The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ghana has launched a Business and Human Rights (B+HR) project aimed at promoting responsible business conduct in the country.
The project formed part of the UNDP global project with funding from the government of Japan to promote responsible business practices in 17 countries including Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique in Africa.
It was under the theme; ‘Promoting Responsible Business Conduct with a particular focus on promoting Human Right Due Diligence in global supply chains and leveraging the UN Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights for a just recovery.’
Speaking at the launch in Accra on Wednesday, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr Sukhrob Khoshmukhamedov, said the project would strengthen efforts to better equip governments and companies to understand and act upon their duties and responsibilities to prevent human right abuses such as forced labour, land grabbing and discrimination among others.
He said it would also guide companies to carry out Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) to assess, prevent and mitigate adverse impacts and would benefit businesses that demonstrate clean operations to have clear advantages in placing their products on the market.
“UNDP’s vast experience in implementing its Business and Human Rights initiative and promoting HRDD has proven that businesses of all sizes can be agents of positive change,” he added.
Mr Khoshmukhamedov said UNDP would work with governments to create a level playing field that would motivate more companies to embrace responsible business practices.
“UNDP and Japan hope to further the achievements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and will continue to support efforts aimed at promoting the rights of all and accelerating the achievement of the SDGs through all its interventions in Ghana,” he stated.
The Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mrs Mercy Larbi, said Ghana was in the process of developing National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights based on the United Nations Guiding Principles which anchored on three pillars namely respect, protect and remedy.
According to her, a steering committee was currently in the process of drafting the Action Plan and expressed optimism that it would be ready by the end of the year which businesses would be required to provide HRDD as a prerequisite to operate in the country.
Mrs Larbi expressed the Commission’s appreciation to the UNDP, the Japanese government and all stakeholders towards the development of the National Action Plan, adding, “The action plan, when ready and operational will go along way to improve the human rights situation in Ghana.”
The Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Mrs Diana Asonaba Dapaah, noted that, the project aligns with the vision of the Attorney-General and assured of the office’s commitment to support the project achieve its aim.
She urged businesses not to see the initiative as a threat but rather an opportunity to be positive change makers towards the attainment of the SDG.
The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Mochizuki Hisanobu, expressed its continuous support to create more enabling environment for businesses, and that of the project to positively and significantly influence business development in Ghana.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR – Ghanaian Times