On December 5, FES Ethiopia, FES AU, and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) collaboratively organized a ministerial briefing on Business and Human Rights in Ethiopia. The event brought together experts from UNDP, AU, EHRC, and Ethiopian ministries to deliberate on the pivotal theme of integrating human rights principles into business practices within the Ethiopian context.
In a world where the intersection of business and human rights is gaining paramount importance, Ethiopia's commitment to fostering responsible business conduct is not only commendable but also essential for the nation's inclusive development. Establishing a National Action Plan (NAP) for Business and Human Rights is a crucial step towards creating an environment where businesses can thrive, and the rights of Ethiopian citizens and workers are safeguarded.
A well-structured NAP contributes to sustainable and inclusive growth, ensuring that the benefits of economic activities are equitably distributed in the long run. The urgency of this initiative cannot be overstated. At this juncture, Ethiopia stands at the crossroads of a global and regional momentum toward integrating human rights considerations into business practices. Several countries have already implemented NAPs or are in the process of doing so, such as Uganda, Kenya, or Nigeria. The AfCFTA, coupled with the African Union's initiative on due diligence in supply chains, adds impetus to the cause. Furthermore, the imminent EU policy on due diligence and the proactive stance of countries like Germany and France in implementing relevant laws and policies enhance the incentive to implement an Ethiopian NAP.
Key takeaways from the briefing include the understanding that a well-crafted NAP builds on and combines existing domestic resources to formulate a robust strategy for Business and Human Rights in Ethiopia. Transparency and inclusivity are foundational to the success of the NAP process. Involving diverse stakeholders from academia, civil society organizations, trade unions, indigenous communities, and other sectors is crucial to ensuring the plan reaches its full potential. The suggestion for a national baseline assessment as a starting point underscores the importance of a comprehensive understanding of the current state of business and human rights in Ethiopia.
We express our heartfelt gratitude to all participants for their active engagement during the discussions and the positive outcomes of this meeting. Special thanks are extended to the resource persons from EHRC, AU, and UNDP for sharing their expertise.