Pan-African Parliament holds workshop on AU theme for 2022


The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) held a joint workshop on the African Union theme for 2022, organised in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at the ongoing August Sittings of the Permanent Committees of the sixth Parliament in Midrand, South Africa.

Moderated by Hon. Didier Molisho, Chair of the PAP Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, the workshop focused on: “Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the human capital, social and economic development”.

While officially opening the workshop Hon. Molisho, on behalf of the PAP President, H.E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira underscored the importance of the workshop.

“We are expressing our gratitude and appreciation to the AUC, AUDA-NEPAD and FAO for their valuable support in organizing and facilitating the workshop. We are emphasizing the importance of political support in the fight to eliminate hunger and all forms of malnutrition in Africa. Let us recall that Parliamentarians are key actors to influence national policies and legislations to be nutrition sensitive, and to be inclusive in the spirit of leaving no one behind,” he added

The AU theme was adopted as a unique opportunity to strengthen continental commitment to end malnutrition in all its forms and further improve food and security through implementing both Malabo Commitments and the goals and objectives of the Africa Regional Nutrition Strategy (2016-2025).

“As a continent, we have experienced the COVID-19 crisis that erupted and became a worldwide pandemic, and which resulted in socio-economic consequences that have exacerbated food insecurity and malnutrition globally,” said the CEO of AUDA-NEPAD, Mrs. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, who reiterated that the AUDA-NEPAD is mandated to coordinate and promote regional integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063.

“In Africa, compared with 2019, about 46 million more people were affected by hunger in 2020, in the shadow of the pandemic. We encourage the Members of Parliament to be our voice on the ground and advocate for more nutrition investments within their respective member states to end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms.

“NEPAD is very much committed to ensuring that the year of nutrition and food security for building resilience is observed not just by the organisations or the agencies or the regional economic communities but indeed by all countries across the continent,” she added.

The general objective of the workshop was to sensitise and update African parliamentarians on the AU Theme of the Year, the AUDA-NEPAD Nutrition and Food Systems Strategy, and their contribution toward the achievement of development through food and nutrition security. The specific objective of the workshop included, l providing African parliamentarians with a platform to discuss their expected roles to contribute toward popularizing the theme at the national level, sharing experiences and best practices of key partners related to the issue of food and nutrition security. It further aimed at synergizing and exploring possible means of collaboration to promote the AU and AUDA-NEPAD nutrition agenda and to update participants on PAP’s efforts and progress in developing a Model Law on Food and Nutrition Security.

Meanwhile, in his recorded video message, the Assistant Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Haile Gabriel Abebe, highlighted the importance of raising the profile of nutrition in the continent given the high number of people still affected by hunger and malnutrition.

“We are very pleased by the important role played by Parliamentarians as advocates for action to ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Malabo Targets under the aegis of Agenda 2063,” he said.

The workshop was also attended by all Members of the Permanent Committees of the PAP, resource persons from the African Union Commission (AUC), AUDA-NEPAD, FAO, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), African Union International Center for Girls & Women’s Education in Africa (CIEFFA), WFP Africa Union Global Office, and staff from the Secretariat of the PAP.

Furthermore, the workshop took note of the PAP Model Law on Food and Nutrition Security in Africa which envisaged making a significant contribution to improving food security and nutrition in the continent and to complement other African Union and regional efforts. It encouraged the AU to move fast with the adoption of the model law, given that it stands to be a useful tool to influence national policies and legislations to be nutrition sensitive.

The workshop also recommended the inclusion of Parliamentarians in multisectoral approaches to transform nutrition and food systems to deliver healthier diets sustainably.

It also recommended multisectoral action and coordination in the implementation of nutrition programmes and initiatives at all levels, affirming that, eliminating undernutrition cannot be fought by a single actor but by joining forces and strategizing for concerted integrated multi-sectorial actions.

The workshop also urged conveying a vote of appreciation to the King of Lesotho (AU Nutrition Champion), Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), CIEFFA, WFP Africa Union Global Office, International Federation of Red Cross (Southern Africa Cluster Office), for their valuable insights and contribution to the program of the workshop.