The Forum, which this year is expected to attract more than 1,500 participants from business, governments and non-governmental organizations NGOs, was set up by the UN Human Rights Council to encourage the global promotion and implementation of the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. ICC played an influential role in developing these UN Principles, the first globally accepted standards on the responsibilities of states and businesses for addressing business-related human rights. The UN Principles set a “protect, respect and remedy” framework to clarify the complex interface between human rights and companies, defining the responsibilities of each player.
“The UN Forum on Business and Human Rights provides an opportunity to emphasize ICC’s continued commitment to working closely with the UN Working Group on the shared aim of implementing the UN Guiding Principles,” said Viviane Schiavi, Senior Policy Manager of the ICC Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-corruption.
ICC is co-organizing a business stakeholder meeting on 2 December, just before the forum. The aim is to provide a platform for business representatives to discuss key challenges and opportunities encountered in implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights. Session co-organizers include the UN Global Compact, International Organisation of Employers, Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, and Business for Social Responsibility. Discussions will be chaired by Margaret Jungk, a member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and the founder of the Human Rights and Business Department at the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
At the UN Forum itself, Ms Schiavi will speak in a multistakeholder panel discussion on “Integrating human rights in international investment policies and contracts”. The talks, on the morning of 4 December, will be chaired by Andrea Saldarriaga, Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment.
An additional part of ICC’s ongoing support to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, is its involvement in assessing the global implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. Following last year’s corporate survey, ICC – together with the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, the International Organization of Employers and the Corporations and Human Rights Project at the University of Denver – is helping the UN Working Group extend the ambit of this year’s corporate survey by securing participation from ICC’s extensive global network. The survey has already been launched, and will run until 31 December. It is expected to provide valuable information for improving further implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.