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JOINT STATEMENT by Norway, on behalf of Russia, Ghana and Argentina, 8 June 2017

Mr. President,

 I have the honor to speak on behalf of Argentina, Norway, Russia and my own country Ghana.

 The Core Group would like to welcome the reports presented by the working group. Their main report this session focuses on the importance small and medium-sized enterprises play and the challenges they may face in implementing the UNGP. This is a relevant topic as these businesses represent two thirds of all employment globally, making them by far the most important in terms of social impact. A lack of resources normally available to SMEs traditionally represent an adverse setting for the UN Guiding Principles. The report contains a number of helpful tools designed to counteract this “resource deficit”.

 The conditions under which small and medium-sized businesses operate are determined by law, by the market place, by Governmental regulations, by national and international supply chains and by international agendas where the Sustainable Development Goals constitute a cornerstone.  In this landscape, the UN Guiding Principles do provide a roadmap that is gaining in use and in demand. Efforts underway to make relevant and effective reporting on implementation an easier task for small and medium-sized enterprises are to be encouraged.

Several States have issued National Action Plans during the last year, and more have committed to or are in the process of developing one. A growing number of companies are taking steps to implement the Principles. The Guiding Principles have been integrated in a number of domestic, regional and international processes and frameworks. The coregroup welcomes this and recognizes the working group’s role in promoting the UNGPs.

We take positive note of the efforts of the Working Group and of the OHCHR to increasingly interact with other stakeholders working towards the same aim, such as the OECD, the UN Global Compact, the ILO, the G20, the Thun Group and others.

We also observe a steady increase of communications from the Working Group over the past years, which contributes to raising awareness and attention to salient issues regarding the implementation of the Guiding Principles.

The role of women with regard to Business and Human Rights deserves more attention, and the Core Group therefore supports the efforts of the OHCHR and the Working Group in this regard. Increased cooperation and exchange of experiences between states, businesses and civil society in the annual Forum on Business and Human Rights as well as regional forums, continue to be important contributions to this cause. 

The Core Group is pleased to present the resolution renewing the mandate of the working group on business and human rights in line with HRC res. 17/4 in 2011.  The resolution will guide and enable the Working Group’s activities in the coming years.

In the opinion of the Working Group on the progress on the Sustainable Development Goals; is there a good understanding of the crosscutting importance of Human Rights due diligence in this context?  Could the Working Group comment on how you see your role in the overall SDGs agenda bearing in mind the fact that UNGP are explicitly mentioned in 70/1? 

Thank you.