US to develop National Action Plan consistent with UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights

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Article
23 December 2014

Clifford Chance briefing on US Natl. Action Plan consultation

Author: Clifford Chance

"Client briefing: US Government Holds First Consultation on National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights", 19 Dec 2014

On December 15, 2014, the US Government held its first public consultation on the White House National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct in New York City at the NYU Stern School of Business.  The event was the first of four national consultations announced by the Government to develop  the US NAP. The consultations are open to public participation, but the discussions are not publicized.  Topics covered in the consultations – and likely to be addressed in the NAP – included US Government and company reporting on social risks, land rights and agricultural investments, the extractive sector, trade and investment agreements, and the financial sector.

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16 December 2014

Opportunities to provide input on US Natl. Action Plan

Author: Christopher Smart, White House, US Govt.

"Announcement of Opportunity to Provide Input into the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct", 20 Nov 2014

The U.S. government will work closely with stakeholders throughout the development of the National Action Plan, including U.S. businesses and civil society. There will be a series of open dialogues, hosted by various independent organizations, during which stakeholders will be able to exchange ideas on the National Action Plan process and content. U.S. officials will attend these events and the public is welcome to participate.

The first of these events will be:

  • December 15, 2014 – New York University, New York, New York. Co-hosted by the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and the United States Council for International Business. Please contact [email protected] to express interest in attending. Space is limited.

Additional opportunities for information exchange will be scheduled for 2015, including virtually (webinar), as well as in the following locations (additional information to follow):

  • Berkeley, California – hosted by the Center for Responsible Business at the University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business
  • Norman, Oklahoma – hosted by the University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • Washington, D.C. – co-hosted by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights 

The U.S. government also invites written input on the National Action Plan. The deadline for the first round of submissions is January 15, 2015.  Submissions should be sent to [email protected].

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Article
16 October 2014

Norton Rose Fullbright brief

Author: Layne E. Kruse, Stephen M. McNabb, John J. Byron, Stuart Neely, Norton Rose Fullbright

"US to develop Business and Human Rights National Action Plan", Oct 2014

At this point, it is difficult to forecast the content of the US National Action Plan.  Based on the early adopters, though, it may contain a plan to implement legislation that requires businesses to report on how they respect human rights in their operations (similar to certain requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements, and the California Transparency in the Supply Chain Act).  It may also contain initiatives to more strongly protect human rights in government contracting (similar to Executive Order – Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking In Persons In Federal Contracts).  And, it may articulate reforms designed to increase access to US courts for plaintiffs from outside the US, in response to Kiobel.  Whatever the case, we will provide updates as the US National Action Plan process unfolds.

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Article
9 October 2014

President Obama announces development of National Action Plan "to promote responsible business conduct"

Author: Sarah A. Altschuller, Foley Hoag LLP

"United States to Develop National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct", 27 Sept 2014

On September 24, at a meeting of the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations, President Obama announced that the U.S. Government would develop a national action plan to promote responsible business conduct. The United States had been under considerable pressure from civil society organizations and others to develop such a plan..[I]n a fact sheet released by the White House: “The United States will develop a National Action Plan to promote and incentivize responsible business conduct, including with respect to transparency and anticorruption, consistent with the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises”...This announcement by the United States is consistent with the efforts of countries around the globe to develop national action plans to promote responsible conduct by businesses and to implement the U.N. Guiding Principles...

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Article
2 October 2014

NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights issues recommendations for US National Action Plan

Author: Michael Posner & Sarah Labowitz, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights

In initiating the National Action Plan, it will be important to focus not only on U.S. efforts to combat corruption, but on a broader sustainability agenda. A recent white paper published by the World Economic Forum defines business sustainability “in terms of the environment, economic development, human rights, women’s empowerment, and rule of law.” The U.S. National Action Plan should address business sustainability in each of these areas...we would suggest that the National Action Plan’s review should include examination of the following themes and questions, among others: 1. Compliance with government reporting requirements [on electronics and mining, information & communications technology, business & human rights in Myanmar, state-based reporting requirements and trafficking on persons], 2. Strengthening multi-stakeholder initiatives in which the United States government participates...3. Strengthening export controls to include a stronger human rights review process...4. Compliance with Executive Orders and Congressionally imposed restrictions on visas or asset freezes for foreign business leaders accused of gross human rights violators...5. USAID assistance in support of industry human rights initiatives abroad...6. The role of industry associations in advancing respect for human rights by U.S.companies...

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Article
1 October 2014

Commentary: US National Action Plan "crucial" to fulfill duty to protect human rights from corporate abuse

Author: Michael Kourabas, TriplePundit (USA)

"U.S. Promises Action on U.N. Human Rights Principles", 1 Oct 2014

[O]rganizations like Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) have been publicly pushing President Barack Obama to develop a BHR NAP for some time...In short, a BHR NAP is a policy document that explains how a particular state intends to go about fulfilling its duty to protect human rights from corporate abuse...[T]he creation of a NAP is akin to the crucial step of domestic implementation of a treaty or other international instrument (and the future of the rights or obligations it purports to protect/enforce)...[E]ven though the UNGPs are not a binding instrument, state-based guidance regarding how states intend to protect human rights in the business context is crucial to the future of corporate accountability...Though only a handful of states have officially created BHR NAPs, some of the early plans include ambitious and encouraging proposals for what a state can do to satisfy its duties as articulated in the UNGPs...

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1 October 2014

Factsheet announcing National Action Plan

Author: White House, Office of the Press Secretary (USA)

"Factsheet: The U.S. Global Anticorruption Agenda", 24 Sep 2014

The U.S. Government works closely with U.S. businesses to ensure that private actors maintain their international brand as transparent and accountable partners.  The United States will develop a National Action Plan to promote and incentivize responsible business conduct, including with respect to transparency and anticorruption, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.

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Article
1 October 2014

UN Working Group welcomes announcement

Author: UN Working Group on business & human rights

"UN expert group welcomes US plan on responsible business and calls for an inclusive process", 1 Oct 2014

A group of United Nations experts applauded the announcement by President Barack Obama that the United States will develop a national action plan to promote responsible and transparent business conduct, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights*, and called for an all-inclusive approach.“The process of developing a national action plan should be comprehensive, ensuring that the voices of all relevant parties, including that of victims of human rights abuses, are heard and accounted for,” said human rights expert Michael Addo, who currently heads the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights...“In embarking on a national plan, the United States joins company with a growing number of countries across the world and acts on a key recommendation from our official visit to the country,” Mr. Addo said.“The hard work begins now to ensure that this plan helps prevent future business-related harm and provides for effective remedy for victims,” he said.“The Working Group stands ready to provide advice and encourage a plan formulated on the basis of inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue that improves business activities both at home and abroad.”The Working Group is promoting the development of national action plans to advance the business and human rights agenda worldwide. On 27 October 2014, it will present a report on this subject to the UN General Assembly and it will launch guidance on national action plans at the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva from 1 to 3 December 2014...

A group of United Nations experts applauded the announcement by President Barack Obama that the United States will develop a national action plan to promote responsible and transparent business conduct, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights*, and called for an all-inclusive approach.

“The process of developing a national action plan should be comprehensive, ensuring that the voices of all relevant parties, including that of victims of human rights abuses, are heard and accounted for,” said human rights expert Michael Addo, who currently heads the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

- See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15129&L...

A group of United Nations experts applauded the announcement by President Barack Obama that the United States will develop a national action plan to promote responsible and transparent business conduct, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights*, and called for an all-inclusive approach.

“The process of developing a national action plan should be comprehensive, ensuring that the voices of all relevant parties, including that of victims of human rights abuses, are heard and accounted for,” said human rights expert Michael Addo, who currently heads the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

- See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15129&L...

A group of United Nations experts applauded the announcement by President Barack Obama that the United States will develop a national action plan to promote responsible and transparent business conduct, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights*, and called for an all-inclusive approach.

“The process of developing a national action plan should be comprehensive, ensuring that the voices of all relevant parties, including that of victims of human rights abuses, are heard and accounted for,” said human rights expert Michael Addo, who currently heads the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

- See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15129&L...

A group of United Nations experts applauded the announcement by President Barack Obama that the United States will develop a national action plan to promote responsible and transparent business conduct, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights*, and called for an all-inclusive approach.

“The process of developing a national action plan should be comprehensive, ensuring that the voices of all relevant parties, including that of victims of human rights abuses, are heard and accounted for,” said human rights expert Michael Addo, who currently heads the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

- See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15129&L...

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Article
30 September 2014

Access calls on more govts. to adopt National Action Plans

Author: Peter Micek, Access blog

"U.S. agrees to develop NAP on business & human rights", 30 Sep 2014

APs certainly can help governments and companies identify where corruption may occur and how to fill those oversight gaps. But perhaps more importantly, they can reveal blind spots in corporate policy and cracks in judicial systems that let business-related human rights abuses continue without remedy for those affected -- including users at risk around the world...[D]iversity of viewpoints and transparent, accessible public engagement are two additional values that should guide this process. Therefore, the Obama Administration should consult civil society throughout the development of its NAP, from the gathering of evidence through execution of the final plan...[T]ransnational companies aren’t the only businesses that contribute to violations: Local subsidiaries and operators, from apparel factories to part-state-owned telecoms, may fly below the radar of international bodies and principles, but nonetheless have very real human rights impacts. For that reason, we call on more governments, including those from Latin America - site of the People’s Forum on Business and Human Rights -- to urgently take up developing NAPs for their own jurisdictions.

Article
30 September 2014

Human rights groups welcome announcement, insist on strong actions

Author: Carey L. Biron, IPS

"U.S. to Create National Plan on Responsible Business Practices", 30 Sep 2014

The United States will begin developing a national action plan on responsible business practices, following on several years of related advocacy from civil society...[A]dvocacy groups are applauding the president’s announcement as preliminary but significant...Arvind Ganesan, the director of the business and human rights programme at Human Rights Watch...[said]: "[W]e’ll be looking to see whether this process results in any teeth – mechanisms to ensure that companies act responsibly everywhere.”...[T]here is a sense of caution around whether the United States will be able to put in place rules that require action from corporations.“We are thrilled to see the United States take on this important initiative,” Sara Blackwell, a legal and policy associate with the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), said in a statement.Yet Blackwell notes that her office will continue to advocate for a U.S. action plan that goes beyond concerns merely around transparency and corruption...

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