Day 1  |  20 September

SESSION 2:

Translating the UNGPs into Real Change

13:30-14:45 ICT

Background

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) unanimously approved the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), which provides a common understanding on States’ obligations and companies’ responsibilities to prevent and address the adverse human rights impacts caused by businesses. Despite this framework, different pathways to implementing the UNGPs have unfolded at the regional, national, and local levels, being shaped by stakeholders’ varied interpretations of what constitute States’ and businesses’ respective obligations and responsibilities. For the UNGPs to engender change as envisioned in the Roadmap for the next decade of business and human rights presented by the Working Group on business and human rights,[1] this requires all stakeholders to work collaboratively to translate the UNGPs—in both policy, tangible results, and linguistic terms—in ways that speak to diverse audiences and on-the-ground realities. Bringing together a diverse panel of experts, this roundtable session will explore to what extent there exists a common interpretation of the UNGPs in the Asia-Pacific region, identifying both good practices and challenges. In so doing, speakers will discuss the opportunities for, and challenges to, leveraging context-sensitive and intersectional approaches to human rights due diligence, meaningful stakeholder engagement, and remediation.

 

Objectives

 

The key objectives of this session are to:​

  • Open up a safe space for dialogue to explore the different ways that a common understanding of the UNGPs and their implementation can be achieved, with a view to encouraging the UNGPs’ uptake in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • Examine how the State’s duty to protect, business responsibility to respect, including corporate accountability, and access to remedy are being or not interpreted and operationalized in the Asia-Pacific through a context-sensitive and intersectional lens.

  • Discuss how the UNGPs should be deployed to address the specific intersectional circumstances and vulnerabilities of groups or individuals at heightened risk of business-related human rights abuses.

  • Analyze how the UNGPs can be enhanced, through context-sensitivity and intersectionality, as a powerful tool to tackle inequalities and realize a just green transition and sustainable future for all.

  • Examine how different stakeholders in the region could utilize the key action areas in the Roadmap for the next decade of business and human rights to arrive at a fuller and shared realization of the UNGPs.

Guiding Questions

Panelists will reflect on the following questions:

  • How adequately are the UNGPs currently being translated in both policy and linguistic terms to speak to different audiences (e.g. civil society, business, governments, groups in vulnerable and marginalized situations), especially when these actors do not share a uniform understanding of the Principles?

  • What tools can be leveraged to foster a common understanding of the UNGPs among stakeholders at the local, national, regional, and global level? 

  • How can the language of the UNGPs be designed, and the Principles themselves implemented, in a more context-sensitive and intersectional manner? What are the benefits and/or risks involved in doing so?

  • What positive examples exist of the UNGPs’ implementation that is context-sensitive, without undermining or weakening human rights protection standards? What are some of the challenges? 

  • What are the priority action areas from the Roadmap for the next decade of business and human rights that stakeholders can tackle to achieve the realization of the UNGPs in the Asia-Pacific region? What is required from different stakeholders to accelerate this process and achieve real change?

 
Image by Eric Weber
SPEAKERS