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The East African : Oct 31st 2015
The EastAfrican NEWS OCTOBER 31 - NOVEMBER 6, 2015 SLOW IMPLEMENTATION 15 Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta at an AU Peace and Security Council Summit in Nairobi. A recent report says that African governments have not ratified several AU treaties. Picture: File Delays in ratifying AU treaties hurt citizens Ag≥eements ≥elating to good gove≥nance and human ≥ights have been endo≥sed by ve≥y few states By TREVOR ANALO The EastAfrican A frican governments have a poor record of imple- menting African Union directives, a group of civil society organisations has said. The State of the Union Coa- lition (Sotu), which holds African countries accountable for implementing AU decisions, said only a few countries ratify AU proposals. A recent report by Sotu launched in Nairobi shows that although 91 per cent African countries have ratified key instruments like the Treaty establishing the Union, “those relating to good governance, transparency, environment and natural resources, gender justice, and human rights” have been endorsed by very few states and even then at a slow rate. Sotu identifies poor policy co-ordination among state agencies as the main factor leading to slow implementation of AU decisions. Another reason is poor leadership and lack of political will on treaties touching on human rights and civil and political liberties, including justice for crimes against humanity, “Different government agencies are responsible for ratifying treaties, execution of policies and monitoring. If there is a co-ordinating national mechanism in place, governments can better evaluate their performance against set objectives,” Sotu co-ordinator Osai Ojigho told The EastAfrican. “The result of slow imple- mentation has led to a situation where poverty and inequalities still exist in many communities. The economic growth some African countries have experienced has not translated into improved public services and access to health facilities,” Ms Ojigho said. The 1975 Technical Co-op- eration Convention, meant to promote “closer solidarity and economic development” among African countries, has been ratified by only six countries in 40 years. South Africa, Egypt and Algeria, with advanced technical and scientific capabilities, are not signatories to the agreement. REPORT The State of the Union Coalition report focuses on 10 key treaties and four policy directives in 10 countries. The AU has several charters, treaties and conventions that, if integrated into national laws, policies and budgets, could greatly improve the lives of Africans and foster closer co-operation among countries. In 2014, the AU adopted six new legal instruments ranging from devolution and cross-border cooperation to cyberspace security. Countries that have ratified the convention include Eritrea, Sao Tome, Mali and Benin. “Some of the treaties, like the one on terrorism, are quite obvious in their necessity, but very few nations have ratified them,” Ms Ojigho said. The 2004 Convention on Terrorism seeks to combat terrorism in all its “forms and manifestations” in the wake of increased linkages between terrorists and transnational organised criminal networks, money laundering, trafficking and mercenaries. Only 15 countries have rati- fied this convention. Kenya, which has borne the brunt of terrorist attacks in recent years, is not among them. Nigeria, Chad, Somalia and Uganda are also not signatories. The failure to implement AU decisions has wide-reaching impact on the lives of many Africans. For example, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme provides for a minimum of 10 per cent allocation in states’ budgets for agriculture, yet food insecurity and malnutrition are still prevalent. “Although many countries have national plans, investment in this programme and increased allocation in state budgets have been slow,” Ms Ojigho said. “The slow implementation also means that progressive treaties on women’s empowerment and increased participation in decision-making not taking effect, with Rwanda being the only country that has exceeded the 50 per cent representation of women in Parliament,” she added.
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