Activity Report of the Pan-African Parliament, July 2016 to June 2017
1.0IntroductionThis report covers activities undertaken by the Pan African Parliament (PAP) during the period July 2016 to June 2017. The report focuses on Permanent Committee sittings, Ordinary PAP Sessions and PAP Participation in AU Summit and programmes. As is the tradition, this report also captures activities undertaken by the Bureau of PAP, Parliamentarians, and the Secretariat. It also captures some administrative and financial matters of the Parliament.
2.0Parliamentary activitiesPursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules of Procedure of the Pan African Parliament, the Third Session of the Fourth Parliament was held from Monday 10 October 2016, to Wednesday 19 October 2016 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The Session was held under the AU 2016 theme of “Human rights, with particular emphasis on the Rights of the Women” The Pan African Parliament and the Arab Parliament had a joint opening ceremony of the Parliament on 10 October 2016.
2.1Permanent Committees 01 - 05 August 2016The Ordinary Session was preceded by the meeting of Permanent Committees of the PAP namely; Committees on Rural, Gender, Health, Transport and Justice, Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters, Transport, Industry, Energy, Communication, Science and Technology and the Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources, Committee on Justice and Human rights and Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment; Rules and Privileges; Audit and Public Accounts; Cooperation, International Relations Conflict Resolutions.Important matters were discussed namely; Food Security, Intra-African Trade, Science, Technology And Innovation (STI), immigration combating corruption and Rural Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources.
2.23rd Session of the Fourth Parliament in Sharm El SheikhMajor Issues deliberated on by the Honourable Members during the 3rd session included Peace and security in Africa; the Activity report on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights: The case of Sudan; the Parliamentary Alliance report on the United Nations Reforms "Transforming the United Nations System: the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA) among others; a report on the Role of the Pan-African Parliament in Combating Terrorism; and on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) focusing on Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia. During this session, the Parliament also held a joint session with the Arab Parliament whose details are covered under this report.
3.0Extraordinary Session of the Pan African Parliament
3.1The First Extraordinary Session of the Fourth Parliament 6 March 2017In accordance with Executive Council decision No EX.CL/Dec.12 (XXX), the Pan African Parliament held an Extraordinary Plenary Session on Monday, 6th March, 2017 to appoint a new Clerk and Deputy Clerk (Legislative Business and Conferences) for the Pan African Parliament. Subsequently, the House appointed Mr. Vipya Harawa from Malawi and Mr. Gali Massa Harou from Chad as Clerk and Deputy Clerk (Legislative Business and Conferences) respectively.
4.04th Ordinary Session of the Fourth Parliament in MidrandPursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules of Procedure of the Pan African Parliament, the Fourth Session of the Fourth Parliament was held from Monday May 8 to Friday 19 May at the Parliaments precinct in Midrand, Johannesburg.
4.1Permanent Committee Sittings 07 to 10 march 2017The Extraordinary Session was followed by Sitting of PAP Permanent Committees. The Committees met between 7-10 March 2017 including Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability, Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters, Transport, Industry, Energy, Communication, Science and Technology, and the Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources, Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution. In addition, the Women and Youth Caucus meetings took place.
4.2The 4th Ordinary Session of the Fourth ParliamentThe opening session of the 4th Ordinary Session was graced by the presence of His Excellency President, Roch March Christian Kabore of the Republic of Burkina Faso and His Excellency President of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.The Plenary discussed important issues including reports on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability, Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters, Transport, Industry, Energy, Communication, Science and Technology, and the Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources, Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution. In addition, the Women and Youth Caucus meetings took place.In accordance with rules of the Rules of Procedure, a motion on Rotation was tabled and exhaustively discussed by the Parliamentarian. The conclusions of the debate on rotation was summarised and a resolution taken. The Parliament discussed the issue with regard to the office of the President of PAP and noted that it was not prescribed in the basic text of the Parliament. Aware of the fact that this principle is expressly mentioned in the amended Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament (Article 12 (1) adopted by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 27 June 2014, PAP’s hands are tied until the new protocol comes into force.In addition Parliamentarians also discussed the issue of the Ratification of the PAP Protocol. With this regard to ratification, the Parliament considered the slow pace of ratification of the amended protocol of the Pan-African Parliament by the Member States and called for accelerated advocacy particularly at the Regional level. Parliament called on the Regional Caucuses to take leadership in the regions in order to raise a number of Ratifications required for the Protocol to come into force , as a matter of priority.The Parliament also discussed another Motion, which led to the adoption of a Resolution on Autonomous Electoral Observer Missions by the Pan-African Parliament. Considering the fact that free, fair and transparent elections constitute an essential element of democracy, good governance and rule of law, as well as a guarantee of stability and peace, observation by the Pan-African Parliament separately from the African Union Commission will guarantee and strengthen transparency and independence of the African Union elections observation, in line with separation of powers within the African Union. Joint election observation missions under the aegis and leadership of the African Union Commission does not conform to the principle of separation of powers within the AU. In the past, the PAP carried out election observation missions that were unanimously believed to be successful, independent and credible. The African Union could always put in place mechanisms to ensure harmonization of views between the PAP and the AUC prior to publication of electoral observation mission's reports.
4.3Meeting between the PAP and Regional ParliamentsAll the regional caucuses met on 10th October, 2016. In line with their mandate, they were involved in designating new members into the various committees and in the nomination of members for election into the vacant positions in the Bureau of the Committees and Caucus on youth. During the meetings, the Caucuses were required to adopt work plans which stipulate the activities to be undertaken in 2017.
4.4Meeting of the Clerks consultative meetingConvened on the same theme as the Annual Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments, namely: “From adoption to ratification of the Africa Union Treaties, in particular the New Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament: What are the advantages for Africa?”, the meeting of Secretaries General of Parliaments allowed its participants to be educated on the effects of ratification of the treaties within the States. It was also an opportunity for current Secretaries General to set up their Bureau.
4.58th Annual Conference of Speakers of African ParliamentsArticle 18 of the Protocol establishing the Pan-African Parliament requires the PAP to work closely with Parliament of Regional Economic Communities and National Parliament or other deliberative bodies of member states. Against the background the PAP organised the 8th Speakers Conference in Midrand, South Africa from 4th to 5th August, 2016, under the theme:” From Adoption to Ratification of the African Union Treaties, in Particular the New Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament: What are the advantages for Africa?”.
4.6Training of PAP Parliamentarians.As part of the Cooperation between the European Parliament (EP) and the Pan African Parliament for the monitoring of the implementation of the Joint Africa Europe Strategy, with focus on Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights, four exchange visits are planned in 2017 to the European Parliament (EP). The exchange visits are aimed at building the capacity of the Pan African Parliament Members and Staff of the Secretariat.As part of the visit, the Pan African Parliament Members will be participating in a High Level Joint Seminar on “EU Legislative Cycle - from Legislative Initiative to Implementation and Monitoring. The Members will be exposed to the entire Legislative processes from drafting, oversight, and budget responsibilities from the perspective of the European Parliament.Furthermore, the visits will enhance the capacity of the Pan African Parliament Secretariat Staff in Agenda Setting; follow up on resolutions, documentation, research and interpretation processes.
5.0Non Parliamentary business
5.1Ambassadors meeting held before 3rd and 4th SessionWithin the framework of the preparation for the Third and Fourth Ordinary Sessions of the Fourth Parliament and at the invitation of the PAP President, the African Ambassadors in Pretoria met with the Bureau of PAP to discuss progress made on the ratification of the revised PAP Protocol and the PAP plenary meeting for April/May 2016 and May 2017.The meetings noted that twelve years had passed, yet the Parliament had not achieved its goal of becoming the continent’s legislative body while Regional Parliamentary bodies such as the East African Legislative Assembly and ECOWAS Parliament had more powers than the PAP. As a result, the parliament continued to function as an advisory body. Its counterpart, the European Parliament had legislative powers. They reiterated that the PAP’s role in the architecture of the African Union is important to achieve peace and security, economic growth through ensuring that policies adopted by the AU Heads of State and Governments are implemented at national level. Furthermore, it is important for the PAP to have legislative authority to enable it to monitor the implementation of the commitments of the Post-2015 SDGs, the Beijing Plan of Action and aspirations espoused in Agenda 2063.The PAP President called on all Ambassadors based in Pretoria to request their respective Governments to accelerate the ratification of the Pan African Parliament Protocol as adopted by our Heads of State and Governments in Malabo in 2014. The meeting briefed that only 5 AU member states had ratified the Protocol and 15 had signed.
5.2Meeting with the leadership of the Parliament of South Africa.At the invitation of the Parliament of South Africa, the President of the PAP led a delegation to attend the South Africa State of Nation Address by His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma. The President used the opportunity to meet with the two Speakers of the Parliament and their respective Clerks to discuss several issues affecting the PAP.
5.3Joint workshop of the Committee on Audit and Pubic Accounts (CAPA)A joint workshop of the Committee on Audit and Public Accounts (CAPA), Committee Monetary and Financial Affairs (CMFA) and Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline was held on 2nd and 3rd March, 2017. Considering their shared oversight responsibilities to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance in the operations of the Pan African Parliament, the workshop was held to clarify the roles of the CAPA and CMFA within and outside the Pan African Parliament to ensure synergy and harmony in their operations. Both committees agreed that there was no conflict of roles and elaborated their responsibilities relating to their mandates.
5.4Workshop on ratification, domestication and implementation of legal instruments strategy, Midrand, South Africa, 6th -9th November, 2016The African Union Southern Africa Regional Office (AU-SARO) organized a workshop in the Republic of South Africa on 6th -9th November, 2016. The theme of the workshop was strategy for the ratification, domestication and implementation of AU legal instruments. The objectives of the workshop were to define common ratification, domestication and implementation strategy in the region. The Joint meeting between SADC, COMESA, AUC, PAP and NGOs revealed that ratification and domestication of legal instruments is one of the main challenges that the regional and continental institutions are facing in the Southern African Region. During the deliberations, one of the recommendations was to develop a comprehensive draft strategy on ratification, domestication and implementation of AU and RECs legal instruments. The PAP will play a role in terms of dissemination of the Strategy to Members States within the SADC region.
5.5Pan African Parliament Cooperation with Regional International Parliament
5.5.1PAP Parliamentarians & Cooperations with EU ParliamentThe two continental Parliaments met to discuss progress made on the implementation of the Joint Africa Europe Strategy. On the issue of peace and security, the two Parliaments noted that there is need to strengthen the African peace and security architecture to enable it to confront issues of terrorism, violence and extremism. The conflict in the Congo-DRC needs urgent attention to avoid escalation. Lack of development was identified, among other things, as the reason for absence of peace, security and stability in Africa. Crime, terrorism, violence, trafficking and poverty were identified as contributing factors to instability.The meeting also discussed the issue of migration to Europe. The meeting agreed that whilst the Libyan crisis contributes to the problem, the responsibility to stop further migrations to Europe lies with both Africa and Europe. Long-term solutions including alleviating poverty, reducing conflicts, as well as the need for inclusion in education, health and security are important. Europe should partner with Africa to promote economic growth on the continent.The meeting also discussed the future of the Cotonou Agreement which will come to an end in 2020. The PAP recommended that the Cotonou Agreement be reviewed and the resources be channelled to supporting establishment of processing industries rather than export raw materials to Europe. The current perception is that the current framework is hinged on a perpetual donor- recipient relationship which has trapped Africa in a cycle of aid dependency. The Pan African Parliament noted that aid is distracting Africa from looking inside, from trading with each other, and currently Europe is not treating Africa as one but deals with Africa on many fronts- EU-ACP-AU, RECS, National governments etc. The long and difficult negotiating process of Economic Partnerships Agreements with regions and countries rather than through the AU is evidence that the Africa- EU partnership is problematic.The meeting had no consensus on what the new Cotonou Agreement should be like, but the general sentiment was that it should be a political project based on the principle of ownership and should leave behind the donor-recipient mentality. Cooperation should take place in areas of common interest where mutual gains can be achieved.
5.5.2Pan African Parliament Cooperation with the Arab Parliament.During the Session, the PAP held a joint meeting with the Arab Parliament on the official opening of the PAP Session which was graced by His Excellency Ibrahim Mahlab, Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt.The joint sitting with the Arab Parliament added significance to the session as it was proof of the convergence between Africa and its Arab Brothers. Africa’s liberation struggle received tremendous support from Arab countries. During the Third session, several issues were debated including the issue of Western Sanctions on Sudan. Following the deliberations of the Session, the President led a delegation to the United States to lobby for removal of sanctions imposed on Sudan. I am happy to report that the sanctions were partially lifted and Sudan was given 6 months to work on the remaining issues which include human rights. Sanctions on trade and banking were lifted.
5.5.3Mediterranean ParliamentThe Pan African Parliament has forged cooperation with the Mediterranean Parliament in which the two Parliaments will have the opportunity to participate in each other’s sessions as observers to discuss pertinent issues affecting Africa and Europe, particularly on issues of migration whose doorway is the Mediterranean. The two parliaments have entered into an MOU.
5.5.4US CongressPAP initiated collaboration with the US Congress following the outcome with regard to lifting the Sanctions in Sudan which will be concretised in the coming Session.
6.028th Ordinary Summit of the African Union
6.1PAP’s participation at the 28th Ordinary Summit of AU Heads of State and GovernmentYour Excellencies, the PAP President led a high powered delegation to the 28th Ordinary Summit of AU Heads of States and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between 22-31January 2017 accompanied by the Bureau (1st, 3rd and 4th PAP Vice Presidents), PAP Parliamentarians and Staff.In preparation for the Assembly, PAP participated in the 33rd session of Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) and the 30th Session of the Executive Council. The main objective of PAP’s participation in PRC and Executive Council was to secure an Executive Council decision to convene the Extra-Ordinary session on 6 March to endorse the Clerk and Deputy Clerk (Legal Business). Accordingly, the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government adopted Executive Council Decision EX.CL /Dec. 12(XXX) approving PAP’s request to hold and an extra ordinary session of the Parliament on 6 March 2017, back to back with PAP Committee sessions scheduled at the precinct of the Parliament in Midrand. The Special Session was held on 6 March which endorsed the Clerk of Parliament and Deputy Clerk (Legislative Business) in line with the decision.
6.2AU Commission elections:Your Excellencies, the PAP delegation to the January Summit also witnessed the elections of the Chairperson of the AU Commission H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat and the Deputy Chairperson H.E Thomas Kwesi Quartey and six Commissioners. On behalf of the Parliament, the PAP President sent a congratulatory message to the Chairperson and welcomed the new Commission members to the AU family.In addition, during the Summit, the PAP President was appointed to serve in the committee in charge of restructuring the African Union and its organs following the Kagame Report.
7.0PAP partnerships with African Union Organs and AU Member States
7.1Collaboration between PAP Committees with African Union DepartmentsIn the framework alignment of the PAP Committees with AUC Departments, in the advancement of the African Union Agenda, policies and decisions, the PAP Committees held various meetings and workshops with Departments in the Commission including the Department of Infrastructure and Energy, the Department of Peace and Security, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Human Resources, Science & Technology jointly with Directorate of Women, Gender & Development, Department of Social Affairs, Department of Rural Economy & Agriculture. Important matters were discussed including Free Movement of People and the African Passport; Combating Terrorism on the African Continent and Gender Based Violence through Education; Transport challenges in Africa; HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria; and Rural Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources.
7.2PAP participation in joint AU election observation missionPAP members and Secretariat staff participated in AU election observation missions to Cape Verde, Ghana, D.R Congo, Ivory Coast, Gambia and Algeria during this period.At the May session, Parliamentarians expressed challenges they encountered in the joint observation missions with regard to logistical arrangement’s and recommended that PAP revert to the old methodology of participation which was facilitated by the PAP Secretariat. PAP is exploring the option of facilitating its members in election observations missions as was done in the past.
7.3Fact finding mission to Chirundu One Stop Border PostWithin the framework of promoting human and peoples’ rights, consolidating democratic institutions and the democratic culture, good governance, transparency and the rule of law, the Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters of the Pan-African Parliament, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), organized a fact finding Mission to Chirundu One Stop Border Post (OSBP) between Zambia and Zimbabwe from 12th to 14th March 2017 in Zambia.
8.0PAP Secretariat Report: Human Resources, Finance and AdministrationThe Operating Budget for the Pan African Parliament was approved for 2017 at US$15,577,975; an increase of 23.8% over 2016. The significant increase is due to the inclusion of allowances for Members of Parliament. The Development Partners funded Program budget for 2017 was approved at US$6, 442,184. Allowances for members as approved by the African Union were paid in March.In conclusion the approved budget update for three years, 2018 to 2020 is as follows:
|USD 20,719,4078||USD 22,107,853||USD 23,650,527|
9.0PAP Bureau meetingsThe President of the Parliament presided over all the Bureau meetings held between July 2016 and June 2017. He also represented the PAP and the Bureau in Advocacy missions for the ratification of the PAP Protocol in Congo Brazzaville, Benin, Swaziland, in Cape Verde and Chad. He also represented the Parliament at the Francophonie Summit in Antanarivo, Madagascar, and at the Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean in Porto, Portugal among others.In addition, PAP President handed over the trophy from the Prince of Monaco to President Kagame for his work in terms of the environmental preservation in the Kigali, during the national consultative forum.At the invitation of the African Union, the PAP delegation took part in COP22 in Marakesh. It is clear from the deliberations and results of the conference that parliaments play a significant role at all levels in the implementation and monitoring of climate change agreements. I hope that the PAP will continue to play a decisive role in the processes associated with the COP
10.0OutcomesI am happy to report to the Assembly that during the reporting period, the Parliament adopted 8 Recommendations 11 Resolutions and 1 Declaration.
11.0ConclusionThis report provides a broad view of the activities undertaken since the Third Ordinary Session. Although efforts were made to capture most of the activities presented in the report to the Executive Council.I would like to thank this Assembly for the opportunity to present the PAP report for the past one year. Similarly, I would like to thank the Executive Committee & PRC for the cooperation received by the Parliament during the reporting period.Allow me, Your Excellencies, to convey my gratitude to the members of the PAP Bureau, Hon Vice Presidents for the support and constant involvement in the functioning of the Parliament. Without making themselves available to serve on rotation basis, the Bureau would not have been able to keep its constant presence in the Parliament. Without the hard work of the Cabinet to the Bureau, it would not have been possible to deliver quality and timely work despite their work overload.My thank you too goes to the Parliamentarians whose deployment in regular PAP missions would not have been possible without their participation, sacrifice and support from their respective countries.The overall program of the Parliament cannot be achieved without the enormous work undertaken by the PAP Secretariat, who continues to dedicate their energy, time, experience and knowledge to the achievement of PAP mandate, irrespective of rank.I cannot complete this report without thanking our development partners, for their generosity and fruitful partnership. We are pleased that PAP has earned the trust they place in our Partnership in advancing our shared values.
Long Live PAP. Long Life African Union. Long Live AfricaI thank you for your kind attention.