In February 2014, the British Contact Point to the OECD published their initial assessment on a complaint issued by WWF against SOCO in October 2013.
WWF claimed that SOCO planned oil drilling in the Virunga National Park in the DR Congo, despite the park being a Unesco World Heritage area, and national and international regulations that prohibit oil drilling there. The WWF also criticized a stabilization clause that exempts SOCO of amendments of their project design even if other regulations concerning environment or social issues were established in the DRC. According to the complaint, SOCO has also failed to conduct an adequate human rights due diligence, and to publish their social and environmental risk assessments. Finally, WWF said that SOCO did not adequately consult the local communities but rather established an atmosphere of intimidation.
In its initial assessment, the NCP concluded that the issues raised by the WWF merit further examination, especially regarding due diligence that would be appropriate to SOCO´s operations. The NCP´s next steps are to facilitate a dialogue between SOCO and the WWF or, in case this fails, to further examine those issues raised by WWF that the NCP considers to be “substantiated”.
OECD Watch: WWF vs. SOCO: http://oecdwatch.org/cases/Case_307, accessed 24.3.2014