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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Monday, November 25 • 16:40 - 18:00
National action plans: From paper to practice – lessons learned, challenges, innovation

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Interpretation provided in English, French and Spanish

Session organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Brief Description:
This Forum session, led by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, will provide an opportunity for States to share updates on progress in implementing the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) through the development and implementation of national action plans.

Under the 2019 Forum’s central theme “Time to act: Governments as catalysts for business respect for human rights”, the Working Group invites States to share information about:
  1. Impact of existing national action plans on business and human rights, including assessments of implementation measures;
  2. (The process of) developing a national action plans on business and human rights: lessons learned, challenges and way forward

Tentative agenda
Part I: Existing national action plans on business and human rights - Impacts, innovations and lessons learned from implementation
  • National action plans: moving from policy commitments to fostering responsible business conduct in practice and more effective protection of human rights on the ground – impacts and lessons learned
  • Open dialogue: translating plans into action
    • Government interventions
    • Other stakeholders

Part II: Getting started: lessons learned from the process of developing a national action plan
  • Getting the process right from the start: lessons learned, challenges and way forward in developing inclusive national action plans
  • Open dialogue:
    • Government interventions
    • Other stakeholders
  • Wrap-up by the Working Group

Background to the discussion:
In its 2019 Report to the General Assembly (A/74/198), the Working Group addresses, among others, current challenges and positive practices resulting from the development and implementation of national action plans on business and human rights. The report considers national action plans as a key policy tool to achieve policy coherence and to help States discharge their duty to protect against business-related human rights abuses in line with the UNGPs, and it proposes practical ways to enhance government’s capacity, ability and action to achieve this goal.

A growing number of States recognize the need for greater policy coherence in the area of business and human rights and practical steps are being taken by some governments, particularly through the development of national action plans. However, much work remains to fulfil the potential of the Guiding Principles: developing and adopting a national action plan is an important step in the right direction for governments. However, they should constitute a point of departure and the beginning of a process of national action involving all relevant stakeholders with the objective of transforming policy into practice through a “smart mix” of measures. The commentary to UN Guiding Principle 3 elaborates on this as it underlines that States “should consider a smart mix of measures – national and international, mandatory and voluntary – to foster business respect for human rights”. National action plans should serve as powerful forward-looking instruments that can inspire the most effective measures in the national context as well as collective action with other governments.
For countries that have already a national action plan in place, the report highlights some of the challenges governments face in translating policy commitments into protection on the ground. These include insufficient political and operational leadership to ensure policy implementation and accountability; government ministries, departments and agencies working in “silos”; a lack of common policy understanding or objectives; poor coordination and collaboration between and across government bodies; insufficient capacity, guidance and support on policy implementation.

The key message to Governments in the context of the development and roll-out of national action plans is that they need to scale-up efforts to establish and maintain inclusive and effective mechanisms to implement the UNGPs effectively. In fulfilling their duty to protect, it is critical to build operational capacity and ensure accountability across all relevant government entities, including at the local and subnational level.

How to participate:
States that wish to share their experiences and perspectives are encouraged to indicate their interest by sending an email to wg-business@ohchr.org. with cc to forumbhr@ohchr.org, including in the subject line:
“Forum NAP session – [country name]”.

States should indicate whether they would like to speak in part I or part II, or both.
Although speaking time will be limited (2 minutes for interventions from the floor), all States are encouraged to submit statements and written submissions to be posted on the Forum webpage. The format of the session is a moderated discussion (conversation-style), and all participants are encouraged not to read from pre-prepared statements, but rather to take part in a dynamic discussion.

See also the Working Group’s invitation to States and other stakeholders to submit written information about progress in implementing the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Forum/Pages/SubmissionsImplementation2019.aspx

avatar for Dante Pesce

Dante Pesce

Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

avatar for Sérgio Augusto de Queiroz

Sérgio Augusto de Queiroz

National Secretary, Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights, Brazil
Sérgio Augusto de Queiroz was born in João Pessoa, State of Paraíba. He is a lawyer, Attorney at Law of the National Treasury and a pastor. He graduated in civil Engineering, Safety Engineering at Work and Law at the Federal University of Paraíba. He also holds a Bachelor in Advanced... Read More →
avatar for Kamran Rajar

Kamran Rajar

Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights, Pakistan
Malik Kamran Azam Khan Rajar is the Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Human Rights, Government of Pakistan. He is the driving force behind the business and human rights initiative in Pakistan and has extensively worked on a wide range of human rights issues, forming innovative ways... Read More →

Maryann Njau

Senior Deputy Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice, Kenya
avatar for Michaela Spaeth

Michaela Spaeth

Director for Energy and Climate Policy, Business and Human Rights, International Employee Rights and Employee Issues, German Foreign Ministry
Michaela Spaeth is Director for Energy and Climate Policy, Economic Affairs and Human Rights,International Labour Rights and Issues at the German Federal Foreign Office. Michaela is a careerdiplomat. Her professional path has focused on economic and global issues and climate policy... Read More →
avatar for Wisit Wisitsora-At

Wisit Wisitsora-At

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice of Thailand
Professor Wisit Wisitsora-at has a distinguished track record within the civil and criminal justice sphere in Thailand and internationally. He has been serving as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of Thailand since 2017. He is also the Chairperson of the Executive... Read More →

Monday November 25, 2019 16:40 - 18:00 CET
Room XIX