The work draws on the modalities, format and substantive and procedural aspects of the Permanent Forum that are described in the United Nations General Assembly resolution 75/314: Establishment of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent.
Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution titled “Establishment of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent. However, several delegates, including those of the United States and United Kingdom, emphasized that elaborating a new United Nations declaration on the human rights of people of African descent falls within the purview of Member States, not the Permanent Forum. We will take the USA upon that view.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had been working to create a permanent Forum on People of African Descent since November 2014, when it was mandated to do so through the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/69/16 entitled “Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent”.
When the United Nations General Assembly decided to establish the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent as a consultative mechanism for people of African descent and other relevant stakeholders as a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent we became focused on creating a #BlackFolksPlan for Black Women through a new Civil society organization built around the United Nations Permanent Forum of People of African Descent.
We did so understanding that the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent was meant as an advisory body to the Human Rights Council, in line with paragraph 29 (i) of the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent 3 and in close coordination with existing mechanisms, with the mandate:
(a) To contribute to the full political, economic and social inclusion of people of African descent in the societies in which they live as equal citizens without discrimination of any kind and contribute to ensuring equal enjoyment of all human rights;
(b) 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, programmes, funds and agencies of the United Nations aimed at addressing challenges of all the scourges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and all their contemporary forms and manifestations confronted by people of African descent and that impede the full and effective realization and enjoyment of all their human rights and fundamental freedoms;
(c) To consider the elaboration of a United Nations declaration on the promotion, protection and full respect of the human rights of people of African descent;
(d) To identify and analyse best practices, challenges, opportunities and initiatives to address, as appropriate, the issues highlighted in the provisions of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action relevant to people of African descent;
(e) To monitor and review progress on the effective implementation of the programme of activities of the International Decade for People of African Descent, and to this end gather relevant information from Governments, United Nations bodies and organs, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and other relevant sources;
(f) To request the preparation and dissemination of information by the United Nations system on issues relating to people of African descent and promote a greater knowledge of and respect for the diverse heritage, culture and contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies;
(g) To raise awareness and promote integration and coordination of activities of agencies, funds and programmes relating to people of African descent within the United Nations system;
(h) To support the coordination of programmes aimed at the socioeconomic development of communities and people of African descent, and to examine the urgent global need to establish adequate channels to obtain data disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographical location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts, to enable the systematic design and collection of and access to high-quality, reliable and timely disaggregated data and gender statistics, conducive to the better execution of public policies in relation to people of African descent;
(i) To offer advice and recommendations on matters concerning the protection, promotion and respect of all human rights of people of African descent, and to undertake any specific task as requested by the Human Rights Council or the General Assembly;
It also decided that the Permanent Forum shall consist of 10 members: 5 members to be nominated by Governments, based on equitable geographical distribution, and elected by the General Assembly and 5 members to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council following consultation with the Bureau and the regional groups through their coordinators, on the basis of broad consultations with organizations of people of African descent. It said that the 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, and 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.
The members chosen are:
The five members appointed by the General Assembly, on 16 December 2021:
Epsy Campbell Barr (Costa Rica) Chairwoman
Justin Hansford (USA)
Martin Kimani (Kenya)
Mona Omar (Egypt)
June Soomer (Saint Lucia)
The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Federico Villegas (Argentina) on 8 March 2022 chose five members:
Gaynel Diana Curry (Bahamas)
Huang Hongjiang (China)
Pastor Elías Murillo Martínez (Colombia),
Michael McEchrane (Sweden)
Alice Angèle Nkom (Cameroon)
The Permanent Forum can become a powerhouse in global affairs based on the UN General Assembly (UNGA) actions that, “ 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 non-governmental 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 grass-roots and community-based organizations, whose aims and purposes are in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations;”
The Friends of the UN Permanent Forum of People of African Descent is in a joint venture with UNESCO Center for Peace which is a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council so as to work within this mandate from the UNGA.
When the UNGA decided that, “the Permanent Forum shall meet annually, rotating between the United Nations Office at Geneva and 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, for four working days, allocated to thematic discussions, and decides that the Permanent Forum shall be organized, to the extent possible, back-to-back with a session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent or the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. This action then gives civil society in 2023 at the second meeting of the Permanent Forum a chance to strengthen it.
We do so via side events around the update of the American $6T BlackFolksPlan and the $3T #BlackFolksPlan for Africa by including the world to review these actions starting around Black Women Farmers in America on February 28th 2023.