AU leaders pledge to popularise African shared values towards continental unity

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - African heads of state and government have committed themselves to reinforcing a deeper understanding and popularisation of shared values among African peoples, as a means of shaping the continent's future.

In a declaration adopted here late Monday at the end of the 16th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) Assembly,  the African leaders also said they would mobilise African peoples towards achieving the shared vision of continental integration and unity.

The two-day session was held under the theme 'Towards greater unity and integration through shared values', as the AU sought to identify obstacles and measures that could accelerate integration and creation of a pan-African structure on governance.

"We affirm the need for the consolidation and full implementation of the instruments of shared values, including the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and relevant national plans, as a catalyst for unity, policy harmonisation, convergence and integration of the continent," said the declaration.

The summit encouraged the AU Commission to ensure greater synergy between peace and security matters as well as governance and democracy, thereby ensuring that developments in the terrain of shared values would feature prominently in the organisation's Peace and Security Council.

In addition, African leaders committed themselves to promoting the role of women in socio-economic life and prioritising their participation in governance and democracy, while securing their direct involvement in decision-making processes.

They noted that this commitment is in line with the AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa and the Declaration on the African Women's Decade (2010-2020).

Acknowledging the fact that development and implementation of shared values in Africa is a continuous process that would require the active involvement of all stakeholders, the summit urged the youth to participate fully in governance and democracy processes in accordance with the African Youth Charter. To that end, efforts would be made to establish an annual youth parliament at continental level.

Mindful of obstacles that need to be overcome in promoting shared values, the summit encouraged efforts directed at enhancing the participation of African research institutes, universities, civil society and the media to support shared values as part of wider efforts aimed at securing African ownership.

"We call on the AU Commission (AUC) and other organs to establish African ownership over shared values by way of wider communication and information sharing," said the summit declaration.

It called on regional economic communities to work closely with the AUC and other AU organs in harmonising their instruments, while promoting shared values in the areas of democracy, governance and popular participation.

The summit commended the AUC on strengthening the African Governance Architecture and affirmed the importance of setting up an African governance platform as a basis for harmonisation of instruments and coordination of initiatives in governance and democracy.

The governance platform is an informal and non-decision making mechanism for fostering exchange of information, elaboration of common positions on governance, and strengthening the capacity of Africa to speak with one voice.

"We note with appreciation the support provided by our bilateral and multilateral partners and call on them to continue working closely with us in the popularisation and domestication of shared values," said the summit declaration.

In a separate decision on the report of experts regarding the theme of the summit, the AU Assembly has urged all member states to display in public, symbols of the Union and to incorporate, in their national curriculum, the shared values and the history of the Union in addition to encouraging student exchange.

Declaring 2012 as the year of Shared Values in Africa, the Assembly also decided to hold, at a date to be fixed later, a special session on free movement of people in Africa.
-0- PANA AR/SEG 31Jan2011

31 janvier 2011 20:16:03

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