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Tuesday, November 26 • 16:40 - 18:00
Catalytic examples of government measures that bring scale to priority business actions affecting children’s rights

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Session organized by UNICEF

Convened by UNICEF, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General, UNICEF

Webcast of the session:
Meeting link
Meeting number: 840 079 851
Password: rBEJX7Zh

Description of the session
This session will showcase catalyzing examples of government policy successes that bring scale to priority business actions that affect children’s rights, and those of their families.

Business and human rights impact assessments increasingly demonstrate the need to look at children's rights not as a separate issue, but as part of interlinkages and dependencies. An integrated approach to children’s rights highlights the saliency, the nexus between business and society.

As elaborated by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, “States must take all necessary, appropriate and reasonable measures to prevent business enterprises from causing or contributing to abuses of children’s rights. Such measures can encompass the passing of law and regulation, their monitoring and enforcement, and policy adoption that frames how business enterprises can impact on children’s rights. States must investigate, adjudicate and redress violations of children’s rights caused or contributed to by a business enterprise.” [GC 16]

Government measures establishing decent work provisions, and business policies and practices in relation to conditions of work can have a huge impact on not just workers, but their families. At the heart of these issues are children, who stand to benefit the most from policies which enable the reconciliation of work and family responsibilities. Recent studies show that paid parental leave has been associated with reduced incidence of child mortality and low birth weight, higher rates of breastfeeding and immunization coverage, improved cognitive development and school performance in children, and fewer instances of child abuse.

Malnutrition today is an urgent and globally acknowledged priority. Malnutrition takes many forms, from underweight to obesity, from nutrient deficiencies to diet-related non-communicable diseases. It is also the result of an unsustainable food system and unhealthy food environment. The WHO and UNICEF identified the lack of marketing regulations for children as a key contributing factor. Chile provides an example of comprehensive policies.

This session will showcase catalyzing examples:
  • A July Summit in New York highlighted decent work-related measures, including examples of leading governments on parental leave and measures to support return to work and child care.
  • Integrating children’s rights criteria in to the baseline assessments for National Action Plans is catalyzing deeper understanding of priority policy actions needed. For example, A baseline assessments in Argentina and Australia have established an evidence-base of priority actions to protect children and caregivers in policies and laws that shape business practices.
  • A range of European governments are following the example of France on human rights due diligence legislation, including key provisions on children’s rights; other governments are looking to the model of the Netherlands International Responsible Business Agreements.
  • Governments have undertaken a range of legislative, standards, and public-private monitoring measures to address child protection on-line protection.
  • Government ESIA requirements have proven to be among pivotal factors in preventing and mitigating environment harms, and some sectors have improved the integration of children’s and human rights following measures by Canada and others.
  • A tourism impact assessment focusing on children’s rights in Zanzibar Tanzania has catalyzed action on codes of conduct, dialogues with tourism investors on how to respect and support children’s rights through workplace family friendly policies and criteria for responsible tourism.

The session will be structured as follows:
  • An introduction from the Convener on the role of government action, including evidence on priority areas for children and their families.
  • Speakers on catalytic examples from Canada, Chile, the Netherlands and Tanzania.
  • Speakers, select interventions and discussants among the participants, will facilitate interactive discussion from all participants and encourage participants to commit to follow up action.

Refreshments will be served after the session

avatar for Githu Muigai

Githu Muigai

Vice-Chairperson, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

avatar for Christina Sabater

Christina Sabater

Founder and Principal, Avanzar LLC
Christina, a founder of Avanzar, has extensive experience working in Latin America on water rights, security-related human rights and human rights impact assessments. Avanzar fosters partnerships with government, academic institutions, communities and civil society to promote corporate... Read More →

Robert Coleman

Director, Responsible Business Practices, Global Affairs, Government of Canada
avatar for Alexandra van Selm

Alexandra van Selm

Program Director, International Responsible Business Agreements, Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands
First Name, Family Name : Alexandra van SelmTitle, Organisation: Program Director, International Responsible Business Conduct, Social and Economic Council, the NetherlandsBio: Alexandra van Selm is Program Director for International Responsible Business Conduct at the Social and Economic... Read More →

Mahmoud Thabit Kombo

Minister for Information, Tourism and Heritage, Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania
avatar for Lorena Rodríguez Osiac

Lorena Rodríguez Osiac

Academic of Public Health Institute, University of Chile
I am academic of Public Health Institute of the University of Chile. My work topics are social determinants of malnutrition, food environments, obesity, public nutrition, nutrition policies (FOP labeling, restrictions of food marketing, taxes, subsidies) and nutrtion and food in... Read More →

Claudio Avruj

National Human Rights Secretary, Argentina

Tuesday November 26, 2019 16:40 - 18:00 CET
Room XXV