African Coalition for Corporate Accountability is pleased to invite you to its 8th General Assembly
This year’s theme is “Business, Human Rights and Climate Change: interrogating the intersection between business activities, corporate accountability and climate change in Africa.”
Date: 31 August-1 September 2022
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi
The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Development, Malawi, will host ACCA’s 8th Annual General Assembly in Lilongwe, Malawi from 30th AUGUST to the 2nd of SEPTEMBER 2022, under the theme: BUSINESS, HUMAN RIGHTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Interrogating the Intersection between business activities, corporate accountability and climate change in Africa. The 2022 ACCA GA will focus on emerging concerns regarding business and human rights and climate change in Africa. The GA will reflect on Goal 13 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—which is intrinsically linked to all the 16 other Goals, calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. More specifically, the discussions will underscore the associated targets of SDG 13 focus on the integration of climate change measures into national policies, the improvement of education, awareness-raising and strengthening institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warnings. Further discussions will also interrogate the various response and mitigation measures being undertaken by States and corporate entities to address the impacts of climate change on human rights. More concretely, the GA will share practical experiences of communities working within mining sectors and those in other sectors impacted by climate change.
The GA will bring together various stakeholders including civil society actors, community members and climate change advocates working around specific areas of climate change in Africa.
Business, Human Rights and Climate Change: A Brief Overview
Over the last decade or so, it has become clear that climate change directly and indirectly interferes with the enjoyment of fundamental human rights including the rights to life, housing, water and sanitation, food, health, development, security of person and an adequate standard of living. Business activities play a central role in climate change and the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. Much of the CO2 emissions causing climate change emanate from business-driven economic activity. The adverse effects of climate change on human rights and the environment have led to growing global concern and shifted emphasis to the effects that climate change actions, responses and impacts have on the realisation of human rights and equitable access to sustainable development and eradication of poverty. These are critical issues that the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has taken note of in various Resolutions including Resolution ACHPR/ Res.271 (LV) 14 on Climate Change in Africa where it requested the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa to undertake an in-depth study of the impact of climate change on human rights in Africa.
It is evident that all business enterprises have a responsibility to prevent and address negative impacts of their actions on human rights and the environment. It is widely accepted that the business responsibility to respect human rights and environmental rights includes the responsibility to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence, to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for impacts (actual and potential) related to climate change, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines). Similarly, States should ensure that their own business activities, including activities conducted in partnership with the private sector, contribute to mitigating climate change while respecting human rights, and ensuring effective remedies for climate and human rights harms. As such, the 2015 Paris Agreement, aims at strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, calling on Governments to design initiatives and policies that address climate change impacts including those triggered by business activities.
Emerging global discussions around corporate accountability and climate change have noted that in order to avert future climate harms and ensure climate justice, business enterprises must be part of the solution. According to the UN Human Rights Council, business activities can also contribute to innovation and solutions to prevent, mitigate and adapt to climate change and its adverse impacts on the planet and its people. As such, ensuring sustainable development for all requires effectively addressing climate change through regionally and internationally harmonised responses based on common human rights and environmental principles such as solidarity, transparency, participation, access to information, accountability, remedies, the precautionary principle, equality, and equity. It is these critical principles that will guide and inform the discussions at the ACCA 2022 GA. Furthermore, the GA discussions will attempt to map out and identify the actors most responsible for the harmful effects of climate change and human rights abuses in Africa.
Key questions to guide the discussion will include;
- How can we use the UNGPs framework of protect respect and remedy to ensure climate justice?
- What is the connection between corporate activities and climate change in Africa?
- What role can corporate entities play to address climate change?
- What mechanisms are available to enhance corporate accountability for climate change and its impact on human rights and the environment?
- How can corporations contribute positively to a ‘just energy transition on the continent’
- What is the potential contribution of climate litigation towards corporate accountability in Africa?
- The role of carbon accounting and climate accounting in private sector accountability for climate change. What do these two principles entail and where do they fit in regarding business and human rights?
- What is the potential role of the proposed draft treaty on business and human rights, with regard to addressing climate change in Africa?