In his opening remarks, ECOSOCC Head of Programmes, Kyeretwie Osei, stressed the key role that civil society plays in helping operationalize the people-centred aspiration of the African Union, explaining that ECOSOCC was committed to the consultations as they are aligned to the AU 2020 theme of the year.

ECOSOCC has been actively involved in crucial AU peace and security programs, including but not limited to: countering violent extremism, terrorism and the illicit proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in Africa through the operationalization of the Livingstone Formula which provides a roadmap for civil society participation in peace and security efforts in Africa; the development of technical advisory opinions to the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on strategies for ensuring peace, security, and stability on the continent; and helping drive the delivery of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) agenda being implemented under the auspices of the African Union Commission’s Peace and Security Department.

“It is critical to have an institutional mechanism for the accreditation of civil society organizations and I am glad that both ECOSOCC and COMESA have ongoing projects for the accreditation of CSOs,” he said.

Mr. Osei reiterated ECOSOCC’s commitment to collaborate with COMESA to ensure the development of a harmonized mechanism for the accreditation of CSOs at the regional and continental levels.

He further thanked the Government and People of the Republic of Zambia for the hospitality and support extended to ECOSOCC during its relocation and establishment of its standalone Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia