Updated assessment of existing National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights
November 12th, 2015
ECCJ and ICAR (International Corporate Accountability Roundtable) have published a joint report providing a cross-European overview and an individual assessment of the existing National Action Plans (NAPs) on business and human rights.

The report builds on previous analysis of EU NAPs by ECCJ and ICAR, adding new information about the recently published Swedish and Lithuanian plans. Its aim is to support the development and further review of NAPs by facilitating structured assessments of six out of the seven existing European NAPs. At the time of the document’s publication, Norway’s NAP had not yet been translated into English, hindering a full assessment, but ICAR and ECCJ aim to conduct a review of the translated Norwegian NAP, as well as future NAPs, as they are become available.

The UN Human Rights Council unanimously adopted the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in 2011. Shortly after their adoption the European Union called on its Member States to develop NAPs – a call that has been repeated by the European Parliament, and the Council of Europe over the last years. A similar appeal was made at global level by the UN Human Rights Council.

Since 2011, however, only seven Member States have developed and published NAPs on business and human rights, including the United Kingdom (2013), the Netherlands (2013), Denmark (2014), Finland (2014), Lithuania (2015), Sweden (2015), and Norway (2015). At the same time, a large number of other governments (including 12 EU Member States) have begun the process of developing NAPs on business and human rights, or have publicly announced an intention to do so. Thus, it is essential that the seven existing NAPs be closely analysed in terms of their content and processes, in order to assess best practices and to suggest areas for improvement.

The intention of both ICAR and ECCJ is that these assessments are used to provide critical and structured feedback to States who have already developed NAPs and a reference point for States that are on the path to developing theirs.