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28 Oct 2014

Josua Loots, Project Manager: Business & Human Rights, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria on Institute for Human Rights and Business

Commentary: Binding treaty vs Guiding Principles debate has become too polarised, coordination & harmonisation of efforts are needed

As earlier posts in this series have noted, the UN Human Rights Council’s decision earlier this year to explore a binding treaty on business and human rights is a potential turning point in international efforts to ensure state and corporate accountability. But success is far from assured, and depends in no small part on more effective dialogue and coordination between states and other actors...Unfortunately, the debate around whether to push for a binding instrument, or continue to focus only on implementation of the UN Guiding Principles(UNGPs), has become very polarized. States and other stakeholders have focused strongly on the differences between the two initiatives, and have reached a point where a perception of mutual exclusivity has been created. I fear that the polarization of the debate comes at a time when coordination and harmonization of efforts are needed more than ever.