Arne Hoel, World Bank

United Nations Conference

CAO Participates in the 'UN Forum on Business and Human Rights'

November 27, 2017 - CAO participated in the 2017 United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights held in Geneva, Switzerland November 27 – 29. The UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is the world’s largest platform for yearly stock-taking on efforts to move the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from paper to practice. The Forum was established in 2011, and this year it was expected to attract more than 2,000 participants from government, business, civil society, academia, and UN agencies. Participants discussed current business-related human rights topics such as how to ensure effective community remedy and supply chain transparency, and shared lessons on how to better respect and protect human rights in a business context.

On Tuesday, November 28th, CAO co-hosted the policy dialogue session “The Road to Remedy: Challenges and Opportunities for Communities Accessing Remedy in International Development Projects” in conjunction with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Independent Accountability Mechanisms Network, and several advocacy CSOs such as the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations. Panelists from these and other organizations discussed the main challenges and opportunities faced by communities when using Independent Accountability Mechanisms to obtain remedy, and explored which possible reforms, actions, or good practices would help ensure effective remedy. CAO also presented its Grievance Mechanism Toolkit—which is a practical guide for implementing grievance mechanisms in different sectors— within the Forum’s ‘Snapshot Presentations’ venue.

On Wednesday, November 29th, CAO hosted the session “The Role of Effective Mediation in Achieving Sustainable Development”, which featured a short film about an effective company-community mediation process that has helped sugar cane workers, the private sector, and inter-governmental agencies in Nicaragua address particular issues related to chronic kidney disease. The film was followed by a broader discussion on the role of mediation to support sustainable development and achieve redress through collaborative problem solving. The session was facilitated by CAO’s Principal Ombudsman and included panelists from a mining company, advocacy CSO, and a professional mediator.