In October 2019, The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights held workshops on environmental rights in Bangkok for media, civil society and businesses across the South East Asia region. Each workshop was focused on educating the participants as well as learning from them to discover how each group can best promote, protect and respect environmental rights.
The media training was attended by 17 international and national journalists with the objective of encouraging and supporting media to tell more environmental rights-related stories that take into account economic, technological, trade and investment, and governance realities. Participants were also taught skills on taking protection and security concerns into account when dealing with environmental rights issues.
A business consultation was held and attended by 15 business executives from a range of South-East Asian industries including oil and gas, agriculture, plastics, tourism and food. The main objective of the consultation was to receive feedback and guidance from business leaders on the direction that UNEP’s project on business responsibilities and environmental rights should take.
One of the key pieces of feedback from the forum was that businesses don’t want more generic guidelines. They want practical examples of how to implement existing guidelines successfully through case studies and good practice. While they were familiar with existing guidance such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, guidelines by the International Organization for Standardization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards, they were less familiar with the linkages between business operations on environmental rights.
A civil society training was also carried out, with 18 participants from grassroots organizations across the region. The main objective of the session with civil society was to teach them to prepare information, pitch and disseminate to media, whilst taking protection and security concerns into account.
For more information, please contact: Angela.Kariuki[at]un.org or Paula.Waibochi[at]un.org.