ESCR-Net Board held its annual meeting in Mexico City, including dialogues with ESCR-Net Members based in Mexico

The ESCR-Net Board  met from 27-28 January, in Mexico City, hosted by El Instituto de Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir.  Elected from and by Members based on principles of regional diversity, gender balance and inclusion of social movements, the Board serves as the representatives of the Membership, outreaching on behalf ESCR-Net, ensuring adherence to ESCR-Net’s mission and model of work (Governance Document attached below), providing oversight and strategic guidance, and participating in Working Groups, in part to help create with Members and ultimately approve annual work plans. Currently chaired by Hossam Bahgat, the Board made a series of important decisions.
The Board endorsed a common work plan format and process, piloted in 2013.  Attentive to the overarching objectives in the Strategic and Institutional Plan 2013-2016 (see PDF attached below), draft work plans—including a longer-term vision, short-term objectives, prioritized activities, and an evaluation of previous work and current conditions—will be developed with the steering committee or core members of each Working Group in October.  Work plans will then be circulated to the full membership of Working Groups for comments in November.  A revised, advanced draft, incorporating comments and reflecting further strategic discussion (via the annual People’s Forum, follow-up steering committee calls, or other working group meetings) will again circulated to the entire Working Group and to the Board for approval in January.  Final work plans are shared with Working Groups and available to all ESCR-Net Members.   These work plans will form the basis for program fundraising to support the priorities set by Members, and will be evaluated via quarterly reviews.  After discussion, the Board approved 2014 work plans.

The Board also discussed different steps to ensure ongoing institutional development to support the strategic vision and work of ESCR-Members.  In particular, they affirmed the hire and initial efforts of Sergio Rozalén as ESCR-Net’s first Communications Coordinator and the promotion of Graciela Dede to Program Officer focused on Women and ESCR, as well as supported the hire of a Legal Officer in the next few months.  The Board reaffirmed efforts to strengthen the centrality of social movements and grassroots groups throughout the collective advocacy and work of the Network and to continue building the System of Solidarity and Support (SOS) to address criminalization and repression of human rights defenders.  Further, the Board noted the need to identify resources better support work on economic policy and human rights, while exploring more substantial engagement at the intersection of human rights and the environment, in response to the analysis and interest of many Members.

On Tuesday evening, the Board met with ESCR-Net Members based in Mexico: Equipo Pueblo, DECA (Desarrollo, Educación y Cultura Autogestionarios), Coalición Internacional para el Hábitat - America Latina (HIC-AL), PODER (Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research), ProDESC (Proyecto de Derechos Económicos Sociales y Culturales), Equis: Justicia para las Mujeres, Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM), La Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH), Observatorio de Política Social y Derechos Humanos, and Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA).  In addition to learning about important work to advance human rights in Mexico, the Board engaged with Members regarding the role and direction of ESCR-Net, both in facilitating collective work across borders and amplifying the human rights struggles of individual members.  On Wednesday morning, Board Members and Secretariat staff members facilitated a strategic dialogue with Mexican members on corporate accountability issues, exploring ways to strengthen collective advocacy.