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Article

18 Nov 2020

Author:
Anita Ramasastry, Chair, & Dante Pesce, Vice-chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Remarks delivered by the Chair & Vice-Chair of the UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights at the 2020 UN Forum closing plenary

Our theme this year has been: “Preventing business-related human rights abuses: The key to a sustainable future for people and planet."

I would like to share a few key messages we heard on this theme

A fireside chat at the closing plenary was appropriate. The fire is raging: the world is burning, we are in the midst of fighting multiple crises – from climate change, to economic meltdown, to the raging inferno of a global pandemic, to the fiery scourge of racism – so if we cannot make progress with respect to addressing how business engages in terms of respect for human rights, as we attempt to rebuild, when can we? If we don’t want to deploy tools of prevention in the future, we are dooming ourselves to a world of future devastation.

Some key takeaways:

  • The UN Guiding Principles are a guidepost in times of crisis...
  • Our future is one of mandatory measures... And to States – we can’t wait forever in terms of levelling the playing field.
  • Impacts on the planet are impacts on people...
  • The future is financial...
  • The future is data driven...
  • Governance and business models are key...
  • Remedy is one of our most important tools for prevention...

All of these themes, and more, have been instrumental inputs into our ongoing “UNGPs 10+” project to take stock of the first 10 years of the UN Guiding Principles and develop an evidence-based roadmap for the decade ahead. Thank you for these valuable contributions.

We would like to reiterate our call for your continued engagement with the project and invite you to submit your written inputs. Please visit the Working Group’s website, and our project portal graciously hosted by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, for more details.

We will be launching the roadmap for next decade on the 16th of June next year – the official 10-year anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles. Please join us then, as well as at next year’s annual Forum...

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