The African Union Commission (AUC) held a High-Level Panel on humanitarian effectiveness in Africa to provide an interactive dialogue between the African Union and the global community on Africa’s humanitarian agenda. The panel discussion took place on 24 May 2016 at the margins of the First Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. The event brought together representatives from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons; the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the RECs, Civil Societies and invited guests.
The meeting focused on issues around Africa’s new humanitarian architecture, ratification and domestication of the Kampala Convention, and the proposed Conference of States Parties, root causes and durables solutions, building resilience: lessons from Eastern and the Horn of Africa, the role of Private Sector in humanitarian action.
H.E. Aisha. L. Abdullahi, Commissioner of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC) in her opening remarks on behalf of H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, welcomed the delegates and highlighted the opportunities presented to world leaders by the World Humanitarian Summit to look into the future in shaping a new architecture that is more global, inclusive, and efficient. She underlined the importance of the African Union High-Level Panel in unveiling to the world Africa’s new plans for change and vision in achieving humanitarian effectiveness , ending humanitarian crisis and providing humanitarian needs with the view to better the lives of the population.
The Commissioner further articulated the humanitarian challenges facing the Continent and gave proposed long term solutions as depicted in the Common African Position on humanitarian effectiveness (CAP) and the African Union Agenda 2063 towards the construction of a new Humanitarian Architecture. “Today, over 75% of humanitarian action is on the African continent. Africa, in spite of its concerted efforts continues to face growing challenges, part of them as a result of failures in the global system” She noted.
The AU recognizes that the Humanitarian System as it exists today is overstretched and calls for its fundamental reform, moreover, the urgent need for a review of UN Resolution 46/182 and a comprehensive review process for the entire humanitarian architecture. To address these issues Commissioner Abdullahi indicated that the African Union has presented its proposals and vision in a Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness at the World Humanitarian Summit .The document is founded on 10 Pillars that embodies Africa’s vision and aspirations on what African people would like to see in shaping a future humanitarian architecture, addressing comprehensive and numerous issues for achieving desired change and effective humanitarian response.
The Commissioner concluded that “ to achieve the desired change in line with Agenda 2063, Africa’s humanitarian transformation will be supported by a 10 year Plan of Action and roadmap for transformation with 5 priority areas that includes; strengthening the State’s role in humanitarian action, reforming of the humanitarian architecture, addressing root causes and durable solutions, moving from norm setting to implementation, taking measures to link humanitarian action and sustainable development.”
The AU in committing to the outcomes of the Istanbul, Turkey Summit will convene in early 2017, a Continental Conference to report on the implementation of the Istanbul summit commitments. The continental Conference will be preceded by the AU Annual Symposium to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2016. Worth noting, the Solutions highlighted in the Common Africa position were included in the UN secretary General’s report on the Humanitarian Situation.
Among the personalities at the AU High-level meeting was the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, H.E Joseph Boakai. In his brief intervention he thanked the AU on its intervention on fighting the Ebola crisis. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Stephen O’Brien in his brief remarks recognized the admirable results African states have made in addressing the issues of displaced persons through the Kampala convention and congratulated the AU on the Common African Position on humanitarian effectiveness and noted that this is a significant step towards tackling the challenges facing the Humanitarian action in Africa.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).