Civil society encouraged to take part in Ecosocc elections

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Civil society encouraged to take part in Ecosocc elections

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:40 pm

Civil society encouraged to take part in Ecosocc elections


Representatives of various non-governmental organisations met at the Care House last week and learned why it is important for civil society to register and take part in the continent-wide process of elections into the second Ecosocc permanent general assembly.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Paul Adam, Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe and the chief executive of Lungos, Steve Lalande, were also present.

Established under the provisions of Articles 5 and 22 of the African Union’s Constitutive Act, the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (Ecosocc) is the vehicle for building a strong partnership between governments and all segments of African civil society.

The statute of Ecosocc, adopted by the heads of state and government at the third ordinary session of the assembly in July 2004 defines it as an advisory organ of the African Union composed of different social and professional groups of the member states of the African Union (AU).

“The purpose of our mission here is to implement the directives of the executive council of the AU at its 21st ordinary session. The council had received a report on the progress of elections to the general assembly of the AU Ecosocc to the effect that the process was delayed because about 26 member states of the union did not have a sufficient number of candidates to enable credible elections in those countries. In order to ensure broad representation and wider legitimacy, the council directed that the commission would encourage and inspire civil society organisations in those member States to register and participate in the elections. If the number of elected candidates is sufficient to form a quorum, the second Ecosocc assembly will be permanent with tenure of four years. If the numbers are not sufficient, the assembly will be interim with tenure of two years. It is our expectation and hope that Seychelles will respond positively to this call and contribute to this process”, said Ambassador Kapambwe.

On his part, Minister Adam observed in his remarks that “investing in people is not possible without a strong and inclusive framework that recognises the multi-faceted nature of sustainable development, and the importance of engagement with our citizens on the basis of understanding, respect and the promotion of the dignity of our society.”

He added: “For us in Seychelles this is the promise that Ecosocc can bring an unparalleled platform for citizen engagement at continental level. The government of Seychelles also recognises civil society as a critical partner in development. This partnership has been concretised through a memorandum of understanding between the Lungos and the government in 2008. This partnership helps us build a stronger and more resilient nation. If I look into the near future, we will not be able to seize all the opportunities of our ‘blue economy’ without strong engagement. We have been encouraged by the ideas of how to better develop our oceanic potential from our young people and from members of our community such as fishermen who have intrinsically understood that we have to protect to be able to profit. Our blue economy is also about Africa’s transformation through Agenda 2063 – whereby Africa can reclaim its oceans. We need more civil society engagement in Africa to ensure that more of the benefits of Africa’s oceans benefit Africans.”

When he addressed the gathering, Lungos chief executive Mr Lalande said: “In Seychelles civil society organisations engage in various areas of development and Lungos as the platform for NGOs provides a structure for civil society to come together into different thematic clusters and engage the state. Similarly Ecosocc provides the structure and opportunities for civil society to engage in member states of the African Union. I believe that Ecosocc has the potential to be one of the best conduits for civil society to engage in the work of the AU as it has been designed to contain thematic clusters on various areas, from peace and security, trade, social matters…,” said Mr Lalande.

He also announced that from the latest SADC CNGO meeting, Seychelles moved from being the treasurer to take the vice-president role and will next year ascend to the presidency. Mr Lalande has also been elected chair of the trade and industry cluster.
The mission’s stop in Seychelles is the fourth on it east African campaign leg. Its next stop is in Eritrea.


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