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Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
News article10 December 2019Service for Foreign Policy Instruments

EU and UNDP join efforts in promoting human rights and responsible business in Asia

On International Human Rights Day, the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a partnership agreement to jointly implement the four-year programme “Business and Human Rights in Asia: Enabling Sustainable Economic Growth through the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework” (B+HR Asia).

With a value of €5,5 million, the programme is financed under the Partnership Instrument of the European Union, and will cover the six countries in South and South East Asia, namely India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Hilde Hardeman, Director, Head of the European Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instrument, underlined that "With this new programme in Asia, the European Union is further stepping up its action to enhance human rights in business operations, mitigate risks and address human rights abuses. Working in partnership with UNDP on Business and Human Rights is a reflection of the confidence the EU has in multilateral approaches to solving complex, global challenges.”

The focus of this new EU-UN partnership is to promote the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Over the next four years, the B+HR Asia programme will raise awareness and knowledge about the UNGPs, and will provide guidance to governments, business, and civil society organisations on human rights due diligence processes and human rights impact assessments.

This EU-UNDP initiative aims to reduce risks and address human rights abuses of vulnerable groups, including migrants, women and Indigenous Peoples, working in high-risk industry sectors. By promoting multilateralism and levelling the playing field for businesses that integrate human rights considerations into their operations and supply chains, the program will ensure safer working environments and due protection of human rights.

Through this action, besides a partnership with UNDP, the EU will also join forces with an EU Member State – Sweden that is financing an ongoing regional initiative on Business and Human Rights in Asia.

More information on the EU Partnership Instrument


Publication date
10 December 2019
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments