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Opening Plenary - Forum on Business and Human Rights 2019
25 Nov 2019 -  The opening plenary of the UN Forum will provide leadership perspectives on the main theme of the Forum. Among the objectives, the opening plenary seeks to provide inspiration and help set the tone for constructive and solution-oriented dialogue over the three Forum days.

The annual Forum on Business and Human Rights is the UN’s platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue to assess the progress made by states and business in moving the three pillars of “Protect, Respect and Remedy” of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from paper to practice.

The UN Forum is the world's largest annual gathering on business and human rights with more than 2,000 participants from government, business, community groups and civil society, law firms, investor organizations, UN bodies, national human rights institutions, trade unions, academia and the media.

The UN Human Rights Council established the Forum in 2011 to serve as a global platform for stakeholders to ”discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights.” It is guided and chaired by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and it is organized by the Secretariat at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The 2019 Forum will focus on the need for all governments to demonstrate progress, commitments and plans in implementing the State duty to protect and strengthening accountability. As the Guiding Principles clarify, ensuring access to effective remedy is also a part of the State duty to protect against business-related human rights abuse, and discussions on government action need to address the full spectrum of measures from prevention to remediation.

The Forum agenda will look at what governments need to do to foster business respect for human rights, including by getting their own house in order and by setting clear expectations and creating incentives for responsible business conduct. In doing so, the agenda will consider the Guiding Principles’ call for “a smart mix of measures – national and international, mandatory and voluntary – to foster business respect for human rights” and what this can mean in practice.
• Michelle Bachelet - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
• Vesna Batistic Kos - Vice-President, UN Human Rights Council
• Elzbieta Karska - Chairperson, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

(Forum on Business and Human Rights)