At a two-day meeting in Switzerland, November 19 and 20, International Organization of Employers (IOE) Secretary General Linda Kromjong joined with a range of actors to explore ways of ensuring mega sporting events meet the potential of their founding values with regard to human rights and social inclusion, as well as contributing to sustainable development.
Jointly organised by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), the Swiss Government and Wilton Park, the meeting aimed to build consensus on the need for specific measures to address human rights due diligence at mega sporting events. One idea was to establish an independent center for human rights learning and methods of oversight and accountability in the delivery of mega-sporting events. Such an initiative would respond to growing calls to enhance the social benefit and minimize adverse human rights impacts of mega-sporting-events by providing a venue for knowledge transfer, capacity-building and accountability across sporting traditions.
The meeting explored various approaches and gleaned interest from specific stakeholders in trialing specific projects, including testing the feasibility of embedding human rights due diligence within mega-sporting events candidature procedures and host city contracts. There was a strong call to “stop talking and start doing” and participants expressed their firm support, as well as the need for the engagement of all the relevant sporting organizers such as IOC, FIFA and the Commonwealth Games Federation, all of whom were represented at the meeting.
Speaking of the IOE’s engagement in the discussions, Linda Kromjong said: “The IOE, as the global voice of businesses, has a key role to play in addressing human rights issues associated with global events of all kinds. Business has a keen interest in ensuring sustainable mega-sporting events and looks forward to being part of the solution.”
The IOE was also one of the joint signatories, with the International Labor Organization, the International Trade Union Confederation and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, of a statement in support of the organizers’ aims for this event, in which they committed to actively engage in the discussions and further joint action in line with their respective mandates.
IOE members and partner companies will be kept informed about the next steps and IOE member federations are encouraged to engage with mega-sporting events in their respective countries to ensure that human rights and social inclusion, as well as grievance and remedy procedures, are being addressed.