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8 Oct 2020

Dante PESCE, Vice-Chair, United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Keynote remarks by Vice-Chair of UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights at C20 Summit 2020

7 October 2020

[I]n the lead-off to the 10th anniversary of the Guiding Principles in June next year, we are undertaking a new project “Business and human rights – towards a decade of global implementation”...

This session seeks to discuss the state of play of national action plans on business and human rights, and the way forward for making them effective. Civil society can make a significant contribution also in this context...

Both the UN Human Rights Council and the G20 have made commitments to promote NAPs by member states.

Yet, beyond Europe, and despite efforts to the contrary, very few countries have actually issued NAPs. Not only have too few countries developed NAPs, but also where such plans exist, the overall picture is one of shortcomings, in terms of both process and content...

[T]wo critical elements need to be present to make NAPs meaningful and effective:

  • Multi-stakeholder participation that includes both business associations and civil society organizations and, importantly, affected stakeholder voices, including unions, human rights defenders and those most at risk.
  • And there needs to be mechanisms for governance, reporting and monitoring...

In terms of content, NAP should:

  • Address challenges both at home and across global value chains...
  • Reflect a true “smart mix” approach that adequately covers all the four “smart mix” dimensions, namely national and international as well as mandatory and voluntary.
  • No longer ignore the access to remedy pillar...
  • Emphasise action that strengthens protection of human rights defenders as well as individuals and groups that are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and business-related human rights abuse.