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.