The Principles are a joint initiative by UNICEF, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children (‘the sponsoring organizations’). A Steering Committee with representation from each of the sponsoring organizations led the consultation process and the development and release of the Principles.
Advisory Groups that contributed to the Initiative include Internal Reference Groups from UNICEF and Save the Children and an external Expert Reference Group (ERG). The ERG has contributed independent, objective feedback on the development of the Principles and has provided thought leadership throughout the process. The group comprised individuals from a range of developed and developing countries with extensive experience in human rights, child rights, corporate responsibility, international business, international development, finance, policy and/or related issues. Global Compact Local Networks were also engaged throughout the process and calls were made to the entire UN Global Compact network (which includes businesses, academic institutions and civil society organizations amongst others) through its monthly bulletin.
Extensive public consultations were launched in May 2011 to give business, civil society, trade unions, governments, national human rights institutions (NHRI), academia, children, adolescents and other stakeholders an opportunity to help shape the Principles. Face-to-face consultation workshops with over 400 business and industry association representatives and other key stakeholders were organized in eleven host cities: Beijing, Belgrade, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Delhi, Dubai, Geneva, London, Nairobi, Istanbul and Shanghai. In addition, an online questionnaire was circulated to thousands of businesses around the world including corporate partners of UNICEF and Save the Children and the many thousands of UN Global Compact participants through the UN Global Compact bulletin and website, and Local Networks (in 100 countries). Over 200 unique contributions from business leaders, NGOs, academics and government representatives were received through this process. Most importantly, particular efforts were made to consult and engage children in the development of the Principles. (See B8 for further details on the involvement of children.)
Alignment with international labour standards and with recent developments in the area of business and human rights were given top priority, as called for during the consultation. Thus, ILO-IPEC and those involved in the development of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were closely consulted.
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