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National Action Plans on business and human rights: How to ensure quality and coherence?

Almost ten years after the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles (UNGP) by the UN Human Rights Council, 15 EU Member States have so far developed National Action Plans (NAPs). These vary greatly in their approaches and have so far remained uncoordinated. While all of them formulate the expectation that companies exercise human rights due diligence, none of the NAPs submitted so far succeed in creating a “smart mix” of binding and voluntary measures. The issue of effective remedies for those affected also remains neglected. In addition to such substantive aspects that need to be improved, the development process and implementation mechanisms also require renewed reflection from a European perspective. In many cases, the development of the national action plans did not meet human rights standards in relation to participation and transparency. Methodological standards for an effective NAP implementation are also lacking.

This workshop, organised by the German Institute for Human Rights, will bring together experts on NAPs and build on their experiences, in order to create better European NAPs. We want to discuss what quality criteria must apply to the development, substance and implementation structures of NAPs and how the EU can use common objectives, measurement tools and benchmarking to ensure more quality and coherence in the implementation of the UNGP through NAPs.