Paper evaluates current National Action Plans; suggests improvements for existing & future plans

Author: Claire Methven O'Brien & Cathrine Bloch Poulsen Hansen (Danish Institute for Human Rights), Amol Mehra & Sara Blackwell (Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable), Published on: 13 July 2015

“National Action Plans: Evaluating current status and charting future prospects for an important new governance tool on business and human rights”, 16 May 2015

[More] than forty [processes to develop National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights] are now underway across Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia…Every NAP process affirms the UNGPs’ essential norm that human rights are applicable to the business sector, and indicates a political commitment to bring domestic laws, policies, and practices into alignment with them…Yet, [to] date, individual NAPs have been largely declaratory of existing measures and commitments, with few hard promises to take new action…NAPs may be instrumental in strengthening good governance and the rule of law…[and] can provide the needed basis for holding governments to account directly and on a comparative basis with other countries…However, [s]ome view NAPs as a public relations exercise…

[Evaluation shows that the]…Governance and resources criteria…have been partially met by NAPs to date…[While] all NAPs to date have involved at least some form of multi-stakeholder consultation…the level of transparency and inclusiveness of consultation processes has varied greatly…[None] of the NAPs published so far has been based on a national baseline assessment (NBA)…NAPs are mainly focused on voluntary approaches to promoting business respect for human rights, and measures on access to remedy are scarcely mentioned…Lack of transparency has been an issue across all NAP processes…To date, only the Finnish NAP allocates all commitments to specific ministries… 

[In order to] ensure that the future trajectory is one of improvement…more States must initiate NAPs…review and follow-up mechanisms should be established to support States in their production, implementation, and reporting on NAPs and to help hold governments to account to the commitments made within them…NAPs must be seen as an integral part of…the broader human rights and business landscape…Finally, a review mechanism established via a new international instrument could continue to build understanding and consensus amongst States around minimum requirements as well as leading-edge practices, while also providing a venue for a critical dialogue between States and stakeholder on their successes and failures. 

Read the full post here