Guiding Principle 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.
There is no inevitable tension between States’ human rights obligations and the laws and policies they put in place that shape business practices. However, at times, States have to make difficult balancing decisions to reconcile different societal needs. To achieve the appropriate balance, States need to take a broad approach to managing the business and human rights agenda, aimed at ensuring both vertical and horizontal domestic policy coherence.
Vertical policy coherence entails States having the necessary policies, laws and processes to implement their international human rights law obligations. Horizontal policy coherence means supporting and equipping departments and agencies, at both the national and subnational levels, that shape business practices – including those responsible for corporate law and securities regulation, investment, export credit and insurance, trade and labour – to be informed of and act in a manner compatible with the Governments’ human rights obligations.
What National Action Plans say on Guiding Principle 8
STATUS IN BELGIUM/ACTIONS ENGAGED:
The introduction describes that the during the drafting process, comments from the Advisory Council on Policy Coherence for Development were included.
Action point 10, 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 [Belgium is committed to integrating human rights and corporate social responsibility (CSR) criteria into the local private sector development support strategy of Belgian cooperation] 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.
The Guiding Principle 8 is directly quoted in the Action point 20, Promouvoir les entreprises publiques socialement responsables [Promote state enterprises that are socially responsible] in regards to public authorities duty to perform an exemplary role in the respect, protection and promotion of human rights, as well as responsibly manage their activities, both within their sphere of influence and more particularly with state companies and/or companies’ receiving public support.
On Action point 26, Accorder une attention particulière à la ratification d’une série de conventions de l’OIT ayant trait à la santé et la sécurité au travail [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.”
Pillar I. The State Duty to Protect Human Rights
Strand 6: Strengthening Coherence between Public Policies [pages 44-47]
There was constant mentioning at the participatory dialogues of the need to generate spaces for coordination within the State allowing to send a clear message about business and human rights by the different organisations and services, as well as regarding the public policies being exercises.
6.1. 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:
o 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.
o Carry out, for the dissemination of the 2030 Agenda, participation and reflection actions with business enterprises.
o 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.
6.2. The Ministry of Social Development will draft a proposal for gathering information about business and human rights, which includes the following:
- To review the international experience in the subject;
- To analyse current instruments for gathering information;
- To draft a proposal that includes indicators using the information available and require the gathering of new information.
- Through the National Service of the Elderly, will coordinate dialogues about the services that provide the elderly residences with a human rights approach through protocols guidelines. The dialogues will be with enterprises at a regional level that provide services of care to elderly people to disseminate the guidelines the Service has define.
6.3. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will:
o 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:
- Reinforce the work of committees created pursuant to chapters contained in trade agreements about SMEs, cooperation, gender, environment, transparency and labour matters, so that they include human rights-related objectives in their duties, thus becoming a forum for carrying out relevant dialogues. In line with the above, DIRECON will encourage the development of specific coordination activities in the committees and promote the development of technical capacities in human rights
- Continue to promote, in international negotiations, both at a bilateral and multilateral level, Intellectual Property Schemes seeking a balance between the protection rights of inventors and creators and the interests of society in general. In this context, apart from promoting Intellectual Property, consideration will be given to the respect for the human right of having access to knowledge and culture, and the right to healthcare. · Disseminate the importance of respecting human rights in global value chains (GVCs), encouraging the introduction of this matter in discussions held and worked carried out by the GVC Intergovernmental Group, as well as in presentations to the business community and other agents.
6.4. The Ministry of Economy will:
o 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.
o Prepare an annual report informing about the relationship between cooperatives and SDGs. This report will include a special chapter about human rights.
6.5 The Under-Secretariat of Social Security of the Ministry of Labour will coordinate national, regional and tripartite efforts concerning the National Programme for Health and Safety in the Workplace. This Programme seeks to promote the development of a national culture of prevention in health and safety issues; contribute to the protection of workers through the elimination of work-related dangers and risks, or to their reduction to a minimum level, with the purpose of preventing injuries, diseases and deaths caused by work and promote health and safety in the workplace. Implementation will be based on ILO Convention No. 187 about the Framework for Health and Safety in the Workplace and the Programme of Government of the President of the Republic, through a regional and nations process of consultation to representatives of the employers, workers, government entities and bodies responsible for enforcing Law No. 16,744.
6.6. The Ministry of Mining will disseminate the most relevant elements of the new Regulation of Mining Safety, which promotes and sets out the rights and duties related with occupational health and safety matters.
The State Duty to Protect Human Rights
Inter-institutional coordination [page 10]
The State has multiple public policies affecting business activities from various fields (regulation, monitoring, penalty, support, etc.). Consistency is required between such activities and the inclusion of a common human rights protection and respect based approach. Such inter-institutional coordination will aim at defining shared objectives for all related competent entities harmonically, having coordination mechanisms, courses of action, room for discussion, training resources, among others. To such end, the Task Force on Business and Human Rights must become the entity to guide and coordinate the action of the State.
This inter-institutional coordination must not only address the consistency of national policies (horizontal), but also their implementation in the territories (vertical) in particular. It is necessary to grant a relevant role upon local governments in this Plan, strengthening them so they can thus embrace a new human rights agenda. The implementation of this Plan requires an effort for the training of government servants in the national and territorial entities, addressing their specific characteristics to improve the learning management and ensure the continuation of this approach into the future.
Pillar I. The State Duty to Protect
and dissemination of existing documents, education and awareness-raising [pages 9-11]
GP 2, 3c and 8
Increasing attention is paid to the theme of business and human rights in recent years. Many countries, international organisations and universities have produced numerous documents, model professional and theme-based codes of conduct, examples of good practice, recommendations and guidelines. Examples include recommendations and model codes published by the OECD, EU bodies, the Council of Europe and the ILO, as well as examples of good practice from the business community. However, these documents have not been gathered in one place. Businesses wishing to guard against human rights risks in their operations, perhaps by introducing new internal control mechanisms, adopting a code of conduct or incorporating human rights clauses into their contracts, may find it difficult to look up information.
A sound of response would be to find these documents, collect them in one place, classify them and, where necessary, translate them into Czech so that texts on business and human rights are made available to the general public. When new materials are drawn up, they should be written in plain language that a layman can easily understand.
The world’s universities are also aware of how important this subject is. The “Teach BHR” platform, grouping together those who teach business and human rights at universities, currently has 240 members from 140 institutions in 32 countries. It also offers ready-made study materials, workshops and experience-sharing forums. When it comes to Czech higher-education institutions, the University of Economics, Prague, runs a specialised course called “Business and Human Rights”, and other colleges cover this topic, for example, as part of their business ethics courses.
Current state of play:
- The Quality Council of the Czech Republic runs the National CSR Information Portal.
- The supreme judicial bodies publish summaries of key rulings, especially those relevant to human rights.
- Every year, the Government publishes a Report on the State of Human Rights and numerous other reports and documents analysing respect for human rights in the Czech Republic. Reports in the same vein are also published by other institutions, including the Ombudsman.
- The National Contact Point for the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises is responsible for promoting the Guidelines and their instruments (seminars, training, promotional materials, etc.).
- The Ministry of Industry and Trade, in cooperation with the Czech Trade Inspection Authority has launched the “Consumer Protection” project to provide information on the latest developments in consumer law.
- Propose changes to the website of the National CSR Information Portal.
Coordinator: Ministry of Trade and Industry
Co-coordinator: Ministry for Human Rights
Deadline: 30 June 2018
- On the National CSR Information Portal, post documents and materials of business associations (the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Industry, the Confederation of Employers’ and Business Associations of the Czech Republic, industry associations, and others), trade unions and NGOs active in corporate social responsibility for those businesses that take the voluntary decision to subscribe to human rights commitments.
Coordinators: Ministry for Human Rights, Ministry of Industry and Trade
Deadline: Running, following the completion of the previous task
- Translate the UN Guiding Principles and other key documents into Czech.
Coordinator: Ministry for Human Rights
Deadline: 31 December 2017
- Provide the National Portal administrator with business and human rights documents that the ministries have at their disposal and that concern their scope of responsibilities.
Coordinators: All ministries
- Assess the vehicles in place to provide businesses with information on human rights risks in countries or regions where they are planning to set up operations.
Coordinator: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Most serious infringements of working conditions [pages 16-18]
Implements Principles 1, 2 and 8
Even in advanced countries, we come across cases where employees find themselves in a highly vulnerable position and are required to put up with undignified working conditions, and where their employer, for instance, refuses to pay them. The victims of this abuse are frequently foreign nationals as they have limited opportunity to defend themselves. Evidence of such practices can also be found in the Czech Republic. Those working in other people’s households are another risk group. Such actions have fallout for employees, for the state (which is robbed of taxes and insurance contributions), and for honest businesses, who cannot compete with such labour.
Whereas minor cases of labour-law violations are subject to checks by labour inspection bodies, more serious cases can be prosecuted as crimes. However, for these modern-day unfair practices to be detected and prevented effectively, there needs to be coordinated cooperation between many state bodies and social partners. There may be numerous labour-law violations in supply chains, via temporary employment agencies, or at entities that act as recruiters but do not hold a permit to do so. To make it possible to stamp out these most serious forms of abuse, businesses themselves should pay attention to working conditions at their partners and, if they detect any breaches of the law, they should either demand that corrective action be taken or sever ties. The state’s role here is to create a functioning labour market that will not cater to illegal practices. This does not mean just the repression of the perpetrators, but also the shaping of conditions conducive to the legal employment of foreign nationals.
Current state of play:
- The Czech Republic has ratified the International Labour Organisation’s Private Employment Agencies Convention (Convention No 181).
- Directive 2008/104/EC on temporary agency work, regulating this area at EU level, and Directive 2009/52/EC providing for minimum standards on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals have been transposed into Czech law.
- A methodological guideline of the Inspector General of the State Labour Inspectorate Authority has been issued to harmonise inspection procedures in checks focusing on temporary agency work.
- The constituent elements of misdemeanours and administrative offences in labour law are being clarified.
- A law is being drawn up that will tighten conditions for the establishment and operation of temporary employment agencies. Users drawing on the services of such agencies are to be made co-responsible for the observance of commensurable wage and working conditions for temporary employees, and compulsory deposits are being introduced for each agency.
- The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs hosts the Interministerial Body to Combat the Illegal Employment of Foreign Nationals, which plays a coordinating role, and the Economic and Social Agreement Council’s Working Party on the Mediation of Employment by Temporary Employment Agencies.
- A Concept for the Prevention of the Labour Exploitation of European Union Citizens in the Czech Republic has been produced.
- The Czech Republic activity combats human trafficking in accordance with the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking in the Czech Republic 2016-2019.
- Czech law contains procedures to help victims of human trafficking to legalise their stay and to find work. Although victims can take their claims to the civil courts, lawsuits tend to be lengthy and arduous for someone who cannot speak the language, is unfamiliar with the legal system, and does not have the money for a lawyer. In criminal proceedings, victims may be represented by an agent, such as a non-profit organisation.
- Under the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking in the Czech Republic 2016-2019, an analysis is being conducted of flaws in selected labour-law regulations that could pander to an exploitative working environment (Task 1 of the National Strategy).
- Focus, via labour inspection bodies, on unravelling the illegal employment of foreign nationals and running checks on temporary employment agencies and other entities acting as recruiters without the necessary permit.
Coordinator: Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
- Evaluate the implementation of Directive 2009/52/EC providing for minimum standards on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals. The evaluation will include an analysis of the extra administrative burden and the ramifications for businesses.
Coordinator: Ministry of the Interior
Co-coordinator: Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Deadline: 31 December 2022
- Assess whether illegal employment is genuinely being earnestly prosecuted.
Coordinator: Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Deadline: Running, with a comprehensive assessment on 31 December 2022
- Make arrangements to raise foreign nationals’ awareness of their labour rights and obligations.
Coordinator: Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
- Raise law enforcement agencies’ awareness of issues specific to human trafficking, with a stress on victim protection and the non-punishment principle (i.e. the impunity and protection of those who have been forced into criminal activity). Take this principle into account in the preparation of legislation that may touch on human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
Coordinators: Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice
Introduction [page 9]
In 2012, the Danish Government started to take dedicated measures to implement the UNGPs on each of the pillars in the Protect, Respect and Remedy-framework based on recommendations from the Council for CSR. Some of these initiatives are part of the second National Action Plan for CSR; Responsible Growth 2012–2015, which the Government presented in March 2012. The CSR Action Plan focuses on business and human rights and was inspired by the recent international development in the field of CSR including the revision of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises from May 2011, the ratification of the UNGPs in June 2011 and the renewed EU Strategy 2011–14 for Corporate Social Responsibility.
2. State Duty to Protect Human Rights
2.3 Actions taken
Ensuring policy coherence across governmental departments and agencies [page 11]
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).”
Promoting CSR in the Public Sector [page 16]
“The public authorities should assume social responsibility relating to environmental, social and economic conditions as well as human rights in connection with their activities. To obtain this objective, the Government will invite municipalities and regions to jointly prepare guidelines for how public authorities can avoid having an adverse impact on international guidelines. The guidelines should be used to manage the challenges the public authorities are facing today when acting as a private company.”
Appendix 1. Overview of the implementation of the state duty to protect
Status in Denmark (initiatives implemented before the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 31]
- Together with poverty reduction, promoting human rights is at the core of Danish development cooperation. The Danish rights-based approach to development cooperation includes a focus on improving the overall framework conditions for ensuring respect for human rights, capacity building in governmental and legal institutions, research institutions, civil society and business organisations.
- 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.
Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles)
- The Government has updated the CSR Compass which is an online tool that helps companies exercise due diligence in the supply chain. The guide has been updated in accordance with the UNGPs and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. This online tool will also be promoted to governmental departments, agencies and other State-based institutions.
- Danida/the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is increasingly integrating business and human rights issues in its bilateral development assistance programs, especially within private sector development. The most far-reaching attempt at this so far has been the new program on Responsible Business in Myanmar which is directly based on the Guiding principles.
3.3. Training and counselling [page 26]
Training plays a crucial role in the promotion of human rights related to business activities. As a party protecting human rights, the state also has the obligation to promote training, communications and counselling related to them. They may target companies, the authorities, and other operators. The Team Finland network (cf. next paragraph) may be used as one of the training channels. Companies may also independently acquire information and training related to human rights from various experts and consultants. However, compared to large companies, SMEs have limited resources for acquiring training related to human rights. For this reason, it is important to provide targeted training for SMEs.
As a follow-up measure, the working group proposes that
- the distribution of information on the UN principles and on the related interpretive guide published by the UN be ensure
- the need for training and information related to the impact of business on human rights and the responsibilities of Finnish companies with regards to international business activities be
- training related to the theme of business and human rights be provided to companies. The special emphasis is on SMEs operating in branches of activity that pose a high risk for human rights.
- Principal responsible parties: Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Employment and the Economy in conjunction with business sector organisations, schedule 2014 to 2016.
The French NAP does not contain a reference to GP8.
V. Ensuring policy coherence [page 40]
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.
Section 3. Actions
I. Key commitments to ensure policy coherence across government [pages 16-17]
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Amend the terms of reference of the interdepartmental Committee on Human Rights to include the monitoring of the National Plan
- Include Business and Human Rights as a regular item on the agenda of the DFAT Ngo standing Committee on Human Rights
- 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
- 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
- Ensure coherence between Ireland’s new trading strategy: ‘Ireland Connected: trading and investing in a dynamic World’ 10, and the National Plan on Business and Human Rights.
Annex 1 – list of additional and ongoing actions to be carried out across government
Trade and Investment [page 21]
Provide information to participants in overseas trade missions led by government representatives on human rights issues in the destination countries.
Ensure that state agencies and staff involved in promoting two-way trade and investment have received briefing and guidance on the purpose and implementation of the UN guiding Principles.
I. Statement of Commitment [page 5]
(…) To protect human rights, Italy undertakes to:
– Coordinate the implementation of the present NAP with the 17 Goals of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and engage for a stronger national adherence to human rights and sustainable development in its three dimension – economic, social and environmental – in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (especially SDG number 5,8,10,16,17).”
II. Background and Context
D. Business, Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility [page 8]
The Italian Government recognizes the strong interconnection between business and human rights issues and corporate social responsibility, yet clarifies that the two policy areas are object of two different National Action Plans. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and practices are indeed developed and elaborated within the competences of the Ministry of Economic Development – which includes also the OECD National Contact Point (NCP) – and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, including as well the activity related to responsible business conduct. In this regard, the Italian NCP commissioned to the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna a research project aimed at examining the adequacy of the Italian regulatory and institutional framework in relation to the UNGPs to provide national enterprises a referral guide for the responsible social management (http://pcnitalia.mise.gov.it/en/news/item/271-business-and-human-rights-the-italian-case).
In 2013, in implementing the Communication of the EU Commission in “A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility” (COM 2011 681), the Ministry of the Economic Development and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies have developed, in cooperation with national institutions, stakeholders, social partners and business the “2012-2014 Italian Action Plan for the implementation of the EU Communication on CSR”.2
In the awaits of the revised EU Communication, there will be elaborated a new Action Plan which will encompass a series of cross-cutting measures and actions that will contribute to creating a more favourable context for the human rights promotion within business activities.
IV. Government responses
Current Activities and Future Commitments [page 24]
B. Operational Principles
Ensuring policy coherence
Guiding Principle 8
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.
- Development – with the assistance of CIDU – of training activities on business and human rights for competent government and public officials through the predisposition of e-learning scheme and ad hoc seminars which will be tailored on the specific competences of each department/ministry.
The Lithuanian NAP does not contain a reference to GP8.
3. Results of the consultations and government response
3.2 Policy coherence [page 16]
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 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.
4. Action Points
Policy coherence [page 41]
- (…) 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]
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.
3. Actions taken to align NAPs with the UN Guiding Principles [page 8]
Through the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, the NAP primarily aims to enhance the protection of human rights of individuals and to enable them to seek justice when their rights are violated by business. By describing the government’s actions to promote corporate social responsibility, as well as referring to strategic documents in this area, the NAP demonstrates a deliberate state policy of supporting businesses while stressing the need for human rights.
Pillar I. The State’s duty to protect human rights
7. Planned and on-going activities [page 27]
Promotion of information on human rights in business, including as an issue that builds the credibility and brand of enterprises, and raising awareness of the issue of respect for human rights in business through publications and training.
Training in business and human rights based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for heads of embassies, consulates-general, and Polish Institutes, and in CSR/RBC, business and human rights, and corruption prevention run by the Ministry of Economic Development for individuals delegated to work in Trade and Investment Promotion departments and the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the OECD.
Pillar II. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights [page 28]
(…)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.
III. Areas of Actions and Measures
Pillar I. The State Duty to Protect Human Rights
Operational Principles [page 20]
Guiding Principle 8
1.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.
2.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.
Introduction [page 6]
The action plan is also an important part of the Government’s heightened ambitions for foreign trade, through the export strategy, CSR and other areas. It is an equally important part of the Government’s re-launch of its Policy for Global Development and its efforts to contribute to the new global sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Annex: Measures taken
In 2013, the Swedish Government adopted a platform for Swedish action on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The issue of business and human rights has received considerable attention in recent years. The following examples describe some measures already taken in accordance with this policy.
The State as actor [page 23]
- Several seminars have been organised on the issue of business and human rights. For example, in 2013 a national conference was held in the context of work on Sweden’s Policy for Global Development. Business and human rights was one of three main themes. In the same year, a conference on CSR was held in Stockholm. One of the focus areas was business and human rights. Dialogue meetings were also held in 2013 with businesses and civil society organisations on the subject of working and safety conditions in the Bangladeshi textile sector. In January 2015, a seminar on labour law and trade union relations was held at the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, in cooperation with trade unions and companies. In the first half of 2015, the Swedish embassies in Argentina and Chile organised seminars on sustainable wine production.
- In 2013 and 2014, business and human rights issues were major components of CSR activities carried out in Colombia, China, Egypt, Zambia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea and the Czech Republic. These activities are directed by Sweden’s CSR Ambassador.
Annex: Measures planned
How can the State support the business sector? [page 27]
- At Swedish embassies, knowledge about CSR and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights will be enhanced through training initiatives. Embassies should use their local networks for Swedish and other companies, government agencies, trade unions and NGOs for support, cooperation and dialogue on how best to respect human rights. Embassies should be prepared to capture information about potential problems related to human rights and Swedish companies, especially in conflict-affected countries.”
The State as development partner [page 29]
- The Government will integrate sustainability issues into trade policy and export promotion and in the context of the re-launch of the Policy for Global Development and its efforts to contribute to the new global sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Introduction [page 4]
The implementation of the UNGP will also be taken as an opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the federal agencies concerned, as well as policy consistency in general.
5 National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights [page 9]
“(…) The Federal Council regards the implementation of the UNGP as an on-going process which must adapt to shifting challenges, and will also make a key contribution to preventing any conflicts of objectives between Switzerland’s human rights and foreign trade policies – or to resolving them. This NAP should be reviewed and updated every four years.(…)”
5.7 Pillar 1: state duty to protect
5.7.5 Policy coherence [pages 26-30]
Guiding Principle 8
According to Guiding Principle 8, in fulfilling their roles, federal authorities and other government institutions must be aware of the State’s human rights obligations, and must receive relevant information and training.
The Federal Council regards the present National Action Plan, along with the position paper on CSR, as suitable means of achieving this goal.
The federal government will employ the following policy instruments (PI) to implement Guiding Principle 8:
PI27 Implementation, review and update of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights
The present Action Plan is the first strategy document from the federal government that addresses the specific issue of business and human rights.
In view of the rapidly changing environment and the variety of ways in which State action affects and is affected by the business and human rights domain, constant vigilance is required to ensure that government policy remains consistent. This can be fostered by means of an inclusive, ongoing process of drafting, reviewing and renewing the National Action Plan.82 The Federal Council will implement, review and update the National Action Plan in line with the international standard defined by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (cf. Point 6). It will present the first updated version of the National Action Plan in 2020.
PI28 Coherence between the various policies, strategies and action plans
Economic, social, environmental, development and human rights policies are all interrelated elements of a policy to promote sustainable development. The Federal Council attaches great importance to coherence between these policies. The issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is dealt with in the position paper and action plan of the Federal Council on corporate responsibility for society and the environment83. CSR and business and human rights are also mentioned in the goals of the 2030 Agenda, as well as in several federal government strategies. These include, for example, this present Action Plan, the Sustainable Development Strategy84, the Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation85, the Foreign Policy Report86, the Foreign Economic Policy Report87, the FDFA Human Rights Strategy 2016-201988, the Swiss Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders89 and the National Action Plan to Fight Human Trafficking90. Consistent policies on business and human rights are ensured by incorporating the UNGP into these strategies.
The Federal Council incorporated the UNGP, as a key reference framework for State activities in the business and human rights sphere, into the Sustainable Development Strategy, which it endorsed as part of its legislative planning programme in early 2016. The Principles incorporated into the Strategy include recognition of the federal government’s duty to protect, as well as the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights – one of the means of doing so being the implementation of human rights due diligence.
PI29 Legislative review to ensure conformity with the UNGP
The federal government should ensure that the national legal framework supports and does not hinder respect for human rights. As part of the office consultation procedure, the federal government will verify that new law complies with this principle.
Under the present service level agreement, where new legislation which has a particular bearing on business and human rights is being drafted or discussed, the federal government can instruct the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR) to review the consistency of that legislation with the UNGP.
PI30 Interdepartmental cooperation
The federal government maintains an International Human Rights Policy Core Group (KIM), in which all interested departments and offices are represented. Its role is to support coordination and consultation between federal agencies on all human rights matters.
In 2016, the FDFA drew up a strategy for Swiss human rights policy which also includes the issue of business and human rights. This strengthens the way in which human rights are incorporated into relevant policy fields.
PI31 Awareness-raising and training programmes within the federal government
The federal government offers a block course on business and human rights as part of annual human rights training for employees of the Federal Administration, and as part of general human rights training for future diplomats. It also offers targeted training to further the expertise of employees at Swiss representations abroad, especially in conflict-affected and high-risk regions.
PI32 National human rights institution
In 2010, the Federal Council and the SCHR embarked on a five-year pilot project with the remit to build capacity at all levels of the political system, in civil society and in business to fulfil Switzerland’s international human rights obligations, and to encourage public debate about human rights91. One of the core areas covered by the SCHR is what it refers to as the ‘thematic cluster’ of Human Rights and Business92.
On 29 June 2016, the Federal Council decided to set up a national human rights institution. Its purpose is to further strengthen human rights in Switzerland, to support the authorities, civil society organisations and business enterprises in human rights matters, and to encourage exchange between the relevant actors. The FDJP and the FDFA have been commissioned to submit a consultation draft to the Federal Council by the end of June 2017. Under the UNGP, national human rights institutions play an important part in supporting States with the implementation of human rights.
The UK 2013 NAP
The UK 2013 NAP does not contain a reference to GP8.
The UK 2016 updated NAP
The UK 2016 updated NAP does not contain a reference to GP8.
Foreword by John F. Kerry [page 2]
“(…) We undertook this process to enhance coordination within our government, push for higher standards and a more level playing field globally (…) .
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. (…)
Therefore, environmental issues are addressed in this document to the extent that they overlap with RBC. The Obama Administration’s environmental objectives are comprehensively addressed, and the roles of business and other stakeholders in achieving them, through certain executive statements of policy such as President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and Executive Orders (E.O.s) such as E.O. 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.
Facilitating RBS by companies
Outcome 3.2: Build U.S. Government Officials’ Capacity to Support RBC [page 19]
RBC Training for U.S. Embassies: State will establish a plan in 2017 to further integrate instruction on RBC into relevant training for diplomats and other U.S. government employees stationed overseas. Training will initially focus on ensuring that officers dealing with economic and labor issues have a background in RBC. Content will be adapted for use in USAID and other agency training courses. Some training on specific aspects of RBC is already standard for U.S. diplomats and other government employees. U.S. embassies are already engaged in promoting and recognising RBC via their participation in the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) process. They are also tasked with referring companies and others to the USNCP, as appropriate. Implementing Department or Agency: State
Ongoing commitments and initiatives
FCPA Training: State and Commerce will continue to provide FCPA and related anti-corruption training to Commerce’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service officers and State Foreign Service officers so that they may raise awareness about corruption and compliance programs and assist U.S. companies as appropriate when confronted with corruption overseas. Implementing Department or Agency: State, Commerce, DOJ, SEC
Labor Attaché Program: In 2014, DOL established a new program through which staff members from its Bureau of International Labor Affairs are stationed in U.S. embassies overseas for a period of two to three years. DOL has placed attachés in Bangladesh, Colombia, and Vietnam to date. Acting as part of the U.S. Embassy team, these attachés play a leading role in engaging with various stakeholders, analysing relevant legal and policy developments, articulating U.S. government interests and objectives, and working to promote awareness of international labor standards and best practices. Implementing Department or Agency: DOJ
USAID New Training Module on Supply Chains and Trafficking: USAID routinely offers training to all USAID staff on Counter-Trafficking in Persons (CTIP). In 2016, a new module was developed and incorporated into the CTIP training, and replicated in USAID training for economic growth officers on effective approaches to counter labor trafficking and other labor abuse in specific sectors and supply chains. Implementing Department or Agency: USAID