On 17 July, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution by consensus that will increase focus on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Norway headed the negotiation process leading up to the resolution.
ʽWith this resolution, the Human Rights Council is sending a clear message to states and business enterprises: Measures introduced against the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic must not undermine human rights. The measures must help to promote responsible business conduct in keeping with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,’ said Norwegian State Secretary Marianne Hagen.
The resolution encourages states to enhance efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles through the development of appropriate legislation and action plans, and to report annually on advancements made. The resolution also recognises the need to promote gender equality in the area of business and to strengthen women’s access to effective remedies and redress in cases where they have been the victims of business-related human rights abuse.
The resolution will give the UN member states an opportunity to take stock of progress and consider ways to further improve implementation of the principles in a panel discussion under the Human Rights Council in connection with the tenth anniversary of the Guiding Principles.
ʽA well-functioning, responsible business sector is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and for ensuring an effective response to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is important that business enterprises carry out human rights due diligence, and that they can demonstrate efforts to address adverse impacts on people, society and the environment,’ said Ms Hagen.
Norway played an active part in developing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, unanimously adopted in 2011. In less than a decade, the principles have evolved into the prevailing international standard in this area. Norway is one of 20 countries that has drawn up a national action plan.