22nd African Union Summit Adopts African Common Position on Post-2015 Development Agenda; Acts on Peace and Security in Africa, ICC Decisions, Security Council Reform, and More

President Sirleaf and the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Baroness Valerie Amos, during the AU Summit in Addis Ababa.
President Sirleaf and the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Baroness Valerie Amos, during the AU Summit in Addis Ababa.
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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit has ended in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, with the adoption of important decisions by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The Summit, which had as its theme “Agriculture and Food Security,” was held January 30-31.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joined her African counterparts at the Summit.


The next AU Session will be held June 26-27, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, preceded by meetings of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PSC) and the Executive Council from June 21-22 and June 23-24, respectively.


The Assembly adopted the African Common Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, whose High-Level Committee was chaired by President Sirleaf of Liberia. The Assembly requested the Committee to meet as soon as possible to launch the African Common Position in Ndjamena, Chad. The High-Level Committee was established to sensitize and coordinate the activities of African leaders and members of the High-Level Panel, as well as build regional and intercontinental alliances on the African Common Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.


On African development goals especially in the post-2015 period, the Assembly endorsed the articulation of the African development goals consistent with the existing continental frameworks and to serve as milestones for tracking and monitoring progress towards Agenda 2063.


According to a dispatch from Addis Ababa, among other key decisions the Assembly: welcomed the establishment by  the AU Commission of a panel of independent experts to assess the status of the operationalization of the African Standby Force and its Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC), as well as the development of proposals for the operationalization of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC), and requested the Chairperson of the Commission to submit a comprehensive report on the implementation of its Declaration at the 23rd Ordinary Session scheduled for June 2014.


The Assembly expressed its disappointment that Kenya’s request, supported by the AU, to the United Nations Security Council to defer the proceedings initiated by the President and Deputy President of Kenya has not yielded the positive results expected, and that its request to defer the proceedings initiated against the President of Sudan is yet to be acted upon. Regarding the implementation of decisions on the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Assembly decided that African State Parties should comply with AU Decisions and continue to speak with one voice to ensure that African proposals for amendments to Articles 16 and 27 of the Rome Statute of the ICC are considered by the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) Working Group on amendments, as well as by the forthcoming sessions of the ASP to the Rome Statute.


The Assembly said there is an imperative need for all Member States to adhere to and articulate commonly agreed positions in line with their obligations under the Constitutive Act of the African Union; and requested the group of African states parties in New York and the African members of the bureau of ASP to follow-up on the implementation of various Decisions of the Assembly on ICC, in collaboration with the Commission and ensure that African proposals and concerns are properly considered and/or addressed by the ASP and report to the Assembly through the Commission on actions taken regularly.


With regards to Africa’s strategic partnerships, the Assembly welcomed the offer made by the Republic of Cameroon to host the TICAD Ministerial Meeting in May 2014; welcomed the adoption of the principle of rotation in hosting TICAD V follow-up mechanisms, including the Summit; and requested the Chairperson of the Commission to undertake consultations with AU Member States with a view of identifying the host country for the TICAD VI Summit to be held in Africa in 2018.


The Assembly endorsed the Kuwait Declaration and the eight resolutions adopted by the Third Africa-Arab Summit, and expressed gratitude to the Amir of Kuwait for the initiative to grant concessionary loans to African countries totaling US$1 billion, in the next five years, through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development; and also to finance investment and its insurance in Africa, with emphasis on infrastructure, also in the amount of US$1 billion, through cooperation and coordination with the World Bank and other international institutions. The Assembly welcomed the establishment of an annual prize of US$1 million, to be allocated by the State of Kuwait for development research in Africa, under the auspices of the Kuwait Scientific Development Institutions.


In discussing the report of the Committee of Ten on UN Security Council Reform, the Assembly requested the Committee to reach out at the highest political levels to garner and galvanize the necessary political will in support of the African Common Position; and reiterated its call for Africa to continue to speak with one voice and cohesively on all issues relating to Security Council reform and related matters.


Concerning peace and security around Africa, the Assembly expressed satisfaction at the continued progress in the consolidation of peace and reconciliation in the Comoros, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. It welcomed the conclusion of the process of transition and restoration of constitutional order in Madagascar; the conduct of legislative elections in Guinea on September 26, 2013; the positive developments in the situation in Tunisia and the commitment of the various Tunisian stakeholders to foster consensus and dialogue with a view to bringing the ongoing transition to a successful conclusion; developments in Mali, particularly the conduct of two rounds of presidential elections on July 28 and August 11, 2013; the progress that has continued to be recorded in Somalia; and the advances made in the implementation of the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA).


The Assembly expressed satisfaction at the positive developments in the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the end of the M23 rebellion and the signing of Declarations by the two parties in Nairobi on December 12, 2013.


It noted with satisfaction the continued progress in relations between the Sudan and South Sudan, within the framework of the Cooperation Agreements signed between the two countries in Addis Ababa, in September 2012. However, the Assembly expressed its concern and made recommendations on the eruption, on December 15, 2013, of violent conflict in South Sudan and the grave consequences inherent in this situation for both the country itself and the region at large; and at the situation in the Central African Republic. It underscored the need for more sustained effort to overcome the difficulties facing the peace process between Eritrea and Ethiopia; to normalize relations between Djibouti and Eritrea; reaffirmed its support for the Libyan government; expressed it solidarity with the Egyptian people, and strongly condemned the acts of terrorism being perpetrated in that country.


The Assembly appointed the 10-member AU Peace and Security Council for two-year terms, as follows: Burundi and Chad, Central Region; Ethiopia and Tanzania, Eastern Region; Libya, Northern Region; Namibia and South Africa, Southern Region; and Gambia, Guinea and Niger, Western Region.


Discussions on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) led to the endorsement of the recommendation of the Chairperson of the Commission to establish an annual award to recognize significant contributions or action of individuals, organizations and governments in Africa towards ending preventable maternal, newborn and child mortality, and enhance their survival and well-being; and that the annual award be named “Mama Afrika Award” in honor of Mariam Makeba. The Commission was requested to coordinate the process of investiture.


Following deliberations of the Assembly, the large conference hall at the African Union Commission has been renamed the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Conference Hall.


President Sirleaf is expected back home on Monday, February 3, after a State Visit to Lilongwe, Malawi.