For further information on the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights please visit https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Forum/Pages/2019ForumBHR.aspx

For further information on the work of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights please visit https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/WGHRandtransnationalcorporationsandotherbusiness.aspx 
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Tuesday, November 26 • 13:30 - 14:45
Update on the process to elaborate a legally binding instrument

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Session organized by the Permanent Mission of Ecuador

Interpretation provided in English, French and Spanish by DOCIP.

Webcast of the session:
Meeting link
Meeting number: 841 119 422
Password: Fy2ggiUD

Short description of the session
Whereas the process of the implementation of HRC Resolution 26/9 on the elaboration of a legally binding instrument on business and human rights started to take a significant step forward with the presentation of a victims-oriented draft legally binding instrument (Zero Draft) in July 2018, it was certainly the Revised Draft, released in July 2019, what received a wider recognition from several States, the Office of the High Commissioner, civil society organizations, academia, and other relevant stakeholders, as a text that represents a substantial and solid basis for substantive negotiations towards a treaty on business and human rights.

In that sense, in spite of the remaining different views and assessments regarding certain provisions of the Revised Draft, including inter alia, in relation to the scope, jurisdiction, legal liability and remediation, it is clear that the significant improvements introduced in the text, encouraged States and other relevant stakeholders to participate actively in the 5th session of the Open-ended Working Group of the Human Right Council (OEIGWG) that took place from 14-18 October, and to present substantial comments and proposals for each and every provision of the draft treaty, creating an adequate atmosphere for further negotiations.

At the same time, for many observers, the responsive, pragmatic and facilitative approach of the Revised Draft and the development of the 5th session itself, also served to clarify that any future treaty can be part of the solution to the obstacles and gaps that victims of business-related human rights abuses face with respect to access to justice and effective remedy, including the assurances of accountability and guarantees of non-repetition.

Likewise, the Revised Draft and the 5th session reaffirmed the wide recognition of the complementarity and mutually reinforcing nature between the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the process of the elaboration of a legally binding instrument.

In that regard, the main objective of the specific session on the process towards the elaboration of a treaty on business and human rights, in the framework of the 2019 Forum on Business and Human Rights, is to facilitate the stock-taking and lesson-sharing between governments, business, civil society, affected groups and other relevant actors, on how the two processes mentioned above, can benefit and strengthen each other, in the light of the conclusions and recommendations of the 5th session of the Working Group, and the concrete recent legal developments, trends, challenges and good practices in preventing and addressing business-related human rights impacts at all levels.

Format of the session
The session will be open to States and other relevant stakeholders and will be held in English. It will consist of one presentation and a round table of invited experts, including on the basis of the 3-4 suggested guiding questions, followed by an interactive dialogue.
  1. How can the future LBI and the implementation of the UNGPs can promote and facilitate the respect, promotion and fulfillment of human rights by all business enterprises.
  2. How can the LBI help in removing multiple barriers faced by victims in securing access to effective remedy for corporate human rights abuses?
  3. Why is mutual legal assistance and international cooperation critical in the field of business and human rights?
  4. In terms of process, how could States, NHRIs, businesses, CSOs and experts contribute constructively to build consensus around the second revised text of the LBI?

The Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights was established by the Human Rights Council Resolution 26/9 of June 2014, with the concrete mandate “to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to Human Rights”. Pursuant to this mandate, since 2015 the OEIGWG has held five annual sessions, which have enjoyed the participation of a growing number of more than 90 States and 400 representatives from intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, academia, private sector and trade unions, among other participants, in a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive manner.

The Fifth Session concluded with the adoption of the recommendations of the Chair-Rapporteur and the conclusions of the Working Group, which included inter alia, the invitation to States and other relevant stakeholders to submit additional textual suggestions on the revised draft legally binding instrument by the end of February 2020, and the request to the Chair-Rapporteur to prepare a second revised draft by the end of June 2020, to serve as the basis for State-led direct substantive intergovernmental negotiations on the preparation of a third draft during the Sixth Session of the OEIGWG. Other recommendations included the invitation and encouragement to regional and political groups, intergovernmental organizations, NHRIs, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders, to organize consultations at all levels, including in particular, at the regional and national level, with a view to exchange comments and inputs on the revised draft legally binding instrument.

The full report and the links to the webcast and documents of the 5th and previous sessions can be found at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/WGTransCorp/Pages/IGWGOnTNC.aspx


Ana María Franco-Suarez

FIAN International

avatar for Amb. Emilio Izquierdo

Amb. Emilio Izquierdo

Permanent Representative, Permament Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva
avatar for Surya Deva

Surya Deva

Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Mr. Surya Deva is a WG Member and Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong.  He holds BA (Hons), LLB and LLM from the University of Delhi and a PhD from Sydney Law School, and has taught previously at the University of Delhi and at the National Law... Read More →
avatar for Humberto Cantú Rivera

Humberto Cantú Rivera

Director, Instituto de Derechos Humanos y Empresas, Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM)
Profesor titular de la Escuela de Derecho y Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM), y Director Ejecutivo del Instituto de Derechos Humanos y Empresas de la UDEM. Es Doctor en Derecho por la Universidad Panthéon-Assas París II, en Francia, y Miembro Asociado de su... Read More →
avatar for Guillain Koko

Guillain Koko

Project coordinator, ACCA, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Guillain Koko is a Social Justice activist and Human rights Lawyer, with particular experience/expertise in Business and Human Rights.He is the project coordinator of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA). He holds a Law Degree (LLB) in Public Law, from the Catholic... Read More →
avatar for Richard Meeran

Richard Meeran

Partner, Head of International Department, Leigh Day
Richard is Head of the International Department at Leigh Day where he has been a partner since 1991. He specialises in multinational litigation in which he has been instrumental for 27 years. His work has transformed English law on the liability of multinationals through the imposition... Read More →
avatar for Makbule Sahan

Makbule Sahan

Legal Director, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Makbule is leading the ITUC’s work on international labour standards and human rights mechanisms, litigation in regional and national courts, business and human rights, labour law and the ITUC Global Rights Index.

Tuesday November 26, 2019 13:30 - 14:45 CET
Room XXI