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Wednesday, November 18 • 15:15 - 16:30
Update on the process to elaborate a legally binding instrument on business and human rights, in light of the outcomes of the 6th session of the Open-ended Working Group of the Human Rights Council established by Resolution 26/9

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Session organized by the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations at Geneva (Chair-Rapporteur of the OEIGWG)

This session will be held in English only

Brief description of the session:
The Open-ended intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG) was established by the HRC 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”. Since 2015, the Working Group has held six sessions, with the participation of States and other relevant stakeholders.
In the last 3 years (4th, 5th and 6th session), this process has incorporated a new pragmatic and inclusive approach in full synergy with other existing frameworks. In that sense, in spite of the remaining different views and assessments regarding certain provisions of the Second Revised Draft of the legally binding instrument, it is clear that the significant improvements introduced in the text, encouraged States and other relevant stakeholders to participate in the 6th session of the OEIGWG that took place from 26-30 October, 2020, and to present comments and proposals on the provisions of the draft treaty.
The future legally binding instrument (LBI) and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) can and should be complementary and mutually reinforcing. All the advances and legal and regulatory initiatives registered in recent times, as well as those in the process of elaboration, are a clear demonstration that non-binding standards on business and human rights can and need to be complemented with binding norms, in order to reach more efficiently the common objective of strengthening the protection of human rights in this area.
Key objectives of the session:
The session aims to:
  • Facilitate the stock-taking and lesson-sharing between governments and other relevant actors, on how the two processes mentioned above, can benefit and strengthen each other, in light of the conclusions and recommendations of the 6th 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.
  • Explore the opportunities provided by the LBI to make concrete progress towards the protection of human rights in the business sector, improved accountability and more effective remedies for victims, as well as to strengthen the complementary implementation of the UNGPs.
Key questions:
  • How can the future LBI and the implementation of the UNGPs promote and facilitate the respect, promotion and fulfillment of human rights by all business enterprises?
  • What measures should business enterprises take to address future pandemics and ensure full respect for human rights?
  • Why is mutual legal assistance and international cooperation critical in the field of business and human rights?
  • In terms of process, how could States, NHRIs, businesses, CSOs and experts contribute constructively to build consensus around the third revised text of the LBI?
Background to the discussion:
Ecuador, in its capacity of Chairpersonship of the OEIGWG, has submitted the Zero Draft in 2018, the Revised Draft (Rev.1) in 2019 and the Second Revised Draft (Rev.2) in 2020. The Rev.2 sought to further align its provisions with existing instruments and frameworks, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the ILO Tripartite Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and other relevant ILO instruments, as well as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, among others, under a pragmatic and progressive approach.
The 6th 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 fill, no later than February 2021, two matrix templates to be circulated by the Secretariat, reflecting: 1. concrete textual suggestions, modifications, additional language, requests for deletions, as well as expressions of support on the current provisions of the second revised draft; and 2. general comments and requests of clarification. It should be noted that these two matrices will be compiled and distributed by the Secretariat no later than the end of March 2021. In addition, the Chair-Rapporteur is requested to prepare a third revised draft by the end of July 2021, to serve as the basis for substantive intergovernmental negotiations led by States on the preparation of a fourth draft during the 7th session of the OEIGWG.
The full report and the links to the webcast and documents of the 6th and previous sessions can be found at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/WGTransCorp/Pages/IGWGOnTNC.aspx 

avatar for Sandra Epal-Ratjen

Sandra Epal-Ratjen

International Advocacy Director and Deputy Executive Director, Franciscans International
Ms Sandra Epal-Ratjen is the International Advocacy Director and Deputy Executive Director of Franciscans International.She has extensive experience and expertise in international legal and advocacy processes, especially pertaining Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.Prior to her... Read More →

avatar for Emilio Izquierdo Miño

Emilio Izquierdo Miño

Embajador, Representante Permanente Misión del Ecuador ante la ONU y otros organismos internacionales en Ginebra, y Presidente del OEIGWG
Since 2019, Ambassador Emilio Izquierdo has been the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.A career diplomat, Ambassador Emilio Izquierdo joined the Ministry... Read More →
avatar for Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry

Special Repesentaitive to Chair on Combatting Corruption, OSCE
Anita Ramasastry is the Henry M Jackson Professor of Law and the Director of the Sustainable International Development Graduate program at the University of Washington. She researches in the fields of business and human rights, anti-corruption, law and sustainable development. From... Read More →
avatar for Surya Deva

Surya Deva

Vice-Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
avatar for Humberto Cantú Rivera

Humberto Cantú Rivera

Director, Instituto de Derechos Humanos y Empresas, Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM)
Humberto Cantú Rivera es Profesor titular de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Sociales y Director del Instituto de Derechos Humanos y Empresas de la Universidad de Monterrey. Es Doctor en Derecho por la Universidad de París 2 Panthéon-Assas, dirige la Academia Latinoamericana... Read More →
avatar for Kinda Mohamadieh

Kinda Mohamadieh

Senior Researcher and Legal Adviser, Third World Network
Kinda  is legal advisor and senior researcher with the Third World Network office in Geneva, where her work focuses on WTO processes and negotiations, international investment governance and the role and accountability of business enterprises with respect to human rights. Previously... Read More →

Wednesday November 18, 2020 15:15 - 16:30 CET
Virtual Room 2