Reflections on African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights (Sep 2014)

The UN Working Group that convened the African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights (Addis Ababa, 16-18 September 2014) invited participants and other observers to offer their reflections on the contributions of the Forum to advancing the continent's business and human rights agenda.  These posts were written in response to that call from the Working Group.

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7 October 2014

6 trends shaping human rights & business in Africa: Observations from Africa Forum by Mike Baab, Danish Institute

Author: Mike Baab, Danish Institute for Human Rights

"Six Trends Shaping the Human Rights and Business Agenda in Africa: Observations from The UN’s Africa Regional Forum"

[1] Expect More Growth and Investment...[with] likely...impacts across the continent that aren’t universally positive....
[2] Emerging sectors...[including] technology, media and telecoms; retail and consumer products; and financial services...
[3] State-owned enterprises...have every incentive and opportunity to operate intransparently, and aren’t subject to...inspections, investigations, penalties or external pressure that make Western companies (slightly) more likely to protect human rights...
[4] Revenue Transparency and Tax Justice...$55 billion [worth of oil] was purchased [between 2011 and 2013] by Swiss commodity trading companies...[Is it] a coincidence that...[they are based] in a country that doesn’t require them to foreign governments?...[As] more investment arrives...and...diversifies...the problem of disappearing revenue is only going to become more acute.
[5] Rising Prominence of Non-Western Investment...[It] was...a bit disappointing that non-Western companies were almost entirely absent from the [UN's] Africa Regional Forum this year.
[6] Trade Integration...Missed opportunities for [intra-African] trade raise prices [and] prevent the poor from accessing markets...

Recommendations:...Use existing leverage points [including IFC and OECD National Contact Points]...Create parallel initiatives...[by integrating human rights into the] Kimberley Process and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative...[and in] other sectors...Lobby home governments... Western consumers and governments can be activated to undertake...action [on business & human rights]...Create new leverage mechanisms...[over] state-owned enterprises and non-Western investment...[and with] African populations...[and consumers] in China, India, Russia, Brazil, Malaysia and other [countries]...investing on the continent...

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7 October 2014

Statements and presentations [at Africa Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights (Sep 2014)]

Opening statement by Michael K. Addo, Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, 17 September 2014: English

Opening remarks by H.E. Dr. Aisha Abdullahi (Amb.), Commissioner for Political Affairs, African Union Commission - Delivered on her behalf by Dr. Mamadou Dia, Acting Director for Political Affairs: English

Closing remarks by H.E. Dr. Aisha Abdullahi - Delivered on her behalf by Dr. Mamadou Dia: English

Closing remarks by Vice-Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Margaret Jungk: English

Closing remarks by Eugene Owusu, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ethiopia: English

Statement by Jacqueline Mugo, Secretary General, Business Africa: English

"What To Do When Project Impacts Are In  Dispute?  Participatory Monitoring and Joint Fact-finding" (CAO [Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman of Intl. Finance Corp., part of World Bank] and Global Rights): English | French

OHCHR Introduction to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: English

Statement by Dayina Mayenga, Deputy Regional Director for Africa, ILO : French

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