Business and Human Rights - Towards a Common Agenda for Action event in Brussels

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 26.8.2019 10.14
News item

The event will take place on 2 December 2019. This multi-stakeholder conference, to be held during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, will discuss topical issues in the field of business and human rights and means to find constructive ways to take forward this critical agenda in both the Member States and at EU level. The conference will be organised in collaboration with Shift (

Logo for Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

Since the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011, we have witnessed increasing attention to the role of business in acting sustainably and respecting human rights. The UN Guiding Principles set clear expectations of business and also of states to ensure that companies carry out their operations with respect for human rights and that, where impacts occur, those who are affected have access to effective remedy. While we have seen progress since 2011, the question now is how do we most effectively scale up implementation?

The keynote speaker of the event will be Professor John Ruggie, the author of the UN Guiding Principles. The event will be held 2.12.2019 at the Sofitel hotel in Brussels, Belgium. The draft programme is available here (this will be updated on this page with more details on speakers and topics as these are finalised). Key topics will include state financing for doing business abroad, the role of regulatory measures as part of a mix of measures, and the use of collective leverage and cooperation to enhance human rights outcomes particularly for those most vulnerable to harm, especially human rights defenders.

The event is free of cost, however it is by invitation only, as the venue can accommodate only a limited amount of guests and the aim is to ensure broad and balanced participation across all stakeholder groups. Should you not have received an invitation but are interested in participating up, please do sign up for the waiting list. The event will be streamed live. 

This page will be updated with a detailed programme and more information in September 2019. In case of questions please turn to [email protected]