The 4th United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights got underway this week in Geneva, convening hundreds of government officials, business leaders, civil society representatives and representatives from the UN and other international organizations to track progress and promote policy coherence around business and human rights, specifically the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The Guiding Principles, which were prepared under the stewardship of former UN special representative on business and human rights John Ruggie, established a framework under which states are obligated to protect and fulfill the human rights of those in their jurisdiction, while businesses, both foreign and domestic, are responsible for respecting these rights throughout their operations. The principles also propose a framework for greater access to effective remedy for human rights victims.
Prior to the forum, the business community issued a statement supporting respect for human rights as a critical component of implementing the UN’s recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. USCIB co-signed the document along with nine other business organizations.
Ariel Meyerstein, USCIB’s vice president for labor affairs, corporate responsibility and corporate governance, is attending the forum in Geneva along with USCIB members. On November 16, he participated in a business pre-meeting hosted by the Canadian Embassy with other business associations including the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers, the UN Global Compact and many more. Also on Monday, Meyerstein spoke at a panel on “Unpacking the Guiding Principles in Investment Disputes.”
On November 17, Meyerstein will moderate a panel about “SME’s, Informality and Human Rights: Challenges and Solutions,” as well as serve as a panelist on a discussion about “Measuring and Tracking Businesses’ Implementation of the Guiding Principles” and another on “Access to Remedy – Roles and Responsibilities of States Concerned in Crossborder Cases.”
Videos of some of these panels will be made available on UN TV. More information will be forthcoming after the conclusion of the forum.