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1st Regional Forum

on Business and Human Rights

in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

 

Making Human Rights a Priority for Business

23-25 November 2020 | Virtual Event

Forum

09:00 - 13:00 Central European time (CET)

11:00 - 15:00 Istanbul time

14:00 - 18:00 Nursultan time

Side Events

13:00 - 15:00 Central European time (CET)

15:00 - 17:00 Istanbul time

18:00 - 20:00 Nursultan time

Business and Human Rights

in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

The first Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia will convene representatives from governments, national human rights institutions, civil society, business and labour organisations at the regional level and also international level to discuss business and human rights.  The Forum will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of and promote implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in the region. Moreover, the Regional Forum will explore how existing vulnerabilities have been amplified and exposed by the COVID-19 crisis and discuss the need to view the crisis as an opportunity to drive change and build back better. 

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Following the publication of National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights (NAPs) by a range of Western European countries, the governments of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region have also begun to grapple with the issue of business and human rights. Most notably, Georgia included a chapter on business and human rights within its Human Rights National Action Plan 2018-2020, while Ukraine has published a national baseline assessment in late 2019. Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan have committed to developing a NAP. 

 

Despite these positive developments, Eastern European and Central Asian countries also experience common challenges including low level of awareness on business and human rights; discrimination. violations of labour rights; violations of environmental rights due to the lack of modern emissions management and no-waste technologies; and little efforts for protection against abuses regarding economic issues including corruption. The freedom of association is regularly violated through the oppression of independent trade unions. Finally, judicial remedies are often ineffective in practice due to low awareness of workers about their rights, high cost of litigation, complex corporate structures, delay in deciding cases, and practical obstacles in enforcing court orders. Therefore, the link between the rule of law, strong and independent institutions and safe space for civil society to operate as a pre-condition and essential elements for a conducive environment for promoting responsible business conduct. 

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To promote a vigorous dialogue on responsible business and human rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the 1st Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights will be held on 23-25 November 2020. The Forum will be co-organised by UNDP Istanbul & Bangkok Regional Hubs and the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

 
 

PROGRAMME

Forum

The Forum will be held in English with live Russian translations available.

MONDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2020

All Times in Central European Time (CET)

09:00 – 10:00

Introduction to UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

This is an orientation session that is optional for participants, who want to learn about UN Guiding Principles in advance to the meeting.

Moderator: 

Zeliha Aydin

Legal and Human Rights Specialist, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub

Speakers: 

SIniša Milatović

Business & Human Rights Specialist, UNDP

 

Harpreet Kaur

Business & Human Rights Specialist, UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre

10:00 – 10:40        

High-Level Opening Plenary

This session will set the stage of the event and through keynote remarks will help frame the meeting’s discussions around priority issues in global and regional responsible business practice, with emphasis on growing momentum worldwide, especially in Europe, towards improving corporate human rights performance through mandatory human rights due diligence.

Moderator:

Robert Bernardo

Governance and Peacebuilding Team Leader, a.i., UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub 

 

Speakers:

Agi Veres

Deputy Director, UNDP Europe and the CIS

Wolfgang Bindseil

Head of Division Business and Human Rights, Federal Foreign Office, Germany 

 

Anita Ramasastry

Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights  

Roberto Suarez Santos

Secretary General, International Organisation of Employers   

 

Salome Zurabishvili

Executive Director, Global Compact Network Georgia and CIDA

10:40 – 11:00

11:00 – 11:15

11:15 – 12:30

Plenary Discussion

Break

Session I – The State duty to protect human rights in a business context in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Gaps, challenges and opportunities

This session will allow participants explore and unpack the human rights duties of the state when dealing with business enterprises activities as expressed in the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights, with a focus on the role of National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights (NAPs) in ECIS region.

Moderator:

Livio Sarandrea

Business and Human Rights Lead Adviser, UNDP

Speakers:

Sonja Tošković

Director, Belgrade Center on Human Rights

Olena Uvarova

Head of the International Lab on Business and Human Rights, Yaroslav Mudriy National Law

University in Ukraine

 

Maria Molodtsova

Senior Counsellor, Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights, MFA, Russian Federation 

 

Patrick Matthey

Political Officer for B&HR, Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bern Area, Switzerland 

Ketevan Tatuashvili

Human Rights Secretariat of Georgia

12:30 – 12:45

12:45 – 13:00

Plenary discussion

Closure of Day 1

TUESDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2020

All Times in Central European Time (CET)

09.00 – 09.15

09:15 – 10:15

Opening of Day 2

Session II - Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) and Lessons Learnt in ECIS Region

This session will allow participants reflect on key emerging trends, opportunities and challenges in application of mandatory human rights due diligence, especially in the context of COVID-19 pandemic, through reviewing regional developments in regulatory, legal policies and practice, as well as through showcasing examples of national and multinational businesses that undertake HRDD (national and multinational).

Moderator:

Siniša Milatović

Business and Human Rights Specialist, UNDP

Speakers 

Dante Pesce

Vice Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights 

 

Cristina Tebar Less

Head of the OECD Responsible Business Conduct  

 

Shubha Sekhar

Director Human and Workplace Rights, Eurasia Coca-Cola 

 

Seher Alacaci Ariner

Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Turkey 

 

Aysun Sayın

Chief People, Culture and Sustainability Officer, WPP and Global Compact Turkey Working Group on

Diversity and Inclusion

 

Ekaterina Deikalo

Associate professor at the Faculty of International Relations of Belarusian State University

10:15 – 10:45

10:45 – 11:00

11:00 – 12:00

Plenary discussion

Break

Session III – Improving Accountability and Access to Remedy

This session will help participants reflect on the effectiveness of existing accountability measures and judicial and non-judicial remedies to business-related human rights abuses in the region. Examples of work of institutions that facilitate access to justice in regard to human rights abuses by businesses will be showcased, such as national human rights institutions (NHRIs), National Contact Points under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, civil society organizations and courts.

Moderator:

Ben Shea

Associate Human Rights Officer, Business and Human Rights, Thematic  Engagement, Special

Procedures and Right to Development Division Office of the United Nations High Commissioner

for Human Rights 

Speakers: 

Dirk Hoffmann

Senior Advisor, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the ENNHRI BHR WG Chair Institution 

 

Tamar Gvaramadze

First Deputy Public Defender of Georgia 

 

Marina Ee

Head of Social Performance Subdivision, Corporate Affairs Department, Sakhalin Energy

Investment Company Ltd.

 

Tatyana Zinovych

Acting director of the Legal Policy Research Centre, Kazakhstan 

 

Ana Dangova Hug

Law firm INTER PARTES Skopje

12:00 – 12:30

12:30 - 12:45

Plenary discussion

Closure of Day 2

WEDNESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2020

All Times in Central European Time (CET)

09:00 – 09:05

09:05 – 09:45

Opening of Day

Session IV - Gender Lens to the UNGPs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

During this session, participants will reflect and exchange on issues of discrimination and differentiated impacts experienced by women and girls in the context of business activities, as well as on gender responsive frameworks (gender-responsive assessment, gender transformative measures, and gender transformative remedies) – that States, business enterprises and other stakeholders could use to achieve substantive gender equality in the region.

Moderator:

Luciana Trindade de Aguiar, Head of Business Call to Action, UNDP Finance Sector Hub

 

Speakers: 

Joanna Szymonek, 

Msc, co-founder and Chairperson of the Oversight Board of Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business

 

H.E. Ambassador Staffan Herrström

Ambassador Designate of Sweden to Turkey

 

Olena Uvarova

Ph.D, Head of the International Lab on Business and Human Rights, Yaroslav Mudriy National Law

University in Ukraine

Melih Özsöz

Innovation & Creativity Manager, Limak Holding Turkey

09:45 – 10:10

10:10 - 10:20

10:20 – 11:00

Plenary discussion

Break

Session V - The Business and Human Rights Dimension of Green Recovery

Following the trend towards mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence, e.g. upcoming adoption of EU law on due diligence and European Green Deal, ECIS countries would also need to start exploring similar approaches, so that they will ensure that human rights will be central to their ‘Green Recovery’ and ‘build back better’ efforts from the pandemic. The session will help participants explore possible actions for governments, business communities and civil society in ensuring environmental and human rights due diligence based on presented analysis and the examples shared from the region and beyond.

Moderator:

George Bouma

Sustainable Development Team Leader, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub  

 

Speakers:

Mauricio Lazala

Deputy Director & Head of Europe Office, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

 

Jovan Protic

 ILO National Coordinator for Serbia, ILO Decent Work team in the ILO Office for Central and Eastern

Europe (Budapest) 

Sergey Solyanik

Consultant, Crude Accountability (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan) 

Dr. Peter Pawlicki

Director of Outreach and Education, Electronics Watch

11:00 - 11:30

11:30 - 11:45

11:45 – 12:30

Plenary discussion

Break

Closing Plenary – Toward the Next Decade of implementation of the UNGPs? Taking Stock of the first Ten Years and Priorities for the Next Ten                     

This session will provide opportunity for participants to share key insights on the next steps  and actions towards accelerated implementation of UNGPs in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in the next decade. The discussion will also take stock of promising developments and practices (by governments, businesses, international organizations, civil society organizations, etc.), as well as gaps and challenges in UNGPs implementation in the region.

Moderator: 

Ainura Bekkoenova

Human Rights and Rule of Law Expert, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub

 

Speakers:

Dante Pesce

UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights  

 

Nina Panikova

Human Rights Officer, European Network of National Human Rights Institutions    

 

Vasyl Andreyev

President of Construction workers union of Ukraine 

Ryszard Komenda

Regional Representative of OHCHR Central Asia 

 

Salome Zurabishvili
Executive Director, Global Compact Network Georgia and CIDA

Marina Vashukova

Head of Global Compact Russia

Javier Martín Cerracín

Policy Officer – Human Rights, / Global 1, European External Action Service

12:30 - 13:00

13:00 - 13:15 

Plenary discussion

Closure of the Forum

Please check back regularly for updates, speaker information

and announcements.

PROGRAMME

Side Events

 

The Side Events will be held in English with live Russian translations available.

Please note, no translation is available for the Side Event on November 24.
 

MONDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2020

All Times in Central European Time (CET)

13:30 – 15:00

Side Event with International Organization of Employers:

Collective Action – the Dos and Don'ts to Strengthen Partnerships for Addressing  Systemic Challenges

Moderator:

Matthias Thorns

IOE Deputy Secretary-General 

 

Welcome and setting the scene 

Renate Hornung-Draus

IOE Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia 

 

The importance of collective action 

Dante Pesce

Member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights 

 

What works and what doesn’t – key experience from the ground 

Katherine Torres

Senior Technical Officer on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, ILO/ Child Labour Platform

 

Elaine McKay

International Affairs Director, ECLT/JTI 

 

Jürgen Janssen

German partnership for sustainable textiles 

 

Didier Bergeret

Director, Social Sustainability & SSCI, The Consumer Goods Forum 

 

What needs to happen to strengthen partnerships 

Moderator: Luke Wilde

Managing Partner and Founder, Twentyfifty 

 

Alison Tate

Director, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) 

 

William Rook

Senior Advisor, Strategy and Programmes, IHRB 

 

Yann Wyss

Senior Public Affairs Manager, Social and Environmental Impact, Nestlé 

TUESDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2020

All Times in Central European Time (CET)

13:00 – 14:30

Side Event with Belgrade Center on Human Rights:

From Voluntarism to Obligation: Business and Human Rights in South-Eastern Europe

Positive trends in the field of business and human rights have largely bypassed South-eastern Europe to date. Only Slovenia (a country that is only occasionally included in the region by various observers and academics) has adopted a National Action Plan on business and human rights. This panel will explore those nascent efforts; panellists will reflect on how businesses can be prompted to change their engagement with society from the ethos of Corporate Social Responsibility, characterised by voluntarism and philanthropy, to one of Business and Human Rights, that sees businesses recognise their obligation to respect internationally human rights and address the risks and impacts of their activities.

Moderator:

Siniša Milatović

Business and Human Rights Specialist, UNDP 

Speakers:

Jernej Letnar Černič

Graduate School of Government and European Studies (Ljubljana and Kranj), Associate Professor

of Human Rights Law

Ana Dangova Hug

Inter Partes Law Firm

 

Tamara Puhovski

Impact House Consulting, Founder

 

Nevena Dičić Kostić

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Business and Human Rights expert

 

Adil Rehman

ASOS, Ethical Trade Manager

 

Kemal Özkan

Assistant General Secretary, IndustriAll Global Union

WEDNESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2020

All Times in Central European Time (CET)

13:30 – 15:00

Side event by Business and Human Rights Lab at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University of Ukraine:

Migration and Forced Labour: Building an Effective Response in the EE & CA Region

Moderator:

Olena UVAROVA

PhD, Co-Founder of the Central and Eastern European Business and Human Rights Association,

Associate Professor, Head of the International Business and Human Rights Lab at Yaroslav Mudryi

National Law University (Ukraine) 

 

Session I

Combating forced labour through the UNGPs implementation tools: risks and challenges in the region 

Recognizing the importance of addressing forced labour and specific vulnerabilities of migrants to modern slavery, this side event examines recent efforts of states, businesses and CSOs in the region in combating forced labour in the region in general, andimplementing identification and prevention tools in particular. The event will showcase various ways and examples in which key actors have been successfully overcome existing challenges to effectively responding to forced labour in the region in the context of the implementation of UNGPs. The role of human rights approach in state policies, corporate practices and regulations to protect migrants from Estern Europe and Central Asia will be discussed.

Speakers:

Luiz Antonio Machado

Technical Specialist on Forced Labour, Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch, ILO 

Etsuko INOUE

Programme Coordinator, Migrant Protection and Assistance, International Organization for Migration (IOM) 

 

Umida NIYAZOVA

Executive Director, Uzbek Forum for Human Rights

 

Nodira ABDULLOEVA

Member of Human Rights Center (Tajikistan) 

 

Aleh GULAK

Chair of Belarus Helsinki Committee (Belarus) 

 

Session II

The role of human rights approach in state policies, corporate practices and regulations to

protect migrants from CE and CA

During this session, participants will reflect and exchange on issues of exploitation risks and forced labour abuses of migrants in EU countries in the context of business activities, as well as on frameworks and tools that States, business enterprises and other stakeholders could use to prevent forced labour.

 

Speakers:

Nicolaj Sonderbye

Senior Democracy and Human Rights Advisor, UNDP Ukraine 

 

Beata Faracik

Co-Founder of the Central and Eastern European Business and Human Rights Association,

President of the Polish Institute on Human Rights and Business, Poland 

 

Olena Stepanenko

Representative of the Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights on Socio-Economic

and Humanitarian Rights 

 
 

FEATURED SPEAKERS

More to be announced

REGISTRATION

 

PARTNERS

More to be announced

 

1st Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Making Human Rights a Priority for Business

 

CONTACT US

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

Ainura Bekkoenova ainura.bekkoenova@undp.org 

and Zeliha Aydin zeliha.aydin@undp.org.

Please direct all registration and Zoom technical questions to elizabeth@insightpact.com.  

Business and Human Rights in ECIS. Event Management and Interaction Design by InsightPact.