The 4th annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights will be held at the Palais de Nations, Geneva 16-18 November 2015 as a space for representatives and practitioners from civil society, business, government, international organizations and affected stakeholders to take stock of challenges and discuss ways to move forward on putting into practice the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – a global standard for preventing and addressing adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. The Forum was established by the Human Rights Council, and is guided by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights. The third annual Forum, which was held in Geneva from 1 to 3 December 2014, attracted around 2,000 persons from over 100 countries. Videos of sessions at the 2014 Forum are available at UN Web TV.
Building on the previous events, the fourth annual Forum will focus on:
- Strengthening multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement
- Discussing effective ways to measure and report on progress to implement the Guiding Principles
- Discussing national action plans to implement the Guiding Principles
- Exploring access to effective remedy
- Examining current practice of States and business enterprises and “unpacking” what implementation of the Guiding Principles means in concrete areas
The relationship between business and human rights has become an issue that States and businesses worldwide cannot ignore. On one hand, businesses can help advance human rights, including by offering access to decent work and higher living standards. On the other, businesses can also hinder human rights, as underlined by recurring reports from around the world of unsafe working conditions, migrant worker exploitation, and damage to community environments.
Meanwhile, there is growing worldwide recognition of the human rights aspects of sustainable development and the role business can and should play in addressing global challenges such as climate change, poverty and inequality.
Accordingly, the Human Rights Council in 2011 unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and more and more States and businesses are taking real steps to put into practice its three pillars: the State duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and the right of victims to access an effective remedy. Important implementation challenges, however, remain.
The United Nations Human Rights Council, under paragraph 12 of its resolution 17/4, established the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, under the guidance of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, to serve as a key global platform for stakeholders to ”discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights.”