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29 Jun 2021

Dante Pesce, Chairperson, UN Working Group

Panel discussion on the tenth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 47th Session of the Human Rights Council

The Guiding Principles have without a doubt contributed to significant progress towards promoting respect for human rights in a business context...

At the same time, the “governance gaps” that created the need to develop the Guiding Principles still allow too many instances of business-related human rights abuses across all sectors and regions.

Lack of access to remedy for rights-holders remains the most glaring gap and a threat to meaningful progress over the next decade.

Above all, Governments and businesses need to increase the pace of implementation and address coherence gaps. I would like to emphasize three key points for Government action for the road ahead:

First, Governments need to design smart and effective policy and regulatory measures that not only create level playing fields, but most importantly lead to better outcomes for people affected by business...

Second, to drive impact, governments also need to increase efforts to address policy coherence gaps across government functions and roles...

Third, policy coherence at multi-lateral level remains a key challenge...

A cross-cutting priority should be to enable unions, human rights defenders, indigenous peoples and affected communities, and civil society organizations to engage meaningfully in processes to develop effective laws and regulations – and protect their rights when they are at risk of adverse impacts.

The Guiding Principles, and their focus first on those most at risk, provide a strategic framework and blueprint for States and business to respond to our collective challenges, from a responsible recovery from the COVID-19 crisis to the climate crisis – and beyond.

To contribute to this effort, we will release later this year a roadmap for the next decade, resting on the common platform provided by the Guiding Principles and the broad, growing movement converging around them.