Addis Ababa, 30 May 2019 – The low rate of ratification of the African Union Commission (AUC) Treaties is undermining efforts towards the building of sustainable and resilient African societies. To tackle such low ratification rate, the AUC Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have developed a joint regional project targeting six inclusive Treaties in six countries.
The Permanent Representatives of the respective countries accredited to the AU, have been sensitized on the support of the project to their countries to raise awareness on the treaties, strengthen capacities of relevant government ministries, agencies and departments as well as other concerned stakeholders and to increase popular participation to speed up ratification, domestication and implementation of the treaties.
In a consultative meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and attended by the ambassadors, Mr. Lamin Momodou Manneh, Director of UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, reiterated UNDP’s strong commitment and support towards this process and to Africa’s peace and economic prosperity, which is inclusive and reaches all, especially the most vulnerable people on the continent.
He added that in this noble effort, UNDP and the African Union have partnered to explore innovative approaches such as this to address multiple, pressing and inter-related challenges of the continent, including by enhancing the nexus between humanitarian actions and development work. Manneh also urged the international community to increase its funding to this initiative.
The diplomats echoed their countries’ commitment to contribute to the creation of a legal environment conducive for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the aspirations of the Agenda 2063. They promised to be actors of change by advocating for the most vulnerable communities, particularly women, youth and children. Calling it a step in the right direction, they called on UNDP and AU through this project to assist in the review of the treaties regularly, its implementation as this will continue to inform political and economic stability at the national and regional levels and importantly situate the global shared vision of leaving no one behind on the continued path of being realized.
The AU Treaties constitute the normative frameworks which govern policies designed in the continent to achieve the SDGs and Agenda 2063. To date, the OAU/AU has adopted 72 legal instruments out of which less than half have been ratified and deposited by Member States. In partnership with the AU Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC) and the Regional Economic Communities (ECOWAS, EAC, SADC), the project is being implemented in six countries representing the AU’s five geographic regions: Burkina Faso & Senegal (West Africa), Kenya (East/Horn of Africa), Mozambique (Southern Africa), Sao Tome & Principe (Central Africa) and Tunisia (North Africa).
The project targets six inclusive treaties related to good governance, human rights and women and youth empowerment. The six Treaties targeted by the project include the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) which is the least ratified by the six countries. Burkina Faso has recently ratified the AfCFTA. While ACDEG is yet to be ratified and deposited by Kenya, Senegal, Tunisia and Sao Tome & Principe. The remaining five treaties are: the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of women in Africa, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Youth Charter and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.
The joint AU-UNDP project, “Accelerating the Ratification and Domestication of African Union Treaties”, is a three-year multi-country and regional initiative. This project is anchored on the UNDP’s Regional Programme for Africa and designed to address the challenges and bottlenecks associated with ratification and domestication, and to help enhance the capacity of the AU over the medium-to long-term to be able to manage the ratification and provide tailored support to the member states with domestication-related challenges.