Infrastructure and Energy Committee

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The Infrastructure and Energy Committee of the African Union's Economic, Social and Cultural Council is responsible for: Energy, Transport, Communications, Infrastructure and Tourism.

The Chairperson of the Committee is Dr Gowtam Raj Chintaram of Mauritius, with the Secretary being Mr Patson Malisa of South Africa.

Guided by the deliberations of the Nairobi Meeting on the operationalization of Sectoral Cluster Committees as stipulated in Article 11 of the ECOSOCC Statutes, the Infrastructure and Energy cluster convened in Cairo for the Constitutive Meeting for the Activation of the Sectoral Cluster Committee.[1]

Dr Chintaram gave the Keynote Address in which he thanked the Presiding Officer, the Secretariat and the staff of both CIDO and ECOSOCC for their efforts to ensure the successful activation of our cluster. He went on to highlight the focus areas of initial operation to be partnerships with Continental Stakeholders, Air Access, Sustainable Transport, Communication, Renewable Energy and Tourism. He emphasized that Agenda 2063 would be the guiding document throughout deliberations for the work plan.

The session then received three presentations from Cluster members, Mr. Samuel Dotse, Dr Malick Sane and Mr. Patson Malisa. Mr Dotse gave a presentation on Energy Solutions in the wake of Climate Change. He emphasized on the need of the IE cluster to adopt a climate-sensitive approach in its work-plans and future advocacies.

Dr Sane expanded on the issues surrounding Sustainable Transport Policy in Africa. In his presentation he gave an overview on the Negative Externalities of transport in Africa, the Concept, Policy, Promotion and Practice of Sustainable Transport in Africa. Mr Patson Malisa gave a speech on enhancing Air Transport to realise the goals of Agenda 2063. He advocated that the infrastructure and Energy Cluster Deliberates on instituting a mechanism for establishing a policy position on meeting the goals of Air Transport Market Liberation based on the ensuring of Enhanced Cooperation, Cost Effectiveness, Security and Succession He highlighted the need for the IE Cluster to encourage the members of the African Union to move forward in implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration by establishing a Single Air Transport Market as affirmed by Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XXIV): Declaration on the Establishment of a Single Air Transport Market.

The opening session was followed by two extended working sessions over a two day period. Subsequently, the Cluster meeting was concluded on 8 April 2016 with the following conclusions and recommendations:

I. On the Mandate of the Infrastructure and Energy Cluster

a) The Committee recognized that its mandate of operation was derived from the ECOSOCC Statutes and specifically Article 11(c). Article 11 provided the legal framework for the establishment of ten (10) Sectoral Cluster Committees as key operational mechanisms of ECOSOCC to formulate opinions and provide inputs into the policies and programmes of the African Union. Article 11(c) then spells out the core areas of the mandate of the Infrastructure and Energy Cluster as including Energy, Transport, Communication, Infrastructure and Tourism etc. As such, we have also embraced the need for us to be conscious of the environmental impact of Infrastructure Development on Climate Change and factors propagating it. Thus, our efforts are to be in promotion of ensuring that these developments are implemented in the spirit of the African Common Position on Climate Change. This will be manifested in the formulation of policies on key infrastructure issues such as the production of an Africa Sustainable Transport Policy etc. b) The Committee also recognized the need for its programmes and workplan to give priority to programs on forging partnerships with Continental Stakeholders, Air Access and transport, Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Tourism. Agenda 2063 was the guiding document throughout deliberations for the work plan. II. On Structure and Category of Membership The Cluster devised a generic framework for Sectoral Cluster Committees and proposed the same to be adopted by other clusters to ensure homogeneity in cluster composition and operations. The core team of members present for the meeting would henceforth be known as Cluster Steering Group (CSG).

It was agreed that the Cluster would distribute its membership in the following order: • Cluster Steering Group • Cluster Members • Pro-Bono Experts and Consultants

The Cluster Steering group would comprise the following portfolios: - Chairperson - Cluster Secretary - Coordinator for CSO & Stakeholders Engagement - Coordinator for Financing, Projects and Monitoring - Coordinator for Strategic Planning & Partnerships - Coordinator for Research and Policy

III. CSO Engagement CSO Mapping would be conducted via the Infrastructure and Energy Webpage via google links as well as social media adverts as the budget permits.

IV On Partnerships It was agreed that Phase 1 of our Partnerships strategy would be initiated from the month of May till June 2016. Amongst other stakeholders, we have identified The Africa Development Bank, NEPAD, The United Nations Commission for Africa, SADC and ECOWAS as partners for engagement in this phase. This phase will aim to enhance the capacity of the cluster for future collaborative work. We will also Launch a Phase 1 engagement of Research Institutions in the continent for collaborative efforts in attaining information for the producing of Advisory Opinions and Policy Briefs. The first institutions to be approached will be the Pan African University and the University of Energy and Natural Resources (Ghana).

VI General Issues The CSG agreed to a communication strategy that embraces ICT platforms for the dissemination of information and regular contact amongst members of the Cluster. This would primarily be implemented through the already running ENS ( enterprise social networking) platform, Groupspaces set up for the Cluster. It was also agreed that a newsletter would be released periodically for the popularization of the work being conducted by the IE Cluster. It was further agreed that the CSG will meet in ordinary sessions twice a year.

References

  1. ^ Constitutive Meeting of the Core Group for the Operationalization of the ECOSOCC Infrastructure & Energy Cluster http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/documents/30837-doc-ecosocc_clusters_operationalization_infrastructure.pdf
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