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Mozambique is part of a group of six African countries selected to implement a new African Union (AU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joint project that aims to address the challenges and constraints associated with ratification and domestication of AU treaties.

David Omozuafoh, Project Manager for the Acceleration of Rectification and Domestication of African Treaties, peaking in Maputo, Mozambique on a workshop to launch the project on December 12, 2018, said: “Of the 6 treaties being of focus of this project, I am pleased to notice that Mozambique has done well by ratifying all of them. This is no mean feat and highly commendable.”

He posed: “One would then ask, if Mozambique has ratified all the selected 6 treaties, why the attention?” Further, he noted that “there is a need to deepen domestication and implementation of the treaties. We need to learn, document and share lessons with those facing challenges with ratification and domestication. We also need to galvanize local efforts around the treaties for that is where ratification makes sense – touching and changing lives at the local level.”

Omozuafoh, who was speaking on behalf of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa Director, Lamin Manneh, added that “ratification of these treaties therefore provides the needed impetus for achieving development objectives at all levels including the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs underscore a long-standing truth: there will be no peace without development, no development without peace, and neither without respect for human rights.”  

Ratification and implementation of these treaties provides an integral link to ending poverty and improving living conditions so that no-one goes hungry, no one wakes in the morning, asking if there will be food today. Ratifying, domesticating and implementing them will no doubt create a situation where “absolutely no one is left behind”, he emphasized.  

On his part, UNDP Acting Resident Representative, Martim de Faria e Maya, noted that the weak pace of ratification and domestication of AU treaties becomes an impediment to regional integration and a missed opportunity to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions of people throughout the African region.

“To respond to this scenario, the joint UNDP-AU project launched we are launching aims to address the challenges and constraints associated with the ratification and domestication of treaties, contribute to increasing the capacity of the AU in the medium and long term, to achieve the vision of a peaceful, prosperous and integrated continent as articulated in the AU Agenda 2063 and to have an impact on the formulation of national laws and policies,” he said.

Supported by Sweden, the project was developed to address the slow pace of ratification and domestication of AU treaties resulting in an impediment to greater regional integration.

The AU provides an institutional framework for advancing the achievement of process-related goals across Africa. The organization’s treaties also provide the normative and legal mechanism through which Member States can promote greater political and economic integration, strengthening peace and security, poverty reduction and to achieve the SDGs. Since the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 and the AU in 2001, Member States have adopted a total of 64 treaties, protocols and conventions.

Although it is widely acknowledged in the continent that the ratification and effective implementation of these treaties is essential to achieve the vision of a peaceful, prosperous and integrated continent as articulated in the AU Agenda 2063, countries have faced tremendous challenges in the rectification process hindering their implementation altogether.

For instance, according to the AU, in April 2018, only 34% of the multilateral treaties were ratified and deposited. Thus, the AU reckons that if Member States fail to ratify, domesticate and implement agreements at regional level and in their respective national context, these fundamental treaties remain purely aspirational.

The overall project objective is to contribute to the achievement of AU Africa development vision, the 2063 agenda also known as the “Africa We Want” agenda. This framework, envisions a continent that by the year 2063 is prosperous based on inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth; integrated – based on Pan-Africanism; characterized by good governance, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law; peaceful and secure, with strong cultural identity, values and ethics; and a strong and influential global partner.

Apart from Mozambique (Sub-Saharan Africa), the other countries participating in this first phase of the project are Senegal and Burkina Faso (West Africa), Kenya (East Africa), Tunisia (North Africa) and Sao Tome and Principe (Central Africa).  

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