Implementing the UNGPs in the European Union : towards an open method of coordination for business and human rights

Abstract

The paper examines the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in the European Union via National Action Plans (NAPs). We argue that some of the procedural and substantive shortcomings currently observed in the implementation process could effectively be addressed through the Open Method of Coordination – a governance instrument that the EU has already successfully used in other policy domains such as employment, social protection and education. Section two sketches out the polycentric global governance approach envisaged by the UNGPs and discusses the institutional and policy background of their implementation in the European Union. Section three provides an assessment of EU Member State National Action Plans on business and human rights, as benchmarked against international NAP guidance. Section four relates experiences with the existing NAP process to the policy background and rationale of the Open Method of Coordination and discusses the conditions for employing the OMC in the business and human rights domain. Against this background, section five make some more concrete proposals for developing an Open Method of Coordination on Business and Human Rights

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This paper was published in Cadmus, EUI Research Repository.

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