Businesses are increasingly sought as development partners, particularly as sources of jobs, skills, growth and finance. At the same time, development aid catalyzes private sector investment. But these interactions bring with them new risks. This report presents an analysis of how prepared state actors (including government departments and state enterprises) are to deal with potential conflicts of interest between development policy, trade policy and the objectives of the private sector.

How has the Swedish state integrated business and human rights norms into some of the institutions that are tasked with international development mandates and also engage with business in some way and therefore may face policy tensions? Are the policies, guidelines and procedures in place to be able to know and show that they contribute to improved human rights practices by business?

Overall, the authors find that Swedish development actors are generally poorly prepared to meet the challenges. Examples of given are good practices among several state actors, mostly coming as a result of internal engagement led by individuals rather than government initiative. The authors end by calling on the Swedish government to address the gaps in knowledge and performance they have identified.

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