State national action plans

The UN Working Group strongly encourages all States to develop, enact and update a national action plan on business and human rights as part of the State responsibility to disseminate and implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Working Group's guidance

To help, the Working Group has produced "guidance" on the development of a national action plan. The Guidance was launched on 1 December 2014 at the Third Annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, held in Geneva 1-3 December 2014.

The Guidance was produced following an open, global, year-long consultative process that involved States, companies, civil society, NHRIs and academia. As part of the Working Group's roadmap to produce the Guidance, it published its 2014 report to the 69th session of the UN General Assembly on national action plans. It also consulted with governments on this topic via a 2014 State survey, and it launched an online consultation (Word | PDF) on substantive elements to be included in a national action plan. If you have any enquiries please contact: wg-business@ohchr.org".

The Working Group will issue the final version of its Guidance on National Action Plans at the fifth annual forum, due to be held from 14 to 16 November 2016. All stakeholders - including States, civil society organisations, national human rights institutions, and business representatives - are invited to send comments on version 2.0 of the Guidance document. Comments should be sent to wg-business@ohchr.org, by 16 September 2016 (indicating "NAP GUIDANCE REVIEW" in the subject line).

National Action Plan processes underway

The Working Group is gratified to hear that national action plan processes are underway in a number of States. The Working Group would be pleased to discuss any aspect of the national action plan process with States. The Working Group would also be pleased to facilitate the sharing of experiences amongst States. Please contact the Working Group by email at wg-business@ohchr.org.

States that have produced a national action plan

  • UK - launched September 2013
  • The Netherlands - launched December 2013
  • Italy - launched March 2014
  • Denmark - launched April 2014
  • Spain - launched in the summer of 2014 (*subject to approval by the Spanish Council of Ministers)
  • Finland - launched October 2014
  • Lithuania - launched February 2015
  • Sweden - launched August 2015
  • Norway - launched October 2015
  • Colombia - launched December 2015

States that are in the process of developing a national action plan or have committed to doing one:

  • Argentina
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Guatemela
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Jordan
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Switzerland 1-2
  • USA

States in which either the NHRI or civil society have begun steps in the development of a national action plan:

  • Ghana
  • Indonesia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Nigeria
  • Republic of Korea
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • The Philippines

Other relevant sources

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) has a "Toolkit for the Development, Implementation, and Review of State Commitments to Business and Human Rights Frameworks": http://accountabilityroundtable.org/analysis/napsreport/

Information on national action plans can also be found on the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre's website: