Friday, March 20, 2015

A Strategic Opportunity for US Progress on Business and Human Rights

The State Department reports that on March 18, 2015, the United States became the Chair of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative.  The United States' annual report under the Principles is available here.  

The U.S. Report particularly touts the Administration's progress toward development of a National Action Plan on responsible business conduct -- a culmination of significant advocacy by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and others.  Among other things, the US Government reports that it will "hold several dialogues with stakeholders throughout the year to provide input into the NAP process," including an upcoming dialogue on April 2 at the University of Oklahoma College of Law in Norman, Oklahoma focused, in part, on the extractives sector.   Another dialogue will be held in Washington, D.C. on April 16.  Earlier dialogues were conducted at Berkeley, California and New York University. The dialogues are open to the public, but discussions are not otherwise publicized.

In 2013, Oxfam withdrew from the Voluntary Principles Initiative, citing its frustration β€œat the lack of meaningful progress in independent assurance, despite more than ten years of deliberation and discussion β€” and notwithstanding the commendable efforts of some companies to develop relevant indicators on the margins of the VPs."

Two years after Oxfam's move, the US term as Voluntary Principles chair, coinciding with the development of the US National Action Plan, provides a strategic opportunity to press for more progress in these areas, both from within the Voluntary Principles group and, like Oxfam, from the outside.

Business, Economics | Permalink


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