Opening Plenary: | 4 OCTOBER
The Role of Business and the Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment
DATE AND TIME
4 October 9.00 –10.30 hrs (ICT)
Conference Room 3, Plenary 1, UN Conference Centre Bangkok, Thailand
Following the COP27 Climate Change Conference and the COP15 Conference on Biological Diversity, business leaders and investors in Asia are better placed to amplify actions to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Today, business leaders understand that they must embrace and embed practices and policies which respond to Asia’s environmental priorities. But while some enterprises are already taking active measures to lower carbon and methane emissions, reduce deforestation risks in their supply chains, and embrace circular economy principles, there remains significant scope to reinvent, innovate and drive action on corporate sustainability in the region.
Signaling a growing consensus among states, the UN General Assembly passed an historic resolution in July of 2022, recognizing the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. This resolution followed quickly on the heels of a UN Human Rights Council resolution recognizing the same, in October of 2021. These “twin resolutions” as they are often called on the right to a healthy environment (RHE) have given additional, much-needed impetus to the work of promoting responsible business practices in Asia. But what does RHE and its relationship with environmental rule of law mean for business in the region, and how can it be translated into action by governments? What role, too, does the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) play, as increasing numbers of governments adopt national action plans to support UNGP implementation? The opening plenary will see an exchange views on the role of businesses and governments in supporting and strengthening the newly recognized right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.
Foster a better understanding among business actors and experts on ways to reduce impacts on climate and the environment
Take stock of the progress and challenges in uptake of RHE in the Asia-Pacific region, and reflect on how business can scale up progress
Reflect on potential positive contribution of business in addressing these priorities in a just and sustainable way