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Despite the introduction of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), corporate houses tended not to take issue. After the Human Development Report was published in 2000 which stated, ‘Of all Human Rights failures today, those in economic and social affect by far the larger number and are most wide spread across world’s nations and large number of people’, while corporate sector is gradually addressing human rights concerns in the business sector.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has promoted people centric economic development without compromising human value, dignity and rights. Nepal stands ready to follow a more stable development pathway – one that supports inclusive growth leading to the realization of the Government of Nepal’s vision of “Prosperous Nepal-Happy Nepali” where the major focus is in developing infrastructure and bringing in private sector investment aimed at attaining a high economic growth rate. However, human prosperity and happiness will not be possible unless government’s development efforts and private sector investment are made in compliance with universally accepted human values, human rights standards.
Nepal’s constitution, under the directive principles and state Policies, highlighted sustainable economic development with the involvement and participation of the public, private and cooperative sectors. Keeping this in mind, laws are more receptive towards the contribution business sectors in economic development. There are laws in place to promote competition and market promotion along with laws that govern foreign direct investments that directly affect the business sector. While there are laws that have created feasibility and growth of investments in the business sector, we can also see laws that regulate these businesses making sure that they ensure respect, protection and promotion of human rights.
The “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” outlines the role of business and governments in respecting human rights. The Principles do not create any new international legal obligations on companies or the private agencies, but they help concerns to operate with full respect to human rights and meet their legal responsibilities set out in domestic laws.
The 5th National Human Rights Action Plan 2020-2024 has included development of National Action Plan on Business and Human rights as one of the strategic action in line with the UNGP on Business and Human Rights. Government of Nepal, in the leadership of Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS), has been developing a National Action Plan on Business and Human rights. UNDP, through Access to Justice project, has been engaged extensively in advocacy, technical assistance and dialogues facilitation.
In this context, UNDP has been engaging in promoting the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The UNGPs clarify the duty of states and the responsibility of businesses to uphold international norms and treaties on human rights. The UNGPs rest on three pillars: 1) the State’s duty to protect human rights; 2) the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and; 3) the joint responsibility of both the State and businesses sector to provide access to remedy for victims of business-related abuses. Human rights activists, and development practitioners are deepening their work on a wide variety of thematic areas, while leading national and multi-national enterprises are embedding human rights due diligence approaches into their operational policies and corporate communication profiles.
UNDP Nepal is intervening various activities in collaboration with Ministry Federal Ministries, National Human Rights Institutions, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and relevant stakeholders. Currently UNDP implementing, the project, Business and Human Rights in Asia: Enabling Sustainable Economic Growth through the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework.
The goal of this project is to promote the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles in Nepal through multi-stakeholder efforts focused on advocacy, policy development, technical advisory support, capacity building, awareness raising and innovation platforms. The project will be implemented by the UNDP Country Office in collaboration with Bangkok Regional Hub and in partnership with NHRIs, Federal Ministries, CSOs, and Private Sector on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
The Business and Human Rights Project Coordinator under the guidance of Portfolio Manager, Governance and Rule of Law Portfolio of UNDP and day to day supervision of the National Project Managers of Access to Justice (A2J)-II and NHRC’s Strategic Plan Support Project (SPSP) and also Business and Human Rights, Crisis Prevention and Rule of Law the Bangkok Regional Hub supports for project coordination, implementation, planning, administration and reporting. The Project Coordinator also supports in policy research and developing knowledge products as well as supports communication and partnership-building. The Project Coordinator on business and human rights is responsible for performing and contributing to the following:
Effective coordination, delivery of project implementation, planning, administration and reporting in consistent with UNDP rules and regulations.
Communications, awareness raising, capacity building and advocacy at national and province level.
Mainstreaming Gender and social inclusive approaches in the implementation
Business Direction and Strategy
Administration & Operations
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