The African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), with support from Expertise France, last week held an awareness and popularization workshop to formalize the establishment of the Tanzanian ECOSOCC National Chapter in Dar es Salaam.
Among other objectives, the workshop was a platform to enhance the engagement between Tanzanian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the African Union by formalizing ECOSOCC Tanzanian National Chapter by building capacities in governance, democracy, and human rights.
ECOSOCC was established in 2004 to provide a platform for civil society to contribute to the work of the AU, and actively engage civil society in the processes and work of the AU, with a focus on Africa's integration and development. The introduction of National ECOSOCC Chapters aims to further enhance the engagement and collaboration between ECOSOCC, the AU, and CSOs across member states.
Following continent-wide consultations in 2022, the draft framework for National Chapters was validated at the 4th Permanent General Assembly of ECOSOCC in December 2022, Nairobi, Kenya. In February 2023, the AU officially endorsed the National ECOSOCC Chapters Framework, aiming to structurally guide the establishment of National Chapters across member states. The framework ensures robust CSO support for the AU's endeavours at the national level, with ECOSOCC actively implementing measures to set it into motion.
In light of these developments, ECOSOCC has started to convene awareness raising and popularization workshops strategically designed to target CSOs with mandates in governance, democracy, and human rights. Its objectives include introducing participants to the new National Chapters frameworks, fostering deeper understanding of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG), and facilitating engagement with AU Organs. The workshops also facilitate interaction with the AGA Secretariat, encouraging a holistic approach that maximizes collaboration.
Officially opening the workshop, Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Samuel Shelukindo reiterated the Tanzanian Government’s commitment to the work of CSOs that had been supporting the government’s developmental endeavours.
“The government of Tanzania, re-affirms its commitment to fostering a vibrant and robust engagement with Civil Society Organisations across our nation; our support to ECOSOCC in many areas of engagements; as well as to the operationalisation of the ECOSOCC National Chapter for Tanzania,” said Ambassador Shelukindo.
Mr. William Carew, Head of ECOSOCC Secretariat, speaking at the opening of the workshop, emphasized the significance of formalizing the National Chapter for Tanzania.
“Our aim is to create a stronger partnership between the AU and CSOs in Tanzania. We believe that activating this National Chapter will fortify the collaboration, fostering a platform for meaningful engagement. Together, we strive for a brighter Africa," he said. He further explained how since the ECOSOCC’s establishment, the Organ had prioritized the participation of CSOs in the development of Africa by convening platforms for engagement between the AU and CSOs in order to deliver on the core component of its mandate.
Explaining the relevance of ECOSOCC National Chapters, Tanzanian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union and UNECA, H.E Innocent Shiyo remarked, “I am confident that the National ECOSOCC Chapters will live up to their intended purpose of serving as a framework for accountability over elected General Assembly members. The chapters will also create a close connection with national civil society through dissemination of information about the work and progress of the AU to civil society in member states, including mobilising support for and awareness of AU programmes and Agenda 2063, enabling capacity building and training of civil society organisations in our member states.”