Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence:
A Potential Game Changer in Asia
15:00 – 16:30 (Bangkok time, GMT+7), 2 June 2021
Organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
The second pillar of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) outlines that, in order to meet their responsibility to respect human rights, businesses should conduct human rights due diligence (HRDD) to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address human rights abuse. In Europe, the European Union (EU) and individual governments (including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, and Norway) are developing so-called mandatory human rights due diligence (mHRDD) legislation. These developments come after France adopted the Duty of Vigilance Law, and The Netherlands the Child Labour Due Diligence Law, in 2017 and 2019 respectively. These European legal frameworks can have a significant consequences for businesses, governments and others across the globe as European companies will be required to conduct HRDD in their global value chains, many of which originate in or extend to Asia and the Pacific. At the same time, Asian businesses wanting access to the market of the EU or individual member States could become subject to mHRDD legislation.
The session will deal with the central question of how mHRDD legislation (developed in Europe and potentially elsewhere) will impact Asia and the Pacific. Attention will be given to key stakeholders likely to be impacted or involved by mHRDD frameworks, including governments, businesses and investors, civil society organizations, and rights holders. For example, what can Asian companies do to ensure that they retain or attract business from companies that are subject to mHRDD laws? How can rights holders leverage mHRDD laws to create additional pressure points vis-à-vis businesses and Governments? Finally, how can governments ensure that their economies remain attractive for companies that are subject to mHRDD laws?
The key objectives of this session are to:
Outline legal developments on mHRDD;
Assess the potential impact of mHRDD in Asia, and what this means for governments, businesses and investors, civil society organizations, and rights holders.
Explore how stakeholders in Asia can respond to international developments relating to mHRDD.
Moderator: Kevin Lehmann, Business and Human Rights Analyst, UNDP Asia-Pacific
Ms. Lara Wolters, Member of the European Parliament
Ms. Anita Ramasastry, Member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Professor at the University of Washington
Ms. Rachel Davis, Vice-President and Co-Founder, Shift
Ms. Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, Secretary-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand
Ms. Barbara Bijelic