In 2011, the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, on behalf of the Special Representative, researched whether and how the international community could improve capacity for the effective mediation of disputes at the local level between business and those affected by their operations.
The findings of the research were discussed and analyzed during an expert meeting convened by CSRI and the founders of ACCESS Facility. Participants included business and NGO representatives, community advocates, legal experts, and dispute resolution professionals and included the researchers who had conducted the stakeholder interviews on which the research was based. This research identified several gaps, including:
- the lack of information available for businesses, communities and civil society organizations to make informed choices on grievance-handling options;
- there is a need to demystify non judicial dispute resolution processes;
- the challenges in identifying effective “third-party neutrals” (facilitators or mediators);
- concerns that the parties to disputes often lack the capacity to participate effectively in mediation processes;
The results of the research were published in this report. ACCESS Facility is designed to respond to the gaps mentioned above.