June 2021 will mark the tenth anniversary of the endorsement by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).
These principles provided for the first time a global normative framework backed by UN member states that clarified state duties and business responsibilities in addressing business related-human rights abuse. The creation of the UNGPs and their endorsement, therefore, represented a major step forward in efforts to promote responsible business in line with international human rights standards.
Since then, they have become the common reference point for efforts to address adverse human rights impacts arising in a business context and have been widely integrated into both public and private sector policy frameworks.
While progress is encouraging, a lot remains to be done by states and business to achieve progress at national levels and a globalization that works for all, delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ‘leave no one behind’. To do so, it is necessary to move beyond leaders and pioneers, to reach mainstream businesses that remain unaware of the UNGPs, or the laggards unwilling to meet their responsibility to respect human rights. Such efforts need to take into account systemic challenges and ways to reinforce emerging collective action, including at the sectoral level or in specific geographies.
In the context of this tenth anniversary and as part of its mandate to promote the UNGPs, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights is coordinating a one-year project to take stock of achievements to date, assess existing gaps and challenges, and develop a vision and roadmap for implementing the UNGPs more widely and more broadly between now and 2030.
The Geneva Academy aims at supporting the UN Working Group in the implementation of its yearlong project through research, stakeholder outreach, and organization of Geneva-based events and consultations.
The Geneva Academy will support the following UN Working Group’s activities:
- Analysis of the uptake of the UN Guiding Principles in public and private sector policy frameworks to date
- Analysis of the recommendations by UN Human Rights mechanisms relating to the private sector
- Compilation of examples of practices demonstrating the effective implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.
- Development of paper(s) capturing respective assessments by business, investors and civil society organizations of the contribution of effective implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.
- Stakeholders’ consultations.