Publication: The effective participation of rights-holders in multi-stakeholder partnerships
A group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) publishes a report on rights-holders in multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) and calls for increased participation opportunities for rights-holders.
NGOs from the Global North and a partner organisation from the Global South, all involved in MSPs, met in January 2021 to share their experiences. Based on the challenges and necessary improvements in the participation of rights-holders identified in this workshop, a questionnaire was developed. The questionnaire was designed to assess the status quo of rights-holders’ participation in MSPs. The questionnaire was sent to NGO stakeholders from the Sustainable Cocoa Forum, the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles, the NAP Automotive Sector Dialogue and the Partnership for Sustainable Orange Juice. This paper is based on the answers to the questionnaire.
The paper emphasises that in the German MSPs dealing with corporate due diligence, the focus is mostly on negative impacts of economic activities of German companies in global production sites and along value chains. In the dialogue formats of the German MAPs, primarily governmental, economic and civil society actors from Germany are represented.
The potentially negatively affected rights-holders abroad, on the other hand, are often not at all or only selectively involved in dialogue formats. Based on this, a discrepancy between the level of impact, representation and possibilities of exerting influence in MSPs is identified. This is perceived as critical with regard to human rights due diligence (see also UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights), as a deeper involvement of rights-holders, especially from vulnerable groups, is central to compliance with human rights due diligence.
The paper defines dimensions of effective rights-holder participation in MSPs, with reference to good practice examples from the four NGOs studied. In order for MSPs to realise their full potential in this area, the paper makes demands on MSPs, companies and the state. These include:
– A clear commitment to the inclusion of rights-holders in relevant MSP founding and working documents.
– Measures to promote the inclusion of rights-holders in MSPs, such as the development of a roadmap with clear goals and timelines that is communicated publicly.
– Providing sufficient human and financial resources to enable the realisation of participation on the ground.
– Regularly reviewing the effectiveness of the measures taken and reporting on the participation formats.
The entire paper in German can be accessed here at Germanwatch.