UN Forum on Business and Human Rights 2017

At the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights, 27 to 29 November 2017, GBI organised two key panels. Access our full briefing for business on the UN Forum here. The 2018 Forum will take place from 26 to 28 November in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Operationalising corporate respect for human rights: how far have we come?

27 November 2017, 15:00 - 18:00 Room XXI - Organised by GBI

This session featured speakers from business, government, civil society and the trade union sector. It was been organised by the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI), with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.

Part 1: Case studies on strengthening human rights performance over time 


  • Adebola Ogunlade, Total
  • Bruce Klafter, Flex
  • Diego Leon Gonzalez Ochoa, ISAGEN
  • Laura McManus, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia
  • Dan Bross, Article One (Moderator)

This panel featured business practitioners from companies operating in diverse contexts and geographies share observations, insights and reflections from their experience driving change across their organisations value chains to operationalise respect in practice.

Part 2: Reflections on how far we’ve come, and what’s needed to move forwards 


  • Irene Plank, German Federal Foreign Office
  • Michele Thatcher, PepsiCo
  • Namit Agarwal, Oxfam India
  • Nicole Bigby, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Alke Boessiger, UNI Global Union
  • Catie Shavin, Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (Moderator)

This panel featured a diverse group to reflect and share perspectives on progress made over the past 6+ years, and to explore emerging trends and developments that will shape implementation of corporate respect for human rights in the coming years.

Closing reflections were provided by Dante Pesce, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Achieving access to remedy through multi-stakeholder engagement on the ground

28 November, 15:00-18:00 Room XX  - Organised by GBI, BHRRC and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights 

The session aimed to support dialogue and learning on this topic among the international business and human rights community by exploring multi-stakeholder perspectives and experiences on specific case studies on realising and delivering access to remedy in local contexts. 

Part 1: Multi-stakeholder perspectives on access to remedy for people affected by the Thilawa Special Economic Zone in Myanmar 15:00-16:25 

The Thilawa special economic zone (SEZ), 23 km southeast of Yangon, is the first SEZ to be established by the Myanmar Government. The Zone is being developed in cooperation with the Japanese Government. This session will explore approaches by key stakeholders to ensure access to remedy for people affected by the development of the Thilawa SEZ.

  • Ai Ai Khaing, General Administration Department of the Yangon Easter District 
  • Tomoyasu Shimizu, CEO, Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Limited 
  • Masayuki Karasawa, Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) 
  • Daw Than Ei, member, Thilawa community-driven operational level grevience mechanism (CD-OGM) Design Committee and affected community member 
  • U Tin Latt Ye, Representative of affected community of Thilawa SEZ & of Thilawa Coordination Committee 
  • Katherine McDonnell, Legal Advocacy Coordinator, EarthRights International 
  • Michael Addo, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (Closing remarks)
  • Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (Moderator) 

Part 2: Resolving grievances in the mining industry in South Africa: an independent problemsolving service 16:35-18:00 

The panel will focus on an example of an innovative and in-progress approach to remedy from the perspectives of different stakeholders. A new Independent Problem-Solving Service (IPSS) for affected communities in mining areas in South Africa is currently being created by the Bench Marks Foundation. It will focus on facilitated dialogue and developmental solutions. The proposed service seeks to independently facilitate sustainable solutions in the context of fraught histories, the absence of trust between business and communities and systemic challenges.

  • Mmathapelo Thobejane, Community Representative  
  • Tebello Chabana, Chamber of Mines South Africa  
  • John Capel, the Bench Marks Foundation 
  • Michael Addo, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights 
  • Katryn Wright, Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (Moderator)