Published: Wednesday, 07 April 2021

Workshop on AU Theme for 2021 calls for enhanced support from African MPs

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the African Union Commission (AUC) held a virtual joint workshop aimed at Permanent Committees of the PAP on the AU Theme of the Year for 2021 “Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building an African We Want: "Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want".

The virtual workshop took place on 6 April 2021 on the margins of the virtual Sitting of the Permanent Committees of the fifth Parliament of the PAP, currently underway until 22 April 2021. The key objective of the workshop was to share information about the theme of the year and provide highlights on the activities contained in the roadmap. The workshop also afforded an opportunity to discuss the role of members of the PAP in contributing to the implementation of the roadmap on the theme of the year for 2021.

The virtually workshop was officially opened by H.E. Mrs. Amira Elfadil, AU Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS), who delivered remarks on behalf of the AUC. She stressed that the AU Theme of the Year for 2021 presented an opportunity to celebrate Africa’s rich heritage as well as promote the development of a creative economy for the continent. H.E. Elfadil further acknowledged the role of members of the PAP in implementing the theme of the year for 2021 and called on them to advocate for the ratification of legal instruments related to arts, culture and heritage.

“The AU has recognised the role arts, culture and heritage can play as catalysts for the socio-economic development and integration of the African continent. This year’s theme captures the AU’s aspirations to promote a Pan-African consciousness, socio-economic development and integration through African arts, culture and heritage, as contained in the continent’s master plan, Agenda 2063. Therefore, members of Parliament are called upon to fast-track the ratification of several instruments to enable Africa to fully benefit from its wealth in arts and cultural diversity that are drawn from different communities across the continent,” said H.E. Elfadil.

Chairing the virtual workshop, Hon. Amina Abdou Souna, Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources lauded the collaboration with the AUC in facilitating this crucial workshop for African parliamentarians. She emphasised the need to regularly capacitate legislators to ensure an effective implementation of AU programmes at national level.

“African Parliamentarians play a critical role at national and constituency level in the ratification, accession and implementation of AU treaties, charters and statues. Sharing information about the theme of the year will equip Parliamentarians with the necessary tools to accompany the efforts of the AU in rolling out programmes in this regard,” said Hon. Souna.

Hon. Souna further noted the correlation between last year’s theme on ‘Silencing the Guns’ and the focus on Arts, Culture and Heritage in 2021. She added: “These two themes convey the message that if we end armed conflicts on the continent and focus on harnessing the potential of our rich arts, culture and heritage, we are on the right track towards building ‘the Africa We Want’."

The programme of the virtual workshop focused on six main areas: These include the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance and its Implementation Guide; the African Union Model Law on the Protection of Cultural Property and Heritage; the Statute of the African Audio-Visual and Cinema Commission; activities to be implemented by the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), mainly on the promotion and development of African Languages; activities to be implemented by the Centre for Linguistic and Historical Studies through Oral Traditions (CELHTO) on the promotion of oral traditions; and lastly, the ratification and implementation of the Treaty of the African Medicine Agency (AMA).

Finally, the Joint Workshop reiterated the importance of history and oral traditions in the affirmation of African cultural identity and of the activities implemented to make it a tool for the development of the continent.