UNDP fosters implementation of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for resilient recovery

An online event on responsible business in the war setting provided insights on how to foster implementation of the UNGPs

September 20, 2022
Photo credit: Oleh Matsko / UNDP Ukraine

Kyiv, 20 September 2022 – UNDP Ukraine, with the support of the Government of Japan and in partnership with the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, organized an information event to foster implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in the war setting and enable rapid recovery in Ukraine.

The event Responsible business in the context of war settings in Ukraine: implementing corporate Human Rights Due Diligence” engaged representatives of the Government of Ukraine, international organizations, civil society, the business community, and experts on business and human rights to discuss the most pressing issues for implementation of the UNGPs, as well as challenges, barriers, and opportunities for responsible conduct of business through introduction of the Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) procedure into Ukraine during the war and post-war reconstruction.

Manal Fouani, acting UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine, also stressed that promoting and implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights during the challenging war setting will ensure that just and inclusive recovery responses are in place to serve all Ukrainians and leaving no one behind.

“With the devastating impact of the war and the tremendous pressure on local micro, small and medium enterprises, we must work closely with businesses owners, workers and all inter-connected stakeholders to advance human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination for a more robust economic recovery and growth. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights set a clear framework for this, and embracing them will bring numerous benefits to Ukraine including helping on adopting international UN and EU standards,” stressed Ms Fouani.

Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets also stressed that to effectively protect social and economic rights in Ukraine, it is very important to raise awareness among business entities about the benefits of observing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

“We need to start building the foundations for the effective recovery of Ukraine, based on human rights principles,” Lubinets said.

“I’m sure that the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights will aid Ukraine in the realization of its strategic goals. For this, we need to work closely with the business community, as the well-being of millions of Ukrainians depends on their responsible behaviour in wartime.”

During the event, Naoto Kanatsu, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine stressed that the Government of Japan is providing extensive support to Ukraine through emergency humanitarian aid, and promoting best solutions for the reconstruction and recovery plan.

“The Ukrainian government has adopted a policy of ‘build back better’ in its recovery from the ravages of war, and it is hoped that the business sector will also recover and develop better than before the war,” said Mr Kanatsu.

“Consideration for human rights has become an essential element in business, and this trend is irreversible. Human Rights Due Diligence is not a cost but an opportunity, an investment in the benefits that will accrue in the future,” underlined Mr Kanatsu.

During the event, UNDP experts presented the preliminary findings of a context assessment study that identifies and maps the human rights risks of companies in the context of the war setting in Ukraine. As evidenced by All-Ukrainian representative sociological survey conducted as part of the study, for those who experienced violations from state-owned, municipal or private companies, labour rights were most at risk (particularly with regard to non-payment or incomplete payment of wages, forced leave, and high risks to employee safety). At the same time, 40.2 percent of respondents whose rights were violated did not try to protect them.

The experts also presented a HRDD training toolkit, which is intended to assist Ukrainian businesses to identify and act upon actual and potential human rights risks, thus mitigating the adverse impact of business on human rights.

Along with this, a Guide on Heightened Human Rights Due Diligence for Business in Conflict-Affected Contexts was presented.

The event was organized with the support of the Human Rights Due Diligence in Global Supply Chains: Leveraging the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for a Just Recovery project, which is being implemented by UNDP and financed by the Government of Japan. The event was organized in partnership with the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, Head of Communications at UNDP in Ukraine, yuliia.samus@undp.org or +38 097 139 1475