Follow-up on the 3rd session of the UN Binding Treaty’s Working Group
The third session of the Open Ended Inter-governmental Working Group for the elaboration of a legally binding treaty on TNCs and other business enterprises with respect to human rights took place between the 23rd and 27th of October.
We would like to welcome the historic step forward that the constructive discussions held during the Working Group represent. Indeed, more countries than ever were present during the session and the interventions by civil society, States, and academics provided an in-depth gaze of the topic.
We would like to stress that the recommendations of the Chair-Rapporteur, released on Friday 27th October 2017, and available in the draft report of the Third session, set up a very pragmatic and clear path for the following year. The Chair-Rapporteur recommends convening a fourth session of the Working Group in 2018, and takes the responsibility of releasing a draft legally binding instrument at least four months before the date of that meeting. After three sessions of this Working Group, the next step towards the elaboration of this Binding Instrument is to have a draft text on the table. The Chair-Rapporteur has committed to invite States and different stakeholders to submit their comments and proposals no later than the end of February 2018. We, therefore, welcome these recommendations and invite you all to make sure that this roadmap is supported by your own country’s delegations.
We must, however, stress that the way towards that fourth session and the first draft of the binding instrument is not exempt of obstacles. Indeed, some influential delegations, such as the European Union and the United States, rose very serious objections at several meetings, which created tensions and a risk of the process getting blocked or delayed, in particular, concerning the mandate of the Resolution 26/9, specifically the roadmap towards the elaboration of a binding instrument and the call for a fourth session of the working group to be held in 2018. Further, the EU expressed a fear that the material scope of the future legal instrument could be prejudged by the programme of work as presented, and disapproved the Chairmanship for delays in the presentation of the working documents, which allowed little time for delegations to prepare.
We, therefore, recall that this is a ground-breaking process, and we, as Worldwide Parliamentarians, must make sure that all our countries’ delegations back this very necessary process towards a Binding Instrument and that putting any obstacles, be it in the form of inflexible positions or unjustifiable delays in this roadmap, would be detrimental for the People and, thus, unacceptable.
We will keep on using this inter-parliamentary network in support of the Binding Treaty to share information, develop new strategies and create synergies for achieving our goal, and that we strengthen it by suggesting more Parliamentarians to join and by putting the Binding Instrument in our countries’ political agendas.
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