3rd UN Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
"Responsible Business in Times of Crisis"

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10 November 2022 | Istanbul and Online

07:00 - 15:30 Central European Time (CET) | 9:00 - 17:30 Istanbul Time

Business and Human Rights
in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

The 3rd UN Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia will take place on 10 November 2022 in Istanbul (in a hybrid format). The event is organized by UNDP, the UN Working Group on BHR and other partners. This is the annual UN meeting which follows the 1st and 2nd Regional Forums on Business and Human Rights held in 2020 and 2021 and seeks to serve as the ECIS BHR regional platform that allows exchanges among the ECIS countries about their experiences and challenges in advancing the business and human rights agenda. The platform gathers representatives of national governments, multilaterals, civil society, NHRIs, trade unions, academia, and businesses (of all kinds, state-owned enterprises, extractive industry companies, transnational supply chains and SMEs).

The 3rd UN Regional Forum will discuss the key challenges to the implementation of the UNGPs in the region, with a focus on the obstacles arising from the crises. These will include the development of laws and policies, the introduction and implementation of Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) by businesses, and the role of the State as an economic actor in crisis decision-making. In addition, it will address key regional trends, challenges and opportunities for the business and human rights agenda in the ECIS region, with particular attention to the implications brought by conflicts and other crises, including the war in Ukraine on the political, economic, and human rights situation in the region; upcoming EU's directive on HRDD, human rights protection in extractive industries, the role of trade unions, persistent discrimination and inequalities in business practices, and shrinking civic space for human rights defenders. The event will also explore views on the development of a regional roadmap for scaling up implementation of the UNGPs over the next decade.

 
 

Programme

The Forum will be held in English with simultaneous Russian translations. 

10 NOVEMBER 2022 

All Times in Istanbul Time

09:00 – 9:35

Registration and Introduction of the Forum Platform

09:35 – 10:20        

High-Level Opening Plenary 

The opening plenary will set out the key global and regional business and human rights trends to be discussed in the 3rd UN Forum on Business and Human Rights for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It will set out the challenges amidst the crises besetting the region, while presenting the key challenges to be tackled in the region in the short and medium term. The session will feature a panel discussion that will frame the business and human rights work in the region in the context of key developments such as the wave of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation and policies in jurisdictions including the EU, Japan and beyond, the ongoing conflicts in the region, environmental degradation, concomitant citizens’ movements, and others.

Moderator:

  • Robert Bernardo, Governance and Peacebuilding Team Leader, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub

Speakers:

  • Gerd Trogemann, Manager, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub

  • Elżbieta Karska, Member, United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, remote

  • Renate Hornung-Draus, BDA Managing Director, Economic and International Affairs & IOE Vice- President to the ILO, remote

  • Tatyana Zinovich, Director, Public Foundation “Center for Legal Policy Research”, Kazakhstan, remote

10:20 – 10:35

Break

10:35 - 11:35 

Session I – Business and Human Rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia:

the state of play 

To frame the discussion on the state of play to business and human rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, this session will feature the launch of the UNDP Scoping Study findings on the Implementation of UNGPs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Scoping Study, conducted in 2021 and finalized in 2022 by a team of leading BHR academics and researchers in the region, sets out the key trends in, and challenges to, the BHR agenda in the region. It will be followed by a discussion on key regional challenges, the multitude of crises present in the region and the opportunities presented for accelerating the business and human rights agenda.

Moderator:

  • Ainura Bekkoenova, Policy Specialist, Rule of Law, Human Rights and Security, UNDP IRH

 

Speakers:

  • Beata Faracik, LL.M., BHR Expert, President of the Board of the Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business

  • Olena Uvarova, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chair of the International Business and Human Rights Lab, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Ukraine

  • Jernej Letnar Černič, Professor of Constitutional Law & Human Rights, Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

Discussants:

  • Maryna Saprykina, Sustainability Consultant/ Head of the Board for CSR Ukraine

  • Çiğdem Çımrın, Ph.D., Co-Founder & Chairperson, Minerva Business and Human Rights Association, Türkiye

11:35 – 11:50
11:50 - 13:00

Break

Session II – Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence (mHRDD) developments

in the EU and beyond: the implications for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

In its Roadmap for the Next Decade of Business and Human Rights, issued in November 2021, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights urged countries to “seize the wave” of mandatory human rights due diligence, which has principally been generated by countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), such as the Netherlands, Germany and France. Following their adoption of mandatory human rights due diligence laws, the EU itself issued its draft Mandatory and Environmental Human Rights Due Diligence Directive in February 2022. In addition, the Government of Japan recently issued its own draft guidelines on the subject, demonstrating that companies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia wanting to do business in, or with, major markets will increasingly have to introduce human rights due diligence in their operations. This session will explore the principal implications of this trend for governments, businesses, workers and other stakeholders in the region.

Moderator:

  • Nicolaj Sonderbye, Senior Democracy and Human Rights Advisor, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub 

Speakers:

  • Robert McCorquodale, Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, remote

  • Salome Zurabishvili, Chair, UN Global Compact, Regional Network Council for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  • Julia Schellhaas, Senior Adviser Procurement & Supply Chains, Office of the Special Representative & Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, OSCE 

  • Katarina Sætersdal, Assistant Director International Department, Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, remote

  • Daisuke Takahashi, Officer, Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network Japan / Partner Attorney, Shinwa Law, Tokyo, remote

  • Mehmet Gün, Founder and Chairman at the Better Justice Association; Founder Gün + Partners Law Firm, remote

13:00 - 14:00 

Lunch

14:00 - 15:10 

Session III – Heightened Human Rights Due Diligence (hHRDD):

unpacking the responsibilities of businesses in conflict-affected contexts

Eastern Europe and Central Asia are home to a number of ongoing and protracted conflicts. Businesses and states have heightened responsibilities in conflict-affected contexts; chief among these is the responsibility of businesses to carry out heightened human rights due diligence (hHRDD). In June 2022, the UNWG and UNDP issued a Guide on hHRDD; this session will unpack what this responsibility entails – and what it will require from businesses, states, the UN and other stakeholders.

Moderator:

  • Robert McCorquodale, Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, remote

 

Speakers:

  • Siniša Milatović, Business and Human Rights Specialist, UNDP

  • Heidi Hautala, Vice-President, EU Parliament, remote

  • Olena Uvarova, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chair of the International Business and Human Rights Lab, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Ukraine

 

Discussants:

  • Ella Skybenko, Senior Researcher & Representative for Eastern Europe & Central Asia, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, remote

  • Ashley Reynolds, Associate, Office of the Economic Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), remote

15:10 - 16:00 

Session IV – The responsibilities of states and businesses in alleviating

the consequences of crises in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Eastern Europe and Central Asia have been beset by myriad crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and ongoing armed conflicts. This session will highlight the consequences of these crises, including widespread joblessness, increasing poverty levels, outflows of refugees and migrants, and so on. It will further examine the responsibilities of states and businesses in this regard under the framework of the UNGPs and consider what steps should be taken by these and other actors to alleviate these consequences.

Moderator:

Mindia Vashakmadze, Human Rights Programme Specialist, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub

Speakers:

  • Ben Slay, Senior Economist, Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia, UNDP 

  • Kate Watters, Director, Crude Accountability, remote

  • Olena Kolobrodova, Representative on Social and Economic Rights, Ombudsperson's office, Ukraine, remote

  • Askat Azarbekov, Chief of Staff, Ombudsperson’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic

16:00 - 16:20

Break

16:20 - 17:20
Session V – The path to a regional Roadmap in Eastern Europe and
Central Asia

Following the launch of the UNGPs 10+ Roadmap of the Next Decade on Business and Human Rights in November 2021, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights is aiming to develop regional roadmaps. As part of this process, this session will be used to consider stakeholder perspectives on the path forward on the implementation of the UNGPs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.​

Moderator:

  • Maria Garcia Torrente, Human Rights Officer, Secretariat of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, OHCHR

Speakers: 

  • Ana Dangova Hug, BHR Lawyer, Law firm INTER PARTES Skopje, North Macedonia, remote

  • Sergey Solianik, Coordinator, Eco-China Info, Kazakhstan, remote

  • Anna Liubyma, Director, International Cooperation Department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ukraine, remote

  • Rashad Novruzov, Head of civil and political rights protection sector, Ombudsperson’s Office, the Republic of Azerbaijan

 

The way forward: Beata Faracik, LL.M., BHR Expert, President of the Board of the Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business 

17:20 - 17:30
Closure of the Forum
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Organized by
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CONTACT US

Please direct your queries related to programme, sessions, speakers, participation, side events etc. to

Ainura Bekkoenova ainura.bekkoenova@undp.orgSinisa Milatovic sinisa.milatovic@undp.org, 

and Sonia Cuesta sonia.cuesta@un.org