African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government (C-10) is a Committee setup by the African Union (AU) with mandate to advocate and canvass the African Common Position on United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform. The African Common Position, also known as Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration is named after a valley in Swaziland where the agreement was made by African Leaders in 2005, before it was adopted at an Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa.
The Sirte Declaration was the resolution adopted by the Organisation of African Unity on 9 September 1999, at the fourth Extraordinary Session of the OAU Assembly of African Heads of State and Government held at Sirte, Libya to establish the African Union.
The Consensus which serves as the only viable option that reflects Africa’s legitimate right and aspiration to rectify, inter alia, the historical injustice endured by the Continent underscores Africa’s goal to be fully represented in all decision making organs of the UN particularly the Security Council. It consist of the claim of two additional seats in the category of the non-permanent members and two seats in the category of permanent members with same rights, privileges and obligations accorded to the current permanent members of UNSC, including the right to veto. African Union reserves the right to determine the criteria for the selection of the two Member States to represent continent in the Security Council as Permanent Members.
The ultimate objective of the C-10 on behalf of the peoples of Africa is to unanimously and unequivocally adhere to the Common African Position as enunciated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, and build the momentum required for Africa to demand its rightful place on the global stage.
Members of the C-10 include the Heads of State and Government of Senegal, Uganda, Algeria, Kenya, Zambia, Sierra Leone, the Republic of Congo, Libya, Namibia and Equatorial Guinea. His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone is the Coordinator of the C-10.
H.E Dr Koroma has shown strong leadership and commitment in spearheading the pursuit of the C10 mandate and advancing the objectives of the African Common Position on reforming the UN Security Council. Addressing the general debate of the UN General Assembly's seventy-first session, President Koroma said “It will be hard to achieve a better world without reform of the United Nations, and inclusion of "strong African voices" in the global organization…….."We will not be able to deliver on the SDGs' promise…without the reform of the United Nations. Let me put it straight: our premier global institution lacks the democratic competence to tackle the developmental, security and other challenges facing Africa and many other parts of the world. Without strong African voices at the highest level of our premier global decision-making body, without the energetic voices of the region with the largest number of young people, without the decisive contribution of the continent that is mostly affected by Security Council decisions, no resolution proffered to our challenges by the United Nations will be sustainable, inclusive and lasting."
It is worth noting that since its establishment, the C-10 has been engaged in the intergovernmental negotiations (IGN) in New York, while intensifying efforts in advocating and canvassing at the highest political levels to galvanize the necessary political will in support of the Common African Position on UN Security Council reform.
C-10 is calling on all African Union Member States to speak with one voice on the Common African Position and not adhere to other negotiating groups or special interests, as it is not in keeping with the spirit of the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. It invites all African Union Member States to include the issue of the Security Council reform among their foreign policy priorities in their engagements with non-African partners; in particular, to include in their statements during the debates of the United Nations General Assembly, the need to correct the historical injustice that the African continent continues to suffer.
Although the Committee of Ten remains seized of its mandate until Africa achieves its objectives on the reform of the UN Security Council, many of its members are noting with concern the slow pace in the negotiations on the question of equitable representation on the Security Council.
Speaking in Livingstone, during the C-10 May2015 Summit, President Edgar Lungu of Zambia said Africa has talked much for the last 10 years and needs to act on the Ezulwini consensus and bring it to life.
The President of Namibian H.E Dr Hage Geingob regretted that Africa which constitutes more than a quarter of the UN membership has not made much progress in the last 10 years to realize its goal. He asked African countries to be resolute and show more commitment to the C-10.
During the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Kigali, Rwanda, President Koroma said “although tremendous progress have been made in raising the visibility and legitimacy of the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, visibility is not the ultimate outcome that the C-10 was set up to raise. He added that “the C-10 did not set out to engage in consultations forever”.
Group Photo of C-10 Members outside State House, after the Opening Ceremony of the January 2015 C-10 Consultative Summit in Windhoek, Namibia