by Maximilla Wafula
The African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU ECOSOCC) has today held its fourth Permanent General Assembly (PGA) in Nairobi, Kenya. The General Assembly is to be attended by delegates representing Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from across member states of the AU.
The main purpose of the meeting is to usher in a new GA since the 3rd one in 2018.Since the establishment of the Secretariat, ECOSOCC has produced series of policy related documents, including an array of policy opinions and two policy booklets; and civil society toolkits to build the capacity of CSOs to operate effectively as strategic partners of the AU.
speaking during the event, Mr. William Carew, Head of Secretariat, AU ECOSOCC said that ECOSOCC has bolstered the ability of African CSOs to play an active role in charting the future of by giving them a platform to formally contribute to the principles, policies & programs of the AU.
“Be it conflict resolution, or matters of governance and democratic consolidation, and even in public health emergencies, the African civil society has established their significance as indispensable partners in the developmental processes of the continent.” Mr. Carew added.
Mr. Denise Kodhe, Outgoing Presiding Officer of ECOSOCC said CSOs are not enemies of governments but partners in development. Although we have a role to play as watchdogs, we are also champions of policy formulation of our governments…
“We (CSOs and government) need to work hand in hand as strategic partner.The 4th General Assembly of ECOSOCC being constituted today ensures that ECOSOCC continues to discharge and execute its mandate as per its statute.” He added.
Dr.Singoei Korir, Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs said that ECOSOCC serves as important and focal interface between the African citizenry and the AU.
“Who is going to translate the AU’s vision, initiatives, policies and programs to citizens if not ECOSOCC via civil society? Your [CSOs] call is a great call and if you heed to it, there is so much work to be done and so much more to achieve.” He further stated.
Kodhe said the importance of citizens participation in the development agenda of the African continent cannot be under-estimated, adding that decisions and policies of African leaders were of no use if their impact would not be felt by citizens at the grassroots, hence the establishment of ECOSOCC by the AU.
“As the outgoing Presiding Officer, I am confident and certain that the incoming leadership will be able to steer ECOSOCC to great heights. I wish to say election of the ECOSOCC leadership is done transparently and democratically giving every member an opportunity to elect leadership of their own choice,” he said.