After a number of internal discussions following the African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights, the 88-member African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) issued a statement outlining its impressions of the Forum that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 16 to 18.More than 60 people representing about 45 civil society organizations of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) were gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week to bring grassroots issues to a United Nations meeting at the African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights, and to lay the structural foundation for the ACCA at its Second Meeting hosted by Global Rights.
At the beginning of the week, ACCA members participated in the African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights, which was co-hosted by the African Union Commission (AU), the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA), the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights. The Regional Forum was a multi-stakeholder forum intended to promote further implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights on the continent.
On Tuesday, they participated in an interactive side event on “What to do when project impacts are in dispute? Joint learning on participatory monitoring and joint fact-finding” hosted by Global Rights and the World Bank Group’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman.
During the Regional Forum’s sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, it was hard to miss the strong and articulate participation of ACCA members — they served as panelists on nine of the Regional Forum’s twelve sessions. The members were also diverse, ranging from national-level organizations working at the policy level, to provincial organizations, to grassroots groups building community capacity and local dialogue, to representatives of affected communities. ACCA members covered the entire spectrum of Regional Forum topics, including multi-stakeholder dialogue, extractive industries, investment in land, access to judicial remedy, operational-level grievance mechanisms, an African strategy for the business & human rights agenda, strengthening implementation of the state duty to protect, and in the closing plenary.
For the rest of the week, ACCA members rolled their sleeves up and got down to business during the Second Meeting of the ACCA. Working in small groups and with follow-on discussions in plenary, the participants designed and agreed on a governance structure for the coalition; they articulated and agreed on a vision, mission and strategy; they generated options for an action plan; and they elected a Steering Committee to lead the ACCA in its next phase. This Second Meeting was made possible by Australian Aid and an anonymous donor.