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Report

Report assesses & compares human rights due diligence initiatives in 3 EU countries with Belgium’s agenda for sustainable supply chains

This report assesses a new generation of business and human rights initiatives by the Netherlands, Germany and France and compares this with Belgium’s agenda for sustainable supply chains. This analysis serves as an input for future policy influencing work by Belgian civil society organizations...

The Belgian National Action Plan (NAP) is perhaps best seen as a first stock-taking of what Belgium is already doing on business and human rights. It also includes broad policy areas and actions it intends to focus on in the future, but it is not a plan that is actionable for different reasons. Compared with the German and the French NAP, the Belgian NAP lacks an overall theory of change with a long-term logic and explicit strategies on how different stakeholders will be supported to get there. It is not comprehensive in its approach, and with its focus on voluntary action, it pays limited attention to a balanced regulatory mix. Several stakeholders complained that the political will is missing to push the HRDD agenda...

In addition, the HRDD capacity and expertise of different Belgian stakeholders is still limited...

Overall, a picture emerges of a Belgian debate that remains stuck in the mainstream CSR agenda...

Possible action points for future policy influencing work are clustered in four areas, together with suggestions for activities that can contribute to achieving these targets. The report emphasizes the importance of (1) shifting the debate in Belgium from CSR to HRDD; (2) building more national and regional HRDD governance capacity; (3) strengthening existing dynamics at EU and UN level, and/or supporting global sectoral initiatives; and (4) unlocking the potential of existing high-impact HRDD measures with a ‘hybrid’ character.