A worker on a construction site

Business and Human Rights

Business activities impact the lives of millions of people around the world. They can be a powerful driver of sustainable development, offering access to social and economic opportunities and a pathway to prosperity. However, the actions of business enterprises can affect human rights, and those most affected are often among the most vulnerable.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) – the most authoritative and widely adopted set of principles for responsible business, endorsed in 2011 – call on both governments and companies to identify, prevent, mitigate, and remedy actual and potential human rights abuses. The UNGPs are not only a guide to help businesses respect human rights in their operations, they are also a roadmap for businesses to contribute to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNDP works with governments, businesses, civil society, human rights defenders, academia and others to implement the UNGPs and advance responsible business practices throughout global supply chains.

Our work on Business and Human Rights (B+HR) is currently supported by the Governments of Sweden, Japan, and the European Union and is part of a wider effort to promote justice and human rights through the Global Programme for Strengthening the Rule of Law, Human Rights, Justice and Security for Sustainable Peace and Development, Phase IV.

What we do

  • Support the development of National Action Plans and similar policy or normative instruments on business and human rights to promote responsible business practices and corporate accountability.
  • Convene stakeholders to facilitate regional peer learning, South-South exchange, and capacity building on the UNGPs, including by organizing regional forums on business and human rights.
  • Engage with companies to ensure respect for human rights throughout supply chains, including offering human rights due diligence training and closed-door guidance sessions.
  • Develop guides and toolkits to support businesses in managing human rights risks, including heightened risks and impacts in conflict-affected areas.
  • Support the conduct of national and regional baseline assessments and supply chain analyses.
  • Promote gender considerations in business operations to strengthen respect for rights of women and non-binary people.
  • Promote access to remedy to ensure rights-based solutions and prevent future human rights abuses.
  • Facilitate knowledge sharing to foster action addressing the adverse role of business operations on the environment, climate, and human rights.
UNDP Business and Human Rights — Where we work

Where we work

UNDP currently has field programming on business and human rights in 39 countries in Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

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