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Working Group surveys on implementation of the Guiding Principles

Human Rights Council resolution 17/4 requests the Working Group, among other things, to promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework; to identify, exchange and promote good practices and lessons learned on the implementation of the Guiding Principles; and to support capacity-building and, upon request, provide advice and recommendations.

State Surveys

The Working Group conducts surveys among UN Member States in order to learn about their efforts to implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as to identify the challenges, opportunities and policy innovations in this field.

2015 survey

The survey focused on the roles and responsibilities of States as economic actors, including with regard to business enterprises owned/operated/managed by the State, business enterprises in which the State is a majority shareholder or exercises substantial control, and financial institutions such as sovereign wealth or pension funds, development banks, export credit agencies and official investment and insurance guarantee agencies. The survey related to Guiding Principle 4 of the Guiding Principles, which clarifies that as part of their duty to prevent and address adverse human rights impacts arising from business activities, “States should take additional steps to protect against human rights abuses by business enterprises that are owned or controlled by the State, or that receive substantial support and services from State agencies and official investment insurance or guarantee agencies, including, where appropriate, by requiring human rights due diligence.”

Responses were requested by 1 September 2015 to wg-business@ohchr.org.

Questionnaire sent to States:

2014 survey

This questionnaire was aimed at getting up-to-date and accurate information about existing policies, legislation, initiatives and plans by States to inform the Working Group’s effort to develop guidance to support the development of national action plans for implementation of the Guiding Principles. The policy areas highlighted in this questionnaire are among those that the Working Group considers especially critical to effective implementation of the Guiding Principles.

Questionnaire sent to States:

Some States have given permission for their replies to be made public:

2012/13 survey

The State survey was developed and disseminated in cooperation with Denver University and the University of Minnesota. A questionnaire was sent to all Member States in October 2012 and was supplemented by in-depth interviews with a limited group of States across regions. The initial deadline for replies of 10 November 2012 was extended to 30 January 2013 at the request of a number of Governments.

Questionnaire sent to States:

Preliminary results were presented at the first Forum on Business and Human Rights on 4 December 2012. Statement by Alexandra Guáqueta, Member of the UN Working Group - Session on global trends in Implementation of the Guiding Principles, 4 December 2012.

The final results of the first survey were presented in a report (A/HRC/23/32/Add.2) to the Human Rights Council in June 2013

While replies by States were treated anonymously, some States have made their replies public:


Business survey

The Working Group commissioned a pilot corporate survey of business representatives regarding their company’s implementation of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. This pilot was developed and disseminated in cooperation with the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organisation of Employers and the Corporations and Human Rights Project at the University of Denver. One hundred and seventeen business representatives responded to the survey.

Results of the pilot survey were presented during the first Forum on Business and Human Rights in December 2012.

Lessons learnt from this process will feed into a second corporate survey on business and human rights in 2013, the results of which will be published at the 2013 Forum on Business and Human Rights, and potentially on an annual basis thereafter.

Results of the pilot survey will also be included in a Working Group report (A/HRC/23/32/Add.2) to the Human Rights Council in June 2013 and posted on the website of the Working Group.