Denpasar, 5 February 2015—The year 2015 is significant both in terms of establishing the integrated ASEAN Economic Community and marking the target year for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. In this context, the ASEAN CSR Network is conscious of the key role the private sector plays in building a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive ASEAN as the region charts the way forward. Thus, together with its co-organisers, the ASEAN CSR Network is hosting the “ASEAN Next-Gen CSR Forum” from 3-6 February 2015 at the Laguna Resort in Bali, Indonesia. By tackling thematic issues such as corruption, sustainable agriculture, natural resource management and human rights, the forum aims to dig deeper into the responsibilities of business and offer tangible ways forward in addressing key ASEAN Challenges.
Keeping well aware of the tremendous progress that can be achieved when business initiatives are in line with the vision of governments and civil society, the Human Rights Resource Centre, Singapore Management University, Centre for Applied Legal Studies and the ASEAN CSR Network hosted a side event on 4-5 February entitled “Roundtable & Consultation: Business and Human Rights National Action Plans.” A National Action Plan (NAP) would be an important means to strengthen protection against human rights abuses by business enterprises through an inclusive process of identifying needs and gaps as well as practical and actionable policy measures and goals.
To set the tone for the discussions, Thomas Thomas, CEO of the ASEAN CSR Network gave opening remarks, while keynote addresses were given by H.E. Rafendi Djamin, Indonesia’s Representative to the AICHR, and Prof. Michael Addo, Chairperson of the UN Working Group for Business and Human Rights. Attended by around 100 participants and with speakers representing governments and civil society, including academicians, the side event discussed key business and human rights concerns in the region as well as the ASEAN perspectives and outlook with regard specifically to NAPs. The attendees also considered the process of developing and monitoring NAPs to secure compliance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework.
Speakers from ASEAN governments included H.E. Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, Thailand’s Representative to the AICHR; H.E. Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Malaysia’s Representative to the AICHR; H.E. Srun Thirith, Cambodia’s Representative to the AICHR; Prof. Dr. Aung Tun Thet, Economic Adviser to the President of Myanmar; Mr. Husendro, an Expert Staff in Commission 3 of the Indonesian Parliament; Mr. U Soe Phone Myint of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission; and Mr. Jose Manuel S. Mamauag of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines. The event also drew expertise from outside the region, with speakers from China, Japan, India, and Hong Kong.