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A Collaborative Approach to Human Rights Impact Assessments

Type:   Research publications
Topic:   Human rights
Date submitted:   23/03/2017
Member:   Tulika Bansal

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Sciences Po Law School Clinic are pleased to share their new discussion paper, entitled 'A Collaborative Approach to Human Rights Impact Assessments'.

The paper is the result of a 2-year long research project and is based on extensive desktop research; interviews with 49 people with relevant experience including representatives of companies, civil society organizations, communities, and academia; as well as a roundtable bringing together over a dozen stakeholders and HRIA experts to receive feedback on the research findings. Many of you have contributed to this paper directly or through broader research on HRIA, for which we are very thankful.
The paper proposes a new approach to conducting human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of business operations or projects, which brings together project-affected people, such as communities and workers, the company, and other stakeholders to jointly design and implement an assessment. The aim of this new approach is to address one of the key challenges of current HRIA practices: the limited engagement and participation of relevant stakeholders, which can undermine effectiveness and trust. 
With this collaborative approach, we hope to improve communication between relevant stakeholders, increase access to relevant information for rights holders, encourage greater engagement with the findings and recommendations of the assessment, and most importantly, ensure increased prevention or mitigation of negative human rights impacts.
As part of the project we have also interviewed stakeholders working on HRIAs regarding the challenges of current HRIA practices and the potential benefits of such a collaborative approach to HRIAs.

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