Thursday, 28 August 2014

Brainstorming on the Strategy to Speed up Ratification, Accession and Implementation of OAU/AU Treaties in Eastern Africa Region

Description: IMG_5267Nairobi, Kenya – 26 August 2014. The African Union Commission (AUC) through its Office of the Legal Counsel, convened a two (2) day brainstorming session on strategies to harmonise and speed up ratification, accession and implementation as well as to identify best practices on reporting, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms on the implementation of OAU/AU Treaties in the Eastern Africa Region, through the Ministerial Committee on the challenges of ratification/accession and implementation of OAU/AU treaties.

“The slow pace of ratification and implementation of decisions on the OAU/AU treaties by AU Member States is a major concern to achieve the objectives related to economic, social, cultural, and political integration of the African continent”, said the Chair of the meeting Mr. Mapango Kemishanga Gerard, Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee on the Challenges of Ratification/Accession and Implementation of OAU/AU Treaties, in his opening remarks.

Representatives from Member States of the Eastern Africa Region, experts of the Ministerial Committee set up by the AU, independent experts, representatives from various departments of the AUC as well as representatives from the civil society presented their perspectives, and discussed and identified the main reasons for the slow pace of signature, ratification and implementation of OAU/AU treaties. Challenges including lack of political will, lack of coordination, bureaucracy, lack of human resources, financial constraints were highlighted as key challenges in the process.

“It is important to firstly identify, with accuracy, the causes of the slow pace of ratification and implementation of OAU/AU treaties”, said Mrs. Beatrice Karogo, representative of the Head of Legal Affairs Directorate on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Kenya in her welcoming statement.

The major outcomes of the brainstorming include improved appreciation of the importance of OAU/AU treaties by Member States as well as increased ability of the ministerial committee to support, sensitise and enhance the commitment of Member States to the need for signature, ratification and implementation of the various legal instruments.

Description: IMG_5106“The number of states that are parties to a treaty is of paramount importance. Indeed, AU treaty regimes represent a network of legal relationships between AU Member States. If a significant number of Member States are not part of the regime, its overall effectiveness will be diminished. In order to address this perennial problem, the AUC proposed the establishment of a Ministerial Committee on the Challenges of Ratification/Accession and Implementation of OAU/AU Treaties. Our objective is to ensure that the Ministerial Committee holds its inaugural session in January/June 2015 and the experts of the said Committee approve the recommendations of this meeting” declared Prof. Vincent O. Nmehielle, the Legal Counsel and Director for Legal Affairs of the African Union Commission, in his opening remarks.

The ratification/accession and implementation of the OAU/AU legal instruments require a deeper commitment of the African Union member states since the principles enshrined in those treaties represent the common shared values for those member states. In particular, ratification implies the acceptance by the states not only of the legal obligations enshrined in the instruments, but also their commitment to respond to Africa’s common development and integration challenges.

The brainstorming session strongly recommended that the national sectorial committees should be operationalized in each member State by January/June 2015. Furthermore, the meeting recommended that the ministerial committee should select a list of treaties related to the Agenda 2063 and of paramount importance to the integration of the continent which each Member State should ratify within a one year period.