Marko Kokic in Maputo
African heads of state and government have gathered in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, for the second summit of the African Union (AU), which was launched one year ago in Durban.
At the opening Conference of African Ministers of Agriculture, Mozambique Red Cross Secretary General Fernanda Teixeira made a public address highlighting the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s work in Africa.
She reminded the government representatives present of the auxiliary role that National Societies are mandated to play, and highlighted the important link between food security and HIV/AIDS.
The Mozambique Red Cross has over 100 volunteers and staff involved at the summit, and is providing all first aid services. It has also opened an internet cafe for participants, which includes a photo exhibit of the work of the Movement in Africa.
The Assembly of heads of state and government, which runs from 10-12 July, was preceded by a session of the AU Executive Council. Items on the agenda included food security, health and HIV/AIDS, human rights, with particular emphasis on the rights of women and children, and conflict in Africa, including the situation of refugees and displaced persons. All are subjects in which the Red Cross/Red Crescent is deeply involved.
Representing the President of the Federation was the Secretary General of the Namibian Red Cross Society, Razia Essack-Kauaria. She says it is important for the Movement to be visible at the AU Summit: “It is an opportunity to remind leaders that National Societies were created by acts of parliament and are auxiliaries to the government, that we are not just another civil society organization, but that we are an important player in civil society because of our auxiliary role.”
The head of the Federation’s Regional Delegation in Southern Africa, Alasan Senghore, agrees: “This is a chance to put ourselves before the African leadership to remind them that we are a part of them, and that we are playing an important role in health, food security, disaster preparedness and response, and even economic development in Africa.”
“It is also a chance to learn how the African political network functions and how to better access it in the future,” he adds.
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