African Union

06/04/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/04/2018 07:48

Revived Maritime Strategic Task Force considers the Draft Annexes to the Lomé Charter

Addis Ababa, 31 May 2018 - The Strategic Task Force for the implementation of Africa's Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy met from 30 to 31 May 2018 at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to consider and validate the Draft Annexes to the 'African Charter on Maritime Security and Safety and Development in Africa ('Lomé Charter').
The two-day meeting which was coordinated by the Office of the Legal Counsel as Secretariat immediately followed the 2018 Celebrations of the African Day of Seas and Oceans held on 30 May 2018 and was attended by Members of the Open-ended Strategic Task Force composed of AU Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as well as AUC Departments.
The Task Force had not met since its inaugural meeting in July 2015 largely due to a lack of capacity within the coordinating secretariat. However, implementation of the mandate of the Task Force has been revived under the new leadership of Amb. (Dr.) Namira Negm, Legal Counsel of the AU Commission, who in March 2018, held an informal meeting with AU Member States to remind them of the mandate imposed by the Policy Organs of the Union in 2014 and inviting them to designate experts in the field of maritime and law of the sea, to serve on the Strategic Task Force. So far, seventeen Member States have expressed interest in the membership.
During their meeting held on 2 May 2017, Members of the Strategic Task Force agreed to consider the Annexes to the Lomé Charter as part of the Task Force's mandate to 'consider the technical details of the AIM 2050 Strategy and propose a road map for the incremental implementation of the strategy in conformity with International Maritime Law' .
At the opening of the meeting of 30 to 31 May 2018, the Legal Counsel invited Members of the Task Force to compose a facilitating bureau that will direct their proceedings, however, after much deliberations, the Republic of Togo was nominated as interim Chairperson of the Task Force pending the conclusion of consultations amongst the Members.
The meeting considered and made technical revisions to the 'Zero' Draft Annexes to the Lomé Charter which were developed during various expert meetings coordinated by the Office of the Legal Counsel in 2017. The Drafts, once validated, will be submitted to the various STC's for consideration based on their respective mandates and subsequently to the Assembly in accordance with Assembly Decision Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(VI) adopted on 15 October 2016 in Lomé, Togo.