Photo: United Nations/Joydeep Mukherjee

 

Business and Human Rights in Asia: Promoting Responsible Business Practices through Regional Partnerships (B+HR Asia)

 

The Asia-Pacific region has long been synonymous with economic dynamism. Over the last few decades, pro-growth economic policies, increased foreign direct investment, and international trade flows have combined to lift millions out of poverty. Employment has risen significantly, industrial production has ballooned, education and healthcare have expanded, and technology and innovation have pushed to the forefront.

Yet, rapid economic development has resulted in human rights abuses related to forced labour, deforestation and environmental degradation, sexual harassment, and forced displacement. Many companies operating within the region have been rocked by scandals involving rights violations in their operations and supply chains, impacting their reputation and future growth.

These rights abuses can threaten or even reverse government and private sector progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia. Through the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), governments and businesses can adopt changes in business regulations and operational standards that drive the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) forward. The UN Guiding Principles serve as a means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

 

What We Do

Since 2016, UNDP Asia-Pacific has promoted regional efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles, focusing on advocacy, policy development, technical support, and capacity building. In 2018, UNDP accelerated this commitment by launching the Business + Human Rights Asia (B+HR Asia) Unit.

B+HR Asia leverages UNDP’s trusted relationships throughout the region and convenes governments, private sector actors, civil society, and national human rights institutions for greater coherency on collective action for business and human rights progress.

Currently, B+HR Asia provides UNGP implementation support in the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

 

With project activities aligned with the UN Guiding Principles, B+HR Asia works to:

  • Provide technical and advisory support to governments to develop National Action Plans or similar policy frameworks in furtherance of UNGP implementation and boosting the regional ‘race-to-the-top’
  • Boost regional peer learning and capacity building on the UNGPs for all sectors to maintain the momentum for Business and Human Rights progress
  • Support the business sector in the development of company human rights policies, programmes, and due-diligence protocols
  • Strengthen and support the role of civil society and national human rights institutions that provide access to effective remedy when human rights are at risk

 

Transformative Impact

Implementing the UN Guiding Principles means:

 

  • A boost in jobs and improved livelihoods;
  • Increased access to basic services and assets;
  • Strengthened social care and protection systems;
  • Effective governance reinforcement;
  • Greater environmental protection and accelerated climate action;
  • Advancement in gender equality;
  • Expanded opportunities for trade and investment, including reduced reputational, operational, and legal risks in businesses; and
  • More just, inclusive, and peaceful societies as a result of fewer conflicts between the State, business, and citizens.
Photo: UNDP Thailand

 

Overview:

Status: Active
Project duration: June 2017 to August 2023
Geographic Coverage: Asia and the Pacific
Focus area: Governance and Peacebuilding
Partners: Government of Sweden
Contact: rbap.businessandhumanrights@undp.org
               livio.sarandrea@undp.org

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Documents:
Project Brief

Gender Lens to HRDD

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