SAM 3314What role did you play at Ecosocc?
I am Cameroon’s representative to the Second General Assembly of the AU Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) since December 2014. Each member state of the AU has 2 representatives in this General Assembly that are elected during this General Assembly. As for my case, Alain Blaise Batongue, Executive Secretary of GICAM and I were elected as Cameroon’s representatives. I also wish to note that the process is over two years. AU launched a call interest where members of the civil society submit the required documents that are studied by an electoral commission that select the candidates that meet the criteria.

They are then informed of their selection and invited in a General Assembly where they are elected for term of office of four years. Immediately after the election, the newly elected takes an oath during a swearing in ceremony. This event took place on December 22 in Nairobi. Immediately after our election, a note verbal was sent to the government by the AU informing that we are Cameroon’s representatives to the AU ECOSOCC.

Though we had been received in audience by the Prime Minister, we still look forward to meeting with the President of the Republic and the Minister of External Relations. I am also pleased to inform you that during an extra ordinary assembly of ECOSOCC held in Cairo from February 28 to March 2, 2015, I was again elected as the Chairperson of the Peace and Security Cluster of ECOSOCC.

The cluster complements the Peace and Security Department of AU. As such, I am expected to collaborate with the Commissioner of Peace and Security and the Peace and Security Council in the promotion of peace and security and stability in Africa. I am also expected to mobilize and engage the African Civil Society in the promotion of peace, security and stability in the continent.

How could Cameroun benefits from your presence there?
I wish to start by noting that since 2009 Cameroon has been in the limelight of ECOSOCC as the President of the First General Assembly Barrister Akere Muna was a Cameroon. Again, with me coming in not just as a General Assembly member but head of the Peace and Security Cluster which of course is one of the biggest Departments in the AU I guess this is great benefit to Cameroon especially as this position also projects the diplomatic vibrancy of a country. Today, I am Cameroon’s mouth piece and civil society Ambassador to the AU ECOSOCC which is also something great.

On the other hand, the government also needs to make good use of me and the civil society in general especially during the various processes of peace negotiations. Most of these processes always call for the participation of the civil society. For example, according to the AU Peace and Security Council 489th meeting welcoming the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to handle the Boko Haram phenomenon in the Lake Chad Basin, a limited number of civilian and police personnel are expected to undertake liaison and advisory functions to the MNJTF Commander and other relevant stakeholders, in order to contribute to a close civil-military coordination and facilitate the early stabilization of the situation on the ground.

What have you done there so far?
For now there is still very little to write home about my expected actions as we are just 5 months old in office and just 2 months as the Chairperson of the Peace and Security Cluster. We are all still in the learning, consultation and planning stages of our functions. We are just from an orientation workshop in Cairo on the functioning of the AU. It is therefore on this basis that we are expected to come up with our plans of actions taking into consideration the AU procedures.

What is in the pipeline?
The Peace and Security Cluster has just finalized its action plan that will be validated by the Standing Committee of the ECOSOCC that has been planned to take place in Khartoum – Sudan in the days ahead. Never-the-less, the action plan includes meetings with the AU Department of Peace and Security, field visits to some of the conflict stricken places, conferences and workshops and participation in some of the Peace and Security Council meetings. One of the first things we are doing is the organization of a round table conference on extremism, terrorism and the illicit proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Africa. The conference is being organized in partnership with the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT). The conference will chat the way forward on how to tackle extremism, terrorism and the illicit proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons in our continent.

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