A UCLG Africa delegation led by Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General, UCLG Africa, participated in a meeting on 1-2 April 2015 at the AGI Headquarters in Dakar, Senegal. The UCLG Africa delegation included Mr. François Yatta, UCLG Africa Program Director; Mrs. Claire Mandouze and Mr. Daby Diagne, UCLG Africa special advisors.
The meeting was attended by delegates from Senegal (Prof. Ismaila Madior Fall, Legal Advisor to the President; H.E.M Omar Youm, Minister of Local Governance, Development and Spatial planning, Spokesperson of the Senegalese Government); from the Directorate of Political Affairs of the African Union, led by Dr. Mamadou Dia, Division Chief at DPA/AUC; from UNDP, from STC 8/ AMCOD sub committee; from Transparency International, from OFNAC (Prof. Jacques Mariel Nzouenkeu) and from the African Governance (AGI) led by its Executive Director, Mr. Maurice Enguenguele. In his introductory remarks, the Minister confirmed his resolve to support the setting up of the High Council because this project is in line with the direction that President Macky Sall is providing through the adoption of ACT 3 of decentralization.
The DPA/AUC presented progress report on the implementation of the High Council. A lot has been done, particular by the joined Senegal/AUC taskforce. The AU Commission report was adopted by the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Assembly in June 2014. The Assembly asked that a draft status, budget and financing model be prepared. A stakeholders consultative meeting is convened by the African Union in Dakar from 7 to 9 April 2015. The stakeholders consultative meeting objective is to prepare the communication to be presented to the Executive Committee and the Assembly for discussion and adoption.
Three key documents must be finalized and submitted to the formal process: the constitution, the budget and the structure. There is also a requirement that Senegal shall show commitment and send letter of interest with what it is putting on the table to host.
The legal advisor, AUC, highlighted that the Malabo conference has not yet adopted the High Council as the African Union organ as proposed by the Council; that a confirmation letter is sought on the political and budgetary commitments from the Government of Senegal, and that before the status of the High Council is adopted, it should be considered by the African ministers of Justice. The meeting of ministers of justice is convened by the legal department to November 2015. In the rules of procedures there is possibility for extraordinary meeting.
In preparation to the stakeholders consultative a high level consultation workshop on the finalization of the projects of reference documents was organized in Dakar on 1 & 2 April 2015 at the invitation of the UCLG-A and the African Governance Institute (AGI). The high level consultation agreed to propose the following structure for the secretariat of the High Council:
– Executive secretary (P5)
– Senior political officer (P3)
– Local development officer (P3)
– Administrative & finance officer (P3)
– Bilingual administrative assistant (P2)
– Documentalist (born by host country)
– Driver (gs)
– Messenger (gs)
The high-level consultation also defined what the proposed host country (Senegal) as following:
– Furnished premises easily accessible
– Telecommunication facilities
– Accommodation for secretary
– Immunities and privileges applied to all staff
– Facility of entry visas
The budget of the High Council is supposed to be borne by the general budget of the African Union from 2018 onwards. In an interim period of 2016/2017, the annual budget required amounts at 550.000 dollars, among which 400.000 dollars for the staff and 150.000 dollars for operating costs. The draft status of the High Council was reviewed for submission to the stakeholders consultative meeting scheduled on 7 to 9 April 2015.
The next steps:
1. The Senegalese party to confirm its commitments at the stakeholders consultative meeting and in writing no later than June 2015; 2. The stakeholders consultative meeting on 7 to 9 April 2015 in Dakar to adopt the preparatory documents for the Commission to respond to the questions raised by the Executive Committee and the Assembly; 3. The Commission to pursue the consultations with the AU institutions (CPR, Executive Commission, Assembly) between now and June 2015 with the aim to prepare the report to be submitted to the Assembly.
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