Pre-Forum  |  19 September

Dialogue for Change: A Conversation with UN Special Procedures

9:00-11:00 ICT

Background

UNDP’s report Reflections and Directions: Business and Human Rights in Asia: From the First Decade to the Next notes that, “important victories were won in the first decade of United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in Asia, including strengthened regional momentum on business and human rights and the adoption of Asia’s first national action plans (NAPs) on business and human rights. But stakeholders in Asia still see many gaps and hurdles and the need for Asia’s BHR movement to adjust and recalibrate for the next decade ahead”. The 2022 UN Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, under the theme “Harnessing Levers of Change”, will explore what has worked to promote business respect for human rights and the environment and what has not, as well as what novel strategies can be employed to accelerate progress in this domain with the participation of different stakeholders across the region.

 

 

 

Objectives

The key objectives of this session are to provide government delegates attending the Forum the opportunity to:

  • Introduction to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP)

  • Introduction to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG)  and other UN Special Procedures that can be used by civil society to hold corporates accountable for adverse human rights impacts 

  • Highlighting challenges faced by the civil society and human rights defenders in Asia

  • Facilitate an open forum discussion on ways forward for strengthened collaboration to achieve tangible results on BHR and corporate accountability between civil society organisations (CSOs) and defenders from across Asia-Pacific and key stakeholders such as UN agencies and  The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

 

In particular, this session aims to:​

  • Enable a safe space for CSOs and defenders to exchange ideas and lessons learnt for a better implementation of the UNGPs on BHR with each other, as well as with UN agencies and the UNWG on BHR.

  • Gain a better understanding of the various engagement opportunities with the UN Provide examples of tangible results of the realization of the UNGPs in Asia-Pacific. 

  • Identify concrete expectations and needs from CSOs and defenders, especially those working at the grassroots level.

Key Questions
  • What are UNGPs and how are these relevant to civil society and communities? 

  • What are the mandates of the UN Special Mandates (SR on Contemporary Forms of Slavery), and the UNWG on BHR? What are the process for civil society to engage with these mandates? Give examples of actions that resulted to positive results in protecting human rights in the context of business operations.

  • Have you seen any tangible positive progress towards realising the UNGPs and strengthening corporate accountability in Asia-Pacific?"

  • How can we strengthen regional cooperation among the civil society on transboundary business and human rights challenges?

  • What kinds of support and remedies are critical (from states, non-state actors, the United Nations, and the international community) both in the short and long term? And why?

  • Which mechanisms have proven to be effective in accessing remedy? 

Resource Persons

 

Speakers:

  1. Dr Pichamon Yeophantong, Vice President, UNWG

  2. Mr Tomoya Obokata, UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

Discussants:

  1. Professor Surya Deva, Professor and Director of the Centre for Environmental Law at Macquarie University, Australia

  2. Professor Anita Ramasastry, Professor of Law and Director of the Sustainable International Development Graduate Program at the University of Washington

Moderators:

  • Emilie Palamy Pradichit, Founder and Executive Director of Manushya Foundation, and Member of the Asia Task Force on the Legally Binding Instrument (ATF)

  • Sor. Rattanamanee Polkla, Lawyer, Executive Coordinator, and Co-Founder, Community Resources Centre Foundation

Facilitator:

  • Dr Harpreet Kaur, Business and Human Rights Specialist, UNDP Asia Pacific

Session Format

The session will be a semi-structured discussion starting with opening remarks from Dr Pichamon Yeophantong. Dr Yeophantong will set the context by introducing the UNGPs and how civil society can engage with the UN mandate holders. Following this, Mr Tomoyo Obokata will explain the step-by-step approach to raising complaints with the UNSP.

 

Following this, the CSO representatives will moderate the discussion to highlight the key challenges and concerns of the civil society forward in the context of UNGPs implementation in the region. 

 

This will be followed by an open mic format, allowing representatives from civil society to share their experiences in addressing BHR issues and raise their concerns with the UN Special Procedures (current and former) and discuss ways to accessing effective remedy.

 
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SPEAKERS