Addendum 2-Issues from subsidiary Organs and Sectoral Bodies and ECA-Sponsored Institutions Calling for action by the Conference of Ministers

Report of the Executive Secretary on the Consultations between Secretariats of AMCEN, OAU and UNEP with ECA Concerning the Scope of Activities of AMCEN and CAMSDE


1. The Conference of Ministers, at its twenty-eighth session in May 1993, adopted resolution 757 (XXVIII) Streamlining the intergovernmental machinery of the Commissionestablishing, among others, the Conference of African Ministers responsible for Sustainable Development and the Environment (CAMSDE).

2. The resolution defines the mandate of CAMSDE as follows:

"...address the challenges of sustainable development and environment in Africa particularly in terms of promotion of strategies and programmes based on the interrelationships between agriculture especially food supply, rural development and water resources, population, the environment and human settlements."

It also contains a provision purporting to abolish the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), created by UNEP in 1985.

3. At the first session of the Conference of African Ministers responsible for Sustainable Development and the Environment, held in Addis Ababa on 8 and 9 March 1996, controversy arose as to the authority of the Conference of Ministers to abolish AMCEN which was not its subsidiary organ. It was considered that indeed the Conference of Ministers did not have the legal capacity to abolish AMCEN since AMCEN was not established by ECA and has a joint secretariat composed of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and ECA. There were also differing views expressed on the role of CAMSDE and its relation with AMCEN. In this connection, four proposals were made with a view to resolving the perceived problem of duplication of the mandates of the two organs. In addition, a resolution was adopted requesting the Executive Secretary of ECA to initiate consultations with the parties concerned in order to find a lasting solution.

4. In pursuance to this resolution, the Executive Secretary convened a consultative meeting at Addis Ababa on 23 April 1996. Representatives of the UNEP Regional Office for Africa, OAU, the AMCEN Bureau and ECA attended the meeting.

5. The outcome of the consultation is presented below. Recommendations are also made for the consideration of the Conference.


6. At the consultative meeting, the four options, as proposed by CAMSDE, were discussed in turn.

A. Option 1: Merge CAMSDE with AMCEN

7.The meeting recognized that there were difficulties in pursuing this option as the two organs depended on two different institutions.

B. Option 2: Strengthen the modalities of collaboration between CAMSDE and AMCEN

8. The meeting was of the view that these modalities of collaboration needed to be correctly defined in order to avoid possible duplication and enhance the complementarity of the two organs. Preparatory work would be required to be undertaken by the parties concerned, and final decision would be ultimately taken by a joint meeting of the two organs at an appropriate time.

C. Option 3: Broaden the mandate of AMCEN to include issues of sustainable development

9. The meeting noted that although a decision had been taken to institutionalize AMCEN, that decision was yet to be implemented. It was therefore felt necessary to wait until AMCEN's institutionalization had taken place and its full mandate had become known before contemplating any further action.

D. Option 4: Drop "Environment" from the title of CAMSDE

10. The meeting was not clear whether dropping the "E" from CAMSDE could resolve the problem of duplication as regards the environment.


11. In light of the above, the Conference may wish to reconsider its resolution 757 (XXVIII), by deleting the clause relating to the abolition of AMCEN. In this regard, the last paragraph of section B.2. may be amended to read as follows:

"This Conference subsumes the functions of the Inter-governmental Regional Committee on Human Settlements and Environment, which is hereby abolished"

12. It is recommended that while AMCEN is in the process of institutionalizing itself, both CAMSDE and AMCEN should coexist and collaboration between the two organs should be effectively carried out according to their respective mandates and reporting mechanisms.

13. It is expected that at its seventh session in 1997, AMCEN will take up the question of its institutionalization and the broadening of its full mandate. It is recommended that the Ministerial Follow-up Committee of Fifteen or the Bureau of CAMSDE should closely examine the outcome of the said session of AMCEN in 1997 and make recommendation to the regular session of the ECA Conference of Ministers in 1998 for final decision on the status of CAMSDE vis-à-vis AMCEN.