The African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) are currently holding consultations with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Zambia, to enhance partnerships and collaboration in peace and security initiatives.
The weeklong consultations, which will last from November 16 to 21, are meant to strengthen ECOSOCC’s and COMESA’s collaboration with CSOs within the framework of the AU Theme of the Year 2020: ‘Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.’
Subsequently, the consultations provide an opportunity for the two organisations to identify areas of synergy and opportunities for technical cooperation. In addition to developing a joint roadmap to support the development of a CSO accreditation mechanism at the regional and continental level, the two institutions will also undertake a planning session with the Zambian National Structural Vulnerability Assessment Bureau to support the Republic of Zambia’s impending Country Structural Vulnerability and Resilience Assessment under the framework of the COMESA Early Warning System (COMWARN).
In his opening remarks, ECOSOCC’s head of programmes, Kyeretwie Osei, stressed the key role that civil society plays in helping operationalize the people-centred aspiration of the African Union, adding that the Council was very committed to the consultations as they were aligned to the AU 2020 theme of the year. “It is critical to have an institutional mechanism for the accreditation of civil society organizations and I am glad that both ECOSOCC and COMESA have ongoing projects for the accreditation of CSOs,” he said.
Osei reiterated ECOSOCC’s commitment towards collaboration with COMESA to ensure the development of a harmonized mechanism for the accreditation of CSOs at regional and continental levels. He also thanked the government and people of the Republic of Zambia for the support extended to ECOSOCC towards the establishment of its permanent secretariat in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.
AU ECOSOCC had been actively involved in key AU peace and security initiatives namely, countering violent extremism, terrorism and the illicit proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in Africa through the operationalization of the Livingstone Formula which provides a roadmap for civil society participation in peace and security efforts in Africa; the development of technical advisory opinions to the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on strategies for ensuring peace, security, and stability on the continent; as well as helping to drive the delivery of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) agenda being implemented under the auspices of the African Union Commission’s Peace and Security Department.
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