The symposium on mining and agriculture was hosted by the Australian Government in Kampala, Uganda, from 8 – 10 October 2014. The purpose of the symposium was to look at research and other projects on the African continent focusing on issues around mining and agriculture.

All projects included in the symposium are funded by the Australian Government. The Centre for Human Rights received a grant under the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme (ADRAS) in 2012. The collaborative project of the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) and the African Commission Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights is funded by the ADRAS grant.

Over the course of three days, participants presented the research projects they are working on, explored potential areas for collaboration, and developed project plans and proposals based on existing experiences.

The African Union Commission together with the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights convened the first Africa Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from. This event followed in the steps of the Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. The 2014 Annual Forum will be the 3rd one of its kind, and takes place from 1 – 3 December 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Africa Forum focused on human rights issues that are relevant to the African region and included stakeholders from government, national human rights institutions, the corporate sector, civil society organisations, and academia. The Centre for Human Rights supported Ms Sheila Keetharuth, an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights, in her capacity as a representative of the Working Group.

The underlying focus of the conference was the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights, which constitutes the basis of the mandate of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. At the conference, the African Union Commission (AUC) announced the development of an ‘African framework for implementing the UNGPs’, which should be the first of its kind. The AUC has not issued any further detail but is expected to work in close collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on this project. 

The African Commission Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights, with assistance from the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), hosted a sub-regional consultation focusing on Southern Africa from 29 – 31 August 2014. The purpose of the consultation was to bring together stakeholders and representatives from all constituencies involved in the extractive industries sector. The event was attended by representatives from South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.

Representatives from different Southern African countries gave presentations on the human rights and environmental challenges they face within their respective lines of work. Some of the substantive issues that were discussed at the Consultation included land rights, mining law and policy, the environmental impact assessment procedures and frameworks, and the different roles and responsibilities of government, private actors, civil society, and affected community members.

The findings of the sub-regional consultations will be captured in a report, and made public by the Working Group.


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