Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness: Southern African consultation

The African Union Commission has started regional consultations with AU Member States to develop the African Humanitarian Common Position. The first meeting took place for the Southern Africa region in Midrand, South Africa from 27-29 May 2015. The objective of the three days consultation meeting was to stimulate discussion among Member States on the emerging issues concerning the global humanitarian landscape, as well as identify issues specific to their region that can be highlighted in the Common African Position which aims at reforming and strengthen the humanitarian system.

Speaking at the opening ceremony H.E. Amb. Lamine Baali Yahiaoui, Chair of African Union PRC Sub-Committee on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons, highlighted the impact of natural disasters as well as displacements and migration in the Southern Africa region. He also highlighted the social-economic issues that result in humanitarian crisis. “The underlying problem of poverty and underdevelopment in Africa needs to be dealt with and further indicate the need for establishing a link between relief and development. The search for durable solutions must remain at the centre of our common position”, said the Ambassador.

“This region also faces natural disasters especially floods. The sub-committee has in the recent past sent assessment missions to Mozambique and Malawi during the flood incidents and provided them token financial assistance. “We would like to see the common position highlight the need for governments to build their capabilities to respond to natural disasters”, he urged. 

Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo, Deputy Executive Secretary of SADC said “Our objective is to help define and refine key recommendations for the future of humanitarian action in the Southern Africa region, and feeding these into the AU Common Africa Position. Our deliberations here will contribute towards shaping and influencing a future humanitarian architecture that takes into account, and responds to the needs of Southern Africa Member States, and Africa as a whole”, he added.

Mr. Khabele Matlosa, Director for Political Affairs, African Union Commission, underlined the importance of this regional consultative meeting ahead of the forthcoming World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, 2016. He further said that the holding of the humanitarian Summit comes at a time when the African continent is faced with considerable humanitarian challenges such as: recurrent conflicts natural disaster; increasing displacement of population; and lack of strong humanitarian system.

“The summit also comes at a time when the African Union is working towards a new African humanitarian policy in line with the vision of Agenda 2063. The regional consultation process we have implemented is an opportunity for our countries and regions to discuss humanitarian issues facing our continent and come up with possible solutions, so that together, we can contribute to transform the global Humanitarian system’, the director added.

Related: Regional consultations organised by the World Humanitarian Summit 

The regional consultation meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa was held in Pretoria, South Africa on 27-29 October 2014. An online consultation in advance of the meeting was held to provoke debate and stimulate further thinking about how to keep humanitarian action fit for the future. The online consultation took place 8 September - 17 October 2014. The final reports of the regional consultation can be accessed here.

The regional consultation meeting for West and Central Africa took place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on 19-20 June 2014.  The final reports of the regional consultation can be accessed here