New tools in the field of National Action Plans on business and human rights

Very pleased to post this contribution from Daniel Morris who is currently working with the Danish Institute for Human Rights on their project mapping national action plans. You can follow Daniel @DMHumanRights

The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) is proud to introduce a new website mapping National Action Plans (NAPs) on Business and Human Rights globally. At the same time the DIHR launched a 2017 edition of the Toolkit on NAPs on Business and Human Rights, produced in collaboration with the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR).

A digital overview of NAPs around the world

The website collates information from 1) countries that already have NAPs, 2) countries with an official commitment to develop a NAP, and 3) countries where non-state actors have taken efforts to start a NAP development process. For each of these countries we explore the process which has been undertaken, looking at stakeholder participation, whether a National Baseline Assessment (NBA) has been carried out, and what measures there are around follow-up, monitoring, reporting and review.

For countries which have produced NAPs, we break these NAPs down to demonstrate how they address a wide range of human rights issues such as extractives, workers’ rights, and judicial remedy. The end product is an easily accessible resource for officials, practitioners, academics, and anyone with an interest in business and human rights to gain a comprehensive overview and understanding of NAPs on business and human rights from around the world.

The website will be continually updated so that users can always access information about new developments in the field of NAPs on business and human rights. In the New Year we will break down the NAPs by the UN Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights.

For example, the website states in relation to Ireland’s stakeholder participation process that:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s annual NGO Forum, which took place in November 2014, focused on the theme of “Business and Human Rights” and, specifically, on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. The Forum was the first step in the process of the development of the National Plan.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade hosted a workshop with business and civil society representatives in February 2015. A public consultation also took place which invited preliminary submissions from interested parties up until 1 March 2015. Over 30 submissions were received from civil society and the business community.

Following consultation with business, civil society organisations and Government Departments, a Working Outline of the National Plan was published in December 2015.

A consultation event on the Working Outline was hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 22 January 2016. Written submissions on the Working Outline were received, and further consultations took place in 2016 and early 2017.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade published the responses.

The Irish NAP when broken down by 33 different human rights issues highlights areas which the NAP addresses, e.g. trade and investment and corruption, and other areas where the NAP has less to say, e.g. tax and export credit.

The website itself uses the direct text from NAPs wherever possible. Links to external commentary are provided on the site (including this great blog), and a link to an analysis of individual NAPs by ICAR (and other partners) is included where this has been undertaken – an analysis of the Irish NAP will be forthcoming. Indicating what can be considered good practice can be found in the Updated Toolkit.

Updated Toolkit reflecting feedback from business and human rights practitioners

The 2017 edition of the DIHR/ICAR Toolkit on National Action Plans for Business and Human Rights is an update of our widely cited 2014 edition. The 2014 Toolkit is in active use in all regions of the world and several governments, including the, Germany, Ireland, Chile, and Kenya, have put it to use in developing their NAPs. The 2017 edition has been updated to reflect feedback from practitioners who have used the Toolkit to develop NAPs. Specifically, the Toolkit provides step-by-step guidance on how to develop a NAP that is framed by a human rights-based approach promoting participation, non-discrimination, transparency, and accountability. Each section within the 2017 Toolkit contains good practice examples from around the world to demonstrate what can be achieved.

Presenting the two new tools, Eva Grambye, the Deputy Executive Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, noted:

We welcome the recent NAPs on business and human rights and would like to see further states build from lessons learnt drawn from these early adopters to develop more ambitious and holistic NAPs designed to address ongoing human rights abuses. We have developed two complimentary products which can help those charged with drafting NAPs, as well as National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organisations, and businesses engage with NAP processes. We welcome feedback to support periodic updates of these tools with good practices examples.

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