The UN Forum is the world's largest annual gathering on business and human rights with more than 2,000 participants from government, business, community groups and civil society, law firms, investor organisations, UN bodies, national human rights institutions, trade unions, academia and the media.
Over three days, participants take part in 60+ panel discussions on topics that relate to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the "Protect", "Respect" and "Remedy" Framework), as well as current business-related human rights issues.
The Forum is the foremost event to network, share experiences and learn about the many initiatives to promote corporate respect for human rights.
The UN Human Rights Council, under paragraph 12 of its resolution 17/4, established the Forum to serve as a key global platform for stakeholders to ”discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights.” It is guided by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
Date: 27-29 November 2017, Geneva (Switzerland)
Location: Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Registration and logistics queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme: The UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is the global platform for yearly stock-taking and lesson-sharing on efforts to move the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from paper to practice. The central theme of the 2017 Forum is “Realizing Access to Effective Remedy”. The programme also features sessions for new audiences and discussions on broader policy trends that consider the role of the business and human rights movement in today’s political and social contexts around the world. For a brief explanation of aims, focus and background, see the concept note that is available here. The programme will be made available on this site in due course. For highlights and key messages from the 2016 Forum, see here.
See also OHCHR presentation of the 2016 Forum delivered at the 35th Human Rights Council (June 2017)
Parallel sessions: The process for proposing parallel session proposals for the 2017 Forum is now closed. Details about the process and criteria are available here.
Request for background information: The 2017 Forum will have a major focus on the issue of access to remedy for business-related human rights impacts – the third pillar of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In order to inform preparations, the Forum Secretariat is doing a mapping of ongoing research and projects linked to this topic. All stakeholders are encouraged to submit brief information about ongoing or planned research and projects for 2017-18 related to the issue of access to remedy in the context of business and human rights. The information should be submitted via this online form. Received information will be posted on the Forum web page. Compilation of received information is available here
Registration: Registration will open via this page in mid-September (the delay is due to the introduction of a new e-registration system at the UN in Geneva).
Submissions: Submissions to the 2017 Forum are available here.
The UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is the global platform for yearly stock-taking and lesson-sharing on efforts to move the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from paper to practice. As the world’s largest gathering on the topic of business and human rights, it provides a unique space for dialogue between governments, business, civil society, affected individuals and communities and international organizations on major human rights issues in the global economy.
The central theme of the 2017 UN Forum is “Realizing Access to Effective Remedy”. The Forum will address the critical issue of access to remedy by examining systemic flaws and shortcomings in existing efforts and reviewing emerging good practices and innovations, with a view to achieving greater coherence and committed action in the service of human rights and rights-holders. Discussions will include the full range of mechanisms covered by the third pillar of the Guiding Principles: from State-based judicial and non-judicial mechanisms to non-State-based remediation and grievance mechanisms involving companies, industry bodies, multi-stakeholder initiatives and regional and international institutions. For list of non-exhaustive list of topics click here.
As a starting point, a constructive dialogue among all stakeholders, featuring new ideas and practice- based perspectives to address current gaps and their root causes, is essential for building greater understanding of challenges and delivering coherent solutions. Such dialogue needs to be action- oriented and aimed at identifying concrete commitments from actors in positions to advance change and overcome existing barriers to remedies. Moreover, such dialogue needs to involve victims, human rights defenders, community and workers’ organizations, civil society from all regions, governments, national human rights institutions, business associations, companies, lawyers and investors. The 2017 Forum provides a unique opportunity to bring these various groups together to examine recent initiatives and explore common ground and practical solutions for ensuring more effective access to remedy.
Further background, pre-Forum dialogue and agenda
Further explanation of the focus, aims, context and key considerations for the 2017 Forum is outlined in a background note by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. In order to facilitate pre-Forum dialogue around the themes and topics of the 2017 Forum, the Forum organizers will soon launch a blog series platform. All stakeholder groups are encouraged to take part.
The Forum Secretariat is currently undertaking a mapping of ongoing research and projects linked to access to remedy in the area of business and human rights. All stakeholders are encouraged to submit brief information about ongoing or planned research and projects for 2017-18 related to this issue. The information should be submitted via this online form.
Tentative list of topics for the 2017 Forum programme
Forum sessions will cover a wide range of topics and issues. Discussions linked to the remedy theme – reflecting the complexity and breadth of issues related to implementation of the Guiding Principles’ third pillar – will include topics such as:
Mapping the landscape of grievance mechanisms
Trends and challenges in seeking access to remedy in different regions
Exploring elements of effective remedy, including through the perspectives of victims
Experiences of indigenous peoples in seeking access to remedy
Trends in supply chain related regulation and litigation
Global governance frameworks trends and innovations for leveraging more effective access to remedy
Exploring collaborative approaches in industry and multi-stakeholder initiatives to strengthen access to remedy
Using leverage to advance access to remedy through business relationships by exploring innovations of the ILO MNE Declaration
National action plans (NAPs) and access to remedy
Access to remedy and the proposed legally binding instrument
The State-business nexus and access to remedy
The international investment regime and access to remedy
Improving effectiveness of State-based judicial and non-judicial mechanisms
Lessons from cross-border cases and efforts to strengthen cross-border law enforcement collaboration
Lessons from State-based peer review processes for strengthening access to non-judicial remedy
How to make operational-level grievance mechanisms work
The power of stakeholder dialogue and company-community-government engagement to achieve access to remedy for victims
Remedy in post-conflict and transition contexts
Addressing access to remedy in the digital age
Technology platforms and access to remedy in complex supply chains
Exploring pro bono legal support to affected stakeholders
Role of benchmarks in driving access to remedy
The role of investors in driving better remediation in supply chains
Access to remedy and the corporate board room
The role of corporate counsel in the context of human rights disputes
Roles and perspectives of human rights defenders
Migrant workers and access to remedy
Children at risk and access to remedy
Access to remedy for women affected by large-scale investments
Access to remedy for women affected by sexual abuse in the workplace
Compensation for victims of industrial supply chain accidents
Access to remedy and efforts to address modern slavery in supply chains
Role of mediation in achieving effective access to remedy
Independent accountability mechanisms as forums to achieve effective remedy
The role of regional human rights systems
The Forum plenary and other sessions will also address broader policy trends and consider the role of the business and human rights movement in today’s political and social contexts. In doing so, the Forum will explore how the business and human rights lens can help tackle some of today’s greatest human rights challenges, whether linked to the workplace, global supply chains, domestic economies or particular sectors; and provide a transformative vision of the role of the business sector in achieving sustainable development. This includes exploring strategies and forging coalitions between stakeholders to defend human rights and implement the Guiding Principles.
The 2017 Forum aims to facilitate broad stock-taking of developments in the area business and human rights, by also addressing issues such as: Where is State action on business and human rights heading?
What is the state of play of business implementation of the responsibility to respect, including across supply chains and among smaller and medium sized enterprises?
What is needed to ensure that respect for human rights becomes the bedrock for the private sector contributions to the SDGs?
How can we ensure that human rights defenders working on corporate accountability issues are protected and supported and how can business play a positive role in this regard?
Moreover, the Forum will feature sessions for newcomers to become familiarized with the Guiding Principles – including an introduction to the “landscape” of remedy mechanisms – and how the Guiding Principles intersect with the SDGs.
Mandate and information about the organizers
The Forum was established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 “to discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights, including challenges faced in particular sectors, operational environments or in relation to specific rights or groups, as well as identifying good practices” (resolution 17/4, paragraph 12).
The Forum is guided and chaired by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and organized by its Secretariat at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).