FOCONE’s participation in ACCA GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ABIDJAN (Cote D’Ivore)


Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

It gives us immense pleasure to welcome you to the 6th ACCA General Assembly, the first in West Africa since the inauguration of the Coalition in the region in 2013. Without doubt, we have come a long way in the brief period of our existence, and in the past year, we made meaningful strides.

Major activities

A major focus for ACCA in the past reporting period was our regional capacity building on our thematic work streams: Free, Prior, and Informed Consent; and on Access to Remedies; and the Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights. In this period, we organized and facilitated 2 sub-regional workshops on these topics in Ghana, for West Africa, and Tanzania for East Africa. In addition to building the capacity of our members in East Africa, we also held a capacity building session for members of the Pan African Parliament on the UN Treaty for Business and Human Rights.

Our regional capacity building workshop for Southern Africa was postponed due to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa where the event had been billed to hold.

In addition to the sub-regional capacity building workshops, we continued to disseminate information, and engage multiple actors on our three work streams at various platforms. For example, we organized a side session at the Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, with the end aim of developing and ensuring the inclusion of the African perspective in the Zero draft treaty. We also continued advocacy at the UN level at the Intergovernmental Working Group’s 6th session engaging delegates of African States missions, and representatives of civil society, in addition to presenting ACCA’s submission during plenary in the course of the event. In November last year, as it has become our custom, we participated at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, on a panel discussing: “Trends and challenges in promoting business respect for human rights in Africa”. One of the major recommendations that we put forward at this forum was the responsibility of both states, and regional bodies to promote the protection of African human rights defenders, giving increased security concerns, and the shrinking civic space.

In June this year, we also participated at a UN regional consultation on Access to remedy and non-judicial mechanisms in South Africa.

Earlier in April this year, we participated at the 2019 NGOs Forum of The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right. And in collaboration with the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, of the University of Witwatersrand, we hosted a side session on the business and human rights Treaty at the Forum. In addition, we engaged with the African Commission’s Working Group on Extractive Industries as well as other NGOs.

ACCA also participated at the FIAN international and the ETOS Consortium sub-regional consultation meeting on the treaty.

We facilitated an online capacity building session on the basics of Chinese investments in Africa for our members, and also advanced institutional knowledge by facilitating a session at the advanced Business and Human Rights course at the Centre for Human Rights in Pretoria University.


In February 2019, West Africa witnessed a spate of violent elections. Concerned by the trend, we issued a statement condemning the violence, and demanding for the ethos of democracy to be respected in the region.
Following the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, the Steering Committee decided as a sign of solidarity to our African brothers and sisters who suffered from the attack, to suspend the South African sub-regional capacity building, which was originally scheduled to hold in that country a week after the wave of attacks. In addition, we issued a statement condemning the attacks and announcing our solidarity to victims and affected persons as a pan-African organization.

Changes at the Secretariat

There have been some personnel changes at our Secretariat. Mr. Damian Oakes, our first Communications Coordinator, left in June 2019 to join the IOM – a job he had desired for a long time. Mr. Josua Loots, who for the longest time provided administrative support from the University of Pretoria, also left in September. While they will both be deeply missed, we wish them well, and thank them for their meritorious service to ACCA.
We are currently in the process of employing a replacement for Mr. Oakes position.


We are pleased to report that we have had all of our grants successfully renewed for a staggered period of 1, 2 and 3 years respectively. The details of these will be presented in our financial report. We sincerely thank our donors for their continued faith us and their kind partnerships over the years.

ACCA’s Legal Status

Consequent to the limitations our legal status has posed over the years, and ACCA’s aspiration to be able to engage as a juristic entity, we have commenced the process of registration for the coalition, and will keep members updated on our progress.

Norms and Procedures

Having received members’ contributions to amending the coalition’s draft Norms and Procedures, we are pleased to present the updated draft at this meeting for your kind endorsement. The draft Norms and Procedures will be presented after this activities report.

Moving Forward

Undoubtedly ACCA is growing. Alongside it, our capacity must grow as well. Our ambition as a coalition to increase our influence both on the continent and internationally must not wane in spite of the several challenges militating against us as individual organizations, and as a coalition.

Africa’s civic space is rapidly shrinking under the weight of repressive governments, ruthless businesses, activist burnout, and dwindling funding. We must begin to hold very serious conversations on how to we as a coalition should strategically confront these issues. We are also determined to, in the next year provide cutting edge capacity building to impact skills to our members around the work they continue to do, and on institutional strengthening for their resilience. These will not just be about holding corporates and government accountable, but our very own survival to continue to do so.

Therefore, in order to ensure that our growth trajectory continues unhindered, over the next year and we plan to increase regional activities, and capacity building webinars in pursuit of the objectives I just mentioned.
We are working to develop strategies to ensure a more inclusive ACCA, that is a member-driven organization. We will also work more strategically at amplifying the stellar work of our members through various platforms.


It has been an eventful year, in which as a coalition we have grown stronger, and become more impactful. We believe the best is yet to come. But in order for us to expand our sphere of influence and become the most formidable coalition on business and human rights, we all must lay our hands on the deck, employ our strengths and skills to our collective advantage, and be relentless in our aspirations.

Thank you

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