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Caribbean and Organization of American States African Diaspora Affairs

Africa

Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth’s total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.3 billion people as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world’s human population. Africa’s average population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Despite a wide range of natural resources, the continent is the least wealthy per capita, in large part due to the legacies of European colonization in Africa and the Cold War. Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

 African Union

The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 member states. The union was formed, with Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as its headquarters, on 26 June 2001. The union was officially established on 9 July 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). In July 2004, the African Union’s Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was relocated to Midrand, in South Africa, but the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights remained in Addis Ababa.

The African Union, not to be confused with the AU Commission, is formed by the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which aims to transform the African Economic Community, a federated commonwealth, into a state under established international conventions.

The African Union has a parliamentary government, known as the African Union Government, consisting of legislative, judicial and executive organs. It is led by the African Union President and Head of State, who is also the President of the Pan-African Parliament. A person becomes AU President by being elected to the PAP, and subsequently gaining majority support in the PAP. The powers and authority of the President of the African Parliament derive from the Constitutive Act and the Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament, as well as the inheritance of presidential authority stipulated by African treaties and by international treaties, including those subordinating the Secretary General of the OAU Secretariat (AU Commission) to the PAP. The government of the AU consists of all-union, regional, state, and municipal authorities, as well as hundreds of institutions that together manage the day-to-day affairs of the institution.

Extensive human rights abuses still occur in several parts of Africa, often under the oversight of the state. Most of such violations occur for political reasons, often as a side effect of civil war. Countries where major human rights violations have been reported in recent times include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Côte d’Ivoire.

At its inauguration in Durban, South Africa in July 2002, the African Union embarked on a course to transform and integrate the continent. The aims and hopes of the AU were a response to calls for democracy and development from Africa’s NGOs. The continent’s leaders were determined to build a union which was people-oriented. Aware of the rich and diverse human and institutional resources at the grass roots level, the new union would be devoted to building strong partnerships between governments and all segments of society.

Visit the African Union website to know more

The Economic, Social and Cultural Council

Purpose

The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) was established in 2004 as an advisory organ to the AU composed of civil society organisations (CSOs). The principle of ECOSOCC is for civil society to organise itself to work in partnership with the AU.

ECOSOCC’s mandate includes:

  • Contributing, through advice, to the effective translation of the AU’s objectives, principles and policies into concrete programmes, as well as evaluating those programmes
  • Undertaking studies and making recommendations
  • Contributing to the promotion and realisation of the AU’s vision and objectives
  • Contributing to the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, good governance, democratic principles, gender equality and child rights
  • Promoting and supporting the efforts of institutions engaged in reviewing the future of Africa and forging pan-African values in order to enhance an African social model and way of life
  • Fostering and consolidating partnership between the AU and CSOs
  • Assuming functions referred to it by other AU organs.

ECOSOCC was established under the provisions of articles 5 and 22 of the AU Constitutive Act. Its Statutes, adopted by the AU Assembly in July 2004, define it as an advisory organ composed of different social and professional groups of AU Member States (Assembly/AU/ Dec.48(III)). The first ECOSOCC General Assembly was formally launched on 9 September 2008 in Dar es Salaam, UR of Tanzania.

The ECOSOCC’s organizing principle is one in which civil society would organize itself to work with the AU. Since the launch of ECOSOCC’s Permanent General Assembly in 2008, its challenge is to build its own institutions and establish a format for partnering with other groups as it performs its function of providing advisory opinions to the AU. These are the issues which engage ECOSOCC as a young institution of the African Union.

Some Other Relevant Organizations

The Caribbean and Organization of American States African Diaspora Affairs recognizes the tremendous efforts and roles played by these organizations in aiding the plight of Africans in diaspora. They include:

100 Black Men of America

Working to improve the quality of life within the African American community.

The African American Forum

The African American Forum, a non-profit arts and cultural organization, is committed to developing programs that support and highlight the artistic, cultural and educational achievements of African Americans.  

African American Planning Commission (AAPC)

Addresses issues of homelessness (domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, housing shortage, and unemployment) within the communities in which we live and serve. 

Be Someone, Inc.

Uses numerous tools, including the game of chess, to promote self-esteem, responsibility, and analytical thinking among at-risk kids. 

Black Culinarians Alliance (BCA)

The Alliance is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of Nevada. Its membership is made up of Chefs and others in the Culinary industry. Chef T.E. Williams founded the organization in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1991. He formed the organization to help educate and encourage minority chefs to aspire to and achieve more prestigious positions in the industry.

Blacks In Government (BIG)

Promotes equity in all aspects of life, and excellence in public service.

The National Congress of Black American Indians (NCBAI)

The National Congress of Black American Indians (NCBAI) is an organized body of Native American people with African ancestry and Black people with Native American ancestry of various tribes and nations.  NCBAI serves as a voice for Native American people with African ancestry and Spanish speaking Indigenous people of the western hemisphere as a political entity and active body for the rights of Native people throughout the Americas.

The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys

The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (“GABWA”) was founded in 1981 by a group of African American women who sought to form a voluntary bar organization that would 1) focus on women and children’s issues, 2) increase black female representation in the judiciary and in public offices, and 3) take a proactive stance on political issues. Today, GABWA has an active membership of women and men who strive each day to fulfill the organization’s mission: to nurture, support and galvanize the power of Black women attorneys, advocate for women and children and empower our communities. GABWA is open to all persons, regardless of race or sex.

Miss Black USA

Provides educational opportunities to outstanding young women of color and to develop the whole woman mind, body, and spirit.

National Action Council For Minorities in Engineering (NACME)

To ensure American competitiveness in a flat world by leading and supporting the national effort to expand U.S. capability through increasing the number of successful African American, American Indian, and Latino young women and men in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. 

National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD)

Works to increase the number of African-Americans owning, developing, managing and operating hotels; increase vendor opportunities & executive level jobs for minorities. 

National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)

The National Association of Black Accountants (NABA, Inc.), is a nonprofit membership association dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap for people of color in the Accounting, Finance, Consulting, Information Technology and other related business professions.

The National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS)

NABS mission is to create a network of people and resources that provide educational experiences that enhance and promote an appreciation of diving and an awareness of the aquatic environment.

National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS)

Promotes and perpetuates the art of Black Storytelling, which embodies the history, heritage, and culture of African Americans. Based in Baltimore, Maryland

National Association of Blacks In Criminal Justice (NABCJ)

This non-profit association provides leaders dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice. Created in 1974, the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABCJ) has made a goal of achieving equal justice for blacks and other minorities. Based in Durham, North Carolina

National Association of Black Veterans (NABVETS)

On an ongoing basis, the National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. will provide strategic advocacy on behalf of its membership with Congress, the Federal Administration, State Administrations and other agencies and organizations. NABVETS will provide personal advocacy on behalf of veterans seeking claims against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; advocacy for youth in all matters required for successful passage into adulthood; advocacy on behalf of families; with community involvement, provide advocacy in creating positive lifestyles for veterans; and to generate and preserve the historical record.

National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI)

Improves and protects the lives of African American children. Based in Washington, DC

National Registry of Black Baby Names

Largest online collection of names that African American and African parents can choose for their unborn child. Based in Columbus, Ohio.

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

One of the largest student-managed organizations in the country that focuses on increasing the number of Black engineers who excel academically and in the workplace. Based in Fairfax, Virginia

National Urban League (NUL)

The nation’s oldest and largest community- based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Based in New York, New York

New Future Foundation (NFF)

Aims to empower our communities and neighbors, encourage each other to make a change, inspire those around us to try something new through educational enhancement courses, GED subsidization, and cultural outreach programs for youth, adults, and their families within the United Nations and are a UN Civil Society Partner with FAU.

STAND America

STAND America is a non-profit organization that reaches across racial and cultural lines to bring people together around the foundational principles that made America great. STAND America engages the community through town hall meetings, conference calls, and STAND America organizers to promote educational choice, to strengthen families, and to support entrepreneurship.

World African Diaspora Union (WADU)

WADU is a Pan African organization consistent with and dedicated to the historic work of Pan Africanism. Its focus is on unifying and empowering the African Diaspora politically, culturally and economically, as an integral part of Africa.

The African American Forum 

(AAF) mission is to strengthen African American employees at GE through professional development, career management, and mentoring that will enable retention and growth. The forum also works to strengthen the bonds between GE and its local African American communities.

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