Africa Day Commemoration
1. What does PAP do?
Inaugurated in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is an organ of the African Union (AU) whose purpose is “to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent.” The Parliament is intended as a platform for people from all African states to be involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent.
As it stands, the mandate of the Parliament extends to consultation, and playing an advisory and oversight role for all AU organs pending the ratification of its protocol. Also known as the Malabo Protocol, the Protocol to the constitutive act of the AU relating to the PAP was adopted at the Assembly of Heads of State and Government Summit in June 2014 and is intended to extend the powers of the PAP into a fully-fledged legislative organ. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force. So far, 12 AU member states have ratified the Protocol.
The objectives and functions of the Parliament are set out in the 2001 Protocol to the Abuja Treaty relating to the Pan-African Parliament and in its Rules of Procedure (most recently amended in 2011). Functions include:
- Facilitating and overseeing implementation of AU policies, objectives and programmes.
- Promoting human rights and consolidating democratic institutions and culture, good governance, transparency and the rule of law by all AU organs, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States.
- Participating in creating awareness among the peoples of Africa on the: AU’s objectives, policy aims and programmes; strengthening of continental solidarity, cooperation and development; promotion of peace, security and stability; and pursuit of a common economic recovery strategy.
- Contributing to the harmonisation and coordination of Member States’ legislation.
- Promoting the coordination of the RECs’ policies, measures, programmes and activities.
- Preparing and adopting its budget and Rules of Procedure.
- Electing its Bureau members.
- Making recommendations on the AU budget.
2. What are some of PAP's highlights/achievements since its founding?
Since its establishment, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has made significant strides in line with its mandate. PAP’s role in promoting democracy, good governance, peace, security and human rights in Africa has led to its participation in various election observation missions over the years. The PAP, in collaboration with the African Union, has contributed to ensuring the strengthening of electoral systems and rule of law on the continent. The PAP has also led advocacy efforts to call for the removal of economic sanctions of countries like Sudan and Zimbabwe. These efforts are ongoing and receiving favourable attention.
The Parliament takes pride in its leadership in the making of Model Laws which upon sanctioning by the Heads of State and Government at the Summit Level, are expected to be cascaded to the National Parliaments of the AU Member States for adoption and domestication. Working in collaboration with relevant Stakeholder Organisations that include the African Disability Alliance (ADA), the Centre for Human Rights, NEPAD; the PAP has delivered a Model Law on Medical Products Regulation; Model Disability Law and the Model Police Act among others, with a few more under development by the various Permanent Committees of Parliament.
Furthermore, the PAP has also relentlessly pursued the promotion and effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the African Union. The continental Parliament regularly encourages National and Regional Parliaments to ratify and integrate treaties adopted by the African Union into their legal systems. These include and are not limited to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol); the African Medicines Agency Treaty (AMAT); and more recently, African Parliamentarians participation in advocacy for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by their respective countries.
In light of the current context, the Parliament has convened several high-level engagements including a High-Level Pan-African Summit on health financing in July 2019 in Brazzaville, Congo. These engagements have aimed to reinforce political commitment and accountability to frontload investments to strengthen national health systems and provide long-term domestic resources needed to achieve health goals, grounded in principles of inclusivity, transparency and accountability, with the full participation of communities and civil society.
One of the key milestones of achieved by the Pan-African Parliament is the formulation of model laws which forms part of its objective to harmonize and coordinate of Member States’ legislation. To this effect, the PAP has already formulated a model law on disability to be mainstreamed across the continent. Other model laws are currently being explored by the continental Parliament.
3. What does Africa Day mean to PAP and how will the organisation celebrate the day?
For the Pan-African Parliament, Africa Day is a reminder of the commitment made by African Union member states to address challenges facing the continent. This commitment is embodied in the Agenda 2063, which is the continent’s strategic framework that “aims to deliver on its goal for inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.”
The 2020 Africa Day commemoration takes place in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic that has been ravaging the world relentlessly. Our continent, as the whole world is mobilizing to face and win this unprecedented health war as a collective.
The fight against the Covid-19 tests the resilience of Africa’s level of development and how far we have come since the historical foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union (AU), on 25 May 1963.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) calls for a deeper reflection on the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment and in order to come up with solutions for the continent in the areas of migration, brain drain, development, health, digitalisation, sustainability, jobs for young people among others.
In this regard, the PAP has planned virtual engagements with two different stakeholder groups representing the African people to consult on the Agenda 2063, the continent’s strategic framework, and the Pan-African Parliament’s role in achieving the key pillars of this development roadmap for the continent. Specifically, the PAP will hold a virtual consultative meeting with the African Diaspora and various African based Civil Society organisations on 25 May 2020. The Parliament will also use this opportunity to encourage Member States to enthusiastically continue pursuing and exploring solutions that will heal and free the continent from the claws of Coronavirus.
4. What are some of PAP's plans to resolve some of Africa's problems and challenges?
The role of a Parliament is to scrutinize and oversee the actions of the executive to ensure that it delivers for the citizens. It is also important to note that Agenda 2063 advocates for an African development driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. In this regard, the Pan-African Parliament believes that an inclusive development of the continent depends on the extent to which the peoples of Africa are familiar with the objectives and policies of the African Union.
In order for this to be achieved, all these need our countries to commit to ratifying and domesticating the existing legal instruments presented in the form of Protocols and Treaties at the African Union Summit level as well as the Decisions, Recommendations and Resolutions made by the Pan-African Parliament Plenary that may also come in the form of Model Laws. This includes ratifying the Protocol to the constitutive act of the AU relating to the Pan-African Parliament which will give full legislative powers to the institution and enable it to fully play its role as a continental legislature.
5. What is PAP's message to Africans in celebration of Africa Day?
Commemoration of Africa Day is an opportunity for Africans to reflect on the journey, renew strength and motivation to realize the liberation and absolute freedom from foreign domination. On this day, the Pan-African Parliament takes this opportunity to commend all Member States for their courage and cooperation in the bid to save the lives of the African People from the rage of COVID-19. The Parliament also encourages Member States to enthusiastically continue pursuing and exploring solutions that will heal and free the continent from the claws of Coronavirus. While we pay attention to keeping healthy and clear from the current pandemic, let us embrace the experiences from this period as an ignition of a different way of addressing health and developmental issues on our Continent.
The responses may be attributed to :
Hon. Bouras DJAMEL
Acting President of PAP