Following up from the INGO Conference’s work in January and June of this year, it seemed timely to make connections with the UN efforts on the same topic. The Conference’s delegate, Christoph Spreng, took part in the 6th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights held in Geneval on 27 and 28 November.

The Forum is the global platform for yearly stock-taking and lesson-sharing on efforts to move the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework from paper to practice. It should be recalled that the Council of Europe’s Commitee of Ministers’ Recommendation on Business and Human Rights repeatedly refers to the UNGPs, as does the Recommendation of the Conference of INGOs that was voted last June.

The central theme of the 2017 Forum was “Realizing Access to Effective Remedy”. The programme had two plenary sessions, and more than 60 “parallel” sessions in simultaneous tracks throughout the three days. Both UN and external organizations set up these sessions based on extensive consultations and submissions. Depending on the topics, the participants would be more from those affected by corporate malpractices and their legal supporters, or by those corporate representatives who wanted to make headway on their social responsibility intentions. An estimated 2000 participants took part.

The head of the organizing body (UNWG) of the event, Prof Michael K Addo, (see picture) warmly welcomed the fact that the CoE INGO Conference was joining the global effort for better Human Rights practice in Business by joining the Forum in Geneva.