4th UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights

The ILO co-organised the 4th UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights (Kathmandu, Nepal, 20-22 March 2023).

News | 13 March 2023
The 4th UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights (Kathmandu, Nepal, 20-22 March 2023 – hybrid) brought together governments, social partners, academia, human rights institutes, and other stakeholders to discuss the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in South Asia, looking at the State duty to Protect human rights in business operations, the business responsibility to respect human rights and the need for effective access to victims of human rights abuses by enterprises. The overall topic of this year’s Forum was “Workers and businesses in a changing world” with specific attention being paid to four sub-themes that are particularly relevant for South Asia:

(i) labour migration
(ii) informal and contract/gig workers
(iii) just transitions; and
(iv) supply chains and legislative initiatives on business and human rights.

The ILO and IOM co-organised a session “Protecting migrant workers during recruitment and upon return” looking at ways and means to protect migrant workers through fair and ethical recruitment practices and sustainable return and reintegration. The ILO also organised a session on “Pathways towards integrated approaches towards formalization” that will provide an opportunity to exchange on initiatives pursuing coordinated and integrated pathways towards the formalization of jobs and businesses. It also reflected on the challenges to upholding human rights in business operations in the informal economy and what could be meaningful ways to address them based on the ILO’s Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204), the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

Several safe spaces and trainings were organized on the side-lines of the Forum. ILO and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights organised a training on “Introduction to the UNGPs and MNE Declaration” to introduce participants to the three pillars of the UNGPs and principles of the MNE Declaration as well as how these instruments interlink with each other to advance the broader business and human rights agenda.

Objectives of the 4th South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights
  • To assess sub-regional progress towards promoting business respect for human rights, challenges and opportunities in implementing the UNGPs, the MNE Declaration as well as country roadmaps developed during previous South Asia Forums
  • To explore linkages between workers, the business and human rights agenda, and sustainable development, and identify gaps and potential solutions
  • To encourage peer learning among a wide array of stakeholders in South Asia and facilitate the regional exchange of good practices in promoting labour rights in business operations, implementing the UNGPs and MNE Declaration, and achieving the SDGs
  • To provide a platform for safe space discussions and capacity building opportunities for government officials, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders and civil society organizations, trade unions, businesses and employers' organizations
For more info: https://www.safbhr.com/