Corporate accountability and influence in the UN

Corporate accountability and influence in the UN

Challenges for the new Secretary-General and the UN
Panel Discussion
Church Center, 2nd Floor, 777 UN Plaza, New York City
Global Policy Forum

The international debate surrounding the environmental, social and human rights responsibilities of corporations has been gaining momentum. Growing public criticism of transnational corporations and banks has contributed to this debate. The list of criticisms is long: pollution scandals, disregard for basic labour and human rights standards, massive bribery allegations, on top of widespread corporate tax avoidance strategies.

Confronting this reality is a historic decision of the UN Human Rights Council (of 26 June 2014) to establish an intergovernmental working group “to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises”. For the first time since decades, an intergovernmental body of the UN was established to address the international regulation of corporations.

The second session of the intergovernmental working group is scheduled for 24-28 October 2016 in Geneva.

The panel will assess the state of the current debate, discuss the pros and cons and the potential content of a legally binding instrument (or a treaty), and explore links to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and to the agenda and responsibilities of the incoming Secretary-General.

Speakers include:

  • Jens Martens/Barbara Adams, Global Policy Forum
  • H.E. Horacio Sevilla, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations*
  • Dominic Renfrey, Corporate Accountability and Economic Policy Program Coordinator, ESCR-Net
  • James Hare, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office

* to be confirmed