Global Agenda Council on Human Rights 2012-2014
At a time of immense global economic and social challenges, the potential for business activity to have an impact on human rights has come into clear focus. Acknowledgement of the need for business to respect internationally recognized human rights standards is growing.
The United Nations has endorsed new “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” (UNGPs) that give companies a global standard and framework for mitigating the risk of adverse effects on human rights linked to business activity. However, practical guidance and greater awareness and dissemination of these principles are indispensable. Businesses need to acknowledge that greater attention to human rights concerns can help them respond to key challenges, from addressing climate change and food security, and accessing healthcare and development, to tackling the economic crisis
What the Council is doing about it
Members of the Global Agenda Council on Human Rights developed workstreams to further enhance and encourage the implementation of the UNGPs and to support the activities and aims of the UN working group in this area. At the Annual Meeting 2013 in Davos, in collaboration with Microsoft, the Council hosted an interactive workshop to stimulate debate on the current situation in business and human rights, in particular as regards activities in high-risk environments and emerging economies. The session explored the implications for business and heard executives’ perspectives on what does and does not work when designing human rights policies and attempting to manage human rights impacts.
The Chair of the 2012-2013 Council term, Mary Robinson, participated in the Annual Meeting session on “The Moral Economy: From Social Contract to Social Covenant” and highlighted the UNGPs as the “building block” for changing norms and behaviours. The Council also published blog posts emphasizing the importance of business engagement on human rights during the week of International Human Rights Day 2012. In addition, a workshop on implementing standards for business and human rights was organized at the 2013 World Economic Forum on East Asia in Myanmar.
“Acknowledgement of the need for business to respect internationally recognized human rights standards is growing.”
In the coming year, the Council will continue to connect with business communities to further the implementation and awareness of the UNGPs. It plans a series of workshops throughout the year with its new Chair, Michael H. Posner, who launched the first centre on business and human rights at NYU’s Stern School of Business. Council Members are also working closely with other Councils to develop a Web-based platform and a set of resources to facilitate greater access to the UNGPs.
To get involved please contact
Research Analyst: Karen Wong, Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Manager: Isabella Ries, Partnership Manger, Partnership, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Martina Gmür, Senior Director, Head of the Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org