Holding States Accountable for Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

25 March 2022

Our new Working Paper Strengthening State Accountability on Business and Human Rights at International Level examines existing mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels for holding states accountable for their performance in implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). In doing so, the paper analyses gaps and opportunities and formulates a series of recommendations to improve this accountability.

‘Ten years after the UNGPs adoption – and as highlighted by the UNGPs 10+ Roadmap for the Next Decade of Business and Human Rights – it is key to ensure that proper implementation mechanisms are in place’ explains Felix Kirchmeier, Manager of Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy.

From National Action Plans to Peer Reviews

The paper analyzes the role, shortcomings and potential for accountability of national action plans on business and human rights, of the work of UN human rights mechanisms, as well as of peer review initiatives like the OECD. It develops specific recommendations to enhance accountability, notably via the development of implementation indicators and a centralized database to track and evaluate progress over time.

‘This paper will be of interest to policy-makers and state representatives who try to install stronger, albeit ‘soft law’ mechanisms for accountability’ underlines Felix Kirchmeier.

Part of our Support to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

This paper forms part of our research that accompanied the development of the UNGPs 10+ Roadmap for the Next Decade of Business and Human Rights by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

It also complements our research on disruptive technologies and rights-based resilience that supports the development of regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies, including vis the implementation of the UNGPs in the technology space.

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