The European Union would like to thank the Working Group for presenting the stocktaking report on the first ten years of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in addition to the addendum report on institutional investors and the recommendations on other related issues.
We welcome the report, to which the European Union and a number of EU member States have actively contributed through written inputs. It provides a valuable overview of the remarkable progress achieved during the last decade, while highlighting some of the remaining challenges and obstacles, for example with regard to policy coherence, access to remedy and capacity gaps. The EU wishes to be a leading ally of the Working Group and our international partners to close UNGPs implementation gaps and advance the global level playing field in the next decade of “business and human Rights”. Although the EU has already undertaken many steps to put the Protect, Respect, Remedy Framework into practice, the EU is committed to stepping up her efforts and has started work on a comprehensive Framework to ensure coherent and ambitious EU-wide UNGPS policies and regulation by means of concrete action. For this we are looking forward to the Roadmap to be published by the UN Working Group and which will operational conclusions from the stocktaking reports.
The report also highlights ongoing trends, such as the movement towards mandatory standards. As you know, the EU is planning to develop mandatory due diligence standards that would be applicable across value chains. In this regard, what is the Working Group’s view on how to ensure that SMEs meet their responsibilities without being disproportionately impacted when complying with mandatory human rights due diligence standards? Would a capacity-building fund and an international help-desk function be recommendable to reduce the capacity gaps of SMEs?
Thank you, Madame President