illustrated with the example of impact assessments that have been carried out to predict the potential effects of intellectual property rights in international trade agreements on the availability and affordability of medicines. The article concludes by recommending international human rights standards as a legal and ethical framework for HIA that will enhance the universal values of nondiscrimination, participation, transparency and accountability and bring legitimacy and coherence to HIA practice as well.”

ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the integration of human rights impact assessment into an enterprise risk management system in companies. This model takes into account all major risks to the company’s internal and external stakeholders. Integration of HRIA into the enterprise risk management system of companies will be beneficial due to the main challenge of embedding HRIA into a company’s DNA. The paper focuses on two interrelated features of HRIA. First, the lens through which HRIA is viewed and second, how companies prioritize results of assessment in order to determine appropriate responses. Finally, the paper shows how enterprise risk management systems can accommodate these features.

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