Ukrainian researchers promote responsible business based on human rights values

November 19, 2021

The results of a contest for academic papers on business and human rights, supported by UNDP and Denmark, were presented at a concluding conference.

Photo: Shutterstock

Kyiv, 19 November 2021 – Today, the winners of a contest of academic papers on business and human rights were announced at a concluding conference.

The all-Ukrainian contest was devoted to the 30th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence and was initiated by the State Organization “V. Mamutov Institute of Economic and Legal Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine”, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Coordination Centre for Raising Legal Awareness, the Office of Analytics and Consultations on Sustainable Development, supported by the UN Development Programme in Ukraine, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other line stakeholders.

At the concluding conference on socially responsible business as a component of sustainable development, Dafina Gercheva, UNDP Resident Representative to Ukraine, stressed that to steer the country towards a brighter future with expanded opportunities for all Ukrainians, we must stay focused on the challenges and opportunities afforded by the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights.

“We should work more closely with businesses and those who work in and for them, to build the country forward better in the wake of the pandemic,” Gercheva said.

“In doing so we must put human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination at the centre of all recovery plans. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide a clear framework for this, and an opportunity to address the challenges that lie before us. Embracing this framework will bring numerous benefits to Ukraine, its government, the private sector and all of its citizens, leaving no one behind.”

Liudmyla Denisova, The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights stressed the importance of initiatives for raising awareness about human rights.

“The number of people who address the Ombudsperson Office increases every year,” said Denisova. “Over the last ten months, 52,300 men and women have addressed the institution, compared to 48,000 applications in 2020.”

“Though these figures show there have been many cases of violations of human rights, they also show that the number of people aware of their rights has increased. This makes today’s event extremely important.”

In the nomination for students and doctoral students, the winners are:

  • Viktoria Nazarenko, National University “Lviv Polytechnics” – First place;
  • Lilia Zeleniuk-Dzhun, National Transport University – Joint second place;
  • Olena Pshenychna, Kyiv National Linguistic University – Joint second  place;
  • Maria Kazemyrchyk, Mykolaiv National Agrarian University – Joint second  place;
  • Viacheslav Didkivsky, Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, Institute of Public Administration and Civil Service – Third place;
  • Anastasia Pohorelenko, V. Krazan Kharkiv National University, Karazin Banking Institute – Fourth place.

In the nomination for young academics, for PhD and Doctorate degree holders, the winners are:

  • Viktoria Stratiychuk, Vinnytsia Trade and Economic Institute of Kyiv National Trade and Economy University – Joint first place;
  • Nina Tsehelnyk, Polisky National University – Joint first  place;
  • Maria Shuba, V. Krazan Kharkiv National University – Second place;
  • Hanna Likhonosova, Zhukovsky National Aerospace University “Kharkiv Aviation University” – Third place.

Nicolaj Sonderbye, Senior Democracy and Human Rights Advisor at UNDP in Ukraine, stressed the importance of anchoring responsible business and the UNGPs into the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.

“This would be a key driver to facilitate a much-needed multi-stakeholder National Action Plan process, and would strengthen the policy coherence in Ukraine tremendously,” Sonderbye said.

“It’s important to view human rights and business as a multi-disciplinary discipline, and it’s necessary to support the government of Ukraine and business, so they can see the many benefits of this agenda for inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development.”

The contest committee received 153 academic papers on issues of socially responsible business and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from more than 60 universities around Ukraine.

UNDP Ukraine promotes human rights values in Ukraine, with particular special attention on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Ukraine. In 2021, in terms of the Human Rights for Ukraine project, UNDP launched a pilot initiative on Business and Human Rights in Ukraine to further identify baselines and gaps and to fully understand the situations of rights holders and duty bearers. UNDP in Ukraine is currently finalising a number of qualitative baseline research projects that will provide substantial evidence-based research as well as harvesting international lessons, good and best practices that will be very useful for Ukraine’s continuous commitment and journey to advancing business and human rights in Ukraine.

Media enquires:

Yuliia Samus, UNDP in Ukraine Communications Team Leader,