African Union Summit in Mauritania: What is at Stake?

Friends;

As usual, I would like to share with you the following personal notes on the upcoming 31st Ordinary Summit of the AU policy organs to be held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in a few weeks.

The Summit will be held under the theme: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

Beside the main theme of the year, major issues on the Summit agenda include a progress review on the institutional reform and self-financing of the African Union, peace, security and humanitarian situation on the continent, the Continental Free Trade Area and the African Common Position on the future of ACP/EU. I have also anticipated on the theme and the leadership of the Union for next year 2019.

In line with the ongoing reform of the African Union, this Summit is expected to be the last mid-year Summit. From 2019 onward, there will only be one (1) ordinary Summit per year.

According to the draft agenda, the Summit’s sessions are scheduled as follow in Nouakchott:

  • Permanent Representative Committee (Ambassadors): 25th – 26th June 2018
  • Executive Council (Ministers of Foreign Affairs): 28th – 29th  June 2018
  • Assembly (Heads of State and Government): 1st – 2nd July 2018

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A Closed Summit

The upcoming AU Summit will likely be a closed Summit as per AU Assembly decision AU/Dec.582 (XXV) according to which “Only one summit per year should be open for observers (non-African countries, international and inter-governmental organizations, CSOs etc)”. This decision was previously applied during the mid-year Summit in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2017. The only exception to this policy is when the AU decides to invite a strategic partner whose activities are in line with the theme of the year. Organizations that have an authorized side event in relation with the theme may only have access to the specific event and not necessarily to the entire Summit space.

Key Issues to dominate the AU Summit

 Winning the fight against corruption: Corruption is one of the most pressing governance and development challenges that Africa is confronted with today. It’s devastating and harsh effects adversely affect the development progress and stability of the Continent. In 2003, the AU adopted the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption which entered into force in 2006.  The convention, now ratified by 38 Member States provides for the establishment of an Advisory Board on Corruption.  Created in 2009, the Arusha, Tanzania based Board has the mandate to promote and encourage the adoption of measures and actions to fight corruption and related offences on the continent. Member States are required to submit a report to the Executive Council on a regular basis on the progress made in complying with the provisions of the Convention.

Corruption trough Illicit Financial Flows (IFF): According the Thabo Mbeki report in 2015, $50 Billion is lost through illicit flows out of the continent every year. This figure has now mounted to $80 Billion according to the UNECA.

At the July 2017 Summit, it was decided that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari would champion the annual theme. This decision was apparently based on the fact that Nigeria has recently taken a number of initiatives at national level to fight corruption practices.

In Nouakchott a presentation and a presidential debate led by President Buhari will be held on the theme and the Assembly will likely adopt a solemn declaration on fighting corruption in Africa. It is not clear whether the discussions on fighting corruption will be extended to corruption in political governance.

Progress on the institutional reform and self-financing of the African Union: The summit will review progress on the implementation of the institutional reform being led by President Paul Kagame aiming for a more efficient and effective African Union to achieve the objectives of the Agenda 2063. So far it’s hard to believe that there is a genuine consensus among member states on what the new structure of the AU will look like, the power dynamics in the leadership, the scope of thematic interventions and the division of labour between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities among other issues. A group of Member States has even tabled formal concerns in relation with the review process and the initial proposal made by President Kagame.

A progress report on financing the African Union by African countries through a 0.2% levy on eligible imported goods into the continent, is also expected to be presented by Donald Kaberuka. So far the AU is still funded up to 70% by external donors.

Peace, Security and Humanitarian Situation: the number of violent conflicts in Africa and their impact on civilians has hardly changed from the previous year. Re-occurring or relapsing conflicts, riots and mass protests, and shifting threats posed by violent extremist groups are key sources and manifestations of violence and insecurity in Africa and the continent continue to face heavy peace and security and humanitarian challenges. Progress towards a sustainable peace is rather slow due to many reasons mostly linked to governance deficits and the continent continues to face cases of stalled or collapsed peace processes; some of the notable cases include Burundi, CAR, DRC, Mali, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia etc. The Campaign for “silencing the guns by 2020” decided some years back is struggling to show results as we are approaching the deadline in a year and a half. The Assembly of the Union will consider a report on it. The situation between Morocco and Western Sahara is still unresolved. Besides the general debate on the state of peace and security in the continent, the Assembly of Heads of State will consider a special report of the AUC Chairperson on Western Sahara.  The Peace and Security Council will meet at Heads of State level on the 30th June. French President Emmanuel Macron will participate in a luncheon on financing AU-led peace support operations authorized by the UN Security Council. It is likely that discussions between President Macron and African Leaders will be extended to the situation in Libya in which France is deeply involved.

The Continental Free Trade Area: the unfinished business: The recently adopted African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement will cover an African market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55 member States of the Union. In terms of numbers of participating countries, AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. The potential for intra-African trade to drive value creation and development is both palpable and real. The agreement is designed to benefit Africa’s industrial exports, so, in order to trade, Africa first has to produce and not only selling primary commodities. The Free Trade Agreement could not then produce the expected result without an acceptable degree of industrialization of the continent. 11 countries including the biggest economies of the continent – Nigeria and South Africa – have not signed the agreement. The next summit creates an opportunity to have those countries onboard but also to push for more ratifications of the treaty beyond the first 4 countries: Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Niger. In addition, the summit will discuss important annexes and appendices to make the AfCFTA effectively functional.

African Common Position on the future of ACP/EU: The Economic Partnership Agreement (Cotonou Agreement) signed in the year 2000 between 79 African, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) and its Member States for a period of 20 years is coming to an end in February 2020. Reflections between Africa and the EU are under way to determine the nature, outline and configuration of a more appropriate framework for future post-2020 relations. Renewing these agreements creates, a unique opportunity for both continents to reaffirm their individual and collective priorities, opportunities and challenges, so, African Heads of State will consider and eventually adopt a common position ahead of their negotiation with the EU.

Prospects for the year 2019: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be the Chairperson of the African Union for 2019 and the theme of the year will be Refugees, Returnees and IDPs in Africa.  2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Convention) as well as the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the 2009 AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention). The Assembly decision at its 29th Assembly in July 2017 mandates the AU Commission to work with UNHCR and other partners to organize a series of commemorative events aimed at raising the visibility and provide thoughts for solutions of forced displacement in Africa. A series of events aimed at increasing ratification and domestication of the two key documents are being planned under the Project 2019, a joint AU-UNHCR initiative.

Given the important humanitarian component of our 2018-2021 strategic plan, we, at UNFPA, are ready  to engage on the African Union’s 2019 theme alongside other partners.

Do not hesitate to drop me an email on assogbavi@me.com should you have any questions or comments.

If you want to receive an alert whenever  I post an article please follow the blog on the left side of  this page.

Africa Day – 25th May: Beyond the Celebration…

On this day, 25th May, Africa Day is commemorated diversely in parts of the continent and the diaspora. I would like to share some personal thoughts about what, I believe must be an important day of reflection and re-commitment in our continent.

It was on the 25th May 1963 that the first continental intergovernmental organization after independence, was created. The Organization of African Unity (OAU); mother of the current African Union (AU) was born by the adoption of its Charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during a meeting hosted by the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. The OAU was founded by 32 countries. Later, 23 other states have gradually joined the body over the years. OAU was an unprecedented commitment to the aspiration for the total political liberation of the continent from colonialism as well as the unity and solidarity among its people.

Who Commemorates Africa Day? Only a handful of African countries officially observe Africa Day. These include Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mali, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Mauritania and Namibia. The day is also observed at the African Union headquarter in Addis Ababa. It is also encouraging to see that thousands of citizens are consistently reacting on social media  using the hashtag #AfricaDay. Today, the African Union Commission is hosting an event aiming to create, awareness for the public at large on the theme of the year 2018 which is “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the current Chairperson of the Union, Dr. Abiy Ahmed the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, host nation the Union and the Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat will participate in the event. See the programme here.

Africa Day should not be confused with African Union Day (AU Day) which is commemorated on the 9th September each year, marking the day on which the decision to transform the OAU to the AU was taken by the Assembly of Heads of State in Syrte Libya in 1999. So, AU Day was the 9/9/99 !

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The transformation of the OAU to the AU created the hope of a greater unity and solidarity of African countries and among African people. In fact the desire to build a people-oriented and people-centered institution is the main distinguishing feature between the African Union and the Organization of African Unity which was largely state focused.

Beyond the Celebration…: First, it’s important that Africa Day is fully commemorated in all African countries and in the entire diaspora. It should be a day on which we tell African stories to our young generations. Stories of our past glories, stories of a future hope… Africa Day should also be a day of re-commitment to our shared values and our common Agendas, both the Agenda 2063 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals of which we are fully part. Africa Day should be a day of a renewed African solidarity. A day of remembrance of the important part of our continent that is still devastated by all sort of unjustifiable conflicts, a day of determination to fight severe poverty and all kind of inequalities in Africa.

In fact,  since its inception, the AU has raised the normative bar for the realization of socio-economic and democratic development ambitions of the continent. But the adoption of norms, treaties, policy frameworks only is not enough to take us to the “Africa We Want” We must realize the promises by effectively implementing them and regularly holding ourselves accountable to them… It time to close the gap between continental promises and the daily reality of most citizens.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika! God Bless Africa!

Our World is Splitting on Human Rights Issues

The 51st Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development failed to reach a consensus yesterday in New York . No outcome came from 5 intensive days of negotiations on the theme: “Sustainable cities human mobility and migration”. Key divergences were around sexual and reproductive health/rights mention, some migration related issues and a quest by some delegations, for a “sovereignty clause” to be included in the text proposed by the chair. This is now the 3rd time in 4 years that discussions at this gathering end with no outcome. Our world is dangerously splitting on human rights issues.

Our disappointment today will not however affect our commitment to the Action Plan of the International Conference on Population and Development #ICPD beyond 2014.

La lutte continue !!! … #CPD51.

Reforming AU’s ECOSOCC: We Should Get it Right…

Friends;

The Executive Council of the African Union (Ministers of Foreign Affairs) has ordered an in-depth audit exercise on the functioning  of ECOSOCC (Economic Social and Cultural Council of the African Union) since its inception. This exercise is expected to provide appropriate recommendations on ways and means to revamp the operations of the organ that is supposed to ensure Civil Society contribution within the African Union policy making process.

Invited by the African Union Commission, I have had the opportunity to address the group of experts launching this process on 30th October 2017 in Seychelles. In my presentation, after making some preliminary remarks on the importance of citizens’ participation in the AU decision making process, I have looked at practices in similar bodies in other institutions around the world, before making key recommendations on what needs to be changed to make ECOSOCC effective and efficient.

Here is my presentation

Please feel free to drop your comments on this blog or to assogbavi@me.com

Africa Amnesty Month for Silencing the Guns – Important Prerequisites…

Dear friends;

The Peace and Security Council of  the African Union has just launched the “African Amnesty Month” for the Surrender and the Collection of Illicit Weapons in the framework of the African Union Master Roadmap for silencing the guns in Africa by 2020.

I have had the honor to address the Council at that occasion as an invited Guest Speaker. I am sharing  here my presentation made on the 4th September 2017 at the African Union Headquarter. 

Your comments are welcome on this blog or by email to assogbavi@me.com

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Your Excellency, Madam Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union; Honorable Members of the Peace and Security Council; Ladies and Gentlemen,All protocols observed.

Only 1/3 of all small arms in circulation today are in the hands of legally constituted security forces… the remaining 2/3 are held illegally by non-state actors or individuals and this is cause for concern because, the use of these weapons, directly and indirectly affects hundreds of thousands of people and severely undermines our commitments for sustainable development. So, the declaration of an Africa Amnesty Month for the surrender and collection of illegally owned weapons is an important step in the search for peace and security in Africa….

But, having looked at the decision of the Assembly on the Roadmap for silencing the Gun, the provision on Amnesty month seems to be the only provision with identified real actions with some accountability mechanisms.

Provisions relating to the root causes, or the origins of African conflicts are included, but unfortunately, they are vaguely treated… with no accountability mechanism or tracking system for implementation.

Madam Chair; a few years ago, the African Union had decided to launch a campaign named “Make Peace Happen”… in which we all participated but peace did not happen.

Every 6 months, the AUC presents a report on the state of peace and security in the continent, to the Assembly, and decisions are made accordingly …peace is still not happening… So, for the “Silencing the Guns” campaign to happen we must do something differently, we must do something courageous…. Maybe a bit painful…, in order to have a different result.

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The Assembly’s decision suggested that people who surrender their illegally owned weapons shall not be subjected to disclosure, humiliation, arrest or prosecution… that is a great incentive !!! but there is not the problem…

People are not holding on their gun today because they are afraid of prosecution… they keep holding and trusting the guns, mostly because their problems remain unsolved by the states, by power holders…

In fact, many weapon bearers do not consider their actions illegal but rather legitimate against:

  • The inequitable sharing of national resources
  • The confiscation of state power and state resources by an individual or group of individuals
  • The modern form of unconstitutional change of government manifested today by “fraudulent or cosmetic elections” to sustain unlimited terms on power …. often with the blessing by our regional and continental bodies through election observation that mostly look at just the voting operations, always “declared free and fair”

Madame Chair; if we stick to the current decision only, and to the the way we use to do business, I am afraid we will come back here in September 2020 or 2021, only to realize that guns are not silenced in our continent….

This means that the journey to 2063 will become longer than planned … the promises contained in the Agendas 2063 and 2030 will remain beautiful dreams. As a result, the mistrust of our populations, especially the youth, in our institutions, regional and continental bodies, will increase…. Affected and marginalized populations will continue trusting nothing else but the guns.

In DRC for example we do not need further research to know that, without a credible election and an alternation of power, there is no hope for peace… and it is unlikely for those who hold the guns, there, to surrender them… This also holds true for South Sudan Sudan, Burundi and so on. Of course, there are different scenarios and different realities in other part of the continent, that would not necessarily be resolved through election alone…

In many other countries in our continent, unlimited presidential terms reinforced by unfair elections constitute a real risk for fragility that will not contribute in silencing the gun by 2020.

Ladies and Gentlemen; availability of arms does not necessarily create conflicts. But their proliferation and their uncontrolled circulation can lead to a more rapid spread of violence and, magnify their devastating effects, and, of course, countries are less safe if weapons are easily available. However, conflicts that are going on in Africa have not started just because arms were available… in fact, arms come in later in most of the cases. So, without courageous actions to deal with the origins of the conflicts, efforts to collect arms in the framework of our Amnesty month will not bring us any tangible result. Strategically, collecting arms cannot come first in the implementation of our Roadmap.

Madam Chair, I may disappoint you today because I have not prepared any specific suggestions on how the Amnesty month can be organized, because I do not believe we are there yet. Rather, I would like to use the following illustration to demonstrate that, there are unavoidable prerequisites, that we should meet first, before voluntary arms collection can be effective, and these fit well within the objective # 4 of this Open Session.

Let’s consider that our Master Roadmap for silencing the guns can be implemented within a symbolic calendar year from January to December, including September as the month of Amnesty for the collection of illegally owned small arms…You would see at the end, that in fact, September is an excellent choice….

Illustration for a strategic sequencing of prerequisites for guns to be silenced in Africa within a symbolic calendar year

See powerpoint here: https://www.slideshare.net/DesireAssogbavi/prerequisites-for-silencing-the-gun-in-africa

January and February:  Constitutions and laws of all member states of the African Union guaranty all civil and political rights for all citizens with no discrimination. This also means that peaceful demonstrations can be held whenever citizens are not happy about the conduct of public affairs on a particular area, without intimidation or violence against citizens…

March and April: Justice systems of all member states are made fully independent and free of undue pressure from the executive in their functioning. Human rights violators and criminals are effectively prosecuted regardless of their social and political status and reparation for victims is ensured at national level… As this happens constantly, the ICC will go bankrupt and will probably close!

May – June: State institutions set up socioeconomic and legal mechanisms to tackle inequality and extreme poverty, and to combat corruption at all levels. Illicit Financial Flows are significantly reduced… Heavy investments are made from national resources, supported by international south-south and north-south cooperation, to ensure essential services, mainly, education, infrastructures and health are accessible for all citizens including our leaders.

July: Credible elections are normally held and managed by independent electoral boards with no interference… and results of the pools reflect the true choice of the people… but, minorities are respected and deliberately protected and given opportunity to participate in public affairs through different other institutions, by the law and affirmative actions… This naturally lead to a situation where, elections are influenced more by political agendas and not by ethnic origins.  Losers of elections including former heads of state or opposition leaders are treated with dignity, respected and enjoy state protection, but they are held accountable if they are responsible for crimes.

August: Innovative programs create diverse and quality education and training opportunities. Private sector is regulated, accompanied and encouraged to create increasing job opportunities for the youth.  State institutions ensure equal opportunity to citizens with no discrimination, to be employed and engaged in public affairs

Then comes September: The Amnesty Month! Following the AU Assembly decisions on the Roadmap for silencing the Gun… People who have small arms and light weapons illegally — voluntarily surrender them … This is consolidated by the setting up of justice and accountability mechanisms adapted to each national context and traditions, including transitional justice…. Reparation for victims is guaranteed.

October: The African Union Treaty on Free Movements of people and goods is adopted and fully implemented all over the continent… The Pan African Passport is delivered promptly upon request… Interaction between peoples of different nationalities and regions of the continent catalyzes strong opportunities of learning, creates synergy, and boosts our economic integration… Young people feel no need to immigrate… No death recorded in the Mediterranean Sea or in the Sahara Desert and, a good part of the diaspora comes back to take part in the reconstruction of the continent.

November: The African Union gains trust from its citizens and becomes a truly people driven body, and effective to ensure the implementation of its decisions by member states… A genuine and effective space is provided for citizens and their formations to be part of the decision-making process… But this means that the AU has declared illegal, all draconian laws  against CSOs in member states, and pushed countries to abolish them, then replace them by provisions that respect universally agreed freedom of association… while ensuring accountably of NGOs…

Madam Chair, in December: Guns will be surely silenced in Africa…

I thank you!

Opinions in this presentation are absolutely personal.

Africa & the International Criminal Court: A new Era is Possible

Subsequent to my article on Africa and the ICC published on this blog, I was invited by H.E. Sidiki Kaba, Minister of Justice of Senegal and President of the Assembly of States parties to the International Criminal Court to resource a ministerial discussion  on the challenges and opportunities of the International Criminal Court going forward. Present at this meeting was also the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda as well as other officials of the court.

In my presentation at a session chaired by H.E. Cheik Sako, Minister of Justice of Guinea, I proposed to African Ministers of Justice ideas that would re-establish trust between Africa and the ICC in order to work together to address impunity and ensure justice for victims. I argued that grievances of the African Union against the ICC’s  “exclusive” targeting of Africa is understandable because crimes under ICC jurisdictions are also committed by none Africans, outside of Africa and the ICC does not seem to be in a hurry to investigate them. However, as long as African countries and the continent do not have a functioning mechanism to address international crimes, our continent and the ICC must find a way to work together, clear misunderstandings, communicate better and ensure justice and accountability for the victims who are mostly women and children.

A recent  national “peoples’ consultation” organized by the Government of Zambia on their membership to the ICC has overwhelmingly  revealed citizens support for the ICC (more than 90%). Today, the ICC has more African member states (34) than the African Court of Human and People’s Rights has (30).  So, the envisaged divorce between Africa and the ICC should not be an option, rather, we need to re-invent trust and a better way of working…

For more details on my proposals  you can download my presentation here: https://www.slideshare.net/…/africa-and-the-icc-a-new-era-i…

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You can also read my recent article on ICC and Africa here: https://assodesire.com/…/the-international-criminal-court-…/

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Outcomes of the African Union Summit – July 2017 (Unofficial Note)

This document is being updated as more information become available

Last update: 10 July 2017

Dear Friends;

The 29th ordinary Summit of the AU (July 2017) has just ended in Addis Ababa. The official decisions of the Summit are not expected to be publicly available before a couple of weeks but, based on meetings and discussions that I have had with several delegations around the Summit and after looking at some of the Summit documents, I would like to share the following unofficial note on the key outcomes of the Summit.

In the coming days I will share on this blog, some personal analysis on these outcomes.

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Highlights:

  • Important decisions on youth; theme of the year.
  • President Paul Kagame of Rwanda elected to lead the African Union in 2018.
  • 2018 budget of the AU adopted: $769, 381,894, slightly less than 2017 budget.
  • Concerned about the performance of ECOSOCC, the Summit ordered an in-depth study on its functioning since its creation
  • The Africa-EU Partnership is re-branded: Morocco entered a strong reservation
  • Election of two commissioners: HRST & Economic Affairs
  • Election of new members of the Panel of the Wise
  • The theme of 2018 confirmed as “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” and the dates and venues of both AU Summits in 2018 decided.
  • Important decisions and commitments on peace, security and humanitarian situation in Africa, and, on the “AU Roadmap for silencing the guns in Africa by 2020”
  • List of Heads of State and Government who lead on specific thematic within the AU

1/ Theme of the Year: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”

The Summit asked the Chairperson to mobilize international support for Africa’s efforts towards harnessing the demographic dividend by calling for a special session of the United Nations General Assembly and the creation of a global partnership on the demographic dividend.

2018-2027 period is declared “African Decade for Technical, Professional and Entrepreneurial Training and Youth Employment”.

The establishment of the African Youth Fund is endorsed. The Summit also authorized allocation to the African Youth Fund of an amount at least equal to 1% of the Programme Budget of the African Union Commission.

The Pan-African Youth Forum is institutionalized. The Leader of the theme of the year 2017, President Idriss Deby to follow-up on the conclusions of the Pan-African Youth Forum held in N’Djamena

The AU Commission to review the implementation of the AUC/AfDB/ILO/ECA Joint Initiative on Youth Employment to be in line with the AU Roadmap on the Demographic Dividend and incorporate the new AfDB Strategy on Youth Employment in Africa.

2/  Budget for 2018

Total budget: $769, 381,894 (including peace support operations $268,083,200)

  • Operating Budget US$458,763,038
  • Programs budget: $310,618,856

… to be financed as follows:

  • Member States contribution: $318,276,795
  • Partners contribution: $451,105,099

3/Africa -EU Partnership becomes “African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Partnership: Morocco entered strong reservation.

The Executive Council approved the theme of the 5th AU – EU Summit (29-30 Nov. 2017) namely: “Investment in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive growth and sustainable development”. The Executive Council also decided that the nomenclature for the partnership with the European Union to be now: “African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Partnership” instead of “Africa – EU partnership”. The Kingdom of Morocco entered a strong reservation on nomenclature: African Union (AU) – European Union(EU) Partnership.

Senior Officials and a Ministerial meeting to be held before the Summit. The PRC in close collaboration with the Commission to prepare and negotiate with the European side the outcome documents of the Summit.

The PRC was asked to convene a retreat to jointly conclude the elaboration of a Draft Declaration and other documents for the 2017 AU-EU Summit in cooperation with the AU Commission and the Africa Group in Brussels and submit to an Extraordinary Session of Council in August/September 2017 to consider the same documents and adopt the African Common Position.

Finally, the Council denounced the unjust unilateral sanctions against States and citizens of AU Member States.

4/ Peace, Security and Humanitarian Situation

Somalia: The Assembly expressed concern at the resurgence of piracy activities of the coast of Somalia and called on the AU and international partners to coordinate their support through the implementation mechanism of the Security Pact, as agreed at the London Conference, held on 11 May 2017, with a view to optimize the impact of joint efforts aimed at, in particular, supporting the Somali National Security Forces. The Assembly welcomed the establishment of the AU-Somalia Joint Task Force that should be the best channel to harmonize support by partners.

South Sudan: The Assembly expressed deep concern over the continued deterioration of the situation in South Sudan and called upon, South Sudanese parties to demonstrate leadership and to rise up to their responsibility towards ending the long suffering of their own people. The Assembly also welcomed the launching of the National Dialogue initiative by President Salva Kiir and urged the South Sudanese stakeholders to ensure its inclusivity independence and impartiality. The Assembly endorsed the decisions of the 31 IGAD Extraordinary Summit held on 12 June 2017, in particular the urgent convening of the High-Level Revitalization Forum of the Peace Agreement. Concerned by the humanitarian situation in South Sudan and urged the international community to provide the necessary assistance to the needy people in South Sudan and the neighboring countries. In this regard, the Assembly called on the Transitional Government of National Unity, SPLM-IO and all armed groups to strictly observe international humanitarian law with regard to humanitarian agencies and workers, with a view to create or facilitate access and delivery of the humanitarian assistance to the population in need.

Djibouti and Eritrea: The Chairperson of the Commission, with the necessary support of the two countries, to pursue his efforts towards normalization of relations and good neighborhood between Djibouti and Eritrea

Morocco & Western Sahara: The Assembly reaffirmed its determination to find a durable solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, and called on the two Member States, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, to engage in direct and serious talks and extend the necessary cooperation to the AU policy organs, the Commission and the AU High Representative for Western Sahara. The Assembly also welcomed the commitment of the UN Secretary-General to re-launch the negotiating process, with a new dynamic and a new spirit leading to the resumption of negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, between the two parties with the aim of reaching a durable solution, which shall provide for the self-determination referendum of the people of Western Sahara in line with  the relevant UN resolutions and the AU/OAU decisions.

DRC: The Assembly appealed to all Congolese actors to work for the preservation of the still fragile  gains in the path of peace and stability in the DRC, in particular the effective and consensual implementation of the 31 December 2016 Agreement, with a view to organizing elections, in December 2017. In this regard, the Assembly welcomed the initiatives so far taken by the Chairperson of the Commission, including the dispatching, from 29 to 30 May, in Kinshasa, of a mission led by Commissioner for Peace and Security and comprising the representatives of the United Nations, the ICGLR, SADC, guarantor institutions of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region, signed on 24 February 2013, in Addis Ababa. The also Assembly called for the urgent appointment of the Chairman and Members of the National Follow up Council of the Agreement (CNSA) in order to establish the calendar of elections.

Burundi: The Summit reaffirmed  its commitment to the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Burundi  through the rapid launching of an inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue, under the aegis of the East African Community (EAC), with the support of the AU, under the leadership of the EAC Mediator, President Museveni of Uganda and his Facilitator, former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania.  The Assembly called upon the Burundian authorities to take all the necessary steps to build the widest consensus possible on the ongoing process of revising the Constitution, with the participation of all stakeholders and on the basis of the Arusha Agreement  of 2000. In this regard, the Assembly also called for the rapid signing of the Memorandum of Understanding relating to the activities of the Human Rights Observers and the Military Experts of the AU;

CAR: The Assembly reaffirmed support to the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR and called on all Central African stakeholders, the UN and other partners to support this process. The Assembly welcomed the signing in Rome, on 19 June 2017, under the facilitation of the Sant’Egidio community, of an agreement between armed groups, including a country wide ceasefire.  The Assembly URGES Member States and partners to pursue and increase their assistance to the CAR and to contribute to stabilization, post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts in the country.

Mali: The Assembly welcomed the timely initiative of the G5 Sahel, namely Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, which led to the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The Assembly further welcomed the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of resolution 2359 (2017) on the deployment of the G5 Joint Force expressed appreciation to the European Union (EU) for the financial support to the initiative of the G5 Sahel. The Assembly requested the Commission to organise as soon as possible, a meeting of the member countries of the Nouakchott Process to discuss their support for the G5 Sahel initiative, within the framework of the AU Strategy for the Sahel Region.

AU Road-map on Silencing the Guns by 2020

The Summit declared the month of September, of each year till 2020, as “Africa Amnesty Month” for the surrender and collection of illegally owned weapons/arms, in line with the African and international best practices. In this context, the Assembly Pronounced as follows:

  1. persons who surrender their illegally owned weapons/arms shall not be subjected to disclosure humiliation, arrest or prosecution;
  2. persons who fail to surrender their illegally owned weapons/arms beyond the Africa Amnesty month, shall automatically be considered to be in violation of national laws and the Amnesty and shall therefore be prosecuted according to the national laws of the Member States;
  3. all Member States, RECs/RMs as well as civil society organizations shall give wide publicity, through all media networks, to the Africa Amnesty Month within their territories and regions;
  4. Member States to adhere to and promote the Africa Amnesty Month, September each year, and mobilize their citizens to actively participate in the efforts to silence the guns.

The Summit appealed to all AU Member States and RECs/RMs to redouble efforts in further strengthening their governance institutions, as part of the continental mobilization to ensure strong response to illicit weapons, their proliferation and use in the continent, as well as to illicit financial flows, production of dangerous drugs, as well as trade in illicit goods and illegal exploitation of natural resources.

The Summit encouraged AU Member States to speed up signing and ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty adopted the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013, which has the potential to play an important role in silencing the guns in Africa.

The Summit requested the Commission, as also requested by the PSC in its Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR.(CDXXX)] of its 430th meeting held on 24 April 2014, to submit and present to the PSC, the outcomes of the continent-wide mapping exercise which was launched in early 2017, with a view to generating concrete data on patterns and trends in illegal weapons and ammunition inflows and cross-border flows, diversion and circulation, as well as gaps in control measures in Member States, in order to strengthen AU remedial efforts.

The Summit Acknowledged that as part of the efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and practices throughout the continent, political will and commitment is a fundamental necessity for success in silencing the guns. In this regard, the Assembly urged Member States, for those that have not yet done so, to submit their state reports on their implementation of the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

The Summit also requested the AU Commission to convene a meeting of experts of AU Member States to review the OAU/AU treaty making process and make recommendations that will be submitted for consideration by the relevant AU policy organs in the course of 2017.

Panel of the Wise: The Summit decided to strengthen the preventive role of the Panel of the Wise by urging it to accelerate the establishment of national peace infrastructures, including by harnessing the efforts of national mechanisms. The summit also decided on the operationalization of “Pan African Network of Women Mediators“, as a subsidiary body of the Panel of the Wise.

Humanitarian Situation in Africa

The Executive Council expressed concern over the dire humanitarian situation of migrants in Mediterranean Sea trying to cross over to Europe and, welcomed the New York Declaration adopted at 71st UNGA and the commitment towards the adoption of a global compacts on refugees and on the safe and orderly migration, by 2018 as well as the comprehensive refugee response framework (CRRF) for large scale movements of refugees including tackling protracted situations.

Recognizing that 2019 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Situations in Africa and the 10th anniversary of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, the Executive Council called on the Union to declare 2019 as the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa : “towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa” and develop an implementation road map.

The Executive Council has also requested the following to the AU Commission:

  • In collaboration with the PRC Sub-Committee on Refugees, Returnees and IDPs and the Sub-Committee on the Special Emergency Fund to take all necessary measures to convene a Donors Pledging Conference, which should include the private sector.
  • In collaboration with the PRC to engage in further reflections on the situation of refugees to develop practical modalities to assist refugees in Africa;

 Work in close collaboration with relevant international partners to address migration flows of Africans through the Mediterranean Sea and other channels

5/ Institutional Reform: The Summit took note of President Kagame’s Progress Report and reiterated that the implementation process will consider proposals and suggestions made by Member States

6/ Full Integration of NEPAD into the African Union Commission: The NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) is dissolved. AUC in consultation with the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA), to take all necessary measures for the full integration of the NEPAD into the Commission and to report to 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly in January 2018.

7/ ECOSOCC

The Executive Council expressed concerns about the performance of ECOSOCC as an advisory role to the Union and requested the AUC in collaboration with ECOSOCC and Member States to implement the previous Executive Council Decisions EX.CL/Dec.833(XVII) on the establishment of a dedicated secretarial within CIDO and EX.CL/Dec.849(XXV) which calls for an in-depth study regarding the functioning of ECOSOCC since its inception to provide appropriate recommendations on modalities to revamp the operations of the organ, in line with the current reforms of the AU that would support the principle of Africa ownership

AU Commission to work out all legal, structural and financial implications affecting the relocation of ECOSOCC to Lusaka, Zambia and submit to the PRC for supplementary budget consideration

8/ Child Rights

The Executive Council adopted the theme for the Day of the African Child 2017: “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development” and requested Member States to commemorate the Day of the African Child

9/ New Commissioners elected:

  1. Human Resources, Science and Technology: ANYANG AGBOR Sarah MBI Enow Sarah (Cameroon)
  2. Economic Affairs: HARISON Victor (Madagascar)

10/ New members of the Panel of the Wise

Eastern Africa: Dr. Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, from Uganda (re-appointed)

Northern Africa: Mr. Amr Moussa, from Egypt

Western Africa:, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, from Liberia

Central Africa: Mrs. Catherine Samba-Panza, from the Central African Republic

Southern Africa region, Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, from Namibia

Outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise shall become members of the Group of Friends of the Panel.

11/ January 2018 Summit and theme of the year: The 30th AU Summit will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme “Winning The Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” as follow: PRC: 22 – 23 January 2018; Executive Council: 25 – 26 January 2018; Assembly: 28 – 29 January 2018.

July 2018 Summit: The 31st AU Summit will be held  in Mauritania as follow:  PRC : 25 – 26 June 2018; Executive Council: 28 – 29 June 201; Assembly: 1 – 2 July 2018.

12/ Which President Leads on what ?

(i) H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo: Leader and Chairperson of the High-Level Committee on Libya;

(ii) H.E. Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South African: Leader on African Union-United Nations Cooperation;

(iii) H.E. Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda: Leader on the Continent’s Political Integration;

(iv) H.E. Mr. Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia: Leader on Combating Early Marriage of Young Girls;

(v) H.E. Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger: Leader on Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)

(vi) H.E. Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad, Leader: of the Theme of the Year 2017;

(vii) H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Leader on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme: (CAADP);

(viii) H.E. Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of the Togolese: Republic, Leader on Maritime Security, Safety and Development in Africa;

(ix) H.E. Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika: President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Leader on the Thorny Issue of Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa;

 (x) His Majesty Mohamed VI, King of Morocco, Leader on the Migration Issue;

(xi) H.E. Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of the Republic of  Côte d’Ivoire, Leader on the Follow-Up of the Implementation of African Union Agenda 2063;

(xii) H.E. Mr. Nana Akufo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana: Leader on Gender and Development Issues in Africa;

 xiii) H.E. Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Leader and Chairperson of the Committee of Ten (C10) on the United Nations Security Council Reform;

(xiv) H.E. Mr. Paul Kagamé, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Leader  on the Institutional Reform of the African Union;

 (xv) H.E. Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic and Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC);

13/ Hissen Habre Case

The Executive Council requested the Commission to submit the Statutes of the Trust Fund for victims of Hissène Habré crimes to the Specialized Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs for Consideration and to present it to the Thirtieth Ordinary Session of the Assembly for adoption through the Executive Council January/February 2018;

The Council also authorized the Commission to take necessary consultations with the Government of the Republic of Chad on the establishment of the Secretariat of the Trust Fund, bearing in mind that, the Decision of the African Extraordinary Chambers, the Senegalese Courts will have jurisdiction over all matters arising from the implementation of the African Extraordinary Chambers’ decision.

The Council invited Members States, partners and any other governmental or non-governmental organisation to provide a voluntary contribute to the Trust Fund and fully support the African Union Commission, to ensure the prompt and effective reparation of the victims as per the Decision of the African Extraordinary Appeal Chambers.

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