UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

The UN Forum is the world’s largest annual gathering on business and human rights with more than 2,000 participants from government, business, community groups and civil society, law firms, investor organisations, UN bodies, national human rights institutions, trade unions, academia and the media.

Over three days, participants take part in 60+ panel discussions on topics that relate to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights  (the “Protect”, “Respect” and “Remedy” Framework), as well as current business-related human rights issues.

The Forum is the foremost event to network, share experiences and learn about the many initiatives to promote corporate respect for human rights.

The UN Human Rights Council, under paragraph 12 of its resolution 17/4, established the Forum to serve as a key global platform for stakeholders to ”discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights.” It is guided by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

ECOSOC Financing for Development Follow-up

This event brings together large numbers of high-level participants to review progress on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreed in 2015. The 2016 Forum resulted in conclusions and recommendations that were included in the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development

2nd Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum

Launched in 2016, the annual collaborative STI Forum is meant to bring partners together to examine technology needs and gaps, regarding scientific cooperation and innovation, in addition to technology transfer, facilitation and development for the sustainable development goals. The Forum will involve representatives from civil society, the private sector and the scientific community.

USCIB Convenes Multistakeholder Roundtable on Business and Infrastructure for SDGs

L-R: USCIB Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, and Ambassador Lisa Kubiske from the U.S. State Department

As the UN gears up for its annual high-level political forum (HLPF) to review progress on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in July, the international community is turning its attention to SDG 9—building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. The extensive role of infrastructure in achieving all 17 SDGs prompted USCIB to organize a ‘Business for SDGs’ roundtable on Infrastructure last Friday, April 21, hosted by Covington LLP in Washington DC.

Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment and the lead for USCIB’s work on the sustainable development goals opened the meeting and served as the event’s master of ceremonies.  “USCIB’s SDG Working Group realized that no SDG can be delivered without the right ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure, such as education, financial inclusion, food systems and healthcare, in place. The pipeline for bankable projects for both has to accelerate to broadly deploy and leverage business resources and know,” said Kennedy.

The event, held on the margins of the UN Financing for Development Infrastructure Forum, drew participants from government and business, including USCIB member companies AT&T, Bechtel, Citi, KPMG, MasterCard, and Monsanto as well as the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, NGO groups such as the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation, and U.S. government representatives, notably Ambassador Lisa Kubiske from the U.S. Department of State who gave closing remarks.

The roundtable discussed obstacles to and best practices in public private partnerships for infrastructure projects, challenges in removing barriers or dealing with corruption, and the importance of scaling U.S. business investment, and the role of business in developing and utilizing SDG-relevant metrics. “There’s a huge financing gap, especially in terms of development and sustainable infrastructure projects around the world,” said Kubiske before citing U.S. government resources and initiatives that to de-risk and support U.S. companies competing for infrastructure projects, such as Power Africa.

“Investment in infrastructure is key to achieving a successful implementation of the SDGs,” emphasized Peter M. Robinson, USCIB’s CEO and president in discussing key takeaways from the roundtable. “We must actively search for ways to discourage governments from crowding out private investment; the implementation imperative requires scaling up business involvement and commercial opportunities. A first priority is to knock down obstacles to infrastructure investment, which can take the form of formal barriers to foreign investment in specific sectors or burdensome regulation affecting both foreign and domestic firms,” he said. Robinson’s remarks can be found here.

USCIB will host another roundtable on Innovation and SDGs in May in conjunction with the Financing for Development Forum.  Please see USCIB’s Businessfor2030 website for more information on the roundtable and other USCIB actions and engagement on the SDGs.

Many USCIB Members Ranked “Best Corporate Citizens”

Talk in GreenAs USCIB prepares for its bi-annual Corporate Responsibility and Labor and Employment Committee meetings on May 2-3, USCIB would like to congratulate many of its members who were honored by Corporate Responsibility Magazine in its release of the 18th annual list of Best Corporate Citizens last week. USCIB members that made it into the top 10 rank include Intel, Microsoft, Cisco and Lockheed Martin, with many others ranked in the top 100 as well. CR Magazine is America’s leading voice on corporate responsibility, providing case studies, analyzing best practices and tracking trends in the five primary segments of corporate responsibility: energy and environment, risk management, governance and compliance, employee relations, and human rights.

Next week’s USCIB Committee meetings will touch on all five of these segments. The Committee meetings, which will be hosted by Foley and Lardner LLP in Washington DC, will include a presentation from Melike Yetken, a senior advisor for corporate responsibility with the U.S. Department of State, touching on the U.S. National Action Plan and work of the U.S. national contact point for the OECD. Yetken will also participate on a panel at the meeting with Hanni Rosenbaum of Business at OECD (BIAC) to brief USCIB committee members on the draft OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct.  Additional agenda highlights include an update on the ILO program on decent work in global supply chains, the Customs Tariff Act of 1930, the upcoming UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, and an update on conflict minerals. For more information on this two-day Committee meeting, please contact Gabriella Rigg Herzog.

The unique value of the USCIB Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee is its leadership position advancing the global interests of U.S. business with global policy makers in the area of responsible business conduct, and the broad and diverse nature of its members who represent multiple business functions and industries and who participate actively through the sharing of insights and experiences.

The Business for SDGs Roundtable on Infrastructure

Since the global adoption of the U.N. Agenda for 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has turned its attention to implementation, and the resources from governments and business required to set the SDGs into motion.

In this regard, a pressing priority across all 17 SDGs is upgrading and building infrastructure for sustainable development.

The Roundtable participants will discuss:

  • where and how business is already planning for and investing in infrastructure for sustainability, what are the enabling frameworks, policies and
  • partnerships that can be scaled for impact;
  • what new sources and approaches exist to mobilize resources and advance bankable projects for sustainability infrastructure; and
  • which indicators to use to measure and report impacts of infrastructure investments by the private sector.

Both “hard” and “soft” forms of infrastructure have also figured prominently in the U.N. Financing for Development (FfD) process. The USCIB Roundtable will immediately precede the FfD Infrastructure Forum, and inform recommendations by USCIB to the U.N. High Level Political Forum meetings in July when they review SDG actions by governments, business and others.

USCIB Welcomes New Vice President for Labor Affairs and Corporate Responsibility

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Gabriella Rigg Herzog

USCIB welcomed Gabriella Rigg Herzog as its new Vice President for Labor Affairs and Corporate Responsibility yesterday, April 17. Herzog will be based in USCIB’s New York office.

Most recently, Herzog served as Senior Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Hess Corporation and actively participated in the USCIB Corporate Responsibility Committee.  She worked with her predecessors Adam Greene and Ariel Meyerstein and knows many of the company representatives on the committee including the Chair, Laura Rubbo.  At Hess she handled CSR and human rights issues and was active in a wide-range of internal and outside activities that led to Hess being recognized as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens.

Prior to her work with Hess, Herzog was a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, where she led the Bureau’s global CSR policy and program practice.  She also worked at the U.S. Department of Labor developing and implementing labor cooperation programs to help labor ministries improve enforcement capacity.

“We are excited to have Gabriella join the USCIB team and fortunate to be able to bring in someone who has worked with us in her previous roles,” said Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs. “She brings a strong background in CSR and Labor issues to the role at USCIB with the added advantage of already being very familiar with the work of the committees she will manage.”

USCIB’s Sustainable Development Event to Focus on Infrastructure

Vertical Garden – Green Wall – BioWallSince the global adoption of the UN Agenda for 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has turned its attention to implementation, and the resources from governments and business required to set the SDGs into motion. In this regard, a pressing priority across all seventeen SDGs is upgrading and building infrastructure for sustainability. USCIB will host a roundtable on infrastructure for sustainability this Friday, April 21 in Washington DC.

“Roundtable participants will discuss where and how business is already planning for and investing in infrastructure for sustainability, what are the enabling frameworks, policies and partnerships that can be scaled for impact, what new sources and approaches exist to mobilize resources and advance bankable projects for sustainability infrastructure and which indicators to use to measure and report impacts of infrastructure investments by the private sector,” said Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment.

Both “hard” and “soft” forms of infrastructure have also figured prominently in the UN Financing for Development (FfD) process. The USCIB Roundtable will immediately precede the FfD Infrastructure Forum, and inform recommendations by USCIB to the UN High Level Political Forum meetings in July when they review SDG actions by governments, business and others.

Notable speakers at USCIB’s event will include Ambassador Lisa Kubiske, deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of State, Albena Melin, principal operations officer at the International Finance Corporation, Krishan Sharma, senior economist at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Alan P. Larson, senior international policy advisor at Covington.

For further details and registration information please contact Mia Lautermlauter@uscib.org.