Africa's Civil Society will gather at the headquarters
of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 27 to
30 March 2005 for the launching of the Economic, Social and Cultural
Council of the African Union (ECOSOCC). This historic occasion
will mark the beginning of a new phase in the Union's activities.
Participants will come together to determine the modalities for
implementing the functions of ECOSOCC; begin establishing a consultation
process for election of members to the ECOSOCC General Assembly;
and elect a two-year interim Standing Committee. H.E. President
Olusegun Obasanjo, the Chair of the African Union will attend the
official opening session and the election of Officers of ECOSOCC
on the morning of 29 March 2005.
On the occasion of its inauguration in Maputo,
Mozambique in July 2003, the African Union embarked on a course
to transform and integrate the Continent. The aims and aspirations
of the new Union were a response to the calls for democracy and
development from Africa's vibrant civil society institutions. The
Continent's leaders determined to build a Union that was people-oriented.
Aware of the rich and diverse human and institutional resources
at the grassroots level, the new Union, then, would be devoted to
building strong partnerships between the governments and all segments
of the society. The impulse is not for the African Union to organize
civil society. Rather the organizing principle of the ECOSOCC of
the African Union is one in which civil society would organize
themselves to work with the Organization.