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UN Leaders in Asia Pacific seek allies in business to promote responsible business practices, human rights and environmental standards

[PRESS RELEASE]

Bangkok, Thailand – Regional heads of nine UN agencies called for addressing the negative human rights impacts of their business operations.Greetings to the delegation Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum Via video statement, They declared that the response to the myriad challenges of the Asia-Pacific region must be urgent and coordinated.

Stakeholders “must work together to make the future more inclusive, equitable and truly sustainable,” the statement said. “Let’s take action to build better things to identify just and lasting solutions for today’s people and tomorrow’s generations.”

The forum, which has been held annually since 2017, will this year focus on the use of “levers of change”, including international agreements such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) endorsed by the Human Rights Council in 2011. to explore It also discusses effective strategies in promoting respect for human rights and the environment in business, and explores new approaches to accelerate progress.

“…this forum…provides a unique opportunity to work together to promote and deepen business respect for human rights as they plan for a more inclusive and sustainable future in a post-COVID-19 world.” United Nations regional leaders said. continued.

The Forum was held following positive progress in human rights due diligence in a broader context. In recent years, consideration of human rights in business and supply chains has changed from voluntary to mandatory. Thailand, Japan and Pakistan have developed National Action Plans (NAPs) on Business and Human Rights in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively. India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal and Vietnam are also planning NAPs, and Thailand is working on the second edition.

The European Union, the United States, and other major markets for Asia-Pacific products include chapters on human rights and environmental protection in their bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. Investors are also placing greater emphasis on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations when making investment choices.

However, the scale of the challenge remains immense, especially for vulnerable and marginalized groups such as children, women, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, displaced persons and those affected by migration. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, progress on various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stalled or reversed, including SDG 8 on decent work, SDG 5 on gender equality, and SDG 10 on reducing inequality. Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region continue to suffer from the severe public health and economic impacts of the pandemic and subsequent disruptions to international trade. Action by companies is more essential than ever.

Over 20 roundtables and panel discussions over four days will precede topics such as promoting workers’ rights and gender equality, protecting children’s rights, addressing conflict and corruption, climate change and environmental degradation. of collective challenges. Representatives are drawn from governments, civil society organizations, human rights defenders, trade unions, academia, international organizations, national human rights institutions, businesses, industry associations, journalists, lawyers, activists and campaigners.

Hosts of the United Nations Forum on Responsible Business and Human Rights include the International Labor Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Economic Commission. Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), United Nations Agency for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights ( UNWG).

This event is sponsored by the Government of Sweden, the Government of Japan and the European Union (EU).

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