The First Permanent General Assembly of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (ECOSOCC) will be launched in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on the 9th of September, after 18 years in the pipeline.
According to a statement from the AU, the launch will commence at the climax of the first inaugural session slated to begin September 7.
“The holding of its ECOSOCC inaugural session is a milestone in the development of the institutional architecture of the African Union. It is in tandem with the cardinal objectives of the Union of ensuring partnership between governments and all segments of society and achieving popular participation in the affairs of the Union,” the statement reveals.
The high level meeting to be attended by several Heads-of-State will be presided over by the host President and current AU Chairman, Jakaya Kikwete, and the current ECOSOCC interim Presiding Officer, Erastus Mwencha.
Also in attendance will be participants from continental, regional and national Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), diplomatic corps and cultural leaders.
ECOSOCC is an AU organ created to facilitate African civil society participate in the Union and its first Permanent Assembly will set the agenda and priorities.
Proposed in 1990, ECOSOCC is a potential resource-base yet to be tapped by the political powers. It is also a mechanism by which their own governance shall be weighed and economies strengthened with AU member countries coming up with practical solutions and alternatives to Africa’s challenges of disease, the lethal impact of AIDS on food security and livelihoods, poverty, conflict and authoritarian tendencies in Africa.
Also to be tabled is the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region as well as the beleaguered regions of Ituri and the Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
ECOSOCC was established under Article 22 of the founding Charter of the African Union and endorsed by the 13th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Councils and ratified by the Heads-of-State Assembly in 2007 before it was launched in March 2002 in Addis Ababa, where the current interim committee was elected.
The body is an advisory organ of the AU consisting of a variety of CSO’s from member states which include professional groups, NGO’s, social groups, Community Based Organizations, workers, traditional, religious and cultural groups.
It is headed by a bureau of five regional representatives, a standing committee and the general assembly of 150 members.