Everybody takes part in decision making
The activities and solutions proposed and implemented by the Renova Foundation follow a process of involvement, participation and joint cooperation with different stakeholders: the population affected, specialists and public officials – the latter, as representatives of the society.
The step-by-step decision-making process
We sought a dialogue with those involved to define what to do: by March, a total of 918 meetings, workshops, meetings with communities or with leaderships and assemblies (when there is a vote) with the affected populations – a total of about 130 meetings per month from the start of the Foundation’s operation.
The actions are taken for discussion in the Technical Chambers as well as the Inter-Federative Committee in order to be approved internally in the Renova Foundation.
The entire decision process is monitored by the Public Ministry of Foundations
Participatory governance model
Renova Foundation’s activities are framed within an unprecedented governance model in Brazil. In view of the magnitude of the challenge, Renova Foundation decided to innovate as to how the decision making process would take place, involving communities, government officials and experts, who should have a voice along the remediation process.
The system is monitored by the Minas Gerais Public Prosecution and is included in the Conduct Adjustment Declaration (TTAC), a document whereby Samarco and its shareholders, Vale and BHP, commit to fund reparation activities as adjusted on in the agreement.
Aside to the legal obligations, Renova Foundation should be guided by the tenets of transparency, dialogue and participation by society. It is believed that this is the sole manner of creating long-lasting solutions that meet the affected population’s interests and that will allow the affected area to develop and recovery. This commitment will enable social and environmental practices to be discussed, defined, absorbed, preserved and improved over time.
INTER-FEDERATIVE COMMITTEE (CIF)
This is the main external communication
instance between public agencies and the Foundation.
This panel meets once every month and is composed of government representatives (see members on page 68). It discusses action plans, provides support in preparing the Terms of Reference for studies to be carried out and invites society representatives depending on the topics under discussion. Renova Foundation itself sits in this forum as a guest. It is noteworthy that the participation of regulatory agencies in the IFC under no circumstances limits their surveillance and police powers over Foundation activities within their jurisdiction. IFC is comprised of 10 technical chambers that provide advice for a detailed analysis of actions proposed and results obtained. Namely:
Socioeconomic Technical Chambers:
- Social Organization and Emergency Assistance
- Infrastructure Reconstruction and Recovery
- Economics and Innovation
- Indigenous People and Traditional Communities
- Communications, Participation, Dialogue and Social Control
- Healthcare, Education, Culture, Leisure and Information
Socioenvironmental Technical Chambers:
Every decision taken by the IFC is made public on Ibama website in the following link: www.ibama.gov.br > Environmental Recovery > Fundão Dam Collapse – Samarco Disaster > Inter-federative Committee (CIF)
One of the obligations defined in the TTAC involved the hiring of an independent audit firm subordinated to IFC
by Renova Foundation. Since April 2016 the firm selected by means of a public bid has been supervising activities since program definition stage. This is a results-oriented audit, in other words, besides verifying scope compliance, it also audits the accounting activities and makes sure program criteria and goals, as defined by IFC, are being observed.
As prescribed by the TTAC, this panel provides for another conflict solution instance in case of a relevant disagreement between IFC and Renova Foundation. In order to
assist in finding solutions for
these differences, the Expert Panel should be integrated by an IFC
representative, one from Renova Foundation and another selected under mutual agreement by both organizations, in order to submit an independent opinion on the topic under discussion. This instance is composed as needed and has not been employed to date.
How Renova Foundation operates
Except for the programs that have an emergency nature such as the financial assistance one, all other programs are submitted to an action definition stage, which relies on the participation of the affected people or specialists, whether to map expectations or to discuss and identify the best practices to be adopted.
For this reason, Renova Foundation is constantly searching for dialogue and developing studies and solutions for the remediation, restoration and reconstruction of the affected areas. This demeanour is supported by the highest reference standards, both it in detecting a robust scientific basis for developing its solutions and in efficiently performing its activities. This includes taking into account universal topics such as human rights in the decision making process.
We all have a lot to learn with the progress of activities. By virtue of a greater knowledge and dialogue with all stakeholders, we are given the opportunity to find better pathways than those set forth in the initial commitment, last March. Fort this reason, and always observing the governance system principles, many achievements are yet to integrate the design of the recovery activities.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring that Renova Foundation’s objectives are being complied with. It is composed by two sitting representatives from each Maintaining Company, (Samarco, Vale and BHP), and by a representative appointed by IFC, in addition to deputy members appointed by the organizations. Board members should be unbiased from companies interests as to ensure Renova’s autonomy for decision making.
The Ombuds Office is aimed at receiving and handling unsolved requests by other service channels as well as Renova Foundation law suits. It is an independent entity and is directly related to the Board of Trustees. Out of the
413 requests received from August to December 2016, 155 cases were concluded.
BOARD OF ADVISORS
A formal forum from society representatives within the Foundation’s governance structure. This board is composed by 17 members, of which: 5 are assigned by the Committee for the Doce River Watershed; 2 appointed by Interministerial Commission for Marine Resource; 5 representatives from Research Institutions or Professionals with renowned expertise in specific areas of activity; 5 representatives from affected communities; 3 from Minas Gerais and 2 from Espírito Santo. It’s supposed to advise the Foundation, providing opinions on plans, programs and projects. Members of the Advisory Board do not have a defined term for holding office.
Its main role is to inspect Renova’s accounting standards and management’s financial compliance. It
is composed by 7 members, of which: 1 appointed by the Board of Directors, one by each of the sponsors, a Federal Government representative and one representative from each state, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo.
By observing best governance practices, Renova Foundation’s compliance department reports directly to the Board of Trustees, and is functionally subordinated to the President. its activities
are focused on proposing, supervising, organizing, implementing and monitoring Renova’s policies and activities (Renova has a code of conduct and an Anti-corruption Policy) as well as its service providers.
During the first months of activities we have been focused in setting up a work team skilled enough to face the big challenges ahead of us. One of our priorities is to attract professionals with extensive technical expertise in the disciplines we have to work at, who are also equipped with open-mindedness and resilience to accept discussions, controversies and uncertainties, in addition to having management and leadership skills in order to efficiently deliver the expected results. We place great value on professionals who are sensitive enough to understand both the human and environmental aspects involved. As of last January, we have started an internal process of collectively building our identity, values and culture, quite likely to expand in an outward engagement process.