Developing a national plan on business and human rights

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the Danish Institute of Human Rights have been doing a lot of work regarding the development of national implementation plans for the UN Guiding Principles and Framework on business and human rights. In June, they released a detailed report and toolkit for the development, implementation and review of national plans on business and human rights. It is an excellent resource for States undertaking this process, and one which interested civil society and business should also be aware of.

In a recent submission to the United Nations Working Group on business and human rights, ICAR and the Danish Institute have identified the various approaches taken by States so far in developing national action plans, including the types of consultation undertaken:

  • France: The French government sought an independent opinion from the French NHRI on matters to be addressed by a French NAP;
  • Italy: The Italian government released a document, entitled The Foundations of the Italian Action Plan on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, outlining existing policies and remaining protection gaps at the national level that are relevant to Italy’s implementation of Pillars I and III of the UNGPs;
  • Mozambique: The Mozambique government has commissioned a civil society group to complete a National Baseline Assessment (NBA) of the country’s current UNGPs implementation, which is scheduled for release in the coming months;
  • The Netherlands, Norway, and Spain: The governments of the Netherlands and Spain individually engaged consultants or experts to solicit inputs from stakeholders, such as through interviews and seminars. Moreover, Norway commissioned an expert to complete a mapping and gap analysis of current UNGPs implementation, in preparation for its NAP;
  • Switzerland: The Swiss Federal Council published a comparative law study and report on business and human rights issues, following a request by the Swiss parliament and advocacy for such by Swiss NGOs. The Swiss government also engaged a consultant to review the processes relied on by other governments in developing their NAPs;
  • Tanzania: Tanzania’s National Action Plan on Human Rights calls for research into human rights and business issues with a view to preparation of a NAP on business and human rights; and
  • United Kingdom: The UK government’s NAP was informed by a series of stakeholder seminars

Conducting a national baseline assessment, “including systemic analysis and consultation with stakeholders”, is seen as especially important for the “technical validity and public legitimacy” of national action plans on business and human rights. Useful advice to be borne in mind as Ireland works towards developing a national action plan on business and human rights.

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