The establishment of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) as an African Union (AU) organ in 2001, signalled a historical milestone for Africa’s integration and economic development. For the first time, the African continent set up a Parliament as a means to ensure that there is full participation of Africans in the development and economic integration of Africa. The PAP as an organ of the AU seeks to provide a formal platform for African people to participate fully and meaningfully in decision-making processes on matters affecting the continent in all spheres of life, including human rights, rule of law, good governance, democracy, peace and security, integration and development.
More than a decade after its inauguration, the PAP continues to find ways to sustainably establish formal and informal mechanisms for meaningful engagement with the African peoples and civil society. The mandate of the PAP as a representative of the people of Africa, cannot be implemented without engaging and involving citizens and civil society in the activities of the PAP.
The PAP holds four meetings a year. Two plenary sessions are held in May and October respectively to discuss activities from the various committees and other pertinent issues. In addition to that, the PAP hosts two committee meetings in March and August where members of the PAP deliberate on relevant matters affecting Africa.
The Centre for Human Rights established a partnership with the PAP through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in October 2017. Key among the objectives of this partnership is facilitating capacity building on human rights and democratisation in Africa, increasing the visibility of PAP and fostering a strong interaction between PAP and CSOs on the continent.
Building on the Memorandum of Understanding, the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the PAP hosted four Civil Society forums on the side-lines of the PAP Ordinary Sessions. Two forums were held in 2018 on the side-lines of August Committee Sitting and in October at the Ordinary session. Subsequently, two forums we held on the side-lines of the May and October 2019 Ordinary sessions. These Forums, which targeted the CSOs from the across the continent aimed to deepen reflections on the establishment of a PAP Civil Society forum and reflect on the key themes of the PAP Session.
In May 2019 CSOs agreed on the need to have an effective and sustainable overall Forum or space that would ensure cohesion, coordination and effectiveness in their engagement with the PAP. Such a Forum could also give support to organisations engaging with the PAP, and also assist the PAP in its outreach and advocacy campaigns, such as for the ratification, domestication and implementation of the AU legal instruments, particularly the new PAP Protocol.
Against this background, the CSO Forum was established in May 2019 with the aim to foster closer collaboration between and among CSOs on PAP-related issues, the one hand, and between CSOs and the PAP, on the other, with a view to advancing and promoting the mandate of the continental Parliament.
The CSO Forum seeks to achieve the following objectives:
- To sensitize civil society organisations on the workings of the PAP, including on the key themes of the PAP Session and potential avenues to engage with the PAP;
- To promote active and constructive citizen and civil society engagement with the PAP and to encourage more programming on issues pertaining to the PAP;
- To enable sharing of best practices on effective civil society engagement with the PAP;
- To identify gaps and challenges relating to civil society engagement with the PAP and devise effective strategies for addressing them;
The CSO Forum is expected to achieve the following outcomes:
- Civil society organisations are sensitised on the mandate and operations of the PAP, as well as the key thematic issues to be discussed at` PAP Ordinary Sessions
- Civil Society Organisations from South Africa and the rest of the African region are committed to constructively and sustainably work together on, and engage with, the PAP.
- Host two forums annually on the side-lines of the PAP Ordinary Sessions
- Ms. Bonolo Makgale
Programme Manager, Centre for Human Rights
- Ms. Corlett Letlojane
Executive Director of Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)
- Mr. Arnold Kwesiga
Programs Manager, Business and Human Rights at the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), Project Coordinator of the Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability (UCCA) and a Lecturer of Law at Cavendish University Uganda
- Mr John Makamure
Executive Director of The Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST)
- Ms. Addo Vera
Deputy Secretary General
Mentoring Coordinator, Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa
- Ms. Mpho Motsamai
Founder of Lesotho Women’s Law Clinic
- Dr. Khanyisile Tshabalala
Former South African Navy Admiral
Chairperson of Alternative Mining Indaba and Chairperson of Indigenous People’s Forum
Pasted CSO Forums