Consultation workshop on draft National Action Plan on Solutions to Improve Policy and Legal Framework to Advance Responsible Business Practice in Viet Nam

December 13, 2022
UNDP Viet Nam

Excellency, Mr. Mai Luong Khoi, Vice Minister, Ministry of Justice;

Excellency, Ms. Ann Måwe, Ambassador of Sweden in Viet Nam;

Distinguished participants from ministries and governmental agencies, businesses, educational and research institutions, non-governmental and the United Nations organizations, joining us today in person and online

Good morning, Xin Chao!

At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Justice for its leadership and commitment to formulate the first National Action Plan (NAP) on Responsible Business in Viet Nam. We hope the NAP will be on the Prime Minister’s desk next year for approval and the demonstration of the highest level of political commitment.

The NAP is a critical policy instrument to guide, monitor and regulate the behavior of business in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and most importantly to ensure their effective contribution to sustainable development in Viet Nam.

The development of a NAP on Business and Human Rights was one of the recommendations that Viet Nam received as part of the 3rd UPR cycle in 2019, and it is commendable to see progress today in the pursuit of “Profit with Principles” which requires that we strike a balance between the 3 Ps: Profit, People and Planet for our own benefit and for that of future generations to come.

Should the NAP be adopted next year (as announced by the Vice Minister in his remarks), it will mark concrete progress that may be reported as part of the upcoming 4th UPR cycle, launched yesterday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with UNDP.

At UNDP we work with countries around the world to support the implementation of the UN Guidance on National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights which provides a set of essential criteria for an effective NAP.

Among them, I would like to highlight three that are important for our discussion today:  

First, a National Action Plan must be founded on the UNGPs. This criterion is threefold: one is the need to adequately reflect a State’s duties under international human rights law to protect against adverse business impacts and provide effective access to remedy; two is the requirement to promote business respect for human rights; and three is the need to ground the Plan on the core human rights principles of non-discrimination and equality.

Second, a national action plan should provide implementation, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. In this respect, a set of clear indicators to measure progress and results of NAP implementation; and a standing multi-stakeholder monitoring group that could provide additional support to a government focal point are strongly recommended.  

Lastly, the development and implementation of NAP should be done in an inclusive and transparent manner. This criterion means that views of all stakeholders should be heard and taken into account. The essential stakeholders to this process are various. They are government and academia, representatives of vulnerable groups and business enterprises, investors and legal practitioners. Their expertise and engagement in the consultation process are vital to an effective and inclusive national action plan on responsible business for Viet Nam.  

Distinguished participants and colleagues.

With the national action plan on policy and legal framework to Advance Responsible Business Practice, Viet Nam will be joining a group of 30 countries globally that have adopted a national strategy to safeguard human rights in the context of business operation.

Having a National Action Plan in place would not only demonstrate Viet Nam’s commitments to human rights protection and sustainable development, but also a vivid attestation of how the country is ready, or even ahead of the game, in being a responsible player in the global market, and demonstrating once again to other countries in the region and beyond a path towards a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive future.

UNDP is proud to support the Ministry of Justice in this significant policy area and we are grateful for the strategic assistance by the Government of Sweden. I wish you all health, happiness, success, and a stimulating workshop!

Thank you! Xin cam on!