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Analysis of Natl. Action Plans on business & human rights between 2013-2018

Author: Daniel Morris, Lukas Bogner, Lison Daubigeon, Claire Methven O’Brien, Elin Wrzoncki, Danish Institute for Human Rights, Published on: 13 February 2019

"National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights: An Initial Analysis of Plans from 2013-2018", Nov 2018

Until now, 21 states have developed NAPs while 11 more are in the process of developing NAPs. In addition, non-state initiatives are pushing for a NAP in at least 15 countries. This makes it important to review NAPs and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of current NAPs in implementing the UNGPs and enhancing protections for rights-holders against business-related human rights abuse. This initial analysis of NAPs for the period 2013-2018 identifies the following findings:

Stakeholder participation in the development process. All states held stakeholder and rights-holder events during their NAP development processes and all but one process involved both business and civil society. The extent of stakeholder and rights-holder involvement varied considerably as, for example, 8 states took active measures to involve special interest groups and vulnerable groups (e.g. indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities) and 8 states publicly shared timelines on their NAP development process;

National baseline assessments. 6 NAPs were informed by a national baseline assessment (NBA) designed to identify gaps in protections and inform the prioritisation of actions in the NAP. Of the 4 additional states that committed to producing an NBA in their NAP, none have yet completed them (although some commitments have no deadlines and others are still within their deadlines);

NAP content. The majority of NAPs are structured to follow the three pillars of the UNGPs or the 31 guiding principles. All but 1 NAP explicitly address business operations domestically, and all but 2 explicitly address business operations abroad. 17 NAPs commit the state to engage with other states to share good practice and/ or help other states develop NAPs. Many NAPs address issues affecting vulnerable groups of rights-holders, but certain groups receive less attention than others, including migrant workers, persons with disabilities, and indigenous peoples.

Progress reports. 15 NAPs commit states to provide follow-up reports on the implementation of NAP commitments. 5 states have published such reports to date.

Accountability. Effective accountability is enhanced when action points in NAPs are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART), however the action points in NAPs are often not fully SMART. 9 NAPs assign responsibility for actions to named entities, 6 include dates for some or all actions, 4 NAPs include explicit indicators or dates by which the actions are to be completed. Zero NAPs contain a budget covering all actions, although 1 NAP refers to providing staff and budget necessary for monitoring.

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