Handbook on Human Rights Impact Assessment
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Handbook on Human Rights Impact Assessment

Edited by Nora Götzmann

Human rights impact assessment (HRIA) has increasingly gained traction among state, business and civil society actors since the endorsement of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the Human Rights Council in 2011. This timely and insightful Handbook addresses HRIA in the context of business and human rights.
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Chapter 21: Towards a definition of effectiveness in HRIA

Deniz Utlu


This chapter discusses the meaning of effectiveness in the context of human rights impact assessment (HRIA) and examines how it interacts with business decision-making. Derived from the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and in line with research literature on impact assessment the chapter proposes three dimensions of effectiveness: (1) the dimension of understanding of ‘specific impacts on specific people’; (2) the dimension of management: addressing impacts with adequate financial resources at the appropriate level within the business; and (3) the dimension of response that leads to measurable change in a ‘legitimate’, ‘transparent’ and ‘rights-compatible’ way, confirmed by rights-holders through feedback. Given this definition the chapter concludes that efficiency as a criterion for business decision-making may put effectiveness at risk at the level of all dimensions. However, efficiency as a concept may also be useful to evaluate if more could have been done to reach effectiveness.

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