Policy Coherence is defined by the OECD as the systematic promotion of mutually reinforcing policy actions across government departments and agencies creating synergies towards achieving the agreed objectives.
Globally, the principle of policy coherence for development (PCD) has become generally accepted. For example, the OECD Policy Coherence for Development agenda, European Union Policy Coherence for Development, embedded in the European Consensus on Development (2006) and reaffirmed in the Agenda for Change (2011), that involves funding aimed to seek research-based recommendations and advice on how it can be linked with other agendas such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (see e.g. SMART Project). In the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, policy coherence is reflected in the ‘Systemic Issues’ section of Sustainable Development Goal 17 (SDG17) on ‘Strengthening the Means of Implementation and Revitalising the Global Partnership’, and covers the entire scope of the SDGs.
In the context of business and human rights, the importance of policy coherence is stressed by the UN Guiding Principles under Guiding Principle 8 (Ensuring policy coherence), which state that “States should ensure that governmental departments, agencies and other State-based institutions that shape business practices are aware of and observe the State’s human rights obligations when fulfilling their respective mandates, including by providing them with relevant information, training and support.”+ Read more
The OHCHR has noted that:
“Policy coherence applies in the context of the State’s duty to protect human rights. Policy coherence refers to consistency between policies and regulations across different State departments, agencies and institutions. All institutions that shape business conduct—for example, the departments responsible for employment and labour conditions, business registration, export promotion, international trade, environmental protection, and State-based export credit agencies, while very different in their mandates, should all be aware of and observe the State’s human rights obligations with respect to protecting against negative impact from business activities.”
The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights in its Guidance on National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights points to National Action Plans as being a key to ensuring “greater coordination and coherence within Government on the range of public policy areas that relate to business and human rights”, and lists potential policy coherence measures.
National Action Plans also “allow the government to make an assessment of the current legal-cum-policy framework so as to identify what is working and what is not in terms of ensuring that companies respect human rights” (Deva, 2016). Most countries often have a vast legal framework that applies human rights norms to companies, so such a holistic assessment has the advantage of allowing states “to identify and articulate their priorities as well as future actions in this area of concern, thus ensuring comprehensiveness of approach, coordination and policy coherence across a state’s various departments.” [Faracik, 2017].
Policy coherence relates to the following Sustainable Development Goal
17) Partnerships For The Goals
The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the Deutsches Institut fur Menschenrechte (2017) Advancing the Business and Human Rights Agenda through the G7/G20 – G20 Background Paper
What National Action Plans say on Policy coherence
According to the Belgian NAP’s introduction, comments from the Advisory Council on Policy Coherence for Development were included during the drafting process.
Action point 10
Belgium is committed to integrating human rights and corporate social responsibility (CSR) criteria into the local private sector development support strategy of Belgian cooperation
La Belgique s’engage à intégrer des critères « droits de l’Homme » et de Responsabilité sociétale des entreprises (RSE) dans la stratégie d’appui au développement du secteur privé local de la coopération belge
This point explains that a strategy, “Belgian development cooperation and the local private sector: supporting human and sustainable development”, was formulated in April 2014. This strategy, which applies to the actions of businesses undertaken in the 14 priority countries of governmental cooperation, but also in the 52 countries of intervention of non-governmental actors and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), also insist on the importance of coordination and synergies to be developed on policy coherence and on a rigorous follow-up of the actions supported.
Action point 26
Pay particular attention to the ratification of a series of ILO conventions to health and safety at work
The federal government presents its plan of ratifying the ILO Convention No. 187 on occupational safety and health. The government explains that the Convention “seeks to implement concrete measures, in consultation with social partners, aiming at achieving a safe and healthy working environment, and in a coherent and concerted manner, through the development of a national policy, a national system and a national program on occupational safety and health.”
Prologue: Business and Human Rights for Sustainable Development
I. Value of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (page 15-16)
…It is worth mentioning that the Guiding Principles have had an important reach since their adoption; they have been included in a series of regulations and initiatives aimed at promoting a responsible corporate behaviour, including, for example, the Global Compact, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, ILO Tripartite Statement, ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, UNICEF Children’s Rights and Business Principles, Save the Children and Global Compact, among others.12 They have also being included in new regulations such as the “Modern Slavery Act” or the law against modern slavery in the United Kingdom; Europe’s Guidelines concerning Transparency, and the newly passed French act about due diligence in human rights13, and, in practice, by many enterprises.
Responding to national and international calls, and convinced by the usefulness of these Plans as a cross-cutting tool, Chile decided to prepare its first National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, thus highlighting its connection with other global frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Climate Change Agenda, as well as with other international instruments concerning human rights.
Pillar 1: The State Duty to Protect Human Rights
Strand 1: Training in the Field of Business and Human Rights
Action point 1.1 (page 29)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will: …
- Work to build capabilities in the staff working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the development of an e-learning course on business and human rights. …
- Strengthen the diplomats’ capabilities in the field of business and human rights, with the purpose that they have the right tools to support Chilean businesses abroad – through the development of an annual Module on Business and Human Rights taught at the Diplomatic Academy. It will promote, among the Chilean embassies posted abroad, tools allowing to guide Chilean businesses operating in those countries about risks in the fields of business and human rights.
- Develop projects of cooperation and exchange of experiences about business and human rights with Chilean embassies posted in countries showing more progress in this field, through its Programme of Activities Abroad (PAAE).
- The General Directorate of International Economic Relations (DIRECON), will carry out internal actions to promote knowledge around business and human rights with the purpose that staff working in this Directorate take these criteria into account when developing their activities.
- DIRECON will periodically report to the Trade Offices and Regional Offices of the Exports Promotion Directorate (ProChile) about business and human rights.
Action Point 1.2 (page 30)
The Under-Secretariat of Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice will:
- In the context of its mandate to design, foster and coordinate education and training actions concerning human rights for staff working for State bodies, promote the inclusion of human rights and business content in trainings and courses that come to its attention in its articulating role.
- Promote the inclusion of human rights and business content in training sessions for people joining State work through the Senior Public Management System led by the Civil Service.
- Promote the inclusion of business and human rights in training sessions for the Armed Forces and the Order and Security Forces, when relevant, according to the trainees’ profiles.
- Include human rights and business in a future Handbook about the focus on human rights of public policies.
Action Point 1.4 (page 31)
The Ministry of Energy will:
- Through the Division of Social Involvement and Dialogue, within the implementation framework of the Indigenous Chapter of the 2050 Energy Policy, perform the following
- Train indigenous peoples about business and human rights. This initiative will be performed in conjunction with the Indigenous Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Social Development, which will facilitate coordination between initiatives carried out by both institutions within the context of the Action Plan.
Action Point 1.5 (page 32)
The Ministry of Social Development will:
- Through the Division of Public-Private Cooperation, include the focus on business, human rights and sustainable development in training activities about Public Incentives to Benefit Social Development by means of:
- Workshop-seminars about Public Incentives to Benefit Social Development for Business Enterprises and public-private cooperation in accordance with the Guiding Principles and the 2030 Agenda, thus strengthening the State-Business nexus and promoting due diligence in human rights.
- Introduction of a module about the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and their connection with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in a workshop-seminar organised by business senior and executive staff.
- Through the National Disability Service, the Ministry of Social Development will:
- Train public and private business enterprises to include inclusive for disabled people in inductions and training programmes.
- Organise seminars for public services and bodies, business enterprises and the civil society to address subject concerning disability. Also, a course about Human Rights and Disability will be given at universities, and outreach actions will be carried out involving public services and bodies, business enterprises and the civil society.
Action Point 1.6 (pages 32-33)
The Ministry for the Environment will:
- With the support of expert organisations, coordinate internal training at a national and international level, and at a macro-zone level in the Ministry of the Environment, the Superintendence of the Environment (SMA) and the Environmental Assessment Service (EAS) …
- Upon creation of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Service and of the Protected Areas National Service, carry out an outreach and training process including an analysis about their relationship with business and human rights.
Action Point 1.7 (page 33)
The National Human Rights Institute will:
- Train staff working in regions about business, human rights and sustainable development, in line with the 2030 Agenda. …
- Introduce the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the recommendations they submit to the State about cases documented by this institution. These recommendations, and those coming from the international human rights system will be considered in training sessions given to public officers about business and human rights.
Strand 2: Dialogue
Action Point 2.1 (page 34)
Through the Indigenous Affairs Coordination Unit of the Ministry of Social Development, opportunities for involvement and dialogue will be generated at a local level between business enterprises and indigenous peoples aimed at preparing a territorial development plan seeking to generate a dialogue at a local level involving municipalities, thus carrying out a participatory exercise about what happens in a territory and how this is planned. This would consider the participation and planning demands regarding territorial matters of indigenous peoples submitted within the context of the Participatory Dialogues of this Plan, as well as what is set out in Convention 169, the national regulations connected with such Convention, and the national instruments of territorial planning.
Strand 3: Inclusion and Non-Discrimination
Action Point 3.2 (pages 36-37)
The Ministry of Social Development will: …
- Promote, through the National Disability Service, the labour insertion of people with disabilities by taking the following specific steps: …
- An initiative to strengthen the work of Municipal Offices for Labour Intermediation (OMIL) will be carried out to attend people with disabilities – through a Local Development Strategy.
Strand 4: Transparency and Participation
Action Point 4.2 (page 40)
The Public-Private Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Social Development will include questions about the Guiding Principles in the 2017 Study about Social Performance of Business Enterprises, as well as the result of these variables in the final performance report, which will include an analysis of the results and their relationship with the SDGs. Medium and large-size public and private business enterprises will participate in the study.
Action Point 4.4 (pages 40- 41)
The Ministry for the Environment: …
- Commits itself to strengthen the effective enforcement of Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration about participation, access to information and awareness concerning environmental issues, within the context of the preparation of the Regional Instrument on Access Rights to Environmental Issues. …
- Will promote the availability of spaces for dialogue and participation regarding climate change actions, including the organisation of workshops and public consultation meetings for the preparation of sector adaptation plans. This will be included within the framework of the 2017-2022 National Action Plan for Climate Change -under preparation- which includes the concept of equity as a guiding principle, and gives special consideration to subject such as gender equality, human rights and indigenous peoples.
- Will seek to incorporate the gender focus in the next climate change adaptation plans, with the purpose of including the participation of women in the preparation and implementation of actions about this subject.
Action Point 4.5 (page 41)
The Superintendence for the Environment will promote that the issue of business and human rights is addressed in the Civil Society Council throughout 2017.
Strand 5: Public Procurement
Action Point 5.1 (page 42)
The Chilean System of Public Purchases, (Chilecompra), has the mission to facilitate the contracting of goods and services by the State through a public market web platform, in the different purchase procedures. Chilecompra will: …
- Carry out initiatives to strengthen the information tool of the public purchase system. This will be made possible by adhering to SEGPRES Open Government Plan, under the commitment to create a set of Guidelines and a Policy of open date promoting and developing the use of open data in public purchase procedures to strengthen transparency of the Chilean System of Public Purchases and foster probity and efficiency in this area.
Strand 6: Strengthening Coherence between Public Policies
Action Point 6.1 (pages 44-45)
Among the efforts being made to implement the 2030 Agenda, the Ministry of Social Development will stress the importance of Human Rights and their relationship with the business industry. For this, the Ministry will:
- Disseminate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in, at least, two instances of participation and dialogue focused specifically on addressing the subject of rights in the social environment. Business enterprises, academic centres, the civil society, the State and autonomous bodies would participate in these activities.
- Carry out, for the dissemination of the 2030 Agenda, participation and reflection actions with business enterprises.
- Organise, during the diagnostic stage of the actions related with the 2030 Agenda, a first analysis workshop aimed at discussing proposals linked with the contribution of the private sector to achieve the SDGs, with the participation of private businesses, academic centres, the civil society, the State and autonomous bodies.
Action Point 6.3 (pages 45-46)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will:
- Generate an opportunity to discuss, at a national level, about the integration of the Agenda of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, as well as about the challenges of these Agendas about the contribution of business enterprises. Regarding this national commitment, the Ministry is committed to generate cross references about human rights and climate change in the reports prepared about these subjects submitted to international organisations.
- Through the General Directorate of International Economic Relations, it will: …
- Disseminate the importance of respecting human rights in global value chains (GVCs), encouraging the introduction of this matter in discussions held and work carried out by the GVC Intergovernmental Group, as well as in presentations to the business community and other agents.
Action Point 6.4 (page 46)
The Ministry of Economy will:
- Incorporate the Action Plan in the working agenda of the Economic Board integrated by the National Council for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, by following up the indicators proposed in the Action Plan that relate with the design and execution of the said Agenda.
- Prepare an annual report informing about the relationship between cooperatives and SDGs. This report will include a special chapter about human rights.
Strand 7: Strengthening of Coherence in International Policy
Action Point 7.1 (page 47)
The Ministry of the Environment is currently involved in negotiations of the Regional Instrument about Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration about access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters, where it will take into consideration the business and human rights framework as relevant.
Action Point 7.2 (page 47-48)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will:
- Through the Directorate of Human Rights:
- Submit a report with recommendations to the National Council for Sustainable Development about the link between the Guiding Principles and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Create and coordinate a working group aimed at generating material for the annual meetings held by the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights. The working group will meet periodically with the purpose of generating proposals within the framework of this process, which will partially consist in carrying consultations with the civil society to gather material and draft a proposal concerning this matter.
- Continue promoting the treatment and development of business and human rights in different regional and global fora such as, inter alia, the Pacific Alliance, the Organisation of American States (OAS), CELAC, UNASUR and Mercosur.
Action Point 7.3 (page 48)
The Unit for International Affairs of the Ministry of Labour will: …
- Promote the Guiding Principles, which build on ILO Conventions on Human and Labour Rights, in different multilateral cooperation scenarios it takes part in.
Strand 9: State Business Enterprises
Action Point 9.3 (page 50)
To strengthen coordination between the Ministries forming part of the Inter-Ministerial Working Group, amplify the impact of this Action Plan, and make known its progress, the Group will carry out the following actions:
- Formalise the Inter-Ministerial Working Group and the focal points of the various Ministries composing it, with the purpose of continuing holding periodic meetings and follow up regarding the implementation of this Plan (see Section V, Implementation and Monitoring).
- Encourage the adoption of policies, statements or codes of conduct by business enterprises and urge the implementation of mechanisms of due diligence.
- Announce progress made in the implementation of the NAP through a banner published on the websites of each relevant Ministry.
Pillar 2: The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights
Strand 1: Contextual Issues: Preparation of Documents allowing Business Enterprises to Understand the Local Context and the Risks of Potential Negative Impacts on Human Rights
Action Point 1.4 (page 53): The Ministry of the Environment will prepare a study about the links between the Law creating the Actual Right of Conservation (DRC) and the Guiding Principles.
Implementation, Monitoring and Follow-Up (page 67-68)
This National Action Plan will last three years, i.e. it will be in place between 2017 and 2019.
The Plan is a first step in a continuous and progressive process. Therefore, this policy is considered a living document whose initiatives will be continuously evaluated and monitored, with the relevant adaptations if necessary. There are elements, actions and initiatives requiring some precisions and adjustments along the development process, for which reason different revision and feedback actions have been taken into consideration allowing to improve and adapt measures that require so.
To ensure an effective implementation and monitoring of the Action Plan, a supplementary document containing indicators has been prepared detailing the institution responsible for enforcing compliance of each measure, indicators, as well as regarding the time defined for that purpose. The responsible institution shall report to the Inter-Ministerial Working Group about the implementation stage of their measures to facilitate the monitoring and follow up process of the Plan.
These indicators will smooth the follow up process of the Plan at a national level, allowing the Chilean State to report before regional and international follow up and evaluation fora about its progress in matters of human rights and sustainable development.
Apart from the supplementary information about indicators, the following actions will be performed to follow up, monitor and give continuity to the Action Plan.
- At a national level, the Inter-Ministerial Working Group will be formalised by enacting the relevant Decree. This will have the objective to implement, monitor and follow up the Plan’s optimal implementation. This Working Group will have an Executive Secretariat responsible for coordinating the preparation of the annual report and for its relationship with the Multi- Actor Committee.
- The Inter-Ministerial Working Group will prepare an annual report, starting in late-2017, about compliance of measures according to the indicators set out. Before preparing the report, a previous meeting will be held to evaluate the progress and challenges arisen in the implementation of the Plan.
- This document will be published in the Action Plan’s webpage; it will also be sent to the authorities and institutions that have contributed in the execution thereof, as well as to representatives of the Judicial and Legislative Powers, with the purpose of reporting about the progress of the Action Plan.
- A Multi-Actor Committee will be created with the participation of representatives from the civil society, unions, the business community, indigenous peoples, academia, and the National Human Rights Institute, with the purpose of evaluating the progress contained in the report produced by the Inter-Ministerial Group, and providing feedback and/or recommendations about the effective implementation of the Plan.
- Progress achieved by the Action Plan will be also incorporated in reports about the 2030 Agenda in Chile, both regarding the global and regional mechanisms.
- The Economic Working Group for implementing the 2030 Agenda will incorporate progress made by the Action Plan to the progress achieved in the SDGs 17 in compliance reports.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will report to the different international mechanisms of human rights about the progress achieved by the Plan -pursuant to the timeline set out by them.
- One year before the term is over, the Inter-Ministerial Working Group will define a roadmap to prepare the Second National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, which will be submitted to the Multi-Actor Committee with the purpose to propose new courses of action and start the second process.
- Action point 1.1 (p. 10):
“The Working Group on Business and Human Rights2 will be responsible for monitoring advance and progress of the Plan implementation. For such purpose, its regulation will be issued, the frequency of its meetings will be defined, and an operational plan will be implemented, which will determine its activities annually defining the subject approach and the regulation compliance within the priority areas for this plan. This group will include the Post-Conflict Directorate. The Working Group on Business and Human Rights has been created –in the Context of the Subsystem for Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (DESCA) of the National Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law System– as an inter-institutional entity charged with the coordination of entities to work on this matter. This Working Group is formed by: the Department for Social Welfare; the National Department for Planning; the Ministry of the Interior; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Culture; the Ministry of Labor; the Ministry of the Environment; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Ministry of Commerce; the Ministry of Mines; the Ministry of Finances; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Transportation; the Ministry of Housing; SENA; Coldeportes; Colciencias. And, the Ombudsman’s Office; the Treasury Inspector’s Office of the Republic; and the Attorney General’s Office of the Country, as permanent guest members. With the Office of the Technical Secretary of the Council to the President for Human Rights.”
- Action point 1.3 (p. 10-11):
“Upon the Plan being launched, the Expert Committee will be created, which will be formed as follows:
a. One representative elected by the national native organizations.
b. One representative elected by the national afro-descendent organizations.
c. One representative elected by the National Confederation of NGOs.
d. One representative elected by the confederations of workers’ unions.
e. One representative elected by the Colombian Association of Universities.
f. Two representatives elected by the National Trade Council, one of whom must be a delegate of the enterprises and the other one a delegate of the trades.
g. One representative elected by the Ombudsman’s Office.
h. One representative of the current multi-actor initiatives on the business and human rights in the country.
i. One representative of the multi-lateral entities developing business and human rights related activities.
j. One representative appointed by the International Community.
This Expert Committee will operate as an advisory entity for the Working Group and will guide the actions on the implementation of this Plan.”
- Action point 1.4 (p. 11):
“The Working Group, in alliance with the Administrative Department of the Public Function, and/or universities or study centers, will develop a training module about the international standards on business and human rights and the actions contained in this Plan, which will be addressed to government servants in the national and territory entities.”
- Action point 1.5 (p. 11):
“Each entity part of the Working Group, according to their operational plan, will define their training plan on this matter and will encourage the learning management in order to guarantee the continuation of the execution of the actions of this Plan. The inter-institutional training processes will be promoted for a better understanding of this matter in its various aspects; thus, the national entities will manage, together with their peers in other countries with the Colombia based embassies, the relevant tools as may be required. This action will begin upon the formalization of the Working Group and during the implementation of this Plan, responding to gradual and progress principles.”
The Czech NAP makes no explicit reference to policy coherence. However policy coherence is implied at a number of stages, for example:
Existing plans, initiatives and strategies [page 8-9]
“The Czech Republic has long set great store by the topic of human rights both generally and in connection with the activities of businesses. Human rights in a business context is covered, for example, by the following strategy documents:
- SME Support Concept 2014-2020
- National Action Plan for Corporate Social Responsibility in the Czech Republic
- Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development of the Czech Republic
- Anti-corruption Action Plan
- National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking in the Czech Republic 2016-2019
- Social Inclusion Strategy 2014-2020
- Government Strategy for Gender Equality in the Czech Republic 2014-2020
- Foreign Policy Concept of the Czech Republic
- Strategy for the International Competitiveness of the Czech Republic 2012-2020
The objectives of this Action Plan are consistent with the Strategic Framework of the Czech Republic 2030, in particular its tenets of “Let’s preserve and support diversity” and “Let’s respect fundamental human rights”. It supplements the Strategic Framework’s activities in the key areas of “People and society” and “Economic model”.”
Integration of authorisation proceedings [page 53]
- Actively cooperate with other authorities on the integration of authorisation proceedings coordinated by various different ministries.
Coordinators: Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Agriculture
Conclusion [page 54]
- Run checks on the implementation of the Action Plan and assess developments in the field of human rights in business.
Coordinator: Ministry for Human Rights
- Draw up an interim report on the implementation of this Action Plan.
Coordinator: Ministry for Human Rights
Deadline: 31 December 2020
- Draw up a final report on the implementation of this Action Plan.
Coordinator: Ministry for Human Rights
Deadline: 31 December 2022″
2. The state duty to protect human rights
2.3 Actions Taken
Ensuring policy coherence across governmental departments and agencies [page 11]
“Ensuring policy coherence across governmental departments and agencies: The Government’s CSR efforts are coordinated by an inter-ministerial working group with representatives from departments and agencies who work with CSR and human rights related areas. These include Ministry of Business and Growth, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Employment, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Finance, Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry for Climate, Energy and Building and the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) (GP 8).”
Appendix 1, GP 8
State Duty to Protect [page 31]
“Ensuring policy coherence
States should ensure that governmental departments, agencies and other State-based institutions that shape business practices are aware of and observe the State’s human rights obligations when fulfilling their respective mandates, including by providing them with relevant information, training and support.”
Policy coherence is not explicitly addressed in the NAP, but is addressed at certain points.
Government covering note on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights National Action Plan
“In order to ensure a balanced result, all further actions will be prepared in extensive co-operation with various stakeholders. This is supported by the working group proposal to assign responsibility for monitoring the implementation to the Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility. In addition, the ministries will monitor the progress of proposals in their respective areas of responsibility.”
1 The state obligation to protect human rights
1.2 Activities in international organizations [page 14-15]
“Generally, Finland supports the mutual dialogue between international organisations and their cooperation on human rights issues to increase coherence. …
As a follow-up measure, the working group proposes that
Finland supports the cooperation and discussion with the WTO and other essential international organisations such as ILO or WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation), carried out within the framework of the WTO Coherence Mandate.”
I- The State’s Obligation to Protect Human Rights
8. Trade and Investment Agreements [page 19]
In its 2013 opinion, the CNCDH underlined that “the need for coherence should guide France’s foreign policy” and recommended that, in accordance with Guiding Principle no.10, “the Government support and promote the aforementioned instruments within multilateral institutions dealing with economic, commercial and financial issues, including those that are binding, that are designed to ensure that businesses respect human rights.” …
… France discussed CSR issues in a report on its international trade strategy and European trade policy (December 2015), clearly indicating that CSR is a concern addressed in its trade policies. …
Actions Underway [page 21]
- France has undertaken to promote the UN Guiding Principles in its trade relations with other States and confirms its commitment to the hierarchy of norms when signing trade and investment agreements.
- France also checks that all trade and investment agreements comply with international human rights law.
There is no mention of policy coherence in the Business and Human Rights Chapter of the Georgian Human Rights NAP.
The German NAP contains a specific chapter on policy coherence.
V. Ensuring policy coherence [page 40-41]
“Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights will mean pooling the efforts of all stakeholders, creating incentives to improve the human rights situation throughout supply chains and in target countries for investments and preventing serious violations of human rights in the context of business operations. These efforts will complement each other, but they are no substitute for the primary obligation of states in whose territory production facilities are located to provide protection against human rights infringements and to eliminate any adverse impacts that may have arisen from such activities (the state duty to protect, respect and remedy). None of the elements of this Action Plan may be interpreted as implying that jurisdiction lies with the judicature of another state or is to be shared by the domestic and a foreign judicature. Efforts to empower states to discharge of their duties must be continued through support for structures designed to guarantee the general rule of law.
To ensure that Federal Government policy in the realm of business and human rights bears fruit, the competent institutions will systematically focus their respective policies on that goal. To this end, the measures taken by the Federal Government will be subject to prior interdepartmental coordination.
Care must also be taken to ensure that federal ministries and authorities, but also the state and local authorities, are empowered to act in ways that are consistent with Germany’s human rights obligations and with this Action Plan. The Federal Government will continue to press in global as well as other forums for a common understanding of due diligence. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all states pledged themselves to promote, among other things, sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth and decent work. The Federal Government regards itself as a trailblazer in the implementation of the agenda and is pressing nationally and internationally for a robust monitoring system.”
- “An interministerial committee will be established (see chapter VI below) to verify the coherence and implementation of the adopted measures. The Federal Government’s National CSR Forum will accompany the activities of the government ministries for the implementation of the NAP and make appropriate recommendations for action to the Federal Government.
- The Federal Government will create corresponding training opportunities for the relevant staff in the supreme federal authorities, including the German diplomatic and consular missions, on the subject of business and human rights.”
VI. Monitoring [page 41]
“The National Action Plan marks the starting point of a process that will be continuously updated and developed. The process will be shaped by the implementation of the measures for which this Plan provides as well as by a comprehensive procedure for monitoring the implementation of these measures by all players.
To this end, the Federal Government is planning, subject to budgetary approval, the immediate execution of the following steps: …
“The interministerial committee will verify the implementation and coherence of the adopted measures and drive forward the development of the NAP implementation process. The main areas of activity to come under its scrutiny will be the measures relating to the state duty to protect (public procurement, promotion of external trade, etc.) and the fleshing-out of due diligence obligations (chapter III above), including the planned definition of sectoral specifications and the corresponding support services.”
Section 3: Actions
II. Key commitments to ensure policy coherence across government [page 16-17]
“As demonstrated in the previous section, there is already a considerable and continuous effort across government to promote human rights and to encourage or enforce positive action from the private sector. The following commitments form a central part of formalising and consolidating these efforts.
|Commitment||Time Frame||Responsible Government Department|
|Commission a study to conduct a comprehensive baseline assessment of the legislative and regulatory framework pertaining to business and human rights as it applies in Ireland||To be completed within six months of publication of the National Plan||Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Establish a ‘Business and Human Rights Implementation Group’, which will consist of representatives from Government, the business community and civil society, and will meet twice a year to review the implementation of the National Plan over the first three years||Membership to be announced within three months of publication of the National Plan||Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Convene a forum on Business and Human Rights within two years of the adoption of the National Plan. This will bring together stakeholders including Government, the business community and civil society and will facilitate the exchange of views on progress in delivering on the National Plan||Within two years of publication of the National Plan||Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Amend the terms of reference of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Human Rights to include the monitoring of the National Plan||Concurrent with the publication of the National Plan||Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Include Business and Human Rights as a regular item on the agenda of the DFAT Ngo standing Committee on Human Rights||Concurrent with the publication of the National Plan||Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Ensure coherence between the National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility and the National Plan on Business and Human Rights, including by promoting cooperation between the Business and Human Rights implementation Working Group and the Corporate Social Responsibility Stakeholder Forum||The CSR Plan was launched on 26 June 2017||Foreign Affairs and Trade, Enterprise and Innovation|
|Ensure coherence between the implementation of the National Plan on Business and Human Rights and Ireland’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and security||Current Action Plan runs until 2018||Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Ensure coherence between Ireland’s new trading strategy: ‘Ireland Connected: trading and investing in a Dynamic World’, and the National Plan on Business and Human Rights||Concurrent with the publication of the National Plan||The Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Enterprise and Innovation, Education and Skills, Transport, Tourism and Sport, Community and Rural affairs, Arts, & Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine|
Annex 1 – List of additional and ongoing actions to be carried out across Government
EU and Multilateral Efforts [page 20]
“9. share information about challenges and good practices on business and human rights with partners in the EU and the UN, including promoting coherence in the implementation of the EU’s Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) and the EU’s Gender Action Plan (2016-2020).”
Ensuring Policy Coherence
Coherence on business and human rights policies and regulations across all competent Government departments and agencies both at national and local level will be ensured through an on-going dialogue, the collaboration amongst all the parties concerned and the activity of coordination among the competent governmental department by CIDU.
Italy’s Updated NAP
B. ITALY AND THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES
The present plan has the aim of contributing to guarantee a global level playing field.
B. OPERATIONAL PRINCIPLES
Italy is strongly committed to the protection of human rights and to prevent and redress abuses committed by companies and therefore: …
iv) enhance the cooperation among law enforcement agencies.
The Lithuanian NAP makes reference to policy coherence in a number of specific contexts.
Objective 1: ensuring State’s duty to protect, defend and respect human rights
B. Anticorruption measures [page 2]
1. “Effective implementation of coordinated anti-corruption policy. The aim is to ensure proactive and effective fight against corruption, thus reducing the overall scope of corruption.”
Objective 2: promoting corporate responsibility and respect in the field of business and human rights [page 5]
“According to [The Commission’s Communication on the renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility], it is expected that all European enterprises should make a commitment to respect human rights as defined in the UN Guiding Principles, and that EU Member States are encouraged to develop national action plans for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. Paragraph 4.8.2 ‘Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ of the Communication on CSR strategy points out a particular need for improving coherence of EU policies on business and human rights. It also recognizes that a better implementation of the UN Guiding Principles would contribute to EU objectives regarding specific human rights.
[The Commission’s Communication on the renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility] is an important initiative towards the promotion of the CSR across the EU and internationally, harmonization of existing rules and development of new rules in this field. Lithuania supports the aim to encourage as many as possible companies to act responsibly and to set out clear goals for 2015-2020. The priority in the field of CSR should be given to the awareness-raising and best practice exchange; support to various initiatives; cooperation with Member States; education; cooperation between organisations, CSR capacity development across businesses. Proper implementation of the relevant measures could strengthen the integrated approach to the promotion of CSR and contribute to the exchange of best practices and collaboration.”
A. Implemented and on-going measures for the development of CSR in Lithuania [page 6]
2. “National Programme for the Development of CSR. The Lithuanian National Programme for the Development of Corporate Social Responsibility for 2009-2013 … provides for key public policies related to the consistent, purposeful and integrated approach of the State towards the CSR …
The development of CSR-conducive legal and institutional environment has resulted in simplified structure for the coordination of the development of corporate social responsibility and the management of an effective institutional cooperation (by revoking the governmental CSR Development Commission previously required under the CSR Programme), streamlining the quantitative criteria for the assessment of the implementation of the tasks provided for in the CSR Programme, and the decision by the Minister of Social Security and Labour to set up a Committee to monitor the implementation of the National Programme for the Development of Corporate Social Responsibility (hereinafter refe1Ted to as the CSR Committee), which had to oversee the implementation of the National Programme for the Development of Corporate Social Responsibility for 2009-2013.”
Part I – Rational Framework for the development, adoption and implementation of the NAP
2. National Context
2.4. Government Council (pg. 17)
On May 8, 2015, the Government Council gave the go-ahead for the establishment of an Interministerial Committee on Human Rights, in order to improve inter-ministerial cooperation and coordination on human rights issues, as well as to strengthen the coherence between Luxembourg’s internal and external human rights policies.
Part III – PAN
2. Context (pg. 27)
In this spirit, the NAP is complementary to the strategies and policies in place in Luxembourg, such as the Luxembourg National Sustainable Development Plan, which calls for better coordination of planning and consultation processes between Ministries in order to achieve integration of economic, social and ecological interests by taking into account national and international contexts, frameworks and conventions, including human rights.
3.2 Policy coherence [page 16-21]
“It became apparent from the consultations that the government sometimes conveys conflicting messages about CSR and human rights – for example about the most important norms, and which ministry is responsible for which part of the policy. For civil society and implementing organisations, coherence is essential. During the consultations, specific attention was requested for international policy coherence and incorporation of the UN Guiding Principles in trade and investment agreements.
The government recognises that it must be consistent on the subject of human rights and business and in pursuing and implementing policy at both national and international level. The policy letter ‘CSR Pays Off’ clarifies the CSR framework. The OECD Guidelines provide an overarching framework for what the Dutch government expects of companies in terms of ICSR. The Guidelines incorporate other relevant provisions such as the ILO labour standards and the UN Guiding Principles on business responsibility to respect. State-controlled companies are expected to comply with the Guidelines and to report on their CSR policies. To monitor their progress, these companies are always included in the Transparency Benchmark. Companies in which the government invests in a different way, for example through export licences, are also expected to comply with the Guidelines.
CSR and human rights are always on the agenda during both preparations and annual follow-up days for attachés and diplomats assigned to the missions. An e-learning course is currently being developed for both civil servants operating at international level and implementing organisations to provide clear and reliable information on the subject of human rights and business.
Sustainable procurement policy
“Under the social conditions of national sustainable procurement policy, companies supplying the government with goods and services are required to respect human rights.9 These social conditions have been included in all central government EU contract award procedures since 1 January 2013, and the municipal, provincial and water authorities are being encouraged to apply them, too. Suppliers can fulfil these conditions in various ways – by joining a reliable multi-stakeholder supply chain initiative (quality mark or certification institute) or, if they have any doubts, carrying out a risk analysis.
The consultations showed that sustainable procurement policy is not regarded as effective in implementing social and human rights criteria. Companies are often unaware of risks. Government suppliers should perform a risk analysis to show that they respect human rights in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles. In its 2014 evaluation of the sustainable procurement policy social conditions, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will examine whether this policy is in line with the OECD Guidelines and the UN Guiding Principles, and whether central government policy can also be applied by the municipal, provincial and water authorities.”
“During the consultations it was emphasised that the Netherlands should work in multilateral forums such as the EU and the UN for adoption of the UN Guiding Principles as the reference framework, in the interests of international policy coherence. Some groups remarked that the Dutch sector and multi-stakeholder initiatives should be upscaled to international level, since this would increase their effectiveness. Both the business community and civil society organisations endorsed the need for a European approach to business and human rights – the business community in the interests of a level playing field, and civil society organisations for reasons of greater effectiveness.
In its 2011 Communication on CSR, the European Commission placed the initiative with the EU member states. It called for measures to promote CSR and for national action plans based on the UN Guiding Principles. The report on priorities in the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles has not yet been published.
The government regards the UN Guiding Principles as an integral part of its foreign and human rights policy. The government can play a role in sector and multi-stakeholder initiatives by forging direct links with government authorities in other countries and by raising issues in multilateral forums and through the embassies. The government is committed to keeping CSR and human rights on the European agenda. In the run-up to the EU Presidency in the first six months of 2016, the Netherlands will consult with like-minded member states on Europe’s commitment to achieving a level playing field and to increasing the effectiveness of multi-stakeholder initiatives. Among the subjects the government will focus on the need for collaboration to achieve ICSR, with a view to greater social impact, the creation of a level playing field for business and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.
The Netherlands and a group of like-minded countries will play a pioneering role with the aim of getting the other EU member states on board.
As a shareholder in the international financial institutions, the Netherlands calls for more systematic attention for human rights and effective internal monitoring mechanisms to safeguard observance of human rights in projects. It is, for example, urging more systematic attention for human rights in the review and update of the World Bank safeguard policies. The Netherlands is also helping to promote human rights through programmes of multilateral institutions. The ILO’s Better Work programme is a good example.”
Trade and investment agreements
Incorporating the OECD Guidelines and UN Guiding Principles in trade and investment agreements was one of the suggestions made during the consultations.
The government is committed to including clear provisions on the relationship between trade, investment and sustainability in trade and investment agreements. Within the EU, the Netherlands urges the inclusion in these agreements of a section on trade and sustainable development, with monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. The aim is for parties to reaffirm their commitment to fulfilling their ILO obligations to eliminate child labour and forced labour and to working together to this end. Agreements also need to be made on cooperating on and promoting CSR, through the OECD Guidelines, for instance. For the Netherlands, involvement of civil society organisations is an essential component of any agreement.
The EU’s aim is for every trade agreement to be linked to a broader partnership and cooperation agreement reaffirming states’ human rights obligations. Where human rights are abused, the trade agreement could ultimately be suspended.
Existing Dutch bilateral trade agreements provide parties with the policy space to take non-discriminatory measures to protect public interests such as human rights, working conditions and the environment. The Lisbon Treaty gave the EU exclusive competence on direct foreign investment. With this shift, which does not apply to every aspect of investment, the EU now negotiates investment treaties together with the member states. Each EU investment agreement will most likely contain a separate section on environment, labour, sustainability and transparency, dealing with these issues in greater detail. The Netherlands is very much in favour of including such sections in all future EU investment protection agreements.”
4. Action points [page 41]
- “In the run-up to the Dutch EU Presidency in 2016, the government will consult with like-minded member states on shared priorities and commitments in Europe.
- An e-learning course will be developed for ministries and implementing organisations enabling them to provide clear, reliable information on human rights and business.
- In its 2014 evaluation of the social conditions of sustainable procurement policy, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will examine whether this policy is in line with the OECD Guidelines and the UN Guiding Principles, and whether central government policy can also be applied by the municipal, provincial and water authorities.”
2. The State duty to protect human rights
2.7 Policy Coherence in the Central Government Administration [page 26]:
The eighth principle deals with the state’s responsibility for ensuring coherence in the central government administration:
8. States should ensure that governmental departments, agencies and other State-based institutions that shape business practices are aware of and observe the State’s human rights obligations when fulfilling their respective mandates, including by providing them with relevant information, training and support.
To strengthen coordination, the Government will establish an interministerial working group headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that Norway’s CSR-related positions in international forums are coherent, and that the relevant ministries are notified of international decisions. See also section 2.1, The state as legislator. The Government’s consultative body on matters relating to CSR, KOMpakt, will continue to serve as a forum for regular dialogue at top level between the authorities, the private sector, trade unions, academics and civil society.
Pillar II: The corporate responsibility to respect human rights
3. Non-financial reporting: implementation of Directive 2014-95-EU [page 30]:
(…) At the same time, the tasks included in the NAP help public administration: (…) conduct a coherent policy and provide information about planned activities in the field of respecting human rights in business.
Principle 4 – Businesses receiving State support
Slovenia is bound by OECD recommendations. These recommendations are aimed at promoting policy coherence of OECD member countries for officially supported export credits relating to the environment, climate change, social and human rights, obligations to respect relevant international agreements and conventions and to contribute to sustainable development. (pg. 24)
Principle 5 – Oversight
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will devote attention to the implementation of policy coherence for development in Slovenia, thus ensuring that policies and legislation adopted by Slovenia are not to the detriment of developing countries. (pg. 25)
D. Tasks for the Third NAP
Institutionalization of Human Rights Management
1. Secure corporate responsibility on human rights [page 4]
… (3) Government should provide necessary support and legal, policy, and institutional arrangements for corporations to fulfill their human rights responsibilities.
7. Prevent human rights violations to local workers in Korean companies overseas [page 6]
- Share major issues and establish a cooperation system with related domestic and foreign institutions
Guiding Principle 3
“The Monitoring Committee, referred to in chapter IV of this Plan, in collaboration with the State Council for Corporate Social Responsibility (CERSE), will periodically evaluate if the laws and regulations to which the Guiding Principle 3 refers are appropriate.”
“The Regulations will be implemented and the Directives will be transposed, and the adaptation of the Spanish legal system to the Recommendations and the Opinions made by the EU regarding the Guiding Principles will be studied. This, will be done taking into account the reports published by the European Commission on the legal framework for human rights and the environment applicable to European companies operating outside the EU (2010), and on responsible management of the supply chain (2011) and other relevant reports.”
“In parallel, the Government, in collaboration with independent and specialized institutions with accredited experience in human rights matters where conflicts of interest do not arise, will collaborate in the creation and consolidation of on-site training programs and will promote the inclusion of specific contents on human rights in the training activities of business organizations and of the Public Administration.”
“The Government will collaborate with other governments in the development of training materials and tools.”
“The Government will train the personnel of the State Foreign Service, in accordance with Law 2/2014, of March 25, of the Action and of State the Foreign Service, as well as to the agencies in charge of the internationalization of business abroad about the responsibility of companies to respect human rights and due diligence and redress procedures, and will incorporate the Guiding Principles into the Annual Plans for External Action and the Brand Spain. Likewise, through its Diplomatic Missions, Permanent Representations and respective Sectorial Offices, especially the Economic and Commercial Offices, as well as through the Consular Offices, Technical Cooperation Offices and Training Centers of Spanish Cooperation AECID abroad, will disseminate tools and guidelines according to the characteristics of each country.”
Guiding Principle 4
“Within one year after the approval of this Plan, a Working Group will be created within the framework of the Strategic Plan for the Internationalization of the Spanish Economy, which will develop a specific Action Plan to examine the coherence of policies to support business internationalization, and its alignment with the Guiding Principles. The Working Group, which will present its conclusions to the Government, will study how cooperation for development, official credit agencies, export credit and official insurance or investment guarantee agencies of all administrations are able to condition, modulate or revise its support for investment based on the exercise of the responsibility to respect human rights by the beneficiary companies, both inside and outside of Spanish territory.”
Guiding Principle 8
“The Ministries of the Treasury and Public Function; Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Economy, Industry and Competitiveness; Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda will train and provide support on the Guiding Principles through their dependent agencies, to departments, government agencies and other state institutions that encourage and support the creation of businesses, business competitiveness and commercial and financial business practices in order to promote the coherence of policies and processes with the Guiding Principles and the international standards of human rights mandatory for Spain.”
“The Government will distribute the National Business and Human Rights Plan among civil servants and public employees through its publication in electronic and paper format.”
Guiding Principle 10
“Spain will promote the European Union, international organizations and international financial institutions of which Spain is member to share best practices with a view to encourage policy coherence and technical assistance to member states where requested.”
Guiding Principle 26
IV Monitoring and Update
“The Government will create a Plan Monitoring Commission within the quarter after its approval. This Follow-up Commission will be composed of the Ministry of the Presidency; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; the Ministry of Employment and Social Security; the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda; the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness; the Ministry of the Treasury and Public Function; the Ministry of Justice; and the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. The Commission may decide to include other Ministries in its meetings. Each Ministry will appoint one or more representatives to attend the meetings. When these Ministries are represented in the State Council for Corporate Social Responsibility, the same person must hold the representation in both bodies in order to maintain the maximum connection between them. The decisions will be made by consensus.
An annual meeting with the Permanent Commission of the State Council for Corporate Social Responsibility will be requested to promote coherence in the activities of both organisations.”
The Swedish NAP makes no explicit reference to policy coherence, although policy coherence is implicit within a range of sections of the NAP.
2 National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights 2020-23
2.1 Pillar 1: state duty to protect
Guiding Principles 1 to 3
2.1.2 Operational principles: legislative and information policy measures
Swiss legislation does not require companies to carry out human rights due diligence. In response to the popular initiative ‘Responsible Business – Protecting Human Rights and the Environment’, the Federal Council proposed submitting it to the people (referendum), without a counter-proposal. It advised voters to reject the initiative, explaining that it prefers a coordinated approach at the international level and the use of existing instruments, specifically the national action plans on the subjects covered by the popular initiative (NAP on Business and Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Action Plan and the ‘Green Economy’ report). On 14 June 2018, the National Council tabled an indirect counter-proposal, which is still being debated in parliament. The Federal Council is monitoring the debates, as well as international developments, emerging legislative trends on corporate human rights due diligence and the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles by businesses. Of particular interest are legislative changes in the EU regarding the mandatory reporting of non-financial information. Measure 13 of the 2020–23 CSR Action Plan provides for the development of a consultation draft on sustainability reporting based on the EU directive.
Measure 3 Promotion of UN Guiding Principles
The Federal Council will develop a business and human rights communications strategy18 that promotes the UN Guiding Principles and sets out in clear terms what it expects from companies and management in this regard. The strategy will comprise:
– awareness-raising efforts (incl. a website, workshops, webinars, presentations, publications);
– a platform for dialogue and the sharing of best practices (see Measure 26 below);
– communication with Swiss representations abroad;
– communication with the general public through articles, newspaper columns, company profiles, expert analyses and interviews;
– participation in forums for dialogue, particularly on commodities, alongside representatives from the cantons, the private sector, NGOs and the research community.
This communication strategy aims to raise awareness and advance the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles by the Federal Administration (policy coherence), the business community and the general public.
|Improve knowledge and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.||Number of participants at awareness-raising and other events.
A review of the NAP finds improved awareness and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles among business enterprises (cf. measure 23).
Measure 5 Multi-stakeholder initiatives on business and human rights
Many multi-stakeholder initiatives on business and human rights are already under way. The federal government plays an active and major part in several of them, such as the ICoC Association and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
The federal government works with international sports bodies based in Switzerland (including the International Olympic Committee), with sponsors, NGOs, international organisations and other governments to implement the UN Guiding Principles in the context of major sporting events and in sport generally. It also launched a multi-stakeholder dialogue which culminated, in 2018, in the creation of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights. The mission of the Geneva-based centre is to prevent, mitigate and ensure effective remedies for sports-related human rights abuses. The FDFA will support this initiative in coordination with the Federal Office of Sport.
The federal government also backs multi-stakeholder initiatives that focus on human rights issues in sectors such as textiles, cocoa and gold. As these initiatives cover other subjects such as corruption and the environment, they are dealt with in Measure 10 of the 2020–23 CSR Action Plan.
|Support multi-stakeholder initiatives on business and human rights||Federal government support for at least two projects launched as part of multi-stakeholder initiatives.||FDFA, EAER|
2.1.5 Policy coherence
Guiding Principle 8
Under Guiding Principle 8 the federal authorities and other public bodies must, in fulfilling their respective mandates, be aware of the State’s human rights obligations, and to support such obligations by way of relevant information and training.
Measure 16 Interdepartmental cooperation
As laid down in the 2020–23 CSR Action Plan, the federal government has created an interdepartmental working group on corporate social responsibility. Members are drawn from the federal offices involved in national CSR action plans and strategies. The group meets regularly to discuss and coordinate their CSR-related activities. It also investigates conflicts of interest and structures policy debate with a view to ensuring that the UN Guiding Principles are implemented consistently across the Federal Administration.
The federal government has also established an International Human Rights Policy Core Group (KIM). It functions as an interdepartmental information exchange platform and its members are drawn from the federal offices in charge of international human rights conventions. The group also receives regular briefings on NAP-related activities.
The Interdepartmental Platform on Commodities identifies and promotes synergies between sectoral policies and monitors national and international developments in the commodities sector.
The outcomes of this interdepartmental cooperation are also reflected in the consistent position which the representatives of all Departments adopt during bilateral consultations with other States, in multilateral bodies and in their public statements.
|Improve policy coherence at federal level.
|Inclusion of the NAP in federal government CSR strategies and reports.
Number of meetings held by the various interdepartmental platforms and groups.
Consistent public position by the representatives of all Departments.
Guiding Principle 9
Measure 18 Consistency between trade agreements and protection of human rights
The primary aim of free trade agreements is to foster bilateral trade relations and increase the economic competitiveness of contracting states. In negotiating free trade agreements (and investment promotion and protection agreements; see below), Switzerland is committed to ensuring that provisions to achieve consistency between trade and sustainable development are included. These serve to underline the parties’ obligation to comply with the applicable multilateral environmental agreements and ILO conventions, and to implement them effectively. They also refer to international instruments to protect human rights, and the principles of responsible corporate governance. Swiss free trade agreements also contain provisions stipulating that the agreement should not impede or compromise existing obligations under international law, including in respect of human rights. Free trade agreements are monitored by joint committees. Civil society contributes to the preparatory work for joint committee meetings, specifically through the WTO/FTA liaison group. The Federal Council continues to monitor and conduct impact assessments regarding international developments on human rights due diligence in trade agreements.
In the interests of policy coherence, Switzerland also advocates the inclusion of consistency provisions when negotiating investment protection agreements (IPAs). The federal government drafted provisions to achieve greater consistency between IPAs and sustainable development objectives (e.g. provisions setting out the right to regulate; references to human rights and corporate social responsibility in the recitals to IPAs). These provisions underline the importance of interpreting and applying these agreements in a manner that is consistent with other international commitments undertaken by Switzerland and its partner countries, including those on human rights protection.
|Improve consistency between Switzerland’s trade agreements and respect for human rights.
|Human rights references, corporate social responsibility and the right to regulate are incorporated into trade agreements (FTAs/IPAs) submitted to parliament.
The subject is discussed by the WTO/FTA liaison group.
2.3.2 Operational principles: state judicial mechanisms
Guiding Principle 26
Measure 31 Promoting the option of collective redress
In the process of revising the CPC [Civil Procedure Code], the federal government drafted amendments to the provisions governing costs with a view to extending the scope of the conciliation procedure. New rules on group actions and establishing a group settlement mechanism will close a gap in the available legal protection by facilitating class actions in respect of mass and dispersed damage claims. These amendments and new articles bring the draft bill in line with Business and Human Rights Recommendations 39 and 42 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 2 March 2016.54 They also meet the expectations of the UN, as expressed in Guiding Principle 26.
The UK 2013 NAP notes in the Introduction that [page 6-7]:
“Companies have told us that they need from the Government policy coherence and clear and consistent policy messaging. They need certainty about the Government’s expectations of them on human rights, and expect support in meeting those expectations. This action plan aims to meet those needs. It sets out how the Government has responded to the UNGPs and our plans for further work to:
- ensure policy consistency across the UK Government on the UNGPs.”
The UK 2013 NAP states in relation to Actions taken to support business implementation of the UNGPs that [page 14]:
“To help businesses to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights we have so far:
(i) published this action plan, setting out the Government’s actions and expectations on business and human rights. We will seek clear and consistent communication of this policy through ministers, UK business ambassadors and officials who engage with business, and on Government websites and social media pages, including those of our embassies and high commissions.”
The UK 2016 Updated NAP refers to policy coherence already in the introduction [page 4], where it explains that:
“As part of our commitment to updating the National Action Plan the Government held a series of public consultation events, looking at the plan as a whole, the approach to implementation, and examining in more detail some of the elements contained in the three pillars of the UNGPs. The consultations produced some clear messages from business and civil society regarding the Government’s responsibilities and actions in this regard. These included suggestions that the Government should:
- give a clear commitment to the UNGPs as the most appropriate model for promoting business and human rights at the international level, and consistency with other international processes, especially the OECD Guidelines;
- provide policy coherence and clear communication of the actions taken.
- be clear on our expectations of business and provide support, where appropriate, in meeting those expectations;”
The UK 2016 Updated NAP further refers to policy coherence in the section The existing UK Legal Policy Framework [page 6]:
“The UNGPs set out the general regulatory and policy measures a state may take in order to fulfil their duty to protect against human rights violations by third parties, including business enterprises. They recommend that states should: (…) Ensure policy coherence across government, including by providing training, information and support”.
The UK 2016 Updated NAP states in relation to Actions taken to support business implementation of the UNGPs that [page 15]:
“To help businesses to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights the Government has:
(i) updated this action plan, setting out the Government’s actions and expectations on business and human rights. We will seek clear and consistent communication of this policy through ministers, UK business ambassadors and officials who engage with business and other appropriate channels.”
Purpose of the NAP [page 5]
“This NAP is designed to reinforce and strengthen the U.S. government’s role in advancing RBC through effective intra-governmental coordination and policymaking, promoting high standards globally, facilitating current and future RBC efforts through enhanced collaboration, and highlighting and supporting U.S. industry leadership.”