African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC)

The African Union (AU) Economic, Social and Cultural Council (“ECOSOCC”) is an civil society policy body of the AU, established to serve an advisory function and civil society’s voice and work within the AU. It consists of civil society organisations and other professional groups from members states of the AU. This includes:

  • Social groups such as those representing women, children, the youth, the elderly and people with disability and special needs
  • Professional groups such as associations of artists, engineers, health practitioners, social workers, media, teachers, sport associations, legal professionals, social scientists, academia, business organizations, national chambers of commerce, workers, employers, industry and agriculture as well as other private sector interest groups
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and voluntary organisations
  • Cultural organisations

The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of ECOSOCC, meeting once every two years. The ECOSOCC’s functions, powers and composition are determined by the Assembly, however its mandate broadly defines its responsibilities as (Statute of ECOSOCC, Article 2; emphasis added):

  • Promoting dialogue between all segments of African people on issues concerning the Continent and its future
  • Forging strong partnerships between governments and all segments of civil society, in particular, women, the youth, children the Diaspora, organized labour, the private sector, and professional group
  • Promoting the participation of African Civil Society in the implementation of the policies and programmes of the Union
  • Supporting policies and programmes that promote peace, security and stability and foster Continental development and integration
  • Promoting and defending a culture of good governance, democratic principles and institutions, popular participation, human rights and social justice
  • Promoting, advocating and defending a culture of gender equality
  • Promoting and strengthening the institutional, human and operational capacities of the African civil society

iconLockWant more?  Read the entire ‘Statutes of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union” online

How does it help tackle violence against women?

Sectoral Cluster Committee: Women and Gender Cluster

In October 2015, ECOSOCC began the operationalisation of sectoral cluster committees. These committees were established to formulate opinions and provide advice on policies and programmes related to the AU’s work.

From 17-18 October 2015, the Core Group for the Operationalization of the Gender Cluster met to establish the operating framework and future agenda of the Women and Gender Cluster- one of ECOSOCC’s new sectoral cluster committees. At its conclusion, the Core Group decided on the broad functions of the Cluster:

  • Mobilize and undertake missions when necessary to advance the agenda of women
  • Ensure that women and men are targeted in both urban and rural areas
  • Dedicate one flagship project to address the women and gender motif of the year
  • Embark on ways to ensure transformative power structures through innovative means
  • Resort to innovative ways to address gender stereotypes
  • Lend particular attention to entrepreneurship as mean for strengthening and empowering of women financially, politically and economically
  • Liaise closely with different ECOSOCC Clusters Committees to advance Women and Gender agenda

iconLockWant more?  Updates on the Sectoral Cluster Committee on Women and Gender can be found on the AU ECOSOCC website

Civil Society Engagement: Membership

For any CSO seeking membership with ECOSOCC, certain eligibility requirements must be fulfilled. In particular (see Article 6, ECOSOCC Statutes):

  1. Be national, regional, continental or African Diaspora CSO, without restriction to undertake regional or international activities
  2. Have objectives and principles that are consistent with the principles and objectives of the Union as set out in Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitutive Act
  3. Registration and status:
    1. Be registered in a Member State of the Union and/or
    2. Meet the general conditions of eligibility for the granting of Observer Status to non-governmental organizations
    3. Show a minimum of three (3) years proof of registration as either an African or an African Diaspora CSO prior to the date of submission of application, including proof of operations for those years
  4. Provide annual audit statements by an independent auditing company
  5. Show proof that the ownership and management of the CSO is made up of not less than fifty (50%) of Africans or of African Diaspora
  6. The basic resources of such an Organisation shall substantially, at least fifty percent (50%), be derived from contributions of the members of the Organization. Where external voluntary contributions have been received, their amounts and donors shall be faithfully revealed in the application for membership. Any financial or other support or contribution, direct or indirect, from a government to the Organization shall be declared and fully recorded in the financial records of the Organization
  7. Provide information on funding sources in the preceding three (3) years.
  8. For regional and continental CSOs, show proof of activities that engage or are operative in at least three (3) Member States of the Union
  9. CSOs that discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, tribe, ethnic, racial or political basis shall be barred from representation to ECOSOCC
  10. Adherence to a Code of Ethics and Conduct for civil society organizations affiliated to or working with the Union

If a CSO meets the above criteria, an application for membership may be submitted through CIDO (the ECOSOCC Secretariat). The CSO will then have its application reviewed by ECOSOCC’s Credentials Committee.

If a CSO is selected for membership, it will serve a term of four years, with the possibility of reelection once.


African Union Headquarters
P.O Box 3243
Roosevelt Street
(Old Airport Area)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Contact Person
Mrs Tsebaot Aberra
(+251) 11 5182152

iconLockWant more?  You can visit ECOSOCC’s website for the latest news and upcoming events