Briefing by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Sue van
der Merwe to the Heads of Mission accredited to South Africa on the Outcomes of
the 7th African Union Summit, CSIR International Convention Centre, 14 July 2006
Thank you for responding to our invitation
at such short notice. We felt that given the number of requests we have received
for feedback on the outcomes of the 7th African Union Summit, it would be appropriate
to convene this meeting. This will allow us to share these decisions with you
as well and have an interactive session with you about the implications of these
decisions on our foreign policy agenda.
Generally, the Summit which was
held under the theme "Rationalisation of Regional Economic Communities and
Regional Integration" reported positive Outcomes indicating that we are moving
in a positive direction in terms of making this a truly African Century.
generally positive trend has already been confirmed by other sources including
the World Bank, which in its 2005 Report states that "Africa's economy grew
by 4.4 percent in 2004, with virtually all countries reporting positive growth.
The region is projected to grow by 4.1 percent in 2005 as the benefits of past
reforms and a more peaceful environment continue to translate into expanded economic
The report also agrees that "some progress toward improving
human development was made during the past year, but the challenges remain enormous."
Key among these, are the need for doubling of aid, fairer trade, and greater debt
The Report is also cautious to point out that "the region
[still] faces serious challenges. More than 314 million Africans live on less
than $1 a day-nearly twice as many as in 1981. The continent is home to 34 of
the world's 48 poorest countries and 24 of the 32 countries ranked lowest in human
development. The HIV and AIDS pandemic costs Africa 1 percentage point of per
capita growth a year, while malaria kills about 2,800 Africans a day."
findings are consistent with the common positions that we as African countries
have adopted in seeking to remove the impediments to developments whilst at the
same time ensuring that we are on track to realise the Millennium Development
We are concerned at current projections, which indicate that the
Millennium Development Goals will not be reached especially by many African countries,
partly because there are inadequate resources available.
It remains our
belief that a better world can only come about through improving the quality of
life of all the world's people. In this regard, we will strive for the attainment
of the Millennium Development Goals, bringing an end to poverty in particular
and nurturing the conditions for economic development.
In pursuit of this
objective, we continuously strive for the related and interconnected goals of
peace, stability, democracy and development in an African continent, which is
prosperous, peaceful, democratic and united, contributing towards a world that
is just and equitable.
Pursuant to the attainment of these goals, we are
committed to making a contribution by creating platforms such as these to engage
other countries in vibrant discussion to contributing to the kind of world we
envisage. We strive, as we have always done, to do this through dialogue, within
a multilateral framework that ranges from participation in both organisations
of the North and South and through the implementation of the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD). Indeed the challenges that face us as a country,
region and continent are far too diverse and complex for us to hope to overcome
them on our own.
Despite being such a young organisation, the AU has since
its foundation proved to be quite decisive on matters concerning the advancement
of African people. This trend has continued even during its most recent meeting
in the Gambia, wherein critical decisions as well as declarations were taken by
the Executive Council and Assembly. These, we will share with you today.
Finance and administration
From the work and decisions reached by
the various organs of the AU, there is a generally positive attitude by members
to ensure that we have an organisation that is also accountable to its people.
issue of ownership of our development destiny was a key founding principle of
the AU and as such all Member States had from the beginning to commit themselves
to making funds available for this objective.
Therefore, in considering
the Structure of the Budget and Modalities of Funding, the Assembly decided to
uphold the Executive Council's recommendation for an integrated budget. This would
mean that staff costs, operating expenses, statutory meetings and priority programmes/projects
would be financed from assessed contribution while remaining programmes will be
financed from voluntary contributions of Member States and Partners.
to the above issue, is the need to use these scarce resources prudently in order
to achieve our objectives. Therefore, in line with our commitment to the principles
of good governance, accountability and transparency, the AU has agreed to adopt
a new set of Financial Rules and Regulations.
Co-ordination around food
security and poverty reduction
The theme of the Summit dealt with co-ordination
at various levels and amongst these was co-ordination around food security.
Council recommended strengthening the capacity of the Commission, NEPAD and the
Regional Economic Communities to improve co-ordination of initiatives in food
and nutrition security and encouraged Member States to develop intra and inter
regional trade in food. It also called upon Member States to develop early warning
systems for food security and for Development Partners to provide technical and
financial support to the implementation of the Comprehensive African Agricultural
Development Programme - Sirte integrated implementation Plan.
establishment of the AU, NEPAD and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)
process, African countries have taken much more effective ownership of their own
development. Both NEPAD and the PRSP process are based on partnerships with donors,
dependable financial flows, measurable results, empowerment of poor people, participation
by civil society and local communities, and accountability of recipient governments
to their own people. In this regard, we urge development partners to continue
their support for these initiatives.
The Commission, NEPAD and the Regional
Economic Communities have been requested to assist in advocacy and implementation
of national programmes and to monitor progress on poverty reduction. The Council
also called upon Member States to speed up the implementation of the Maputo Declaration
on allocation 10% of national budgets to agriculture.
of Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
As you will recall, the Abuja
Treaty envisages five RECs to be the building blocks of an integrated Africa.
As such South Africa views SADC as the foundation on which it must seek
to carry her activities both in respect of the AU and NEPAD. We therefore welcome
the positive decisions of the AU to highlight the importance of RECs in Consolidating
the African Agenda.
While there is recognition of the important role that
RECs can play in terms of supporting the agenda of the AU and its programme NEPAD,
the Assembly has also taken note of the danger in proliferation of such structures.
this regard, the Assembly accepted the recommendations of the First Conference
of African Ministers in charge of Integration and decided to suspend the recognition
of new RECs and stick with the following existing eight RECs:
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
ii) Common Market of East
and Southern Africa (COMESA)
iii) Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD)
v) Arab Maghreb Union (AMU)
Economic Community of Sahelo-Saharian States (CEN-SAD)
vii) East African Community
viii) Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
Assembly requested the RECs, Member States, development partners and the United
Nations System to collaborate closely with the Commission in conducting the rationalisation
process. RECs were also urged to co-ordinate and harmonise their policies with
a view to accelerating integration.
The challenge is to cast greater emphasis
on harmonisation of policies as well as developing a response to the motivations
that Member States may have to be members of multiple RECs and sub-RECs. We are
of the view that as policies are harmonised the reasons for multiple memberships
will diminish as our economic imperatives move towards convergence.
of the roles of the RECs is to establish co-ordinated African negotiating positions
at global forums such as the WTO. Therefore, affected Member States and REC Negotiating
Groups were requested to actively participate in the review of Economic Partnership
Agreement (EPA) negotiations and to facilitate co-ordination by inviting the AU
Commission to these negotiating sessions with organisations such as the EU as
well as submission of regular progress reports to the Commission.
was requested, in collaboration with the ECA to continue technical support to
Member States to allow for the formulation of informed positions. The Commission
was also requested to submit a report to the AU Trade Ministers for consideration
and policy guidance.
The Assembly also requested the African Ministers of
Trade and African Trade Negotiators to remain vigilant and steadfast in protecting
the collective interests of Africa in the remaining stages of WTO negotiations.
African negotiators were urged to reach consensus positions in support of the
interests of Africa, and those consistent with the developmental mandate of the
Doha Round. It also welcomed the technical support provided by the Commission
and ECA and requested them to continue to provide this support.
of State who will take part in the G8 Summit were requested to seek the support
and co-operation of Heads of State and main Member Countries of the WTO for Africa's
The Assembly noted with appreciation efforts to strengthen co-operation
among the leading African development organisations and welcomed the repositioning
of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to address Africa's development challenges.
The Assembly requested the UN Secretary-General to enhance the co-ordination role
played by ECA and its Executive Secretary to strengthen coherence within the UN
system for effective support for the African Union and its programme NEPAD.
in support of trade and development
An area that also received focus
during the Summit was the development of infrastructure to facilitate intra-continental
trade and travel.
The Council welcomed the adoption of an overall Action
Plan to strengthen aviation safety by the African Ministers responsible for air
transport. It further endorsed the two Libreville resolutions on improvement of
aviation safety in African and on a Common External Air Transport Policy for Africa.
It urged African airlines to strengthen operational co-operation through commercial
agreements and harmonisation of tariffs to enhance intra-African connectivity
and to minimise the cost of intra-continental travel.
The creation of regional
airlines was welcomed. The Commission and the RECs were requested to speed up
harmonisation of competition rules in the field of air transport and for the Commission
to submit periodic reports on the implementation of these recommendations to the
Peace, Security and Post Conflict Reconstruction
Bank President Paul Wolfowitz told an Africa investment forum last week that not
enough attention is being paid to African success stories. This at a time when
there is a decline in active armed conflicts on the continent from 16 in 2002
to six today and the fact that 15 African countries have had medium growth rates
of better than 5% over the past decade. The general tendency when it comes to
Africa is to focus on security issues and not give enough attention to economic
and social development issues, which are equally important. We share the view
that these two issues are inextricably linked.
Part of the problem with
a one-sided approach is that if you deal with security issues in isolation, there
is a very likely possibility of those countries that have just come out of conflict
to slide back if the proper support structures are not in place. The well-known
adage says that peace is therefore not merely the absence of conflict.
the international system is not only challenged by global security issues, but
also by security issues that are critical to the South such as poverty, underdevelopment,
pandemic and communicable diseases (such as HIV and AIDS). These issues cannot
be separated from one another. There are no safeguards of military force, geographic
location or national boundaries that can protect any country against any of these
We therefore welcome the endorsement by the Council of the
Policy Framework on Post-Conflict Conflict Reconstruction and Development as a
guideline for effective and comprehensive action to consolidate peace and promote
sustainable development. The policy is conceived as a tool to consolidate peace
and prevent relapse to conflict; address the root causes of conflict, encourage
fast-track planning and implementation of reconstruction activities and enhance
complementarities and co-ordination among diverse actors involved in Post-Conflict
Reconstruction and Development.
The Commission was requested, in collaboration
with the RECs, relevant UN institutions and African Non-Governmental Organisations
to take all the necessary steps to implement effectively the Post-Conflict Reconstruction
and Development Policy Framework. This should include adapting the Framework at
regional and national levels, develop a database of African experts on Post-Conflict
Reconstruction and Development to be placed at the disposal of countries emerging
from conflict and mobilising resources to enhance the African capacity including
the use of AU volunteers.
It was decided to establish an AU standing multidimensional
committee to provide political support and mobilise resources for the implementation
of the Policy Framework. This standing committee will interface with the UN Peace
Building Commission and will be supported by the Peace and Security Department
of the Commission.
The Assembly commended the reconciliation process in
the Comoros and the positive developments registered in Mauritania with the holding
of the Constitutional Referendum of 25 June 2006. It also expressed satisfaction
with the positive developments in Burundi with the signing on 18 June of the Dar-Es-Salaam
Principles of Agreement.
With regards to Sudan it commended the signing
on 5 May 2006 of the Darfur Peace Agreement in Abuja as well as progress made
in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Southern Sudan.
it also expressed satisfaction with progress made in Cote d'Ivoire in spite of
the delay in the implementation of the Roadmap adopted by the Ivorian Government
in February 2006.
It requested the Peace and Security Council to continue
efforts focussed in conflict prevention and the implementation of peace building
initiatives on the basis of the Framework document on Post-Conflict Reconstruction
and Development endorsed by the Executive Council.
It requested the Peace
and Security Council to ensure completion of the work leading to the establishment
of the Continental Early-Warning System, the Panel of the Wise and the African
On Sudan, the mandate for AMIS ends on 30 September 2006.
The AU, however only has resources available until July 2006. A donor conference
will be held on July 18, I believe, to supplement this shortfall.
Secretary-General, called on the Executive Council to review its decision and
undertook work to secure additional resources to make an extension of AMIS possible.
Re-hating AMIS to a UN operation will require at least six months preparation.
As I have already mentioned, economic and social development
issues are equally important in the Consolidation of the African Agenda. Therefore,
for us as African countries it is necessary that we commit ourselves jointly as
governments and as civil society to the re-affirmation of our identity as Africans,
and to ensure the entrenched protection of the human rights of all our peoples.
all internationally recognised human rights are deemed to be inalienable, indivisible
and interdependent, the protection by Governments of civil and political rights
can more easily be immediately realised through appropriate political will, legislation,
monitoring and policing. Second and third generation economic, social and cultural
rights are more difficult to focus on. The protection and promotion of economic,
social and cultural rights presents us with greater challenges as these rights
are based on the notion of progressive realisation.
The Executive Council
noted the report of the African Commission on Peoples and Human Rights. In its
decision, the Council stressed the need for its strengthening as well as for closer
collaboration between the Commission and various policy organs with competence
in human rights as well as with national human rights bodies.
Council also adopted and authorised the publication of the 20th Activity Report
of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and its annexes.
Assembly also requested the Commission to convene a meeting of the Ministers of
Justice to consider the Draft Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of
Justice and Human Rights including the outstanding issues and make appropriate
recommendations to Council thereon in January 2007.
Still on the issue
of human rights, you may be interested to learn the decision of the Assembly on
the Hissen Habre case. The Assembly observed that while in its present state the
African Union has no legal organ competent to try former President of Chad, Hissen
Habre, it is still of the opinion that he must be tried by Africans.
will recall that at its Khartoum Assembly in January, the AU decided to establish
a "Committee of Eminent African Jurists" to advise the Banjul Assembly
on how to respond to the Senegalese request. The Assembly in Banjul accepted the
recommendations of the Jurists that Habre should be tried in the Senegalese courts,
by virtue of, amongst others, it obligations as signatory under the UN Convention
In his weekly letter, President Mbeki said this decision
"unequivocally demonstrate the determination of the African continent to
ensure that our peoples should never again fall victim to tyranny and the denial
or violation of their human rights."
"To emphasise this point,
11 judges of the African Court on Human and People's Rights were sworn in during
the Banjul Assembly. We are proud that one of our Judges-President, the Hon. Bernard
Ngoepe, was also chosen to serve as one of the 11 judges."
As you are aware, the AU took a decision to achieve 50% gender
parity and to mainstream gender issues in all its programmes. As a country we
are supportive of this endeavour and we are encouraged by the positive direction
that many countries in the continent are taking in this regard.
decided that the Commission and Member States should continue to be closely associated
with and lend support to consultations aimed at revitalising the Pan-African Women's
Organisation (PAWO). The Chairperson of the Commission was requested to continue
to strengthen the capacity of the Commission to integrate women and gender issues
into all the policies, programmes and activities of the AU.
together with the directive for concrete action, are positive steps in the empowerment
of women to take up roles in decision making structures.
to UNAIDS, Sub-Saharan Africa, is estimated to have just over 10% of the worlds
population, but is home to more than 60% of all people living with HIV - around
25.8 million. Naturally, this is a cause for great concern for us in the region
as it affects our human capital, which is essential in ensuring that we are able
to implement our country's and our continent's development programme, as well
as to meet the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 target.
welcomed the Common African Position at the UN General Assembly High Level meeting
on AIDS and reaffirmed the Abuja Declaration and Plan of Action on HIV and AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases. It noted with concern again
the funding gap for scaling up towards universal access to comprehensive and sustained
services to fight AIDS and HIV. It called upon Member States to implement the
commitments contained in the Common Position through an integrated, multi-sectoral
approach aimed at attaining the targets specified in the Common Position.
Partners were requested to honour their pledges to make available technical, material
and financial support and the Commission to co-ordinate and follow-up on implementation
of the Common Position and to report annually to the Assembly.
was requested to launch in collaboration with the Conference of Ministers of Health
a renewed campaign for the eradication of Malaria.
Migration in Africa
African Common Position on Migration and Development was endorsed by the Executive
Council and will form the basis of Africa's intervention at the UN High-Level
Dialogue on International Migration and Development scheduled for September 2006.
Assembly endorsed the African Common Position on Migration and Development and
urged Member States to implement the Common Position. It urged the AU and EU to
expedite dialogue towards convening the second African-EU Summit.
is to move towards a phased approach starting with the removal of visa requirements
for Heads of State, Ministers and government officials (diplomats), within the
A United Africa
In terms of the decision
of the January 2006 Summit, the "Committee of Seven Heads of State and Government"
was requested to submit a consolidated document with a "roadmap" for
the creation of a African Union Government, to the July 2006 Summit.
accordance with this mandate a series of workshops were organised, forming the
basis of a draft document entitled a "Study on an African Union Government".
The document suggests a "road map" with particular timeframes for the
establishment of a Union Government.
The Assembly referred the matter back
to the Executive Council for closer examination, since it contains far-reaching
implications and the proposals contained therein will require processes of domestic
consultation and evaluation involving both organs of State as well as civil society.
It is by now historical fact that the outcomes of the
60th session of the United Nations General Assembly were a disappointment to many
of us. We will however consistently assert the importance of multilateralism and
the urgent need to revitalise and reform the UN. We also consistently call for
more equitable representation of Africa and other developing regions and for the
adoption of more just and transparent rules and procedures.
of Ten Heads of State and Government, were mandated at the Khartoum Summit in
January 2006 to continue consultations with the international community to promote
and support the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, held as the Common
African Position on Reform of the UN.
The Banjul Summit maintained agreement
on Ezulwini and the Sirte Declaration as the basis for an African Common position.
The 10 Heads of state were requested to continue with consultations and
report to the next Summit.
On the other hand we are encouraged that progress
has been recorded in establishing the Human Rights Council and the Peace Building
Commission and the election of members to these bodies have been concluded. Africa
was allocated 13 seats in the Human Rights Council and 7 in the Peace Building
Commission. In the forthcoming months increased focus will be on the outstanding
items on the reform agenda, particularly the Security Council Reform, Management
Reform, Revitalising the General Assembly and follow-up of the 2005 World Summit
decisions and developments.
The Assembly noted the report
presented by President Obasanjo, as Chair of the Heads of State and Government
Implementation Committee, on the progress made in the implementation of NEPAD
and the challenges facing the programme.
The key areas that the NEPAD Steering
Committee and Secretariat focused on during the period under review included:
- Advocacy and promotion of NEPAD, both in Africa and internationally;
- he African Fertilizer Summit held in Abuja, Nigeria, on 13 June 2006,
produced a twelve-point resolution intended to make fertilisers more accessible,
affordable and effective in improving agricultural production in Africa;
Investment Climate Facility was launched on 1 June 2006, in Cape Town;
6th Meeting of the Africa Partnership Forum focused and agreed on Joint Actions
between Africa and its Partners in the areas of Agriculture and Food Security,
Infrastructure and HIV/AIDS;
- Contacts were made by the NEPAD Secretariat
with the Russian 2006 G8 Presidency and the German 2007 Presidency to urge that
the African development agenda be retained as a key focus at forthcoming G8 Summits.
the Integration of NEPAD into the Structure and the Processes of the AU, the Assembly
- To take note of the Report of the Chairperson of the NEPAD
Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee;
- Extend the deadline
of three years set in Maputo in July 2003, to January 2007, that is, an additional
period of six months;
- To set up a small Committee comprising the Chairman
of the Union, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Chairman of
the HSGIC and President Mbeki to:
(i) finalise the proposal on the
integration of NEPAD into the AU structure and processes;
(ii) conduct an evaluation
of NEPAD at its current stage;
(iii) propose a realignment of NEPAD to its
original objectives, mandate and philosophy.
the Committee to report to the Assembly at its next ordinary session in January
African Peer Review Mechanism
As you are aware,
we recently submitted our Peer Review Report in preparation for our own review.
APR Forum agreed to meet and conduct in depth discussions on key issues of common
application and areas of specific support arising from the Reports of Ghana, Rwanda
and Kenya at the occasion of the NEPAD HSGIC/Brainstorming Summit scheduled for
Abuja at the end of October/early November. Participating countries should examine
how to support the reviewed countries in terms of areas of weakness specific to
the countries in question and to discuss key issues emerging from the reviews
that are of relevance to many other African countries. As a first step in this
regard, there should be a discussion around the issue of building national unity/consensus
and managing diversity in a country.
In addition to the decisions taken
by the Executive Council and Assembly, the Summit also made the following declarations:
Declaration in UNCTAD and UNIDO which was made on the basis of recommendations
emanating from the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of African Ministers of Trade who
were concerned about the possible marginalisation of UNCTAD and UNIDO.
Declaration on the Situation in Somalia, which expresses great concern that increased
instability in the region would have far reaching consequences on the peace process
in that country and security and stability of the region as a whole.
Assembly therefore adopted a declaration confirming its full support for the Transitional
Federal Institutions of Somalia, particularly the Transitional Federal Government
(TFG) as the legitimate Government of Somalia. It appealed to all stakeholders
to follow the path of dialogue and welcomed the preliminary agreement reached
between the TFG and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) under the auspices of the
League of Arab States.
- The Declaration on the 25th Anniversary
of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. The Summit celebrated the
25th Anniversary of the adoption of the Charter and expressed great satisfaction
at the positive contribution it has made in promoting and protecting human rights
in Africa and noting that it has contributed to the development of human rights
norms. All Member States have ratified this Charter.
- The Declaration
of the 9th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union on the
Situation in Palestine, which expresses solidarity and support of the Palestinian
people in the struggle for liberation.
World Cup - 2010
you are aware, South Africa will be hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2010. There
has been a lot of speculation about our state of readiness. Let me assure you
that we are quite ready and the continent is behind us.
The Summit endorsed
South Africa as the host for the 2010 World Cup and declared their support for
this endeavour. In this regard, next year has been declared the Year of Football
in Africa and Mr. Sepp Blatter will be invited to address the January Summit of
In conclusion, I would like to thank you all for coming at such
notice and hope that this briefing was useful.
I will now open the floor
for questions and comments and Ambassador Duarte will assist me in responding
to some of them.