The 2021 UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights was held from 17-19 March, with pre-Forum sessions on 15-16 March. Co-organized by the United Nations Development Programme, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and the International Labour Organization, the Forum facilitated a robust and multi-stakeholder dialogue to prevent, mitigate and remediate business-related human rights abuses and advance decent work in South Asia. The Forum featured 41 sessions, including both thematic and country sessions. Thematic sessions addressed a wide range of substantive issues, including some novel issues such as universal and equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, gender bias in new technologies, and the impact of foreign legislation on mandatory human rights due diligence in South Asia. The country sessions focused on Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. They assessed the state of business and human rights in those countries, identified gaps and challenges, and eventually resulted in national roadmaps to promote business and human rights.
The Forum also hosted safe spaces for closed door discussions among civil society organizations; businesses, trade unions and national human rights institutions (NHRIs).
Finally, various session were organized by or in consultation with over 30 partner organizations. These sessions focused on a broad range of issues, including social media platforms, rivers and pollution, the garment sector during COVID-19, and the rights of migrant workers, migrants and children.