Civil Society agree to engage the East African Community based on themes
01 September 2012, In2EastAfrica
By In2EastAfrica Reporter
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) coming together under the East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF) have agreed to engage the East African Community (EAC) through 5 thematic areas. This was reached at during the recently concluded Annual General meeting (AGM) that took place at Hilton Hotel in Nairobi.
Attended by over 80 civil society participants, the 6th AGM that took placeAugust 29 – 30, 2012 under the theme: ‘Strengthening thematic focus in the East African Integration Process’, discussed and agreed on the 5 themes as the entry point for the EAC-Private Sector Organisations (PSOs)-Civil Society dialogue framework (a proposed mechanism that has been put in place to enhance active participation of non-state actors in the decision making process of the EAC.
The design of the Dialogue framework among others envisages continuous dialogue between the EAC, Partner States, CSOs and Private Sector organisations at both national and regional level; one democratic and legitimate apex body for private sector and civil society. Above all the design of the Dialogue framework envisions CSOs and PSOs working together on general and thematic issues on areas of mutual interest.
As part of the process to rapidly respond to the unfolding integration process, the 6th EACSOF AGM discussed how to organise the (5) thematic groups (the key issues and concerns): democratic governance; peace and security; social and economic well-being; environment and natural resources; and science and technology.
In the environment and natural resources thematic group, participants identified the need to advocate to sustainability of the dwindling natural resources, and to monitor the EAC partner states’ commitments made with regard to sustainable use of natural resources. They also pointed out the need to regulate use of transboundary natural resources, access information and justice for citizens, and to develop a regional policy on agriculture that reflects the contribution of environmental and natural resources. The environmental and natural resources group also noted the emerging challenges of climate change, pollution and food insecurity that will call for more sharing of information, experiences, knowledge and skills with other CSOs in other parts of the world to enable workable coping mechanisms to come up.
The East African Civil Society Organizations’ Forum (EACSOF) is an autonomous umbrella body of all Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and CSOs in East Africa, with the primary objective of building a critical mass of knowledgeable and empowered civil society in the region, in order to foster their confidence and capacity in articulating grassroots needs and interests to the EAC, and its various organs, institutions and agencies.
For more about EACSOF, the thematic group work & how you can become a member, please contact: Eacsof@gmail.com Website: www.eacsof.net