Kenya: CAO Convenes Video Conference with Civil Society Organizations as Part of Africa Outreach Initiative
CAO Convenes Video Conference with Civil Society Organizations in Kenya as Part of Africa Outreach Initiative
October 23, 2018 - CAO held a video conference with civil society organizations (CSOs) in Kenya on October 4, 2018 as part of its outreach initiative in the Africa region. The video conference was organized in collaboration with the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and Hakijamii who invited participants and co-moderated the meeting. The event allowed CAO to inform the CSOs about its accountability role, and dispute resolution and compliance work; and provided an opportunity for CAO to listen to CSO perspectives and concerns about local development projects. Over 30 CSO representatives participated, representing a variety of organizations (NGOs, community groups, think tanks) and sectors (human rights, gender, environment).
The meeting began with participant introductions and a short presentation by the IFC Country Manager on the nature of the IFC portfolio in Kenya. This was followed by a presentation on CAO’s work made by several CAO staff from Washington. Numerous issues were discussed during the ensuing general discussion. These included: what is the timetable for mediations and investigations to occur; how does the CAO measure success and ensure that communities receive redress from harms; how can isolated communities or affected persons contact IFC and/or CAO to raise concerns about projects; and does CAO have an appeals process? At its conclusion, several CSO participants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to learn more about the IFC portfolio and CAO’s work. James Mwenda of KNCHR noted that " The CAO process is timely as it adds to the non-judicial access to remedy mechanisms for human rights impacts caused by MIGA/IFC sponsored projects".
The IFC Country Manager, Manuel Moses, participated in the event and the IFC Office in Nairobi provided logistics support. Commenting on the event, Manuel said that “Dialogue with civil society organizations is central to the IFC’s efforts to ensure transparency around our operations. We look forward to continuing such critical discussions with our stakeholders.” CAO’s Vice President, Osvaldo Gratacós, also noted that “It is important that community groups and civil society organizations to hear firsthand from the IFC and CAO about the country portfolio and the IFC’s environmental and social standards, as well as the CAO’s accountability role”.