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Human rights are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Simply put, a development path in which human rights are not respected and protected cannot be sustainable. This is why the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underlines that the aim of the Sustainable Development Goals is to “realize the human rights of all”.

The Working Group on Business and Human Rights has stressed that human rights must be embedded in policies and practice, as countries continue to translate the ambitious SDGs into concrete action.

The goals, agreed by world leaders as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, envisage partnerships between the private sector and governments as part of efforts to solve the world’s development challenges. However, unless these business contributions are based on accountability and respect for human rights, the private sector risks undermining rather than supporting sustainable development, the Working Group has stressed.

Key recommendations

The following are among our key recommendations for embedding human rights in the private sector's envisaged contribution to the SDGs:

  • Respect for human rights must be a cornerstone when envisioning the role that business will play in the pursuit of the SDGs
  • States must ensure that their business partners for sustainable development have made a clear and demonstrable commitment to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and uphold these Principles in efforts to reach the SDGs.
  • National plans to implement the SDGs should align with national action plans to implement the Guiding Principles.

Access the full list of key recommendations.