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Wednesday, November 28 • 11:40am - 1:00pm
Leading by example? Using government trade promotion and development finance as levers for human rights due diligence

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Interpretation is provided into English, French and Spanish

Organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Brief description of the session: 

This Forum session led by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights will feature presentations by Governments that have been taking steps toward integrating the Guiding Principles in the areas of trade, investment promotion and development policy. It will address lessons learned and ways forward for more States to follow.

Background to the discussion: 

States act as gatekeepers when they provide much needed support to businesses by providing finance and advisory services aimed at expanding export and investment opportunities. As gatekeepers, States can use their leverage to promote a race to the top by setting out clearly the expectation that businesses respect human rights as a precondition for receiving government support for export and investment activities. States can also promote responsible imports by restricting the flow of goods in supply chains that involve serious human rights abuses. Beyond incentivizing business respect for human rights through such “economic diplomacy” tools, a related area concerns the need to embed business respect for human rights in the context of private sector engagement in development policy and cooperation. With the private sector envisaged to play a significant role in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, and with private sector development becoming an increasingly central part of development cooperation, the latter aspect is in many ways the ‘next frontier’ for the business and human rights agenda.
In essence, all these policy areas need to align with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Specifically, Guiding Principle 4, which sets forth the expectation that States should take additional steps to protect against human rights abuses by business enterprises that receive substantial support and services from State agencies including, where appropriate, by requiring human rights due diligence. The commentary to Guiding Principle 4 indicates that if State agencies do not explicitly consider the actual and potential adverse impacts on human rights of beneficiary enterprises, they put themselves at risk and may add to the human rights challenges faced by the recipient State.

Format of the session:
  • Introduction by the UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights member, Anita Ramasastry
  • Snapshot presentations on innovations and lessons learned
  • Open stakeholder discussion on the way forward
Background documents:
UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights: Report on “economic diplomacy” as a tool for States to promote corporate respect for human rights
UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights: Report on the state of play of corporate human rights due diligence in all sectors worldwide
 UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights: 10 key recommendations for embedding human rights in the private sector's envisaged contribution to the SDGs.


Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry

Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Ms. Anita Ramasastry is the Roland L. Hjorth Professor of Law and the Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School Of Law. She researches and teaches in the fields of law and development, anti-corruption, international... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Alva Bruun

Alva Bruun

Senior adviser, human rights, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Alva is Senior Adviser at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Her main duties lie within the business human rights-sphere, in the Political Department as well as the Department for Development Policy. She's overseeing various of the ministry's projects implemented with the... Read More →
avatar for Cristina Tebar Less

Cristina Tebar Less

Jefa de la Unidad de Conducta Comercial Responsable, OCDE
Cristina Tébar Less is the Head of the OECD Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) Unit , which supports governments in the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, provides the Secretariat for the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct and the... Read More →
avatar for Lundeg Purevsuren

Lundeg Purevsuren

Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva
Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Mongolia
avatar for Githa Roelans

Githa Roelans

Head, Multinational Enterprises and Enterprise Engagement Unit. Enterprises Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)
avatar for Camilla Røssaak

Camilla Røssaak

Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway


Wednesday November 28, 2018 11:40am - 1:00pm
Room XXI