If Rio+20 Summit is to deliver, accountability mechanisms needed, say mandate-holders of UN Human Rights Council including chair of UN Working Group on business & human rights

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Article
1 March 2012

If Rio+20 is to deliver, accountability must be at its heart - Open letter to States negotiating the Outcome Document of the Rio+20 Summit

Author: Special Procedures mandate-holders of the UN Human Rights Council including chair of UN Working Group on business & human rights

As independent experts of the Human Rights Council, we call on States to incorporate universally agreed international human rights norms and standards in the Outcome Document of the Rio+20 Summit with strong accountability mechanism to ensure its implementation...A real risk exists that commitments made in Rio will remain empty promises without effective monitoring and accountability. We offer proposals as to how a double accountability mechanism can be established. At the international level, we support the proposal to establish a Sustainable Development Council to monitor progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be agreed by 2015. We recommend building a mechanism based on the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council...At the national level, we recommend establishing participatory accountability mechanisms through which people’s voice can be reflected and independent monitoring can be conducted.

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Article
1 March 2012

[PDF] Respecting the rights of people in sustainable development: The role of business -- Background Note: Rio+20 must be aligned with UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Author: UN Working Group on business & human rights

...[In the "Zero Draft" Rio+20 Outcome Document, business] and industry are encouraged to show leadership in advancing a green economy founded on a sustainable path...geared towards inclusiveness and poverty eradication. The UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises welcomes the Zero draft and supports the view set out in the draft on the role of the private sector. The business sector's contribution...is crucial. At the same time it has long since been acknowledged that business activities can have adverse impacts on people and environment...[It] is important to reiterate that all business enterprises also have a responsibility to respect human rights...We therefore recommend that the Governments negotiating at Rio+20 take into account the need to align outcome documents with established international standards for business and human rights, especially the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

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