The Norwegian National Contact Point ( “NCP”) deals with complaints or “specific instances” of violations of human rights, environmental damage or other breaches of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (“Guidelines”) involving Norwegian multinationals.
The NCP is an independent body made up of four experts, who have been selected on the basis of recommendations of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, and the Forum for Environment and Development, and appointed on the basis of their personal qualifications and experience. The chair is appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Trade and Industry for a four-year period. The other members are appointed for three years. The NCP has its own secretariat, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
How does it work?
Complaints can be submitted by post or via email. There are three stages in the handling of complaints.
1. Initial assessment
The NCP need to assess whether the issue raised merits further examination the NCP will determine whether the complaint is made in good faith and is relevant to the implementation of the Guidelines. It may seek the advice of relevant authorities and consult NCPs in countries relevant to the complaint. The NCP will issue an assessment report that outlines, among others, the reasons for accepting or rejecting the complaint.
When the NCP has determined that a complaint is admissible, it will offer its “good offices” to contribute to a solution to the issue, ensure the suitability of the parties and involve any other necessary parties. The NCP will decide whether to recommend mediation or examination, based on the initial assessment and the preliminary meetings with the parties.
If mediation is recommended, the NCP could provide mediation in the form of a platform and opportunity for each party to discuss each issue raised in the complaint. It may also contract an external mediator, approved by both parties.
If examination is recommended, the NCP will use methods such as fact-finding, information gathering, and meetings to assess whether the complaint is justified. At the conclusion of the examination, the NCP will review all the information it has received and gathered and on this basis come to a conclusion as to whether the Guidelines have been breached.
3. Final statement
If mediation is successful, the NCP will issue a final statement on the process with the mediation agreement drawn up jointly by the parties. The final statement will present the parties, facts and relevant aspects of the Guidelines, the agreed upon solution and any agreements regarding monitoring or supervision.
If mediation does not succeed, the final statement issued will be on the process and the merits of the complaint, emphasizing the cooperative of the parties, the facts and the interpretation of the relevant portion of the Guidelines. It will often include recommendations to the company, and where relevant, to the complainant.
Who can access it?
Any interested party can file a complaint to the NCP. The complainant may for instance be a community affected by a company’s activities, employees, a trade union, or an NGO. A complainant may act on behalf of other identified and concerned parties.
Monitoring is optional. Parties to the complaint are, where relevant, offered to submit an evaluation of the NCP in the specific instance. After mediation, the parties are also, if relevant, invited to submit a progress report to the NCP.
Procedural routines for the Norwegian NCP (January 2012)