The Second Regional Consultation for Latin America and the Caribbean on the Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights was held during the week of January 17-19 in the city of Santiago de Chile. The meeting was attended by governments, businessmen and civil society organizations.
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During the year 2016, the first consultation was held and it was concluded that it was necessary to make progress in a regional report on human rights and business. In 2017, the second meeting was convened in order to continue the effort to implement the Guiding Principles, serving as a platform for dialogue among various actors, to illustrate the content of an agenda that guides the policies related to the subject matter ( Both in the public and private spheres) towards the progressive enjoyment of human rights in the context of business operations.
The Guiding Principles are based on the recognition of: (a) Current obligations of States to respect, protect and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms; (B) The role of companies as specialized bodies of society which perform specialized functions and which must comply with all applicable laws and respect human rights; C) The need for rights and obligations to be accompanied by adequate and effective remedies in case of non-compliance. These principles apply to all States and to all enterprises, whether transnational or otherwise, irrespective of their size, sector, location, owners and structure.
The expected results of this consultation were related to:
- Recognize international developments in business and human rights;
- Recognize outstanding challenges and regional reality in the development and implementation of national action plans and public policies on business and human rights;
- Sharing experiences of different stakeholders on their relationship with the Guiding Principles and national action plans;
- Identify opportunities to improve collaboration between countries and regions, and to continue the peer learning mechanism;
- Evaluate progress on the regional agenda on business and human rights.
It should be noted that prior to the meeting, FUNDEPS and other civil society organizations signed a letter to encourage greater participation by civil society in this consultation. As a result of this request, a specific panel was incorporated for the organizations at the same time as the interventions of this sector were prioritized over the three days.
The consultation was attended by American governments (Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and the United States), representatives of civil society organizations and representatives of companies that are working on the implementation of the guiding principles. Each of the participating governments showed progress in the design and implementation of a national plan that addresses the application of the principles. For their part, representatives of civil society had the opportunity to express their concerns and perceptions about the work that governments and companies have been doing on this issue.
In the same way as in the case of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), FUNDEPS considers it of great importance to promote such initiatives that seek to provide greater transparency and accountability in the Private sector, but without neglecting the responsibility of national governments. Particularly in Argentina, and taking into account the current scenario of foreign investment, characterized by an increasing role of private sector investments (the case of investments of Chinese companies or the growing portfolio of projects of the Inter-American Investment Corporation, for example ) Or through Public-Private Associations, we believe that it is vital that both the national government and those of a local nature do not lose sight of these guiding principles in order to guarantee respect for human rights within the framework of business activities. We also hope that the process of designing a national human rights and business plan will have a space for civil society input.
- Second ECLAC Regional Consultation on Human Rights and Business
- United Nations Working Group on Human and Business Rights
- Colombian National Action Plan – Human Rights and Business
Agustina Palencia – firstname.lastname@example.org