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7th Council Meeting and 6th Conference of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World held in Bujumbura, Burundi from 22nd to 23rd of March 2012.

In an atmosphere of understanding and a spirit of cooperation, the Association of Senates, Shoora Councils and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World, ASSECAA convened the Seventh meeting of the Associations Council and the Sixth Conference of the Association in Bujumbura, the Capital of the Republic of  Burundi during the period from 22nd-23rd of March, 2012. In response to a

gracious invitation from the Senate of the Republic of Burundi. The forum was attended by delegations representing the members of the Association as follows:-

-          The National Council of Provinces of the Republic of South Africa

-         The Council of Nation of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Algeria

-         The Shoora Council of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

-         The Shoora Council of the Kingdom of Bahrain

-         The Senate of the Republic of Burundi

-         The Senate of the Republic of Gabon

-         The National Council of the Republic of Namibia

-         The Shoora Council of the State of Qatar

-         The House of Dignitaries of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

-         The States Council of the Republic of Sudan

-         The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

-         The House of Counselors of the Kingdom of Morocco

-         The Senate of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

-         The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

-         The Shoora Council of the Republic of Yemen

-         The Senate of the Republic of Zimbabwe (Observer)

 

During the first day, Thursday the 22nd of March 2012, the Associations Council convened its meeting as referred to above with the presence of the above mentioned member councils. At the start of the meeting, Honorable Gabriel Ntisezerana, the Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Burundi delivered his keynote address in which he asked the participating delegation to observe a minute of silence to the spirit of the late AbdulAziz AbdulGhani, the Late Speaker of the Shoora Council of the Republic of Yemen who was one of the founders of the Associations.

He also welcomed the member delegations in the meeting and confirmed the increasing significance of the Association in its pursuit to achieve the very same objective for which it was established.

He also confirmed that Burundi will effectively contribute to enhance the values of the Association and to support its activities. At the same time, he confirmed the need for the meeting to produce recommendations which would push forward the common actions between Africa and the Arab World to broader horizons.

 

After that, the Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Gabon Honorable Rose Francine Rogombe, chairperson of the last session of ASSECA who expressed her happiness that the meeting is being held in Burundi and confirmed the significance of enhancing  the dream which has been realized through the establishment of this entity which forges new horizons for Afro-Arab Cooperation. And on the need for ASSECA to realize its responsibility as an international organization as do other international organizations.

 

 She also confirmed the need to enhance the role of woman in the various activities it organizes. She also pointed out to the need for the General Secretariat to improve the implementation of internal regulations and systems, especially those which the Senate of Gabon has contributed to their development. She also wished ASSECA all success in achieving its mission in strengthening Afro Arab relations on the basis of common interests for the two regions.

 

Later, the Secretary General of ASSECAA, Mr. Abdulwasie Yusuf Ali presented his annual report which contained details of ASSECAA’s activities for the year 2011 and pointed out that the General Secretariat has achieved most of the planned activities in spite of the constraints encountered as a result of the political situation experience by the Arab region in general, bear their responsibility and the Republic of Yemen in Particular.

 

The Secretary General Confirmed the importance for the member councils to bear their responsibility in supporting ASSECAA's activities. He also pointed out the need for member councils to make their annual contributions on time. He also pointed that the General Secretariat has finalized a set of new proposals which shall enhance and strengthen the activities of ASSECA if adopted by the Council and can be implemented within the five years plan.

 

The ASSECAA Council then went on to hold a closed session of the heads of delegations. During the closed session, the heads of delegations deliberated on the nominations for the Assistants Secretary general. The Council decided that one of the Assistants to the Secretary General shall be from Yemen the headquarter country for ASSECA.  With this decision, the Assistant Secretary General from Yemen is Honorable Mohamed Al-Tayeb. The Council also elected Mr. Nkemjika Egwim nominee of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the second Assistant Secretary General.

 

The Council then went on to set-up different committees to discuss the report by the Secretary General as follows:

-         The Finance Committee

-         The Programs Committee

-         The Administrative Committee

-         The Final Communiqué Drafting Committee

Next, the heads of delegation delivered their statements for the two sessions in which they confirmed the significance of the role of ASSECAA, especially in enhancing the common action between Africa and the Arab World which is based on deep rooted historic relationship, common legacy and interaction of civilizations, a matter requiring the revival of this link and to translate it into economic, political and social interests.

The statements by the heads of delegations also touched upon the need for ASSECA to enhance its parliamentary relations with legislative councils. The Statements also indicated that this meeting is being held during extra-ordinary developments in the region which has seen important political development that has pushed a number of countries to adopt a number of political reforms which are pro dialogue and expansion of popular participation as well as expansion of the space for public freedom.

 At 3:00 in the afternoon of Thursday the 22nd of March, 2012, The Committees emanating from the General Conference held their meetings and elected chairs and reporters for the committees as follows:-

The Finance Committee:    The Finance Committee held its meeting at the presence of members representing the member councils in the following member States:

South Africa

Algeria

Jordan

Burundi

Gabon

Namibia

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Yemen

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

At the start of its meeting, the committee elected Capitan Saeed Al-Yafaei from the Republic of Yemen chairman and reporter of the Committee.

The Committee discussed the issues presented to the Committee as follows:-

-         The proposed Budget of the General Secretariat for the Year 2012.

-         The Report of the Auditors

-         The Draft Financial Rules.

 

The Committee recommended that the proposed 2012 budget shall be adopted at Total of ($829,490) USD in line with explanatory notes in the Committee report presented by ASSECA Council and its general Conference. The Committee also approved the report by the Accounts Auditor for the years 2010-2011 with consideration of the notes proposed by the auditor on the performance of the former Secretary General of ASSECA. Regarding the draft financial rules which regulate the work in the General Secretariat, the Committee adopted the proposed financial rules as suggested by the Secretary General. The Committee also asked there Secretary General to study the draft as presented by the Senator of the Republic of Gabon Mr. Charles Mba  which aims at developing the financial rules  and to submit a proposal on this matter to the next conference of the Association.

 

The Programs Committee:- The Programs Committee held its meeting in the presence of members representing the members States in the following Countries:-

-         The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

-         The Federal  Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

-         The Republic of Namibia

-         The Republic of Yemen

-         The Republic of Zimbabwe

-         The Republic of Sudan

 

The Committee elected Honorable Dr. Abdullah Al-Harabi from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chairman and Honorable Germina Ndapua Shitaleni from the Republic of Namibia, reporter. The Committee discussed the items presented to the Committee as submitted by the General Secretariat of the Association. There were a total of 11 items (programs) proposed for implementation.

 

The Committee discussed at length all the items presented in this program. In principle, it approved all the items with instructions to the Secretary General of ASSECA to prioritize the program during implementation according to the importance of the program and in consideration of the available financial resources.

 

Please note the details included in the Committee report presented to the Council of ASSECA in its general conference.

 

The Administration Committee:

Likewise, the Administration Committee held its meeting at the presence of representative of the members councils in the following Countries:-

-         The Republic of Burundi

-         The Kingdom of Bahrain

-         The Republic of Gabon

-         The Republic of South Africa

-         The Republic of Sudan

-         The Republic of Namibia

-         The Republic of Zimbabwe

-         The Republic of Yemen

 

The Committee elected Honorable Hassan Mossa Al-Safi from the States Council of the Republic of Sudan chairman and Honorable Jan-Boscot from the Senate of the Republic of Burundi reporter.

 

The Committee discussed the items presented to it and includes the draft rules and schemes regulating the work of the General Secretariat's administrative and financial aspects.

The Committee approved the proposals presented by the General Secretariat to amend some of the articles in the rules and regulation. However it recommended that the financial regulations shall be tackled by the financial Committee.

 

On Friday the 23rd of March, 2012, the ASSECA Council reconvened at 9:30 in the morning. In the opening of the session, the Secretary General Abdulwasie Yusuf Ali, delivered a speech in which he pointed out to the Hosting of this meeting by the Republic of Burundi. He also spoke about the generous contribution by the Shoora Council of Yemen to facilitate the work and functioning of the General Secretariat in the past. He added that the meeting is being held at a crucial time for a number of member states; where the Arab World is experiencing Exceptional political developments which requires ASSECA to increase its efforts to enhance understanding and communications between member councils so as to contribute to the  development of the  resolutions  and proposals to help the local councils to improve their efficiency and performance in their legislative bodies.

He also called on member States in ASSECA to continue their noble effort to develop economic and trade cooperation between the two regions in a way which would contribute to the enhancement of common interests.

 

The Secretary General also called for the expansion of membership of ASSECAA through invitation for countries in the two regions which have not joined.

Next, Honorable. Gabriel Ntisezerana, The Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Burundi delivered a statement in which he welcomed once again for the convening of this meeting in Burundi. He expressed his happiness to take up the responsibility of the chairmanship of ASSECA for the next session. He added that he will exert all possible efforts in his capacity as chairman of ASSECA.

He also spoke about the contributions that can be made by ASSECA in building the foundation of an appropriate climate for the spread of peace and security and to invoke economic cooperation between African and Arab countries. He added that we have to offer the best of what we have to achieve the noble objectives of ASSECA. In conclusion, he wished efforts for the development of ASSECA all success.

After that, the Conference held its final session on Friday the 23rd of March of 2012 in which a number of ideas were discussed all conveying the desire to develop the performance of the Association and to scale up its activities to achieve the objectives for which it was established.

 

The conference has heard the reports of the committees set up by the council and then approved their recommendations.

At the end of the conference, the participants approved the following recommendations:

-That the Republic of Burundi be thanked for hosting the Association’s annual conference and council meetings, and for the generous hospitality and warm reception accorded to the delegates. The delegates also expressed their gratitude in particular to Honorable Gabriel Ntisezerana, Speaker of the Burundian Senate, for the efforts he has exerted at short notice to organize this conference in Burundi.

-That the conference call upon member countries to hold the Association’s annual conferences in accordance with the English alphabetical order agreed during ASSECAA’s fifth conference in Gabon.

-The conference urges member countries to pay their annual contributions to ASSECAA’s budget on time.

-Regarding the Association’s activities, the participants emphasize the importance that member councils, individually and collectively, seek to support the association’s activities and take part in its efforts aimed at enhancing understanding and common interests between Africa and Arab world.

-The participants expressed their pleasure at the statements made by heads of delegations during the conference. They highly appraised the thoughts and notions set forth in such statements that reflect a genuine desire to introduce political and legislative reforms into member countries.

-Also, they highly commended the statements made by the head of Saudi delegation that the United Nations would establish the international center for fighting corruption called by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and that an international center for dialogue among religions and cultures shall be set up in Vienna.

-Further, the participants confirm their support for the statements made by several heads of delegations regarding the efforts exerted by member countries to boost the role of women in public life, especially in parliamentary activities. They have praised the judicious resolutions taken by the Saudi government to give women the chance to get involved in parliamentary life.

-Moreover, the conference recommends that the General Secretariat of ASSECAA present a proposal to the next conference on the setting up of a permanent economic committee to be charged with conducting studies and researches in such a manner that would contribute to facilitating involvement in joint investment and economic ventures in Africa and Arab world.

-The conference calls upon member councils to make efforts to encourage the establishment of stronger political relations among member countries through the exchange of visits on the part of the presidents of ASSECAA’s member states.

The conference was adjourned sine die at 10: 30 pm on 23/3/2012.

Bujumbura

March 23, 2012