3rd Coordination Meeting Explores Accelerating the Ratification, Domestication and Implementation of African Union Treaties

October 20, 2023

Dakar, Senegal, 20 October 2023 – The African Union Commission (AUC), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Sweden, convened over 25 key stakeholders from 19 – 20 October 2023 for the 3rd Coordination Meeting of the AUC Departments and Organs on the acceleration of ratification, domestication and implementation of the African Union (AU) treaties.

Organized under the auspices of the UNDP-AU Treaties Project, the meeting served as a platform to fortify coordination efforts geared towards the ratification, domestication and implementation of the treaties. Furthermore, it helped facilitate in-depth discussions for delineating and assessing priorities for phase 2 of the project.

“This 3rd Coordination Meeting is a response to calls from the Executive Council, which recognize the challenges faced with ratification, domestication and implementation of the AU Treaties,” said Mtendere Gondwem, Legal Officer – Treaty Matters, African Union Commission. We are aware of how rich and diverse the treaties are, and it is our sincere hope that African Union Member States implement them so we can get much closer to the Africa We Want,” she added.

Acting as the depository of the treaties, the AU Office of Legal Counsel plays an indispensable role in providing technical support to Member States in the signature and ratification processes of the instruments, ensuring progress is made in moving toward the implementation of the treaties.

Since the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 and its evolution to the AU in 2001, Member States have adopted over 64 treaties, protocols, and conventions that address a spectrum of issues. However, more must be done to ratify, domesticate and implement the treaties.

In response, the AU Treaties project was designed to address the challenges and bottlenecks associated with the ratification and domestication of the treaties. It augments the AU’s efforts in ensuring streamlined ratification and specialized support to Member States.

“There’s so much we expect from the treaties,” said David Omozuafoh, Regional Governance & Rule of Law Advisor, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa. The African Union has been proactive in putting in place normative frameworks that deal with everything you could imagine, but we need them to be implemented,” he added.

These treaties are a foundation upon which Member States can foster greater political and economic integration, promote peace and security and reduce poverty while simultaneously contributing to implementing Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

This is more crucial now than ever, with several states, particularly those in West and Central Africa, undergoing unconstitutional transitions and instability, which are causing development disruptions across the sub-region.

“We are at a moment where the African Union is needed to help countries out of the current situation in the region, and the last time Africa found itself in this situation was in the 60s,” said Njoya Tikum, Director, UNDP Sub-Regional Hub for West and Central Africa and Resident Representative, UNDP Senegal. “Going back to the fundamentals of the African Union Treaties could be a vehicle for finding a pathway out of the tough political challenges in the region,” he added.

For the African Union and its Member States to realize Agenda 2063’s vision of a peaceful, prosperous and integrated continent, it is imperative that its decisions, notably treaties, are not only ratified but also effectively integrated into national policymaking. Only through such committed action can the AU's foundational aspirations be transformed into tangible realities.


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About the African Union Commission

The African Union Commission (AUC) is the AU’s secretariat and undertakes the day-to-day activities of the Union. It is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Some of its functions include representing the AU and defending its interests under the guidance of and as mandated by the Assembly and the Executive Council and acting as the custodian of the AU Constitutive Act and all other OAU/AU legal instruments.

Learn more at www. https://au.int/en/commission

About the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.

Learn more at www.undp.org/africa/waca

About the AU Treaties Project

The UNDP-AU project “Accelerating the Ratification / Accession, Domestication and Implementation of AU Treaties” seeks to enhance the capacity of the Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC) of the AU Commission (AUC) to manage ratification processes and equip the OLC with the necessary technical expertise to provide tailored assistance to Member States with domestication and implementation challenges, among other outputs. 

The project, funded by UNDP and the Government of Sweden, intends to address the bottlenecks and challenges associated with ratification, domestication and implementation of AU treaties. It targets six priority countries: Burkina Faso and Senegal (Western Africa), Kenya (Eastern Africa), Mozambique (Southern Africa), Tunisia (Northern Africa) and Sao Tome & Principe (Central Africa).