Working toward business accountability at the United Nations

From 24 to 28 October, States and civil society will meet for the 8th time at the United Nations in Geneva to continue negotiations on new international binding rules to address the negative impact of business activities on human rights and the environment, and to improve access to justice for victims of such impacts. The meeting will take place in the format of an intergovernmental working group.

Do you want to follow our work during the session?

Franciscans International has been actively involved since the beginning of this process, and has built its inputs on the work and concerns of Franciscans at the grassroots. In particular, these concerns have centered on extractive industries and their impacts on communities and the environment.

At the start of this negotiating process, FI invited representatives of Franciscans and other partners working at the grassroots to Geneva to help build the case for a future treaty and to encourage States to engage constructively in this process. In the last few years, as the negotiations have entered a more technical phase, we have collaborated with various experts, including lawyers who work on cases like the mining disaster in Brumadinho, Brazil.

Negotiating a future treaty to regulate big commercial and financial interests is an arduous task, and in recent years we have seen a division between States that threatens to put the process itself at risk. FI and its civil society allies within the “Treaty Alliance” have therefore been working to urge States to engage constructively in the process as well as to improve the text so that the future treaty can address the major obstacles to access to justice for victims of human rights abuses by businesses. 

During the upcoming session of the intergovernmental working group, we will therefore pursue a two-pronged effort, defending both the process itself and providing technical inputs to improve the current draft text that will be discussed.

Throughout the session, you can find regular updates on our activities through our Twitter feedWe also invite you to join our side-event on 25 October 2022 where speakers from the grassroots will again raise the potential of the future treaty and raise issues faced by communities impacted by business activities. If you’re interested in receiving specific updates about our work on business and human rights, we also encourage you to sign up for our dedicated mailing list.

Have a look at some of our work on this issue


  • Free, prior, and informed consent in FI’s fact-sheets on Covid-19, Indigenous Peoples, and human rights (September 2021)
  • Cases studies on mining and human rights (October 2017)


  • UN Member States must not walk away from treaty on business and human rights (March 2022)
  • United Nations debates draft treaty on business and human rights (October 2019)
  • Second Revised Draft of the Binding Treaty: An important Step Toward Protecting Human Rights from Corporate Abuse (August 2020)                                   
  • Franciscans International stands with victims of Brumadinho disaster (January 2020)
  • Religious leaders speak out in favor of strong UN treaty on transnational corporations (October 2018)

Events and discussions

  • IGWG7 – Adequate reparations in the future LBI – Examples of mining disasters (27 October 2021)
  • HLPF 21 – Is Extractivism Compatible with Sustainable Development?” (14 July 2021)
  • UNPFII20 – Justice and Accountability in the Context of Extractive Industries: Indigenous women human rights defenders from Guatemala, Brazil, Indonesia, and Bangladesh (29 April 2021)
  • The responsibility of business on human rights: Franciscan action at the United Nations from the perspective of Laudato Si’ (13 November 2020)
  • IGWG6 – Human rights abuses and environmental degradation: what the treaty can bring (29 October 2020)
  • DRC – Revised Mining Code and national governance and COVID-19 (24 September 2020)
  • Dams and business accountability in the Amazon region: Putting the draft treaty to a test (15 October 2019)
  • The impact of megaprojects on the human rights to water and sanitation (12 September 2019)
  • Mining disasters: Testimonies from Brazil and the DRC (6 March 2019)

Statements and submissions

To the working group:

Other notable statements:

  • HRC48 – Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation (September 2021)
  • HRC47 – Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on environment and human rights (March 2020)
  • CSocD58 – Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness (February 2020)
  • HRC38 – A renewed commitment to a multilateral approach to business and human rights (June 2018)

Universal Periodic Review