33rd AU Summit opens with 39th session of Permanent Representatives’ Committee

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The 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union, on Tuesday commenced with the 39th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC),  under the theme: ‘Silencing the guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development,’ at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

Members of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) at the 39th ordinary session of the PRC under the theme: ‘Silencing the guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development,’ at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

PRC, which comprises Permanent Representatives (Ambassadors) of the 55 African Union Member States  and other plenipotentiaries of AU Member States, is responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the affairs of the AU, on behalf of its Assembly of Heads of State and  Executive Council, which is made up of ministers. The PRC reports to the Executive Council, prepares the Council’s work and act on its instructions.

The 39th ordinary session of the PRC was opened by the Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission H.E Kwesi Quartey, on behalf of Chairperson of the AUC, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat. Others in attendance at the opening ceremony were AU Commission commissioners, ambassadors of the 55 African Union Member States, based in Addis Ababa, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps, the international community, civil society, media, and private sector.

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Quartey underlined the significance of the ongoing institutional reforms of the AU, mandated by the AU Assembly and being implemented by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, aimed at, among others, developing a new departmental structure that is lean and performance-oriented, while taking into cognizance the division of labour between the AU, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Member States and continental institutions.

“The Sub-committees of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) reviewed the proposed new structure along with the proposed financing strategy in October and November 2019. The revised proposal was considered and adopted by the PRC from 4-5 December 2019. It will now be considered by Policy Organs in February 2020. The sub-committee provided feedback on the transition plan for the new departmental structure. Based on feedback provided and following validation by the Commission, the sub-committee will review the revised financing and transition plan and then transmit the same for the PRC’s consideration during this session,” said Quartey.

In his remarks, Chairperson of the PRC and Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the AU, H.E. Osama Abdel Khalek, highlighted the accomplishments of the PRC in 2019 under Egypt’s chairmanship of the AU, namely: Improving the internal work methods with the Commission; and Pursuing the main objectives, priorities, and projects of  the African Agenda, notably the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

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In addition, Abdel Khalek said other milestones achieved by the PRC in 2019 were continuous constructive dialogue, predictable and transparent modus operandi; Partnership meetings and engagement with diplomatic and international community; as well as the observance of a satisfactory level of discipline and compliance.

In the period January 21-22, the 39th session of the PRC will deliberate on the reports of the activities of its various sub-committees and the AU organs.  The PRC will deliberate on the reports of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC); African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR); as well as  African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).

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The PRC session will also consider the reports of African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU ECOSOCC); African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC);  African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency;  African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF); as well as briefing on the Ministerial Follow-up Committee on the Implementation of Agenda 2063, amongst others.

The session will further exchange views on the draft versions of the agenda,  decisions and declarations of the forthcoming 36th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State, before adopting its report. The 39th Ordinary Session of the PRC will conclude on 22nd January, with the adoption of its report which will be submitted to the 36th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council holding 6th – 7th February.  Moreover, the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State will hold February 9 – 10.

 

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