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11 to 13 June 2019 in Lusaka, Zambia – An APRM delegation led by Professor Fatma Zohra Karadja, Vice-Chairperson of the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons, attended the Third Permanent General Assembly of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), an organ of the African Union, from 11 to 13 June 2019 in Lusaka, Zambia, at the invitation of the AU Organ.
Addressing the newly elected ECOSOCC Bureau – comprising a chairperson and four deputies, as well as the highest officials of the country, notably the Vice-President, His Excellency Inonge Wina, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency the Honourable Joseph Malanji – Professor Karadja commended and thanked the Republic of Zambia for its effective and active contribution to APRM and for offering to host the next APRM Targeted Review Workshop slated for 27 – 28 June 2019 in Livingstone.
Before the august assembly of representatives of civil society organisations from North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa, Professor Karadja highlighted the innovative nature of the Mechanism as an instrument of good governance to which African Union member states adhere voluntarily. She emphasised the inclusion and participation of stakeholders with civil society serving as one of the major components. Professor Karadja also drew attention to the opportunity offered to APRM national structures to use ECOSOCC’s national offices to optimise popular participation in the self-assessment exercise in APRM member states and encouraged the representatives of civil society organisations at the meeting to contribute to the universal accession to APRM. The APRM delegation included Dr. Messan Koffi Adorgloh, Coordinator of the event at the Secretariat, who had the opportunity to hold discussions with representatives of ECOSOCC-Zambia Zambia who are also members of the National Governing Council of APRM-Zambia.
In her concluding remarks, the Vice-Chairperson of the APRM Panel specified that APRM has a privileged space for effective cooperation not only with ECOSOCC but also with the African Union Commission’s Directorate of Citizens and the Diaspora, whose mission is to ensure that civil society and the African diaspora contribute to the implementation of the Union’s policies, and particularly to Agenda 2063.
Established as an organ of the African Union under the provisions of Articles 5 and 22 of the AU Constitutive Act in 2004, the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) is composed of civil society organisations (CSOs). It ensures, in principle, that civil society organises itself to work in partnership with the African Union. The mandate of ECOSOCC consists in: (i) contributing, in an advisory capacity, to the effective translation of African Union objectives, principles and policies into concrete programmes, in addition to evaluating such programmes, (ii) conducting studies and making recommendations, and (iii) contributing to the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, good governance, democratic principles, gender equality and the rights of the child.
Article 4 of the ECOSOCC Statutes stipulates that the Council is composed of 150 CSOs: two CSOs from each member state; 10 civil society organisations operating at the regional level and eight at the continental level; 20 African Diaspora CSOs and six ex officio civil society organisations appointed by the AU Commission in consultation with member states. Article 4 also provides that representatives of member states, regions, continents and the diaspora shall be elected on the basis of 50% gender equality and 50% of their number shall be between 18 and 35 years of age. Members serve a four-year term and may be re-elected once. The new members of the ECOSOCC Bureau elected on 8 December 2018 include a chairperson and four vice-chairpersons from the five regions of Africa.