Business and Human Rights: Towards a Common Agenda for Action

This multi-stakeholder conference , organised by Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU with the support of the international NGO Shift, is set to discuss business and human rights and, in particular, a collaborative and constructive way forward on this critical agenda.

Since the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011, we have seen the debate on respect for human rights in business take off. It is clear that both business and governments are expected  to ensure that companies respect human rights and that those who are  most vulnerable to harm, including human-rights defenders, have access to justice. The question remains: How can we most effectively enhance implementation on EU level?

The keynote speaker of the event will be Professor John Ruggie, author of the UN Guiding Principles. The event will be attended by Minister of Employment Timo Harakka and Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Key topics include state financing for doing business abroad, the role of regulatory measures in a mix of policy measures, and using collective leverage and cooperation to improve human rights outcomes, particularly for those most vulnerable to harm, including human rights defenders. To conclude, the conference chair will launch an Agenda for Action.

All registered participants have been sent a confirmation e-mail on 27.11.2019. The venue can accommodate only a limited number of guests and the aim has been to ensure broad and balanced participation across all stakeholder groups. Registrations are now closed, and we regret not being able to accommodate all those on the waiting list. The event will be streamed.

The Finnish Government has been partnering with Shift since 2018 for numerous actions related to business and human rights.

Contact: Ville Ikävalko, Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Location: Sofitel Hotel, Bryssel


Business and Human Rights – Towards a Common Agenda for Action: Monday 2 December 2019 Final Agenda

Perspectives Paper - Business and Human Rights: Towards a Common Agenda for Action

Speaker bios

Report: Aligning Finland’s State Financing for Private Sector Activity Abroad with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Outcome paper: Agenda for Action on Business and Human Rights 






Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Ministry for Foreign Affairs

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