Academic Lead of drafting team: Dr Michael McEachrane
How we lobbied for the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PAD)
Here is a narrative of the work carried out to arrive at the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PAD)
Proposing a UN space for PAD and grassroots and community organisations to showcase their work around PAD human rights (monitoring and evaluating) and Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs):
Proposing a prototype UN forum for PAD especially showcasing supplementary education and community enterprise (including community SDG monitoring matrix):
Exploring strategic litigation at the EU Commission as a parallel strategy alongside the UN Permanent Forum:
Baselining PAD human rights for forum, as per “Leaving Noone Behind” proposal:
Reviewing the mid term of the International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD)
Proposing Modalities for a Permanent Forum for PAD
Read our 2019 draft.
How we wrote a ‘draft zero’ for nation states to negotiate:
Working in consultation with UN co-facilitators, Mr Asnal Ngartolna, Representative of the Permanent Mission of Chad to the United Nations and Mr Daniel Zavala Porras Representative of the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations, we submitted our final recommendations for the modalities of the UN Permanent Forum on the People of African Descent that built on our previous 2019 draft.
Permanent Forum on People of African Descent – Virtual informal consultation with Member States and Civil Society (April 9, 2021):
At 1:05:00, you can watch Dr Michael McEachrane’s summary of our proposal, here.
Draft Resolution of The Permanent Forum on People of African Descent for consideration by the UN General Assembly
Final draft resolution can be read here.
As result of our lobbying, here are some of its contents whose wording are a direct result of our efforts (as outlined in our submission and advocacy):
- Paragraph 1B: “To provide in coordination with existing mechanisms, expert advice and recommendations to the Human Rights Council, the Main Committees of the General Assembly, and organs, programs, funds, and agencies of the United Nations…”
- Paragraph 1G: “To raise awareness and promote integration and coordination of activities, agencies, funds and programmes relating to people of African descent within the United Nations system”
- Paragraph 2: “Membership shall take into account the diversity and geographical distribution of people of African descent in the world, ensuring gender parity as well as the principles of transparency, representativity and equal opportunity for all people of African descent. All members shall serve in their personal capacity as independent experts on issues of people of African descent for a period of three years with the possibility of re-election or reappointment for one further period.”
- Paragraph 3: “Further decides that the Permanent Forum shall be open to the participation of States, United Nations mechanisms, bodies and specialized agencies, funds and programmes, intergovernmental organizations, regional organizations and mechanisms in the field of
human rights, national human rights institutions and other relevant national bodies, academics and experts on issues related to people of African descent and nongovernmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council; the Permanent Forum shall also be open to the participation of other non-governmental organizations, including grassroots and community-based organizations…”
- Paragraph 4: “Decides that the Permanent Forum shall submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on its activities, including advice and recommendations for future thematic subjects for their consideration, and engage in the interactive dialogue; the report shall be distributed to all Member States and the relevant
United Nations organs, funds, programmes and agencies as a means, inter alia, of furthering the dialogue within the United Nations system on issues affecting people of African descent”
- Paragraph 5: “Also decides that the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent shall appoint for each session, on the basis of regional rotation, and in consultation with regional groups and organizations of people of African descent, a chairperson and a vice chairperson of
the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent selected among members of the Permanent Forum.”
- Paragraph 6: “Further decides that the Permanent Forum shall meet annually, rotating between the United Nations Office at Geneva and the United Nations Headquarters or at such other place as the Permanent Forum may decide in accordance with existing financial rules and regulations of the United Nations…”
- Paragraph 7: “… contribute to and promote the efforts of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to improve the cooperation among United Nations mechanisms, the Universal Periodic Review, the ECOSOC High-Level Political Forum, treaty bodies, special procedures and specialized agencies, funds and programmes…”
- Paragraph 9: “…to provide the Forum, through the regular budget as well as voluntary contributions, with all necessary resources…”
General Assembly adopted the resolution (passed by silent procedure) on 29.7.21, here.
The UK, US, EU and Japan tried to postpone the vote with their objections and requests for (weakening) amendments. They lost the vote to postpone the vote 66 to 47. However, the General Assembly has postponed the vote until mid-August (when it is rumoured that not all member states will be available to vote (awaiting clarification of this, this was the case and proposed by the UK). However, the vote will now take place on Monday August 2nd). So in addition to a Twitter campaign and brief talks with the facilitators, we are also in the process of asking for diplomatic help from ECOWAS and CARIFORUM-EPA in advance of the vote.
The resolution was finally adopted by consensus on 2.8.21!
A UN Forum for Youth PAD shadowing the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent.
UK Parliamentary Advocacy and Lobbying for The Permanent Forum on People of African Descent
Academic Lead: Dr Ornette D Clennon, Patricia Lamour, Blak Sox
Building on the UK government’s position on The Permanent Forum (here at 1:11:00), we decided to mount an awareness campaign to promote the Forum at grassroots and political levels in the UK.
Concept Note for The UN Permanent Forum for People of African Descent, a UK Perspective, here.
A podcast explaining The UN Permanent Forum for People of African Descent, here.
We drafted a Parliamentary Question (PQ) for Caroline Lucas, MP to table to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), here, where you can also read the FCDO (represented by Nigel Adams, MP) response.
22 April 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Government’s contribution to the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent on 9 April 2021, what type of good practice will be shared in the Forum for the implementation of the Programme Activities of the International Decade For People of African Descent.
29 April 2021
The UK Government is currently taking part in the discussions on the modalities of the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent and considering the issues in that context. We remain committed to combating all forms of racism, both at home and abroad. We believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate for respect among different ethnic and racial groups is to encourage states to uphold their human rights obligations.
This question was a follow up to her 2019 question about The Forum, here. We will work with Caroline Lucas, MP to construct a follow up update question in three months.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon’s response to Caroline Lucas’ follow up, here.
- We also submitted oral evidence to Runnymede’s Civil Society report on the state of race and racism in England to the United Nations CERD, 2021, here.