Main Coordinating Authority
Federal Foreign Office
Timeframe: The drafting process commenced in 2014 and over the course of two years priority issues were identified and discussed through a series of hearings and plenary meetings, involving public and cross governmental consultations with the Federal Cabinet in December 2016.
Consultation: A steering group was appointed, composed of representatives of six government Ministries, three business organisations, two associations of NGO’s, the German Trade Union Confederation, and two advisory members, including the German Institute for Human Rights. To facilitate expert consultation and public involvement, two formats were created: plenary conferences and hearings.
The first plenary conference in 2014 identified the priority issues, the final list of which was adopted by consensus by the participants from business entities, trade unions, NGO’s, and Federal Ministries. Thematic mentors were chosen from the steering group to prepare the discussion of each issue. In May 2015, the German Institute for Human Rights presented a National Baseline Assessment (NBA), a review of the current situation based on interviews with experts from the various groups of participants in the process. This assessment was discussed with interested members of the public at a second plenary conference. A total of twelve hearings on the priority issues took place between April and November 2015, each attended by about 40 experts. The results of these hearings were collated at the third plenary conference in 2015, which concluded the consultation process. Following a phase of consultation with the other Government Ministries, the Action Plan was presented to the Federal Cabinet in December 2016.
National Baseline assessment: The Federal Foreign Office commissioned the German Institute for Human Rights to produce a National Baseline Assessment (available here) which was published at the end of April 2015. The analysis looked at the extent to which the situation in Germany was already in line with the UN Guiding Principles and specified possible implementation gaps.
Budget allocation: The Federal Foreign Office supported the German Institute for Human Rights in 2015 with a sum of up to 57,000 EUR to contribute towards the drafting of the NAP. This included the cost of the NBA. Further costs that occurred in the context of the NAP drafting were re-allocated from existing budgets.
Main Priorities / Focus areas in the Action Plan and expected outcomes
Pillar I - State Duty to Protect
More than twenty NAP measures were identified under this Pillar and were grouped into the several chapters.
- Protection challenges within Germany.
- Bi- and multilateral economic relations.
- Development policy.
- Public procurement.
- Instruments for the promotion of external trade.
- Enterprises in public ownership.
Pillar II: Corporate Responsibility to Respect
- In its NAP, the German Government has expressed its expectation that all enterprises introduce the process of corporate due diligence in a manner commensurate with their size, the sector in which they operate, and their position in supply and value chains.
- The NAP gives guidance to enterprises by explaining the five “core elements” of due diligence.
- Compliance with due diligence will be reviewed annually from 2018 with the objective that at least 50 % of all enterprises based in Germany with more than 500 employees will have incorporated human rights due diligence into their corporate processes by 2020. In the absence of adequate compliance, the Federal Government will consider further action.
- In its NAP the German Government has committed to assisting small and medium-sized enterprises in particular in fulfilling the corporate due diligence requirements and expectations relating to human rights.
Pillar III: Access to Remedy
- Introduction of compensation for surviving dependants under tort law.
- Expansion of rules regarding sanctions on enterprises for conduct in breach of criminal law.
- Raising awareness of existing remedy mechanisms and on access to justice for injured parties.
- Peer review of the OECD National Contact Point (NCP), strengthening of the NCP and promotion of the OECD Guidelines.
Review and Monitoring
An interministerial committee has been established to verify the coherence and implementation of the adopted measures, meeting regularly at bi-monthly intervals. It is the central Government platform to discuss and monitor NAP implementation, chaired by the Federal Foreign Office and comprising representatives of all nine Ministries which hold responsibilities for specific NAP measures. The Federal Chancellery has observer status and participates at the meetings.
The Federal Government’s National CSR Forum is to support the activities of the Government Ministries for the implementation of the NAP and make appropriate recommendations for action to the Government.
A NAP stakeholder platform, initiated and hosted by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and chaired by the German Institute for Human Rights also holds regular bi-monthly sessions alternating with the interministerial committee.
Reports: In 2020 an updated status report will be produced in preparation for a revision of the 2016–2020 National Action Plan.