28.11.2023

In Need of Help? – The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights has put forward a proposal to establish a global helpdesk for business, governments, civil society and other stakeholders for a more coherent approach towards the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In collaboration with the FES Geneva Office, the Geneva Academy in its latest Research Brief is unpacking the potential and pitfalls of such an entity.

It is now over a decade that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) were unanimously adopted in 2011 by the Human Rights Council. Since then they have become an authoritative framework for what states and businesses have to do to respect and protect human rights. However, the great interest that they generate has also brought with it many different stakeholders viewing, interpreting, and implementing the UNGPs from their very own perspective - causing inconsistencies. At the same time, the Business and Human Rights area is evolving rapidly, with various regulative measures brought forward at the national, regional and international level. Although these often refer to the UNGPs, they in turn entail the risk of further fragmenting the understanding of the UNGPs.

This present situation has caused the UN Working Group on Business of Human Rights (WG) to call for the establishment of a global helpdesk in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to improve capacity building measures at the global level and to promote a coherent interpretation of the UNGPs. 

In collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Geneva Office, the Geneva Academy prepared a Research Brief which unpacks this proposal by the WG looking at the potential of such an entity but equally at the risks and challenges it might implies.

Read the Research Brief ‘PARAMETERS FOR A GLOBAL HELPDESK ON BUSINESS & HUMAN RIGHTS’

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