Monday, 27.05.2024 - Tuesday, 28.05.2024 - Accra, Ghana

Acceptance and effective implementation of policies result from inclusiveness and participatory measures

The FES Ghana and AU Offices have together with the UNDP RSCA office in Addis Ababa organized a one and a half days workshop in Accra, Ghana, on the trending policy spectrum of Inclusive National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in Africa.

The workshop convened trade unions, CSOs and participants from the national Human right institutions of countries which have either started a discussion or the adoption process of Business and Human Rights (BHR) National Action Plans (NAPs) in Africa. These are countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Gabon, Liberia, Ghana, Sera Leone, Rwanda, Nigeria and Malawi. 

Since 2011, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) have gained significant recognition for promoting human rights in business activities globally. As an extension, the African Union has also decided to draft an African Union Policy Framework on BHR, based on the UNGPs, to promote responsible business conduct in Africa. To date, three African countries have developed and adopted a NAP-on-BHRs in Africa and several countries are on course of joining the others. While the signs are encouraging in Africa, however, the process of adopting NAP-on-BHRs has been solely dominated by states and business, neglecting Trade Unions and CSOs in the process. To ensure buy-in from all relevant stakeholders and for effective implementation and change, trade unions, local communities, and vulnerable groups need to be involved and concretely engaged in discussions on the development, adoption and implementation of BHR and BHR-NAPs.

Ghana is on the verge of becoming the 4th African country to adopt a NAP-on-BHRs in Africa. The process of adopting and domesticating the policy was participatory and included trade unions and vulnerable groups such as women and persons with disabilities. Learning from this good practice, the workshop was held in Accra, Ghana, mainly to facilitate peer learning and experience sharing between the Ghanaian officials, who are responsible for enforcing the policy and experts from other African countries. Trade Unions, CSOs and officials have expressed a common view that the BHR agenda is a timely and relevant topic as the continent faces rising human right violations and harming practices within the business context, mainly in extractive, mining & agriculture sectors.

The adoption of the African continental Free Trade Area and the emerging issues of human rights due diligence laws in Europe and globally are also cited to drive the BHR discussion forward on the continent.

See also our publication on “The State of Business and Human Rights in Africa”.

For more information: please contact Mr. Amanuel Desalegne, Program Manager, FES AU Cooperation Office, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung African Union Cooperation

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Addis Ababa

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