Mohamed Gad, the Ambassador of Egypt to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU), chaired the Committee of Permanent Representatives to the AU, in Egypt’s capacity as Vice-President of the African Summit, until the 40th session of the Executive Council of the AU, which will run from 2 to 3 February.
Gad said that the Permanent Representatives Committee will consider this week a number of reports and documents on the activities of the AU Commission during the past year, foremost of which is the report on the activities of the AU for 2021 on culture, heritage, and the arts.
In this regard, Gad stressed the importance of protecting the African identity and heritage and the need to adopt a unified African position on the restoration of smuggled cultural heritage, provided that a unified African position on this matter is finalised this year.
He said African countries were invited to take part in the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum this year, and to include it among Africa’s expected cultural activities.
The Committee also addressed a number of reports of specialised technical committees, in particular the Specialised Committee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Water, and the Environment, which Egypt assumed the chairmanship of last December.
All the strategies and frameworks adopted during the committee’s work were reviewed, particularly the African climate change strategy, which coincides with Egypt’s upcoming hosting of the COP 27 in November, as well as the launch of the continental early warning system for disaster risk reduction.
Gad added that the Committee also discussed the reports of the sub-committees of permanent representatives, including those on the African continent’s partnerships, where they discussed the ongoing preparations for the holding of the African-European summit next February.
It was agreed and stressed that such partnerships should meet the aspirations of the peoples and states of the continent for sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Furthermore, the committee discussed the progress made in the operationalisation of the African Union Centre for Disease and Epidemiology, the need to benefit from the African continent’s experience in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and the need to strengthen the centre’s independence and flexibility to ensure its efficient functioning.
The Permanent Representatives Committee will continue until it submits its reports to the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and then to the African Union Summit that is scheduled for the beginning of February.