New Paper Discusses the Establishment of a Global Helpdesk on Business and Human Rights

11 December 2023

Our new Research Brief Parameters for a Global Helpdesk on Business and Human Rights, published with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, discusses the proposal to establish a global helpdesk on business and human rights at the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The author – Stefania Di Stefano, Project Officer at our Geneva Human Rights Platform – unpacks the potential of this initiative, but also the risks and challenges that it may face.

‘The helpdesk proposal was first articulated by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights in its Roadmap for the Next Decade of Business and Human Rights. While an interesting capacity-building measure to ensure implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, its efficiency and credibility will rely on a number of parameters that I address in my paper’ underlines Stefania Di Stefano.

From Positioning its Audience to Complementarity with Regional and National Initiatives

The paper examines the main risks and challenges related to the establishment of this helpdesk – its positioning, audience, complementarity with regional and national initiatives, ‘cosmetic compliance’, funding, human resources and information management – and makes proposals to address them.

‘By responding to these questions, we will ensure that, if established, this helpdesk will significantly contribute to building business capacity on UNGPs’ implementation and will respond to their requests for guidance in human rights implementation’ explains Stefania Di Stefano.

This paper was released during the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights and will be discussed in early 2024 at an event co-organized between our Geneva Human Rights Platform and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

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