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Day 5 Summary: UN Treaty negotiations conclude without clear negotiated reforms, but expectations for next year remain high

"UN Treaty negotiations conclude without clear negotiated reforms, but expectations for next year remain high", 4 November 2020.

The final day of the sixth session of the UN Treaty negotiations began with a discussion on the final draft articles and ended with the adoption of the final report and conclusions. “The active participation of many stakeholders in this round of talks showed just how important the issue of business and human rights really is in ensuring a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis,” says ECCJ’s Policy Officer Sylvia Obregon Quiroz.

Notably absent, however, was the EU delegation. “At this point, it is imperative that the EU and its Member States genuinely commit to the UN Treaty process. It’s an opportunity for the bloc to shape global developments at a critical time in its history,” she explains...

The Russian Federation kicked off a heated discussion on provisions covering vulnerable groups, arguing against including migrants as persons exposed to a heightened risk of human rights violations. According to the Russian delegate, the change of one’s country of residence does not automatically place an individual in a vulnerable situation. This was rebuked by Panama for ignoring that migrants are often subject to different forms of slavery or forced labour, among other human rights violations...

Talks continued on the Conference of State Parties – a biennial event to consider matters related to implementation – with the Russian Delegation again taking the podium to argue that the voting procedure would provide excessive weight to regional organisations like the European Union, which would automatically accumulate the votes of their Member States...

All stakeholders will be able to table their submissions until the end of February 2021.

As we have reported throughout the week, this year’s round of negotiations saw increasing polarisation of state positions. However, "despite some states opposing key provisions, which are absolutely necessary to mainstream corporate due diligence and bring justice to affected workers and communities, we remain convinced that most do share an understanding that corporations should address the adverse impacts of their global operations,” says ECCJ’s Policy Officer Alejandro García Esteban...

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