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Present and Future of National Action Plans in Asia through the Eyes of Four Business and Human Rights Champions

An event with Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha, Ms. Nareeluc Pairchaiyapoom, Mr. Dante Pesce, Ms. Chanda Thapa, Mr. Livio Sarandrea, H.E. Mr. Pirkka Tapiola, Ms. Oyu Vasha, Ms. Sor Rattanamanee Polkla and Ms. Akiko Sato
Government of Pakistan (Ministry of Human Rights), Royal Thai Government (International Human Rights Division, Ministry of Justice), PUCV (Chile), Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), United Nations Development Programme, EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Thailand, Government of Mongolia (Human Rights Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Community Resources Centre and Civil Society Platform for Japan’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

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About this event

BACKGROUND

The first stand-alone National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) in Asia was adopted by Thailand in November 2019. Similar stand-alone NAPs are scheduled to be finalized in 2020 in India, Japan, Mongolia and Pakistan. The Government of Malaysia has adopted a longer road map that should lead to a NAP adopted in 2021. Other countries, including Indonesia, Maldives and Nepal, and have decided to plan on the implementation of the UNGPs in the context of wider Human Rights Action Plans.

Alongside these developments, governments are drafting new policy provisions to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their people and economies, with significant implications for business. In some ways, the Business and Human Rights agenda is at an inflection point in Asia, emerging in a time of grave economic and public health crisis. It is not yet clear whether the design and implementation of NAPs will be strengthened or weakened in this climate. It is more certain that NAPs will be shaped by the exigencies of our time.

SESSION DESCRIPTION

Four country experiences in developing a NAP will be presented by the four people that have been leading those efforts in their respective countries. Emphasis will be placed on good practices and pitfalls experienced. The four Government officials will also be asked to comment on how NAPs are being or should be used to plan in advance for times of emergencies such as the ongoing one related to COVID-19.

While representatives of the governments will be the main speakers, the discussant roles will be assigned to non-state actors. Half of the session will be left for questions formulated from the virtual floor. Questions will be collected in advance of the session and clustered by the moderator but also accepted on the spot as inspired by the presentations of the speakers.

SESSION OBJECTIVES

The session will serve the main purposes of informing on progress in developing NAPs and sharing peer experiences. The discussion will include reflections on the role of Governments in setting expectations for business enterprises to uphold Human Rights, including in times of emergencies.

QUESTIONS

  • At what point is the developing of the NAP in your country?

  • Highlight one thing of your experience that you are particularly proud of and one thing you wish you had approached differently

  • Do NAPs also offer an opportunity to plan for corporate responsibility in times of emergency such the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?

Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha

Ms Agha holds the senior-most civil service position in the government of Pakistan’s Administrative Service (BPS-22) and is one of the highest-ranking female officers. She is also the first female President of Pakistan Administrative Service, representing the civil service officers across all provinces and federally. Over her 35 years of experience she has held leadership roles in international human rights, energy, arts and culture, women development, sustainable tourism and as a Federal Ombudsman (judicator).

Ms. Nareeluc Pairchaiyapoom

Nareeluc Pairchaiyapoom is the Director of the International Human Rights Division of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, Ministry of Justice Thailand. As a seasoned civil servant of the Ministry of Justice, Nareeluc has extensive experience in working with representatives from governments, civil societies and domestic and international non-profit organizations on a wide range of human rights issues.

Mr. Dante Pesce

Dante Pesce is a Member of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and the Founder and Executive Director of the VINCULAR Center for Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development at the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile. Moreover, Mr. Pesce is Special Advisor on Public Policy to the United Nations Global Compact, a Member of the Stakeholder Council to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and a member of the Strategic Advisory Group within ISO26000. At a national level, he is a member of the Chilean Council on Social Responsibility for Sustainable Development which established Chile’s first National Action Plan 2015-2018.

Mr. Livio Sarandrea

Livio Sarandrea, is UNDP’s Business and Human Rights Global Adviser. He is also the lead adviser of the Program: “Business and Human Rights in Asia (B+HR Asia)” which is operational in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. A Human Rights lawyer with over 20 years of field experience in Southeast Europe, Africa and Asia, Livio has advised and managed programs on Business and Human Rights, in support of National Human Rights Institutions, Access to Justice, Conflict Prevention, Transitional Justice and Security Sector Reform for OSCE, DPKO/OHCHR and UNDP.

Ms. Oyu Vasha

Ms. Oyu Vasha is currently the Chief of Human Rights Division, Department of International Law and Treaty, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has been serving at this position since August 2017. Prior to her current appointment she was Minister-Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva.

Ms. Sor Rattanamanee Polkla

Sor.Rattanamanee Polkla’s career spans the past nineteen years of public interest lawyering in Thailand, and she has been involved in many of its most significant recent cases. After working for years as an independent public interest lawyer, in 2010 she co-founded with Prashant Singh the Community Resource Centre (CRC), a non-government organization working with communities who face the impacts of development projects.

Ms. Akiko Sato

Akiko Sato is engaged in human rights issues both in Japan and Southeast Asia; specialized in Business and Human Rights and Access to Justice for socially vulnerable people, and leading advocacy work on Business and Human Rights at Human Rights Now.

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