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It is a pleasure to write to the members of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA), at the start of what promises to be a busy and productive year for ACCA. While we have a number of key events to come, the first quarter of 2016 has gotten off to a good start for the ACCA, with several events and important meetings taking place across the continent and elsewhere already.

Several ACCA members attended the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) in Cape Town from 8 to 11 February 2016, and this year’s AMI, titled ‘Making Natural Resources Work for the People, Leaving No one Behind’ attracted over 350 participants. An article covering this event appears in this edition of the ACCA Newsletter. Shortly after, on 19 February 2016, two members of the South African ACCA community, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), co-hosted a public debate entitled “A binding treaty on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights: A good or bad idea?”.

A key event for the ACCA was the successful hosting of the first-ever steering committee (SC) member meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 – 16 February 2016. The SC meeting was fruitful not only in terms of strengthening the work relationship between the SC members, but also in terms of its outcomes; ACCA SC members collectively mapped out the intended objectives that that they seek to achieve through means of an ACCA Action Plan 2016 – 2018. In this edition, we introduce the newly elected co-Chairpersons of the ACCA SC, and we let them speak on their plans and aspirations during their respective mandates. Electing two co-Chairpersons was done with the intention of equally representing both official languages of the ACCA, French and English, and also maintaining a sense of gender balance. The Co-Chairpersons have set out for most ambitious plans for their respective mandates. Given the eagerness that both co-chairpersons have displayed throughout their tenures as SC members, and owing to their vast range of expertise and reputation both on the continent and internationally, we are certain that their terms will be most fruitful. Please join us in welcoming Abiodun Baiyewu-Teru (Global Rights, Nigeria) and Michel Yoboue (Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractive, Cote D’Ivoire) in their new roles – we look forward to the amazing work that they have set out to produce. They have the backing of both the Coordinator, the secretariat and each of the ACCA members in their individual capacity.

The upcoming ACCA General Assembly, which is scheduled to take place 6 – 7 July 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa, seeks to kick-start substantive output from ACCA on the issues of FPIC and access to remedy. We look forward to accommodating as many ACCA members during this event as possible, and we kindly call on ACCA members to start fundraising to make attendance of this event possible. The Secretariat will also be in touch in this regard, and we will try our best to assist where possible.

The events during the 1st quarter of this year are paving the way for an amazing ACCA year ahead. This is going to be a big year for ACCA, and we look forward to including all of you. We hope that you enjoy this edition of the ACCA newsletter, and look forward to your feedback.