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Wednesday, November 18 • 14:00 - 15:15
Preventing conflict: what role for the Guiding Principles in peace and security

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About this panel
This Forum panel will be centred on the UNWG on Business & Human Rights' new report on the need for heightened action by States and business in the context of conflict-affected areas and explore perspectives on 'what's next' for the field of business, human rights and conflict. It will also help inform the UNWG's project to develop a roadmap on business and human rights for the next decade (UNGPs10+).

As part of its mandate to promote the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG) launched a project in 2018 to clarify the practical steps that States and business enterprises should take to implement the UNGPs in conflict and post-conflict contexts to prevent and address business-related human rights abuse. The starting point for this project: while it is well documented that the worst forms of business-related human rights abuse tend to happen in conflict-affected contexts, a better understanding of the practical measures that all actors should take is still needed.
To shed light on this question, the UNWG undertook research, invited stakeholders to provide inputs, and conducted a series of bilateral and multi-stakeholder consultations with States, civil society organizations, business representatives and experts in several regions of the world. The results of this work, with recommendations to governments, business actors and the UN system are now out in a report to the UN General Assembly, presented officially to member States on 27 October 2020.
In the report, the UNWG identifies and clarifies a range of policies and tools that States, alone or when acting as members of multilateral organizations, and businesses, could employ in conflict-prone regions to help ensure that business activity does not lead to human rights abuse and in turn stimulate or exacerbate conflict or negatively impact peacebuilding. Key aspects addressed by the report are:
  • The evolving normative environment of human rights and humanitarian law
  • Triggers and indicators that should lead to heightened action by States, business (in the form of heightened corporate human rights due diligence) and the UN system
  • The specific challenges in post-conflict (reconstruction and peacebuilding), including the key issues of access to remedy and transitional justice
  • Challenges of the cyber age
The report notes that the UNWG “provide clarity on what is expected from business and States in conflict-affected areas. What is now required is more decisive action to integrate business and human rights into peace and security frameworks.”
With the support of external organizations, the Working Group is now seeking to disseminate the findings of the report beyond the UN General Assembly, and to engage key actors from government, civil society, business and the international system in dialogue on two key questions:
  • Given the constraints of a UN report (including word limit of 10,700), what is missing from the Working Group’s analysis and what more is needed in this field?
  • And what next for this field; how to move from guidance to action?
The aim of these discussions is to generate follow-up on this critical topic and also feed into a roadmap for global implementation of the UN Guiding Principles for the next decade.

Presentation of key insights from the UNWG report, by project lead and UNWG Chair Anita Ramasastry and project advisor Gerald Pachoud

Multi-stakeholder panel: reflections on the report’s value-added, what’s missing and what’s next?

avatar for Gerald  Pachoud

Gerald Pachoud

Advisor to the UNWG projects on conflict and UNGPs10+, Advisor to the UNWG projects on conflict and UNGPs10+

avatar for Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry

miembro, Grupo de Trabajo sobre las empresas y los derechos humanos
Sra. Anita Ramasastry es la profesora Roland L. Hjorth de Derecho y Directora del Programa de Posgrado en Desarrollo Internacional Sostenible en la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Washington. Investiga y enseña en los ámbitos de la justicia y el desarrollo, la lucha contra... Read More →

Mirko Manzoni

Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Mozambique, UN

Nancy Gutiérrez

Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights, Colombia

Francess Piagie Alghali

Minister of State, Office of the Vice President, Government of Sierra Leone
Mrs. Francess Piagie Alghali is currently the Minister of State in the Office of the VicePresident of the Republic of Sierra Leone. She is the Principal Assistant to the Vice-President and supervises Sierra Leone Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative Unit(SLEITI) as Chairperson... Read More →

Katy Thompson

Team Leader, Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights, UNDP
avatar for Sun Lihui

Sun Lihui

Director, China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters, CCCMC

Brian Gonsalves

Vice President: Group Security and Human Rights Group Sustainability, AngloGoldAshanti

Wednesday November 18, 2020 14:00 - 15:15 CET
Plenary Room