ILO at the 12th United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights Forum

The ILO participated extensively in the 12th United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, held from 27 to 29 November 2023 under the theme 'Looking at the past, anticipating the future'.

News | 04 December 2023
The 12th United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, titled "Looking at the past, anticipating the future", was held from 27 to 29 November 2023. The Forum was chaired by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and organised by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The Forum provided an opportunity to reflect on over twelve years of developments in aligning business practices with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and brought together stakeholders including governments, employers' and workers' organisations, enterprises, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and civil society to examine the tangible changes and implementations of these United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The ILO participated extensively in the Forum by organising sessions, delivering opening remarks, and participating in discussions during the sessions. During the Opening Plenary, Ms Celeste Drake, Deputy Director General of the ILO, represented the organisation and delivered an opening remark. She underscored the strong partnership formed among international organisations since the 2011 endorsement of the UNGPs, particularly highlighting progress under the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration). Emphasising the need for accelerated action and a human-centred approach, she referred to the ILO's initiative in the Global Coalition for Social Justice, and underscored the critical role of international collaboration in promoting human rights, social justice, and decent work, as well as in tackling global challenges like climate change.

The ILO and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights co-organised a session on ‘Eradicating forced labour and trafficking in persons – Need for accelerated action on prevention’. The session brought together key speakers from governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations and civil society to discuss the urgent need for collective action and stronger states’ duty and corporate responsibilities in combating forced labour and trafficking. The panel highlighted the potential of collaborative efforts through initiatives like Alliance 8.7 and the ILO Global Business Network on Forced Labour.

Another session co-organized by the ILO was the region-specific session on ‘Enhancing Access to Justice and Effective Remedy for Migrant Workers in the Asia-Pacific: What is the Missing Link?’, in collaboration with the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, OHCHR and IOM. The session featured representatives from governments, enterprises, employers’ and workers’ organisations, and a human rights defender, and explored the necessity of enhancing access to justice and effective remedies for migrant workers, particularly amidst the rise of both regular and irregular labour migration. The panel underscored the need for collaborative action among states, businesses, and workers' organisations, discussing strategies to overcome the challenges migrant workers face, from exploitative recruitment to employment-related abuses.

The ILO also participated in the sessions on 'Resilient and Responsible Global Supply Chains: Are Partnerships the Answer?', highlighting ILO’s work on promoting decent work in supply chains, and in the session Investors, ESG and BHR: Open Consultation, where ILO's efforts to measure qualitative aspects and provide structured guidance for investors on financing a just transition were highlighted.