The Convention of the Rights of the Child has launched a consultation on their General Comment on Business and child rights. The deadline for submission is 20 April. Our comments will be availble soon.
On behalf of IBFAN I attended the launch of the Save the Children, UNICEF, Global Compact Office Children’s Rights and Business Principles Initiative (CRBPI) in London on 12th March
While welcoming the aims of this new Initiative, we feared that the fundamental flaws contained in the draft CRBP proposals would actually do more harm than good - providing businesses with yet another opportunity to simply look good while continuing practices that threaten child survival and health. Along with other NGOs, we called on Save the Children and UNICEF to: disengage from the collaboration with the UNGC; integrate strong accountability measures (including independent monitoring of marketing and other business practices) and to focus on business’s obligation to repect child rights and governments’ obligations to regulate them.
We also feared that the CRBPI focus on partnerships and self-monitored legally non-binding commitments as the “unifying framework for existing and future initiatives” pre-empted the above General Comment on Business and Children’s Rights by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC Committee) which will focus on State Parties’ obligations - as the duty bearers of children’s rights - to protect, respect and fulfill children’s rights and to regulate the impact of business on children. The primary obligation of private actors is to respect these rights - not to co-opt governments’ responsibilities.
We were however relieved that although not all our concerns were addressed, the Principles were much improved.
Business’s were called on to: ‘Not undermine government efforts to protect and fulfill children’s rights’ including using taxation to generate the revenues needed.
The weak draft wording to: “Use marketing and advertising that advances children’s rights” was changed and now calls on business to ensure “ that communications and marketing do not have an adverse impact on children’s rights’ and to “comply[ing] with the standards of business conduct in World Health Assembly instruments related to marketing and health in all countries” (specifically mentioning the International Code and subsequent relevant WHA Resolutions and the WHO Recommendations on the Marketing of Foods and Non-alcoholic Beverages to Children).
IBFAN's comments on the consultation on the CRBPI are here: http://info.babymilkaction.org/news/policyblog/CRBPIcomment
Useful articles about the CRBPI: