National Action Plan


Spain 2017 - 2020
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View the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights


Main Coordinating Authority

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation

Drafting Process

The development process commenced in December 2012, from when the Spanish Government began to hold different informal meetings with representatives of Public Administrations, private businesses and NGOs in order to share the working plan and to have an exchange on the main substantial elements.

The Human Rights Office (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation) was appointed as the coordinating authority.

Throughout the development process as number of major meetings were held:

  • Between December 2012 and February 2013, there was a first round of stakeholders’ consultations with more than a hundred representatives from Public Administrations, private businesses and civil society.
  • The Human Rights Office provided a mechanism to receive written submissions from stakeholders.
  • The Human Rights Office contracted external consultants in order to have support and technical assistance in the drafting process.
  • In June 2013, a major public consultation with all relevant stakeholders was held in “Casa América”; the first draft of the National Action Plan was presented; written submissions to the first draft were again encouraged.
  • There were several meetings and contacts with line ministries in order to discuss amendments to the first draft.
  • The whole process was consulted with the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights; in this line, there was a meeting between representatives from the Spanish Government and a member of the Working Group.

During the development process a number of drafts were presented:

  • The first draft of the National Action Plan was presented in the meeting held in “Casa América” in June 2013.
  • The second and final draft was presented in June 2014.
  • The final Plan was approved by the Council of Ministers in July 2017.

Stakeholders Involved

  • Government: Five ministries were involved during the drafting process of the National Action Plan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ministry of Labour and Social Security)
  • NGOs/Civil Society: Around 50 NGOs and representatives from Civil Society were involved during the drafting process of the National Action Plan]
  • Private Businesses/Associations: More than 30 different private business and business associations were involved during the drafting process of the National Action Plan.

Consultation and Coordiantion Mechanisms 

During the whole process of elaborating the National Action Plan, there were different consultations with all interested stakeholders and several coordination meetings within Government departments. Written submissions were also received in the different steps of the drafting process.

National Baseline Assessment

The Human Rights Office carried out an analysis on the application of the UN Guiding Principles in Spain that served as a basis for the drafting process.


€ 7000


Through the NAP, as a specific manifestation of the broader commitment to protecting and promoting human rights, Spain undertakes to protect human rights against any adverse impacts from business activities, and to facilitate the potential victims of such impacts access to an effective remedy.

The Plan is rooted in the United Nations Guiding Principles, and particularly in its foundational principles 1, 2 and 25, linked to the State duty to protect against human rights abuse by third parties, including business enterprises, and to the need to provide victims with access to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.

The Plan includes references to most of the UN Guiding Principles and contains more than fifty measures tied to them.

Priorities under Pillar I:

  • The State obligation to protect human rights
  • Encourage and promote awareness
  • Promote self-regulatory codes
  • Training campaigns for civil servants and government employees
  • Capacity building in other States
  • Coherence of policies supporting business internationalization and their alignment to the UNGP
  • Support the inclusion of human rights aspects into the financial institutions working on regional and international development issues
  • Participate in the multilateral efforts aimed at improving prevention, mitigation and remedy

Priorities under Pillar II:

  • Setting out clear expectations for companies
  • Promotion of internal measures, procedures and systems to effectively protect and/or mitigate the adverse human rights impacts
  • Design a system of incentives to encourage businesses to adopt adequate policies in the sphere of human rights

Priorities under Pillar III:

  • Disseminate the means of remedy available to victims
  • Specific training on business and human rights addressed to judges and prosecutors
  • Support the development of effective remedy mechanisms
  • Promote the role of the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises

Specific attention on Vulnerable Groups

A number of measures in the National Action Plan are aimed to protect persons in situation of vulnerability:

  • Information shall be provided to business enterprises and sectors exposed to the greatest risks related to “C169 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention” (1989) of the ILO and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007); this awareness-raising action shall demonstrate the benefits that respect for hu­man rights can have for business enterprises, as well as provide examples of best practices.
  • Similarly, an awareness-raising strategy shall be implemented on how to avoid discriminatory practices (including distinction, exclusion or preference) in public and private enterprises, on the basis of gender, age, ethnic origin, race, religion, disability, membership of a political party or trade union, sexual orientation, na­tionality, civil status, socio-economic background or any other personal differen­ce.
  • As regards children, in collaboration with lea­ding Spanish and international organisations, the Government shall dissemina­te the UNICEF, Save the Children and Global Compact document on “Children's Rights and Business Principles” among the business sector, and shall give parti­cular consideration to General Comment no. 16 of 2013 of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on State obligations regarding the impact of business on children’s rights.

Extraterritorial Issues addressed by the National Action Plan

The Plan states that the State expects Spanish business enterprises, both in Spain and abroad, to operate in accordance with their responsibility to respect human Rights; i.e. they must act with due diligence, as appropriate to their size and circumstances, to avoid the abuse of the rights of third parties and to address the adverse impacts of their activities.

The Government, through its Missions abroad, shall inform business enterprises of the risks that their activities and business relations entail, particularly in areas affected by conflict.

The Government shall also promote the application of the OECD Due Diligence Gui­dance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals in Conflict-Affected and High- Risk Areas.

Review and Monitoring

The NAP highlights that it is not a final product, but a continuous process which will involve periodic updates.

Two years from the approval of the Plan by the Council of Ministers, the Monitoring Committee, established by the Plan itself and composed by representatives of several ministries, shall, within a six-month period, perform an impact assessment as regards prevention, mitigation and remedy of potential adverse human rights impacts of business activities.

Based on the assessment and the consultations with interested stakeholders, the Monitoring Committee shall promote the drafting of an updated version of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, which must be finished within the three years that this Plan is scheduled to cover.

The Monitoring Committee shall also prepare an annual report assessing the implementation of the measures included in the Plan and shall propose updates to the Plan. To this end, the Monitoring Committee shall create a follow-up sheet for each measure. This document shall describe the measure in question, the Ministry or entity/ies responsible for its implementation, the indicators of fulfilment and the schedule of implementation.