Business and Human Rights Forum, November 29, 2021
“A Roadmap for the Next Decade: Time for Government Action and Coherence”
Remarks of the United States of America
As delivered by Benjamin W. Moeling, Chargé d’Affaires
Thank you, Mr. Chair. And thank you to the Working Group on Business and Human Rights for your efforts to guide states, businesses, and other stakeholders as we enter the second decade of the UN Guiding Principles(UNGPs). Your stocktaking report provideda thoughtful assessment of progress made over the last decade and where more work must be done. We welcome the roadmap shared today, which provides recommendations that will help us accelerate and scale up implementation of the UNGPs over the next decade. Unifying around key action areas is critical to ensuring that we can achieve tangible results for affected individuals and communities. This work is more relevant than ever in the face of today’s major collective challenges.
We agree that we need to raise our ambitions and increase the pace of implementation of the UNGPs. This is why Secretary of State Blinken announced earlier this year that the United States will begin updating and revitalizing the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct. We aim to set greater goals for how the U.S. government will encourage business to achieve higher standards of responsible business conduct, and champion U.S. businesses that demonstrate best practices. The evidence is clear that businesses can perform well while also accomplishing these goals, and governments should create and facilitate the conditions for this to happen.
The new U.S. Action Plan will address ways in which the U.S. government can promote established norms of responsible business conduct, including with respect to human rights, labor rights, anti-corruption, transparency, sustainability, protecting the environment, and combating the climate crisis, as well as the nexus of technology and human rights. The Action Plan will address what the U.S. government is doing in this space; highlight best practices, relevant initiatives, and experiences; and identify U.S. government commitments and actions going forward.
With respect to remedy, we will look at existing mechanismsthat are designed to provide oversight and address situations where companies are alleged to have engaged in irresponsible conduct. We will assess how our tools might be replicated, expanded upon, or strengthened. We will also be open to new and creative suggestions to improve our efforts.
In developing our new Action Plan, we will solicit feedback from stakeholdersincluding the private sector,labor unions, civil society organizations, academic experts, international organizations, and affected communities. We will strive as well to reach themost vulnerable individuals and communities that may be impacted by the conduct of U.S. companies abroad.
We do not view the creation andpublication of a National Action Plan as an end unto itself, but rather part of our ongoing effortsto clarify andaddressthese important issues. We look forward to learning more from stakeholders at this Forum about howwe can work together to improve implementation ofthe UNGPs in the decade ahead.