Engagement & Remedy Forum for Responsible Business Conduct 2023
“Access to Remedy” is one of the main pillars of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and yet, it has been most neglected. This Forum was first launched in February 2020 with the aim of pushing this pillar to the fore. The special feature of the Forum has been the establishment of a new grievance mechanism, inspired by the Engagement & Remedy Guidelines. The Forum has been acting as a venue to deliver a progress of this new mechanism, among others, such as discussing and learning the latest developments on business and human rights – in particular, access to remedy, within and outside of Japan. Thanks to all relevant stakeholders which contributed to this important project, a launch of “Japan Center for Engagement and Remedy on Business and Human Rights”, or “JaCER” in short, a non-judicial platform to support and promote redress of grievances by member companies, was finally announced at the last year’s Forum, and began its work in October 2022.
The theme of this year’s Forum is “A Way Forward”. The establishment of JaCER was commemorative, but it is not the end of the story - it is the beginning instead. As one panelist puts it last year, “JaCER is still a baby”. It should learn a great deal to become a truly effective mechanism. It should also be seen in a larger context. JaCER is not alone in this undertaking. Japanese Governments has been providing the National Action Plan and Guidelines. UN, EU, ILO, OECD, and other international organizations has also been very active. Civil organizations, and business enterprises are all struggling to move the agenda forward, and collaboration among different stakeholders is a prerequisite.
This year’s forum is divided into three main parts. First, keynote speeches will be presented. We invite Mr. Gen Nakatani, a special advisor to the Prime Minister of business and human rights, as a keynote speaker. He will provide latest developments of the initiatives made by Japanese governments in the context of business and human rights. A representative of JaCER will also present a progress made by the Center to set the tone. Representatives of international organizations will also provide video messages to the Forum. Second, Japanese experts will discuss issues, bottlenecks, potentials, and expectations on access to remedy, with special attention to JaCER. At the third part of the Forum, we invite experts from abroad to discuss latest developments and a way forward for the future.
[Purpose of the Forum]
1. To learn the latest developments of the initiatives taken by the Japanese Government.
2. To learn the latest developments of the foreign activities, including international organizations, civil societies, and foreign business enterprises, with regards to access to remedy.
3. To learn the progress of JaCER, and discuss the way forward.