Nii Osah Mills, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources said government had also adopted the improved resource governance initiative through the approved internationally accepted operating standards; such as the Voluntary Principles (VPs) VPs, Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives and the Open Governance Partnership.
Nii Mills was speaking on Thursday at a multi-stakeholder workshop in Accra on the VPs on Security and Human Right, a set of principles designed to guide companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework.
This encourages respect for human rights, while helping companies to work effectively with governments that seek to protect human rights.
Ghana is the only African country on the VPs. It joined the initiative in April, 2014 and therefore the workshop was held to draw the country’s Action Plan for the implementation.
The Minister observed that there was a growing consensus globally that transparency and respect for human rights were good for business, since they improved the business climate in which companies work and fostered good governance and accountability.
He said it is important for extractive companies to safeguard the integrity of their personnel and properties by acting in a manner consistent with the laws of the country in which they operate.
Nii Mills urged them to be mindful of the highest applicable international standards and to promote the observance of the applicable international law enforcement principles.
Ghana, he said is committed to the implementation of the VPs on Security and Human Right because of their benefits including achieving a good human rights record and the development of conflict related policy objectives.
The Minister said VPs would improve collaboration and problem-solving with companies and civil-society and promote a more stable investment environment and safeguard investment returns.
He said government has the responsibility to promote and protect human rights by promoting better business environments among other things.
Nii Mills called for the observation of international humanitarian laws; particularly those set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Humanitarian laws.
He observed that security and respect for human rights are fundamental needs shared by individuals, communities, businesses and governments.
He said the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the extractive sector in Ghana has contributed greatly to improve good governance of natural resources in the country.
He said a successful implementation of Ghana’s VPs action plan would depend on the collaborative efforts and sacrifices that would be made by the government, the CSOs and corporate entities in the extractive industry.
Pat Alsup, the outgoing United States Deputy Ambassador, said just as members of the Initiative were happy to welcome Ghana into the VPs, they are now excited that Ghana is taking concrete steps towards its implementation.
She lauded the Swiss government for playing an active role in bringing Ghana into the Initiative, adding that the government would enjoy the benefits of a more stable and profitable extractive sector that would bring further investment and participation from the world’s most respected companies.
Mr Gerhard Brugger, Swiss Ambassador said the VPs would strengthen Ghana’s role as a model for the rest of Africa to emulate.
Mr Sulemanu Koney, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, gave the assurance that the body would convince all its members to join the VPs.