The Rights and Humanity Global Leaders Congress 2009 will bring together some of the foremost thinkers and practitioners of our time to spearhead this profound agenda in a solutions-oriented working meeting. Building on the conclusions of political summits addressing the financial crisis, the Congress will provide a forum to review the experience gained and lessons learned in implementing human rights and corporate responsibility approaches.

It will develop an evidence base demonstrating the fact that economic growth and the application of human rights and responsibilities are not mutually exclusive, but deeply interconnected. In so doing, it will establish the benefit of adopting the human rights and responsibilities paradigm as a framework for global economic governance.

Globally recognised human rights and responsibilities can be likened to an orchestra score providing a common framework for concerted action. Like individual instruments in an orchestra, each sector – governments, corporations, and civil society – has its own particular role and an essential part to play in achieving the collective outcome.

A unique contribution of the Congress will be to unite public, private and civil society actors in developing common strategies. The Congress Programme has been devised to ensure that delegates from all sectors interact, encouraging participants to recognise how the contribution of their own sector fits within the bigger picture. The Congress will examine best practice and case studies in the light of the current financial crisis, and identify solutions which will empower leaders to strengthen their contribution within their own spheres of influence in public policy, corporate, professional and daily life.

Participants will review the wealth of experience gained through empowering value-based initiatives including:

• implementation of corporate social responsibility and codes of conduct for ethical business and responsible investment practices and of the triple bottom line business model, giving equal weight to economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social responsibility

• microcredit, cooperatives and other participatory models of ownership

• introduction of rights-based constitutions which protect environmental, economic and social rights

• benefits to the economy and human development gained through women’s’ empowerment and implementation of a human rights approach to health, development, and a sustainable environment

• community-centred democratic processes which empower individuals to help themselves out of poverty

• innovative public/private partnerships e.g. the UN/pharmaceutical company partnerships facilitating access to anti-retroviral drugs.

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