Common African Position on the World Humanitarian Summit: Eastern Africa consultation


Africa today remains a region where a large sum of humanitarian activity is undertaken. Africa’s engagement on humanitarian issues has included establishment of high level mechanisms and strengthening of normative frameworks and new ways of conflict prevention, resolution and peace building, through the peace and security architecture. However, in spite of these efforts, many challenges remain to be addressed. Some of these challenges are partly caused by the structure of the global system. A scrutiny of the present global humanitarian response model reveals many gaps, impacting on Africa’s capacity to be able to adequately protect and assist those affected by humanitarian crises.

The World Humanitarian Summit comes at a time when the AU is pursuing its own humanitarian agenda encapsulated in Vision 2063 and Common African Position on post on 2015. These underpin Africa’s Agenda in the next 50 years and beyond. But the Summit is a time when Africa is faced with growing challenges. It is therefore time for Africa to seize the moment, to not only reaffirm its commitment to dealing with challenges facing the continent on humanitarian issues, but to also unequivocally bring to the global agenda her concerns.

The AU political process further aims to ensure that Africa’s voice and concerns are not only heard but taken into account in shaping a new global architecture for humanitarian action. The Common African Position will reflect its past experiences, present and future challenges as well as the experiences of affected people especially women and children.

Extract, Why a Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness, from:  Concept Note for the Common African Position on the World Humanitarian Summit

  • African Union Regional Consultative Meeting for Eastern Africa: 28-31 July 2015, Arusha, Tanzania

The purpose of the AU consultative process is to stimulate a discussion among Regional Economic Communities and Member States on the emerging issues within the global and regional humanitarian landscape, in so doing undertake a “Political Process” for reform to strengthen the humanitarian system. The outcomes of regional consultations will be consolidated into an African Common Africa Position to be presented in the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey 2016.

Africa’s narrative in shaping a new humanitarian agenda in a globalized and rapidly changing humanitarian landscape will be grounded in AU’s vision to address root causes and progressively eliminate forced displacement on the continent. Regional consultations therefore seek to provide an opportunity for Africa to once again exercise leadership in shaping a future humanitarian system that is rooted in African values.

The consultations will give rise to discussions amongst Regional Economic Communities and Member States on emerging issues within the global and regional humanitarian landscape. The effect of implementing Regional consultations will give chance to Africa in strengthening and providing greater cooperation in shaping a future humanitarian system that is rooted in values that put humanity at the center, while being more relevant, inclusive and fit for future challenges.

The AU political process further aims to ensure that Africa’s voice, is heard in shaping a new global architecture for humanitarian action. That the Common African Position will be rooted in the voices of African people reflecting on its past experiences, present and future challenges as well as voices of affected women and children.

More specifically, Regional Consultations will seek:

  • To emphasize the central role of States in creating requisite humanitarian space and access that guarantees effective protection and assistance, while reaffirming their commitment to humanitarian principles.
  • To further facilitate collective renewal of Africa’s values of hospitality and solidarity, in finding own solutions to Africa’s problems.
  • To provide a platform for re-examining the prevailing global and regional humanitarian architecture, providing suggestions on how the two mechanisms can work better in addressing humanitarian crises.
  • To further provide space for re-examining means and ways of enhancing civil-military coordination and High mechanisms in conflict resolution and peace-building, as well as the central role of affected and host communities, including in review of the framework for humanitarian governance, especially in adherence to international humanitarian standards and shaping of humanitarianism in Africa.