National Action Plan National Action Plan


Switzerland 2016 - 2020
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View the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights


Main Coordinating Authority

Two main authorities jointly developed the National Action Plan:

  • The Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Training and Research (DEFR): including the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) / International Labour Affairs (DAIN);
  • The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA): including the Human Security Division (DSH) / Political Human Rights Section.

Drafting Process

The Swiss NAP was developed on the basis of a parliamentary mandate which began in June 2012. It was developed over a period of four years which included the following phases:

  • Multi-stakeholder dialogue (2012-2014): A dialogue between NGOs, businesses, economic and scientific associations, and other institutions was launched with a view to developing the Swiss strategy for the implementation of the UNGPs.
  • Stakeholder consultation (2014): The dialogue was complemented by an external consultation mandated by the Federal Administration to examine the expectations of the various stakeholders for the Swiss NAP.
  • Drafting phase (2014-2016): the FDFA and the DEFR drafted the NAP jointly, involving other departments and Ministries concerned. This drafting phase also involved external parties (NGOs, economic and scientific associations).

Consultation Methods:

External stakeholders were surveyed individually on their expectations for the NAP by an external foundation, Swisspeace, as part of a first round of consultation. This process led to the drafting of a report which the Confederation drew upon in developing the Action Plan. Stakeholders also had the opportunity to make written submissions on two drafts of the Action Plan. Additionally, the drafting progress was discussed several times in the framework of the multi-stakeholder dialogue.


Main Priorities / Focus areas in the Action Plan

The Action Plan addresses Pillars I and III of the UNGPs, setting out the relevant Principle and linking it to a number of Policy Instruments with the following structure:

  1. Explanation of the policy instrument;
  2. Current activities connected with the policy instrument;
  3. Evaluation and planned activities.

The table in the appendix provides information on new and current activities, as well as on the lead agency within the Federal Administration. 

The Policy Instruments cover a range of topices relevant to each Pillar, such as:

Pillar I - State Duty to Protect

  • Regulation of private security service providers.
  • Clarify and communicate what the Federal Council expects of business enterprises.
  • A Federal Government contact point for stakeholder groups.
  • Guidelines for business enterprises on implementing the UNGPs.
  • Initiative on respect for labour and human rights in value chains.
  • Sustainability reporting standards.
  • Child protection in tourism.
  • Human rights due diligence by federal businesses and federal government-associated Businesses, and by the authorities in public-private development partnerships.
  • Human rights criteria in public procurement at federal level.
  • Policy coherence.
  • Legislative review to ensure conformity with the UNGPs.

Pillar II: Corporate Responsibility to Respect

Pillar II is not addressed directly in the action plan but Pillar I contains many key elements for the implementation of Pillar II. The influence of the State on corporate responsibility is addressed in the NAP under Pillar I.

Pillar III: Access to Remedy

  • Clarify the extraterritorial dimension of judicial mechanisms.
  • Reduce practical and procedural obstacles to access to justice.
  • Support partner States to strengthen their governance and strengthen the rule of law.
  • Improved visibility of existing non-judicial measures as well as strengthening of the Swiss National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines.

Review and Monitoring

The DEFR and the FDFA coordinate the implementation and review the progress made.


To support the implementation of the plan, the FDFA and the DEFR have set up, in collaboration with the various stakeholders, a monitoring group composed of representatives of the federal administration (DEFR and FDFA), business circles (with representatives of Small and Medium sized Enterprises and multinationals), scientists, trade unions and civil society. The multi-stakeholder group meets at least 4 times a year. The DEFR and the FDFA regularly review progress on implementation with the monitoring group.


The Swiss NAP provides for an integrated and continuous process of development, evaluation and review of the NAP. The updating and revision of the NAP, to take place every four years, will be based on an external analysis of the Swiss context in the field of business and human rights. The Federal Administration has assessed progress on the implementation of the UNGPs through an external study ("Gap Analysis") conducted by the "twentyfifty" consulting group.

Following this gap analysis and evaluation, the DEFR and the FDFA have assessed the need for additional measures to ensure the implementation of the UNGPs in Switzerland and have prepared a report calling for a revision of the NAP for the period 2020-2023. The Federal Council took note of this report in December 2018.

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