African Union Women’s Committee
Formerly known as the African Women’s Committee on Peace and Development, the African Union Women’s Committee (AUWC) was established in 2006 as an advisory committee to AU Commission on issues related to gender and development. It consists of African women selected by the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development (WGDD) and appointed by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, taking into account the: principle of equitable regional representation and rotation; importance of expertise in different disciplines covered by the SDGEA; and representation of young women, women with disabilities and African Diaspora in Europe and the United States. Members are independent experts that serve for three-year renewable terms and meet once a year in ordinary session, with the possibility of extraordinary sessions.
The AUWC is responsible for:
• Studying progress in the implementation of the AU Heads of State and Government’s Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) and other AU gender-mainstreaming policies
• Examining emerging issues, trends and new approaches to issues affecting the situation of women or equality of women and men, and make recommendations to the Chairperson of the AUC
• Making recommendations to the Chairperson on their content and implementation
How does it help tackle violence against women?
Part of the AUWC’s work involves reviewing states reports on implementation of the SDGEA and providing independent advice to the Chairperson of the AUC on how to accelerate progress towards realising the SDGEA’s provisions. In particular, this process allows the AUWC to monitor states’ progress toward achieving paragraph 4 of the SDGEA, which requires action to address violence against women.
The AUWC is also allowed to make general recommendations to the Chairperson of the AUC on emerging issues and trends it recognises during the review and monitoring process. This information may then be brought to the attention of the AU Assembly through the Chairperson’s report. This process is aimed at fostering discussions/debates between Heads of State during the AU Assembly’s ordinary sessions, ensuring the SDGEA is regularly updated and strengthens state commitment to seeing it fully realised. Which, in turn, may allow the SDGEA to adapt to new forms of gender-based violence and discrimination that were not initially realised at the time of its adoption.
Civil society engagement: Commenting on States Reports
During the SDGEA reporting procedure, the AUWC seeks comments from civil society on the state reports received. This provides an opportunity for organisations to review the state’s report and provide additional information that may have been overlooked.
Note: Reporting is done on a rotating basis, where states are drawn from a list by the Office of the Chairperson of the African Union. Civil society organisations interested in commenting on their state’s report are encouraged to check state reporting dates online.
When a state report is received, it is expected to be published in the AU’s website. Deadlines for commenting usually follow 1 month after the report is received. Comments are submitted to the Directorate of Women, Gender & Development – the secretariat of the AUWC (contact information is below).
Want more? Read the Guidelines for reporting on the AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa or visit GIMAC’s website to see comments from other civil society organisations on states reports
The Directorate of Women, Gender & Development serves as the secretariat to the AUWC. All correspondence (including comments on states reports) generally occurs through this office.
Directorate of Women, Gender & Development
African Union Commission
P.O. Box 3243 Roosvelt Street (Old Airport Area)
W21K19 Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Phone: (251) 11-551 77 00 Ext 220