World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF) and Survival International Charitable Trust
Lead NCPSwitzerland
Supporting NCP(s)None Selected
DescriptionSpecific instance submitted by Survival International Charitable Trust regarding the World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF) concerning the human rights of the Baka people of southeast Cameroon related to the environmentally protected areas that the government of Cameroon has introduced with the financial and logistical support of WWF.
Theme(s)General policies, Human rights, Environment
Date19 Feb 2016
Host country(ies)Cameroon
Industry sectorAgriculture, forestry and fishing

Read the final statement issued by the Swiss NCP on 21 November 2017

On 19 February 2016, the Swiss NCP received a submission from the NGO Survival International Charitable Trust, regarding the activities of World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF), another NGO, headquartered in Switzerland. The submitter claims that WWF has not observed the Guidelines in particular by failing to conduct due diligence and by not making its support for the demarcation of the protected areas conditional upon the free, prior and informed consent of the Baka people of southeast Cameroon.

The Initial Assessment of the Swiss NCP resulted in the conclusion that the issues raised in the submission merited further consideration, and the Swiss NCP therefore accepted the specific instance. This conclusion should not be construed as a judgment of whether or not the corporate behaviour or actions in question were consistent with observance of the OECD Guidelines and should not be equated with a determination on the merits of the issues raised in the submission. 

The parties accepted the offer of the Swiss NCP to conduct a mediation. On 6 and 7 June 2017, a meeting took place at the premises of the Swiss NCP in Berne. Both parties engaged in a constructive manner and seemed to have reached an agreement on the issues raised in the submission. However, after the meeting the so-called Joint Outcome document, which would have formed the basis for their future collaboration, could not be finalised as the parties had divergent views on some issues.

On 4 September 2017, Survival International informed the Swiss NCP about its decision to withdraw from the NCP proceedings and to make its decision public. The Swiss NCP warned Survival International that publishing information about an ongoing mediation process would be a breach of the NCP’s rules on confidentiality. After the publication of Survival International’s statement on 5 September, 2017, the Swiss NCP published a statement, which sets out its regrets of this breach of confidentiality and reminds that mutual trust is an important aspect of successful mediation. 

In view of Survival International’s withdrawal from the process, the NCP decided to close the specific instance and publish the Final Statement including recommendations from the NCP addressed at the parties on 21 November 2017.