The first United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights took place in Geneva from 3-5 December 2012, hosting around one thousand participants from around the world to discuss how governments and businesses are addressing the impacts of business activities on human rights. The Forum was prepared under the guidance of the Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises and was mandated to discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and to promote dialogue and cooperation between actors, including identification of good practices. The Chairperson for the first Forum was Professor John Ruggie, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights.
The programme included break out sessions under the banner of “Taking Stock – 1 1/2 years after the endorsement of the Guiding Principles”, reviewing experiences under each of the three Guiding Principles’ pillars. The second day was spent considering the challenges in the implementation of the state duty to protect and business responsibility to respect human rights, as well as the role of civil society and the UN system, and the challenges for business affecting Indigenous peoples and ways forward. Side events were held from 3 December and included “Challenges and Opportunities for the Extractives Industry in integrating human rights into operations”, “The role of the legal profession in promoting implementation of the Guiding Principles”, “Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries” and “Impact and remedy of mining on Latin American Indigenous Women”.
The Forum was attended by participants from 85 countries, including state delegations, business enterprises such as the mining, oil and energy industries and international financial institutions, as well as civil society organisations. A full list of participants can be found here. The full programme for the Forum can be found here. For more information, please see the Forum on Business and Human Rights website here.