Green Advocates International (GAI) is a Liberian-based non-profit, public interest law, environmental and human rights organization working to advance a wide range of issues through legal aid, consultation and support for the victims of environmental and human rights violations; the development of context-specific programs to empower poor rural, urban slum and squatter communities to participate in decision-making processes in the management of Liberia’s natural resources and its economy and the public’s right to know; the drafting and enactment of appropriate policies and legislations on good governance; the promotion of transparency and accountability in governmental activities and assistance in the strengthening and enforcement of existing environmental and human rights standards.
Green Advocates International was founded in 1997 by Alfred Lahai Brownell then a law student attending the Louis Arthur Grimes School, in Monrovia, Liberia. Brownell encouraged other progressive law students to join his effort and Green Advocates was formally incorporated and accredited by the Government of Liberia in 2000.
The Thematic Programs at Green Advocates are as follows:
- Forest Democracy Initiative (which focuses on forest law enforcement, community engagement with the forestry sector, forest Product value chain and REDD+)
- Rights and Business Initiative (which focuses on corporate accountability to address the impact of businesses on human rights)
- Environmental Governance Initiative (which focuses on respect for public health; awareness and monitoring of Environmental Impact Assessments)
- Economic Justice Initiative (focuses on national budget awareness; citizens participation in the national budget; debt relief; consumer protection/advocacy)
- Community Rights Initiatives (which focuses on community empowerment; access to information)
- IT/GIS Mapping (which focuses on GIS mapping; helping communities clarify property rights, etc)
- Public Interest Law/Advocacy (which focuses on legal representation for local communities and the rule of law)
- Natural Resource Governance (which focuses on EITI/PWYP; EITI value chain; Kimberley Process diamonds; Land tenure/conflict; water and fisheries).
The thematic programs at Green Advocates have been structured, amongst other things, to create a society where local communities are empowered to exercise their economic, social and cultural rights and are better served by the Government of Liberia as duty-bearer and multinational corporations demonstrate good corporate citizenship. The thematic programs are further re-enforced by the different Alliances, Networks, Coalitions and Multi-stakeholder Dialogues (MSD) inspired Green Advocates.
GAI is active in the field of business and human rights:
- Serves on the Steering Committee of ESCR-Net’s Corporate Accountability Working Group; Member of the OECD Watch Coordinating committee, representing civil society in Africa; Founding member of the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition; Former international board member of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI); Steering Committee member of the ETO Consortium which refers to the extraterritorial (human rights) obligations of states towards persons outside their territories
- GAI is a member of Africa Coalition of Corporate Accountability ACCA, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide ELAW, Rights and Resources Initiative RRI Coalition, International Advocates Working Group IAWG, International Union for the Conservation of Nature IUCN, FIAN International, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) International, Voluntary Principles Initiative NGO Pillar
- GAI collaborates in research, shares information and international best practice with Amnesty International, Global witness, The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), Swedwatch, Protection International, Inclusive Development International, Accountability Counsel, Frontline Defenders, International Accountability Project Early Warning System, etc., Independent National Commission on Human Rights, National Working Groups and Coalitions (Oil Palm Working Group, NGO Coalition, etc.), United Nations agencies stationed in Liberia, Embassies (USA, EU, South African, etc.), African Development Bank, World Bank
- GAI is part of various international coalitions like the CSO Coalition on the African Development Bank, Follow the Money Coalition, Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Rights in Development Coalition, etc.