Business and human rights. international coopertion. national strategy

On 7 November 2017, on the platform of the leading Press center RosBusinessConsulting (RBC) the press conference ‘Business and Human Rights. International Cooperation. National Strategy’ took place. It became the first stage of the programme of Russian business delegation in the 6th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights (27-29 November, Geneva, Switzerland).

2017 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, being the key world platform for ‘business and human rights’ topic discussion, for the first time officially includes special programme of the Russian delegation upon an initiative of the UN Global Compact Network Russia.

The programme is designed in such a way that its participants can present the position and experience of Russian responsible business in the field of human rights, confirm the involvement of Russian leading companies in the global process of forming modern business leadership criteria and the consistency of requirements for responsible business with international standards.

It also provides the delegation members with an opportunity to inform the target international audience on the results and prospects of the Russian Global Compact Network activities in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and responsible companies regarding the analysis and practical incorporation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Among the key features, there is a thematic discussion panel, jointly organized with the Global Compact Network Switzerland. It will cover a number of aspects related to business and human rights, including the ones connected to the central theme of the 2017 Forum – ‘Realizing Access to Effective Remedy’. What is important, is that the Russian delegation perceives this panel and, as a whole, participation in the Forum not as a result, but as a stage, another step towards developing more significant international cooperation in the field of sustainable development. Therefore, in addition to the exchange of experience and expert discussion, the programme of the Russian delegation at the Forum includes signing the Cooperation Agreement on sustainable development with the Swiss Global Compact Newtwork, a visit to a Swiss enterprise that adheres to the high principles of sustainable development, and to the School of Sustainable Development SUMAS. The expanded programme is formed for deeper discussion and identification of further cooperation formats between Russian responsible business and the expert community on the Global Compact site.

The official programme of the Russian delegation also includes a cultural greeting from Russia – a photo exhibition ‘Breathtaking Russia’ and an inclusive performance «I dance». It was crucial for us to introduce our personal, emotional attitude to the topic: that is why out of a variety of options we chose the ones that, in our opinion, are able to demonstrate our heartfelt readiness for dialogue and cooperation, as well as the ones that reflect the systematic approach to supporting volunteer and charitable projects, taken by responsible Russian business.

Official partners of the Russian Global Compact Network programme and its active participants are Severstal and Nordgold companies, UC RUSAL and Sakhalin Energy also support the programme and take part in the Russian-Swiss session.

During the press conference, their perception of the topic and expectations from the Forum presented representatives of Russian progamme partners and other responsible companies, international and legal issues experts, and guest of honor, out of which there were Frank Schuerch, Adviser, Deputy Head of the Political Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Russia, Mikhail Fedotov, Chairman of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of the United Nations Information Center in Moscow.

The press conference participants discussed the level of Russian business involvement in in the promotion and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the place of the ‘business and human rights’ topic in sustainability strategies of leading Russian companies, the perspectives of the dialogue between business and society on human rights in Russia and also the necessity of introducing in Russia of a national plan to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and which of the possible international partnerships will be most effective for promoting the best human rights mechanisms in the context of corporate practice.

Global Compact Local Network presented at the press conference the expertise of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights against Russian legislation. Guiding Principles are an international standard for governments and a private sector. In order to further promote the Principles in Russia and enforce productive work of business on their implementation, it was decided to find out and mark the statements covered by Russian laws and concentrate on those of them that haven’t been yet reflected in legislation. The expertise is made by the professional lawyers of FBK Law (FBK Grand Tornton) and can be widely used both in practical activities of companies and organizations and for further theoretical understanding of the topic, including for the development of a national plan to implement the UN Guiding Principles, which will be one of the possible options of their adaptation to national context, or to other country format of an adaptation document.

Link to the press conference record

Expertise of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights against Russian legislation (brochure)

Russian delegation programme for the Geneva Forum (video)

"UN Global Compact Local Network experiences: implementing the UNGPs and human rights due diligence to achieve the SDGs"

SPEAKERS

Larisa Ovchinnikova

Chair of the Steering Committee of the Association ‘National Network of the Global Compact’, Managing Director of the Department for Institutional Development, Vnesheconombank

Tatyana Schlychkova

Director of the Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Mikhail Fedotov

Chairman of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights

Frank Schuerch

Adviser, Deputy Head of the Political Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Russia

Vladimir Kuznetsov

Director of the United Nations Information Center in Moscow

Alexander Ermolenko

Partner, Director of Legal Consulting Department of FBK Grand Tornton, PhD in Law, Associate Professor at the Moscow State Academy of Law

Alexei Borisov

Deputy Chairman of the United Nations Association of Russia, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Federation of United Nations Associations

Vladimir Zaluzhskiy

Head of Communications and Investor Relations, Severstal

Margarita Rebetskaya

Director of inclusive theatre project "InterAction"

EXPERTS COMMENTS

Sergei Chestnoy

Advisor to CEO of RUSAL

Oleg Basaleev

Head of Sustainability, Nordgold

Irina Zhukova

Communications Director at Philip Morris Sales and Marketing

Natalia Poppel

Head of Corporate Responsibility and Brand Management, Severstal

***

The UN Global Compact is the largest authoritative initiative for business, which seeks to build up its competence in the sphere of corporate responsibility and sustainable development, committing to comply with progressive values in the field of human rights, labor relations, environmental protection, combatting corruption, and to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The Global Compact concept rests upon attention to a person, her/his personality, dignity and opportunities to enforce the rights and opportunities in all spheres of life where s/he is in touch with the business activities or the consequences of such activities. Therefore, the topic ‘business and human rights’ is one of the key issues for more than 13,000 participants of the UN Global Compact throughout the world, it is one of the most topical subjects of the international agenda, in discussion and development of which Russia plays an important role. Russian Global Compact Network also includes this topic among its priorities and, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, works closely with the Working Group on Human Rights and Labor Relations established under the aegis of the Network.

***

An inclusive project ‘InterAction’ is a synergy of theater and cinema aimed at creating a positive image of people with Down syndrome. The project includes various media forms: art videos, «Eating an Elephant» documentary film, theatrical productions with participation of actors – adults and children with Down syndrome. The objective of the project is to destroy prejudices against people with Down syndrome, to form fair and positive perception of them. It is kind, modern, and bright art, oriented at general audience. People with Down syndrome are exceptional talented actors, and emotional and accessible for all performances and films with their participation are able to revert the consciousness of a spectator.

Participating in the Forum’s cultural programme will allow the performers showing their talents and skills of professional actors and gaining greater self-confidence. Without doubts it will also be one of the brightest impressions of their lives. For the «InterAction» project if will be a great step forward towards carrying out of its mission of the widest dissemination of information on real capabilities of people with mental health peculiarities, towards humane and relevant public attitude to people with Down syndrome.

back