OHADAC Regional Arbitration Centre (CARO): Conflict Management Committee Rules

Secretary General of the CARO Centre: Marie-Camille Pitton

Group Leader: Elise Groulx Diggs

Introduction

These Rules have been drafted in recognition of a new era in Global Economic, Social and Environmental Development. In its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations provided a roadmap for the future, incorporating Sustainable Development Goals targeting multiple focus areas including:

• Decent work and Economic Growth
• Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
• Reduced inequalities
• Sustainable Cities and Communities
• Climate action
• Peace, justice and strong institutions
• Partnerships for achieving the goals

Conflict in large complex infrastructure projects and undertakings is inevitable. But the inordinate delays, brought about by contractual issues and stakeholder grievances such as community protests due to the lack of adequate consultation or follow-up provoke spiraling costs and damage to governments and businesses. The failure to anticipate and effectively address these negative impacts leading to conflict can be avoided and managed.

These Rules offer a framework focused on early problem identification, exploration and resolution, including both contractual and ESG related issues.

Rules Overview

Experienced, Impartial Assistance – A purpose driven conflict management tool, the Conflict Management Committee (CMC) is designed to inspire trust in any project by the parties and stakeholders alike. A proper process will help achieve the “social license to operate” key to any successful project.

Unique Combination of Expertise – The CMC forms a group of experienced neutrals, with balance being sought between those with an Engineering, Contract Management, and ESG backgrounds.

Stakeholder Engagement – The process provides for information gathering, early and continuous engagement with stakeholder communities, monitoring by the CMC, and active communication amongst and between contracting parties, community stakeholders and the CMC.

Institutional Framework – The CARO Centre offers a sound institutional framework for the implementation of its mission by the CMC. Placed under the authority of its Secretary-General, the CARO Centre appoints and replaces CMC members, sets and manages the costs of proceedings, and monitors the satisfactory progress of CMC’s mission under the Rules.

Focus on Problem Solving – The Rules focus on project-based, early problem identification and active dialogue, with the intent of solving problems and issues before they become disputes. Regular meetings and site visits throughout the project lifecycle create opportunities for informal problem identification, exploration of practical solutions, dialogue, and resolution. Failing informal resolution, the Rules present the option of a CMC-issued written recommendation, with mediation serving as a final step. The Rules intentionally avoid the inclusion of a mandatory binding determination, as the intent is to focus on dialogue between the stakeholders to resolve issues. Nothing in the Rules prevents the stakeholders to proceed to a binding form of dispute resolution, should they seek to do so.

Consideration of ESG Legal Framework – Modern Infrastructure Contracts typically include ESG contractual clauses, incorporating compliance with ESG goals into the contractual framework. In addition to mandatory legal obligations applicable to the contract, international guidelines in the field of environmental and social protection are acknowledged as relevant norms to be considered by the CMC throughout the implementation of its mission.

Read the full Rules here.

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