12th Ordinary Summit of the AU Heads of State and Government ends yesterday in Addis Ababa

February 5, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Africa | Leave a comment
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The 12th Ordinary Summit of the AU Heads of State and Government ended in Addis Ababa on 4 February 2009. The Summit concluded with the adoption of the Assembly decisions and declarations to guide the AU forward.

Below are the highlights of some of the main decisions of the Assembly.

DATES AND VENUE OF THE 13th ORDINARY SESSION
The Assembly welcomed the offer by the Republic of Madagascar to host the 13th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Antananarivo, Madagascar; and decided that the dates of the ordinary sessions of the Assembly will be as follows: 18th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee: 24-25 June 2009; 17th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council:  28-29 June 2009; 13th Ordinary Session of the Assembly: 1-3 July 2009.

THEMES OF JULY 2009 AND JANUARY 2010 SESSIONS OF THE ASSEMBLY
The themes of the thirteenth and fourteenth Ordinary Sessions of the Assembly scheduled respectively for July 2009 and January 2010 will be as follows:
Thirteenth Ordinary Session of the Assembly: “Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security”
Fourteenth Ordinary Session of the Assembly: “Information and Communication Technologies in Africa:  Challenges and Prospects for Development”.

STATUTE OF AUC ON INTERNATIONAL LAW
On the issue of the statute of the AU Commission on international law, the Assembly requested the Commission to take all the necessary measures so as to ensure that the first members of the Commission on International Law are elected in July 2009, to facilitate early operationalisation of AUCIL.

CHARTER OF STATESTICS
Regarding the African Charter of Statistics, the Assembly called on Member States to sign the Charter as expeditiously as possible and thus provide a regulatory framework for statistics development on the Continent.

AFRICAN DIASPORA SUMMIT
The Assembly noted the postponement of the African Diaspora Summit and requested Member States, leaders of the Caribbean Community and South America as well as all other states with a significant African Diaspora population to continue to support and participate in the process leading up to the African Diaspora Summit; It further requested the Commission to ensure that the process of organizing Regional Consultative Conferences (RCCs) continues.

ABUSE OF THE PRINCIPLE OF UNIVERSAL JURIDICTION
Regarding the implementation of the Assembly decision on the abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction, the Assembly expressed its regret that in spite of its previous Summit decision calling for a moratorium and whilst the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) were already in discussion to find a durable solution to this issue, a warrant of arrest was executed against Mrs Rose Kabuye, Chief of Protocol to the President of the Republic of Rwanda, thereby creating tension between the AU and the EU. It requested the Chairperson of the African Union to ensure that the issue is exhaustively discussed at the level of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF FINANCING FOR THE AU
The Assembly requested the Commission to take into account the recommendations put forward by Member States in a new study on alternative sources of financing for the AU and present the new document to the Extraordinary Session of African Ministers of Economy and Finance to be held in November 2009. It also requested the Commission to present the outcomes of the Extraordinary Session of CAMEF to the Assembly of the Union to be held in January 2010.

MICRO FINANCE IN AFRICA
Regarding the development of a roadmap and plan of action for micro finance in Africa, the Assembly requested the Commission to deepen the study on the development of the roadmap and draw from Member States’ experiences in this area. It requested the Commission to undertake feasibility study on the creation of a Guarantee Fund for development of micro-finance in Africa.

PROMOTION OF MATERNAL, INFANT AND CHILD HEALTH
On the report of the implementation status of the decision on promotion of maternal, infant and child health and development in Africa, the Assembly called upon the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), other relevant United Nations Agencies and Africa’s development partners, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), to support the Commission’s efforts in the promotion of maternal, infant and child health;

FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CRISIS
The Assembly discussed the financial and economic crisis and the negotiations on the reform of the international financial system. After deliberations, the Assembly took note of the decision of the Conference to constitute a Committee of ten (10) Ministers and Central Bank Governors (Committee of Ten), representing the five (5) regions of the African Union (AU), to monitor the unfolding trends of the financial and economic crisis, provide regular updated data, comprehensive information and analysis, proffer advice to the AU, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States, and make proposals on how best to contribute to the deliberations on the economic and social impact of the international financial crisis and measures to mitigate the crisis, and report accordingly to the Assembly.
The Assembly urged Member States, to speed up the establishment of the three AU financial institutions. It also expressed support for the G20 initiative to set up working groups on the themes of negotiations for the urgent reform of the international financial system and requested that the Commission be associated with all the processes established to work out this reform and ensure the implementation of a new international, economic and financial order.

AFRICA-EU DIALOGUE
On the Africa- EU dialogue, the Assembly requested the AU Commission to ensure the effective involvement of the RECs and other stakeholders in the implementation and monitoring processes. It further requested the Commission to submit a special report to each Session of the Executive Council on the progress made in the implementation of the partnership with the European Union.

ZIMBABWE
Regarding Zimbabwe, the Assembly welcomed the timelines agreed for the formation of an inclusive Government, in particular the adoption of amendment 19 on 5 February 2009, as well as the swearing in of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers by 11 February 2009 and that of the Ministers and Deputy Ministers by 13 February 2009. It called upon AU Member States and partners to lend their full support to the implementation of the GPA.  The Assembly further called for the immediate lifting of the sanctions on Zimbabwe to ease the economic and humanitarian situation in the country.

RESURGENCE OF THE SCOURGE OF COUPS D’ETAT
The Assembly expressed deep concern over the resurgence of the scourge of coups d’état in Africa and called on Member States to react firmly and unequivocally to put an end to this Scourge.
It strongly condemned the coups d’état that took place in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania on 6 August 2008, and in the Republic of Guinea on 23 December 2008, as well as the attempted coup d’état in the Republic of Guinea Bissau on 5 August 2008. It also supported the decisions taken by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) on the immediate return to constitutional order, and requested the Commission to see to the strict implementation thereof.

APPLICATION BY THE ICC
Regarding the decision on the application by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor for the indictment of the President of the Republic of Sudan, the Assembly expressed its deep concern at the indictment. It endorsed the Communiqué issued by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) to defer the process initiated by the ICC. It also condemned the gross violations of human rights in Darfur, and urged that the perpetrators be apprehended and brought to justice.

PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA
The Assembly welcomed the progress achieved in the process of national reconciliation in The Comoros and encouraged the Comorian parties to continue to work together to consolidate these gains.
The Assembly welcomed the progress made in the political process in Somalia particularly the signing, on 19 August and 26 October 2008, respectively, of the Djibouti Agreement and the Agreement on the Modalities for the Cessation of Armed Confrontation, as well as the decision to establish an inclusive and expanded Parliament and a Unity Government.  The Heads of State and Government welcomed the election of a new President for Somalia.

The Assembly noted the completion by Ethiopia of the withdrawal of its forces from Somalia in line with the Djibouti Agreement. It paid tribute to AMISOM and the Troop Contributing Countries, namely Burundi and Uganda, for their commitment to the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia. It also paid tribute to the AU partners and Member States in particular Algeria for providing financial and/or logistical support to AMISOM

The Assembly reiterated its concern at the continued impasse in the peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as at the persisting tension at the border between Djibouti and Eritrea and in the relations between the two countries.

The Assembly welcomed the efforts invested towards successful outcome of the process of implementing the agreements concluded between the Government of Burundi and PALIPEHUTU/FNL.

The Assembly welcomed the developments in the peace process in the East of the DRC.

The Assembly also expressed concern at the deteriorating security situation in Darfur and called upon all the parties to exercise restraint. In addition, the Assembly expressed serious concern at the current tension in the relations between The Sudan and Chad and appealed to both countries to exercise restraint and work towards consolidation of the gains made.

On the Central African Republic, the Assembly welcomed the holding and the outcomes of the Inclusive Political Dialogue (IPA) in the country. It encouraged the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to expeditiously set fresh dates for the election. It welcomed the decision of the Chairperson of the Commission to dispatch a multi-disciplinary team of experts to assess the post-conflict reconstruction needs of Liberia and Sierra Leone and make recommendations on how the AU and its member States could best support the countries.

ADVISORY BOARD ON CORRUPTION
The Assembly elected the following to the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption: Mr. Nabil HATTALI of Algeria;
Ms. Dorothy Nyagoha ANGOTE of Kenya;
Ms. Frene GINWALA of South Africa;
Ms. Henriette Tall DIOP of Senegal;
Mr. Léonidas HAVYARIMANA of Burundi;
Mr. Costantinos Berhé TESFU of Ethiopia;
Ms. Jane Mayemu ANSAH of Malawi;
Mr. Simon-Pierre NZOBABELA of Congo;
Mr. Mazou Seidou ADAMOU of Niger;
Mr. James KAHOOZA of Uganda and
Mr. Paulus Kalonho NOA     of Namibia

3rd WORLD FESTIVAL OF NEGRO ARTS
The Assembly invited all men and women of culture, artists and creators from Member States and the African Diaspora to participate in the activities and programmes of the Third World Festival of Negro Arts to be held in Senegal from 1 to 2 December 2009. Senegal also informed the Assembly that the Diaspora is being mobilised to take part in the festival.

AFRICAN INVESTMENT BANK
On the establishment of the African Investment Bank, the Assembly requested the Commission to convene a meeting of legal and finance experts to be followed by a Ministerial Conference to consider the draft Statutes and the offer by the Great Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to host the experts meeting in May 2009. The Assembly called on Member States to sign and ratify as expeditiously as possible the Protocol for the Establishment of the Bank.

SPECIALISED TECHNICAL COMMITTEES
The Assembly decided to reconfigure the Specialised Technical Committees, STCs as follows:
(1)Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment;
(2)Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration;
(3)Committee on Trade and Industry and Minerals;
(4)Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructures, Energy and Tourism;
(5)Committee on Gender and Women empowerment;
(6)Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs;
(7)Committee on Social Development, Labour and Employment;
(8)Committee on the Public Service, Local Government, Urban Development and Decentralization;
(9)Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control;
(10)Committee on Migration, Refugees and IDPs;
(11)Committee on Youth, Culture and Sports;
(12)Committee on Education, Science and Technology;
(13)Committee on Communication and ICT;
(14)Committee on Defence, Safety and Security.

SECOND PAN AFRICAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL
The Assembly endorsed the date for the organization of the Second Pan African Cultural Festival in Algiers, from 5 to 20 July 2009 and Member States and the Diaspora to ensure effective participation in the second Pan African Cultural Festival;

AFRICA WOMEN’S DECADE
The Assembly declared 2010-2020 as the African Women’s Decade.

REFORM OF THE UN
On the issues of the reform of the United Nations, the Assembly reiterated that the Committee of Ten would remain seized of this matter until Africa achieves its objectives on the reform of the UN Security Council;

WORLD SUMMIT ON FOOD SECURITY
The Assembly noted and welcomed the proposal by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to organise a World Summit on Food Security in November 2009.

UNION GOVRNMENT
Regarding the special session of the Assembly on the Union Government, the Assembly decided to transform the African Union Commission into the African Union Authority. It requested the Executive Council to convene an Extraordinary Session within the next three (3) months to consider proposals by the Commission on the implementation of the Assembly Decision with particular regard to the following:  The functions of the AU Authority; the size of the Authority; the functions of the Secretaries; and the financial implications for establishing the African Union Authority. It further requested the Executive Council to report to the next Ordinary Session of the Assembly in July 2009.

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