How can we better align business interests with human rights?

24 ideas  •  47 participants

Every year on the 10th December the world commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a landmark document that proclaims the inalienable rights of every human being

In order to celebrate the achievements, but also to question the status quo, foraus takes this event as an opportunity to collaboratively tackle the following question:


“How can we better align business interests with human rights?”


The UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights  outline the responsibility to respect human rights. However, under international law, companies have no binding obligations. Of course, some companies take this responsibility seriously and strive to identify and avoid the risks of human rights violations and to put an end to existing violations. Nevertheless, in many areas in the world serious human rights violations are still ongoing in the business context. Many keywords ring a bell : land grabbing, climate justice, poor working conditions, wages or producer prices below a living wage.


71 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is time assure a life of dignity for people around the world. Too often, this issue is framed in a polarising way, pitting businesses against human rights advocates and vice versa. We aim to foster a constructive dialogue on how companies, consumers and states can better navigate the space between competitiveness and universal values.


For this challenge, we encourage you to put yourself in the shoes of the different actors - corporations, states, workers, consumers - to imagine solutions that optimally align the different interests.


Ready? Read this primer for more background and post your idea!



What do we offer?


Meet like-minded participants at one of our Policy Cooking events in Basel (30.10.2019), Geneva (13.11.2019), Neuchatel (4.11.2019), St.Gallen (11.11.2019) and with our help form working groups around your proposals. Guest speakers will provide brief thematic inputs at the beginning of every Policy Cooking event and experts will be present during and after the event to provide you with valuable feedback on your proposals.


Over the course of one month, we will guide you in formulating proposals to answer the challenge question above. Our moderators and jury team, consisting of the foraus Program groups International Law, Diplomacy and Peace and Security, will help you work on your ideas. The best ideas will be published as a blog series starting on 10th December.


If some ideas bear potential for a paper publication, we will encourage and support the authors in its drafting process. There will also be support to create impact by pushing the output to decision makers and the wider public. It is even possible to organise pitch events with a senior audience with financial support by foraus.



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