How the UN Guiding Principles can support a Just Recovery
Joint webinar with UN Working Group
Date & Time: 22 June 2021, 15:00-16:30 CEST, 14:00-15:30 BST
The economic systems that have fuelled growth in the 21st century have done so, largely, at a grave cost to workers in the Global South. The Covid-19 pandemic brought deep-rooted drivers of inequality and exploitation into sharp relief, be it directly in companies failing to afford workers the protections necessary to continue to work without fear of transmission, or indirectly in those who failed to ensure security for at-risk workers in their supply chain.
The recovery must not cut human rights corners in the interest of going back to ‘business as usual’ and economic growth. Governments have a vital role in ensuring bailouts integrate requirements to commit to high standards for responsible business conduct, notably respect for human rights and dignity of people. However, there are positive steps that companies have taken and should take, individually in honouring contracts and paying a living wage, and in sector-wide collective action, independent of the requirements laid down by governments.
Manufacturers and natural resources companies with long, opaque supply chains should increase transparency and demand the highest standards of contracting, and worker protection. Technology firms tracing the spread of the virus should be wary of excessive data collection and surveillance. The financial sector should invest responsibly, engaging with investees, prioritising rights-respecting operations and avoiding rigid obligations that could risk the viability of firms and security of jobs.
The UNGPs’ three pillars of “Protect, Respect and Remedy” provide a blueprint for the way forward, which will help prepare us for the next crisis. To get there, we need better collaboration, with responsible governments, businesses and investors leading the way.
This session forms part of the UNGPs 10+ Project, a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It will feature a panel of speakers from the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG on BHR), chaired by Phil Bloomer (Executive Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre). The panel will include:
- Dante Pesce - Founder and Executive Director of the VINCULAR Center for Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development at the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile.
- Surya Deva - Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong.
- Anita Ramasastry - Roland L. Hjorth Professor of Law and the Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School Of Law.
Please see the OHCHR website for full profiles of each panel member.