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3rd UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

Date

02 - 04 December 2014

Date: The 3rd Annual Forum was held on 1 – 3 December 2014
Location: Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Webcast:

Webcast of the Forum (2 and 3 December)

Documentation: Summary of discussions of the Forum
Programme
Rules of Procedure
Contact:

General inquiries: [email protected]

About the Forum

The United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights is a space for representatives and practitioners from civil society, business, government, international organizations and affected stakeholders to take stock of challenges and discuss ways to move forward in carrying out the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. The Forum was established by the Human Rights Council, and is guided by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights. The third annual Forum attracted around 2,000persons from over 100 countries.

Building on the previous two fora of 2012 and 2013, the third annual Forum focused on:

  • Strengthening multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement
  • Discussing national action plans to implement the Guiding Principles
  • Exploring access to effective remedy
  • Identifying current and good practice
  • The Forum was chaired by Mo Ibrahim (Sudan and UK).

Background

The relationship between business and human rights has become an issue that States and businesses worldwide cannot ignore. On one hand, businesses can help advance human rights, including by offering access to decent work and higher living standards. On the other, businesses can also hinder human rights, as underlined by recurring reports from around the world of unsafe working conditions, migrant worker exploitation, and damage to community environments.

Meanwhile, there is growing worldwide recognition of the human rights aspects of sustainable development and the role business can and should play in addressing global challenges such as climate change, poverty and inequality.

Accordingly, the Human Rights Council in 2011 unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and more and more States and businesses are taking real steps to put into practice its three pillars: the State duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and the right of victims to access an effective remedy. Important implementation challenges, however, remain.

Learn more about the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

The United Nations Human Rights Council, under paragraph 12 of its resolution 17/4,  established the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, under the guidance of the Working Group on human rights and business, to serve as a key global platform for stakeholders to ”discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights.”


Plenary and parallel UN-led sessions

1 December

10:00 – 11:30
Room XXI: National action plans on business and human rights, Part I – Presentation of guidance document on National Action Plans by the UN Working Group
Organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Room XXIII: The UN Guiding Principles for newcomers – Introductory presentation on their background, key features and implications
Organized by OHCHR

11:45 – 13:15
Room XXI (Note: there is no break in this session, continued from Part I): National action plans, Part II and III- Stakeholder perspectives and State Experiences
Organized by the UN Working Group in collaboration with the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights

Room XXIII: Implementation at the Local Level: Business and Human Rights Tools and Resources
Organized by UN Global Compact and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

14:45 – 16:15
Room XXI: New ILO standards on the elimination of forced labour – A multi-stakeholder approach to address contemporary forms of forced labour and trafficking
Organized by ILO in collaboration with the UN Working Group

16:30 – 18:00
Room XI: Discussing Case studies – Triggering change
Organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung with the German Forum Human Rights, ESCR-Net and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre to Organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung with the German Forum Human Rights, ESCR-Net and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre in collaboration with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Room XXI: Integrating human rights into public procurement
Organized by International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), Electronics Watch (tbc), the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (DIFI) in collaboration with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

2 December

09:30-11:15
Assembly Hall: Keynote statements and high-level panel: Leadership views on business and human rights, Addressing key global challenges-what next and how?

11:30-13:00
Assembly Hall: High-level discussion: Global outlook for business and human rights- Key themes, drivers, trends, challenges

14:30 – 16:00
Room XXII: Measures for Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the context of State Obligations on the Impact of the Business Sector on Children's Rights
Organised by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Room XX: Thematic track: Strengthening public policy on business and human rights through national action plans and other measures
The role of the State role in creating an accountable marketplace – addressing key policy areas

Organized by the UN Working Group

Room XXI: Thematic track: Respect in practice – progress and challenges in implementing the corporate responsibility to respect
Embedding the UN Guiding Principles in decision-making and processes

Organized by the UN Working Group in collaboration with Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI) and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC)

Room XXIII: Thematic track: Access to remedy discussions
Practical and legal challenges associated with corporate liability for involvement in gross human rights abuses

Organized by OHCHR in collaboration with the UN Working Group

16:15 – 17:45
Room XX: Thematic track: Strengthening public policy
Scaling up State action – the role of international and regional organizations

Organized by the UN Working Group

Room XXI: Thematic track: Respect in practice
Applying the Guiding Principles in local contexts

Organized by the UN Working Group in collaboration with GBI and BHRRC

Room XXIII: Thematic track: Access to remedy
Identifying options for international coordination and regulation to overcome challenges in access to remedy

Organized by OHCHR in collaboration with the UN Working Group

3 December

08:00 – 09:30
Room XX: The right to privacy in the digital age: good practices and lessons learned in the ICT sector
Organized by OHCHR

09:45-11:15
Room XX: Thematic Track: Embedding the Guiding Principles in global governance
Strengthening links between the global economic architecture and the business and human rights agenda

11:30 -13:00
Room XX: Thematic track: Global Governance
The Guiding Principles and UN human rights mechanisms

Organized by the UN Working Group

Room XXI: Thematic track: Good practice
Meaningful stakeholder engagement in human rights due diligence

Organized by the UN Working Group in collaboration with the UN Global Compact, Oxfam and International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)

Room XXIII: Thematic track: Access to remedy
Approaches for overcoming financial barriers to accessing judicial remedy mechanisms

Organized by OHCHR in collaboration with the UN Working Group

14:30 – 16:00
Room XX: Thematic track: Global Governance
The sustainable development goals and business & human rights

Organized by the UN Working Group

Room XXI: Thematic track: Good Practice
What can States, business, civil society and the UN do to support and protect human rights defenders who work on issues of corporate responsibility and accountability? Challenges and good practices

Organized by the UN Working Group in collaboration with the International Service for Human Rights and the Permanent Mission of Norway

Room XXIII: Thematic track: Access to Remedy
Operational-level grievance mechanisms

Organized by OHCHR in collaboration with the UN Working Group

16:15-17:45
Room XX: Closing conversation: Strategic paths forward and next steps for the global business and human rights regime


Parallel events at the Forum on Business and Human Rights

For details about parallel events (focus and speakers), please click on the respective sessions listed below. Please also refer to the Forum programme for confirmation about time and venue. For more information on parallel UN-led sessions, please click here:

1 December

10:00 – 11:30
Room XI: Principles in Practice: recent developments in law and legal practice in the field of business and human rights
Organised by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Faculty of Law at Western University

Room XXII: Access to remedy at international financial institutions: challenges and opportunities of non-judicial grievance mechanisms
Organised by Accountability Counsel, SOMO, Inclusive Development International

Room IX: Putting the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into practice: Perspectives from companies, NGOs and trade unions
Organised by Ethical Trading Initiative

11:45 – 13:15
Room XI: Ensuring access to effective judicial & non-judicial remedies: progress, trends & recommendations
Organised by ICAR, BHRRC, CORE, ECCJ, FIDH, and Larry Catá Backer, Pennsylvania State University School of Law

Room XXII: Privatized remedy and human rights: Re-thinking grievance mechanisms
Organised by Rights and Accountability in Development and MiningWatch Canada

Room IX: Human Rights Implications of Indirect Sourcing Practices in Global Supply Chains
Organised by the Center for Business and Human Rights at NYU School of Business

14:45 – 16:15
Room XXIII: Improving Human Rights Reporting: the contribution of the Reporting and Assurance Framework Initiative (RAFI)
Organised by Shift

Room XXII: Indigenous Peoples, access to justice and reparation within the context of business operations
Organised by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, Coordinadora Andina de Organiciones Indigenas and the European Network on Indigenous Peoples

Room IX: Financial regulation to enhance human rights due diligence: recent developments in South America
Organised by the Peruvian Superintendency of Banks, Insurers and Private Pension Funds

16:30 – 18:00
Room XXIII: Ranking business and human rights - The potential of benchmarking the corporate respect for human rights
Organized by the Measuring Business and Human Rights project, together with the Access to Medicine Index, Behind the Brands, Ranking Digital Rights and the Human Rights Performance Benchmark

Room XXII: Transnational cooperation among National Human Rights Instituations on business and human rights
Organised by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions

Room IX: The Financial Sector and Human Rights: Assessing responsibilities and benchmarking progress
Organised by BankTrack

18:00-19:30
Book launch / emerging literature on business and human rights (with John Morrison and Mahdev Mohan & Cynthia Morel)  

2 December

13:00 - 14:00
Council Chamber: Unsung Heroes: A Tribute to Human Rights Defenders
Interactive Panel Debate
Organised by the European Union

14:30 – 16:00
Room XI: Engaging companies to integrate human rights: examples from two regions

I. Latin America: The commitment of the Central American Private Sector to respect Human Rights
Organised by CEGESTI

Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa Case Study-Opportunities and Challenges of integrating Human Rights in development agreements- Community Engagement Models, the tool for solution
Organised by Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment- LITE Africa

Room IX: Indigenous peoples and extractive activities: challenges and the FPIC as an approach to solution
Organised by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy and the International Comittee for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

16:15 – 17:45
Room XXII: Does the world need a human rights based convention on healthy diets? Exploring the role of food corporations towards the rights to adequate food and health
Organised by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and its partners

Room XI: Latin American Public Policy Session
Organized by Centro Vincular

Room IX: Responsible behaviour by Chinese companies: changes at home and abroad
Organised by Global Witness

3 December

08:00 - 09:30
Room XXI: An international arbitration tribunal on business and human rights
Organised by Lawyers for Better Business and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Room XXIII: Investigating and tackling labour rights abuses and improving access to remedy
Organised by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission

Room XXII: Overseeing private security operations in complex environments: putting the international code of conduct for private security service providers into practice
Organised by ICoCA, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces

Room XI: Embedding the corporate responsibility to respect human rights: trends and challenges in the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles towards the promotion of a multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation
Organised by CSR Europe and Fair Play Human Rights Consulting

Room IX: Improving protection and ensuring participation of land and environment defenders in all business initiatives and discussions
Organised by Peace Brigades International, Franciscans International, the World Organisation against Torture, the International Federation for Human Rights within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights and CIDSE

Room XXI: Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments
Organised by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Human Security Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Room XXII: Individual Choice, Collective Action: How Social Accountability Helps Communities and Business Solve Collective Action Problems
Organised by World Vision International

Room XXIII: Obstacles and Challenges encountered by indigenous women in their efforts to access effective remedy and recognition as rights-holders by the extractive industry
Organised by Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme

09:45 - 11:15
Room XI: Resolution A/HRC/26/9, a step forward towards the Elaboration of an International Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises with respect to Human Rights
Organised by the Permanent Mission of Ecuador

11:30 – 13:00
Room XXII: Development Finance Institutions and the Operationalization of the Guiding Principles
Organised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Room XI: Regional Implementation of the Guiding Principles: Lessons from Asia and Europe
Organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation

Room IX: The Treaty process- implications for business
Organised by the International Organisation of Employers

14:30 – 16.00
Room XXII: Export Credit and the UNGPs: Challenges and Proposals
Organised by the Danish Export Credit Agency, ECA-Watch, Justica nos Trilhos and Global CSR

Room XI: The power of data to address business and human rights
Organised by Oxfam, the Global Reporting Initiative and the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association

Room IX: Due diligence within corporate groups: the relevance of direct duty of care in protecting human rights
Organised by the University of Essex Business and Human Rights Project with Professor Surya Deva, City University of Hong Kong

18:00 - 19:30
Room XXI: Beginning the discussion: The surveillance industry and human rights
Organized by Privacy International

4 December

9:00-17:30 
Community-based human rights impact assessment training, organised by Oxfam, FIDH and Poder


Programme and documentation


Statements and submissions

Stakeholders are invited to submit background documentation to the 2014 Forum. Submissions can be sent to [email protected] and will be posted in this section.

Opening high-level plenary in the Assembly Hall, 2 December

Welcome remarks

Keynote statements and high-level panel: Leadership views on business and human rights: Addressing key global challenges - what next and how?

High-level discussion: Global Outlook for business and human rights - Key themes, drivers, trends and challenges

Spotlight on effective strategies by affected stakeholders and advocates

  • Bettina Cruz, on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus (Statement E | S)

High-level closing conversation: Strategic paths forward and next steps for the global business and human rights regime

Written Submissions and Other Statements


Summaries of parallel events

Note: The summaries of the parallel sessions listed below were posted as received from the respective organisers. The Forum Secretariat is not responsible for the content in these documents.

Discussing cases –triggering change
Organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung with the German Forum Human Rights, ESCR-Net and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre in collaboration with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Principles in Practice: recent developments in law and legal practice in the field of business and human rights
Organised by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Faculty of Law at Western University

Access to remedy at international financial institutions: challenges and opportunities of non-judicial grievance mechanisms
Organised by Accountability Counsel, SOMO, Inclusive Development International

Putting the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into practice: Perspectives from companies, NGOs and trade unions
Organised by Ethical Trading Initiative

Ensuring access to effective judicial & non-judicial remedies: progress, trends & recommendations
Organised by ICAR, BHRRC, CORE, ECCJ, FIDH, and Larry Catá Backer, Pennsylvania State University School of Law

The Financial Sector and Human Rights: Assessing responsibilities and bench marking progress
Organised by Bank Track

The commitment of the Central American Private Sector to respect Human Rights
Organised by CEGESTI

Sub-Saharan Africa Case Study-Opportunities and Challenges of integrating Human Rights in development agreements- Community Engagement Models, the tool for solution
Organised by Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment- LITE Africa

Does the world need a human rights based convention on healthy diets? Exploring the role of food corporations towards the rights to adequate food and health
Organised by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and its partners

An international arbitration tribunal on business and human rights
Organised by Lawyers for Better Business and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Investigating and tackling labour rights abuses and improving access to remedy
Organised by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission

Overseeing private security operations in complex environments: putting the international code of conduct for private security service providers into practice
Organised by ICoCA, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces

Embedding the corporate responsibility to respect human rights: trends and challenges in the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles towards the promotion of amulti-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation
Organised by CSR Europe and Fair Play Human Rights Consulting

Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments
Organised by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Human Security Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Individual Choice, Collective Action: How Social Accountability Helps Communities and Business Solve Collective Action Problems
Organised by World Vision International

Obstacles and Challenges encountered by indigenous women in their efforts to access effective remedy and recognition as rights-holders by the extractive industry
Organised by Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme

Development Finance Institutions and the Operationalization of the Guiding Principles
Organised by the European Bank for Reconstruction