November 1, 2022

UN network pushes for NAP promotions in Nigeria’s businesses

UN network pushes for NAP promotions in Nigeria’s businesses

By Prince Okafor

The United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria has canvassed the need to strengthen National Action Plan (NAP) for businesses across the country.

The Global Compact Network Nigeria in collaboration with Global Rights, both NGOs made the call during the 2022 National Business and Human Rights Roundtable, with the theme: “The implementation of the national action plan for business and human rights in Nigeria” in Lagos.

Speaking during the event, the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria, Executive Director, Naomi Nwokolo, stated that, “It is critical that steps must be taken to foster constructive relationships with local, national, and international institutions, to advance human rights.

“At the national level, sharing expertise, methodologies and best practices are very beneficial. Let us move more quickly to implement types of institutions and laws that support individuals in asserting their rights.

“We must approach human rights promotion as a component of a global initiative to advance the UN Guiding Principles, referred to as ‘internationally recognised human rights’.

“This includes those guaranteed by the International Bill of Human Rights.

“These stands for rights are outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Nwokolo, who is also Chair of the African Regional Network Council, also noted that such rights mean that businesses should ensure freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining as well as the abolition of all forms of forced or compulsory labour.

“On SDG Goal 5, it is worth noting that gender equality is a basic human right; Gender equality is critical to all aspects of a healthy society, from poverty reduction to promoting men’s and women’s health, education, protection and well-being.

“Nigeria must achieve sustainable development goals to ensure women’s full and effective participation in political, economic and public life and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making.

“Although government policies can help close persistent gender gaps in economic participation and pay, the private sector can help close structural inequalities.

“At this juncture, I call on companies to sign up for the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a primary vehicle for corporate delivery of gender equality dimensions of the 2030 agenda and the UN SDGs,” she added.

In a remark, Cynthia Muffuh, Head of Human Rights and Gender, United Nations Global Compact, underscored the need for collaborative efforts by both public and private sectors to achieve targets.

According to Muffuh, it is apt that the UN and the private sector are working closely with many stakeholders towards achieving common goals on human rights, peace, security, and sustainable development.

She said, “This will not be possible, if it were not for us at Global Compact, in terms of its principles and the UN guiding principles on human rights, which is why we are here.

“Companies that join the UN Global Rights join the principles in the area of human rights, labour and in environment and anti-corruption, which are rights championed by the Global Compact.

“However, there is a gap between business aspirations and business action on human rights, therefore, an urgent need for governments to drive action on human rights.

“The great way to achieve this is to develop a national action plan for human rights; this will give governments an opportunity to review plans on human rights, identify gaps and increase measures to effectively achieve targets.”