2020 UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights
Date: 18-20 March 2020
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Queries related to programme, sessions, speakers, participation, side events, etc.:
Programme: Available soon
Registration closes 3 March 2020 (11.59 p.m. Kathmandu time). An automated e-mail will be sent confirming receipt of the request. The Forum secretariat will review all applications. Confirmation of successful registration will be sent to approved delegates within one week of registration.
Participants are responsible for arranging travel logistics (including visas) and expenses.
Inaugural UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights – held in New Delhi, India, on 14-15 March 2019 – brought together over 200 participants representing over 90 organisations from 16 countries. This regional forum was aimed at raising awareness about business and human rights issues in South Asia and facilitating the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), including through national action plans. Building on the success of the Inaugural UN South Asia Forum, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are co-organising the 2nd UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 18-20 March 2020.
The UNWG, in collaboration with other partners, has been promoting the effective dissemination and implementation of the UNGPs in different world regions, including by organising regional events to foster races to the top. The annual South Asia Forum is part of this wider engagement strategy.
- To raise awareness and build the capacity of various stakeholders around business and human rights standards, especially the UNGPs;
- To take stock of the key challenges, opportunities and progress made in South Asia in implementing the UNGPs, including through the development of national action plans;
- To explore linkages in the implementation of the UNGPs and the 2030 Agenda; and
- To encourage peer-learning amongst States, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), businesses, industry associations, trade unions and civil society organisations (CSOs) in South Asia, facilitating the regional exchange of good practices in implementing the UNGPs and the SDGs.
The UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights will provide a multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate discussions on issues such as the following:
- General introduction to the UNGPs;
- Potential pathways to implement the UNGPs through national action plans in South Asia;
- Learning lessons from other countries with a national action plan (e.g., Thailand);
- Achieving policy coherence between realising human rights and promoting trade/investment (e.g., state-owned enterprises, trade/investment agreements, foreign direct investment and special economic zones);
- Linkages between the UNGPs, the right to development and the 2030 Agenda;
- BHR and sustainable finance;
- Gender dimensions of BHR (including sexual harassment and gender-based violence);
- Occupational safety and health at the workplace;
- Protecting the rights of migrant workers and workers in the informal sector;
- BHR challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises;
- Environmental pollution and climate change;
- Human rights due diligence, including environmental/social impact assessment;
- Managing sector-specific human rights impacts (e.g., extractive, manufacturing, agriculture, textile, electronics, technology, ship-breaking, tourism, hydropower, and infrastructure);
- The role of CSOs, human rights defenders, trade unions and NHRIs in promoting business respect for human rights;
- Access to remedy and corporate accountability.
Representatives of Governments, businesses, industry associations, CSOs, trade unions, indigenous peoples, affected individuals, international and regional bodies, NHRIs, lawyers, and academia will participate in the UN South Asia Forum.
The 2nd UN South Asia Forum will be organised over 3 days (18-20 March 2020), with the first day (18 March) devoted to providing safe space to various stakeholders to facilitate conversations under the
Chatham House Rule. The organisers aim to hold dedicated sessions for CSOs, businesses and NHRIs. In addition, there will be some space and opportunities for external partners to organise side events, workshops, consultations or meetings during the Forum.