In 1963 the Organisation of African Unity rose from the ashes of colonial rule. Since then, as the African Union, it has expanded and embraced its ever-growing role. The opening ceremony of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 26 June 2014. (Image: AU Facebook) Priya PitamberAs African countries shook off the shackles of their colonial masters and gained their independence in the 1950s and 1960s, they recognised the need for a unified voice on the continent.This led to the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which officially came into being on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At inception, it comprised 32 independent African states; over the years, the number of member states gradually increased.However, Morocco withdrew its membership in 1984. Then, in the 1990s, OAU leaders debated an alternative structure for the organisation in response to the rapidly changing global political environment. By 1999, the OAU heads of state and government had issued the Sirte Declaration to establish a new African Union (AU). The AU was launched in Durban, South Africa in 2002, when it convened its first meeting.On 9 July 2011, South Sudan joined the AU, becoming the 54th country to do so.See images of the launch in 1963:The Heads of African States and Governments have signed the OAU Charter in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 25th day of May, 1963Posted by African Union on Thursday, 16 May 2013 Addis Ababa, May 1963. for the first time in history, the leaders and representatives of all independent African states meet under one roof.Posted by African Union on Thursday, 16 May 2013The official languages of the AU are diverse: Arabic, English, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Spanish, and any other African language, but the working languages are limited to Arabic, English, French and Portuguese.Basic structureThere are various organs within the AU:The AssemblyThis is made up of the heads of state and government or their ascribed representatives. It is the highest structure in the AU.The Executive CouncilThe Executive Council is composed of ministers or authorities chosen by the governments of member states. They are accountable to the Assembly.The CommissionsEach commission has a specified portfolio and is made of a chairperson, a deputy chairperson, eight commissioners and other staff members.The Permanent Representatives’ CommitteeThis committee comprises permanent representatives of member states accredited to the AU. It is responsible for executing the work of the Executive Council and Assembly.The Peace and Security CouncilThe Peace and Security Council (PSC) was set up to provide quick and efficient responses to crises. It is made up of 15 members.The Pan-African ParliamentThe purpose of the Pan-African Parliament, or PAP, is to “ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent”. It has up to 250 members representing the 54 AU member states.There are also numerous other organs within the AU, which deal with judicial, legalisation, financial, economic, and human rights issues.Role of the unionMany of the core principals of the OAU moved over to the AU:• To promote the unity and solidarity of African states;• To co-ordinate and intensify their co-operation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa;• To safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states;• To promote international co-operation within the UN framework; and,• To harmonise members’ political, diplomatic, economic, educational, cultural, health, welfare, scientific, technical and defence policies.Watch the opening of the 24th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, which took place on 30 January this year in Addis Ababa, the seat of the union:Sources:AU Handbook 2015 and the AU website.
SharePrint RelatedFeatured Geocacher of the Month Award WinnersAugust 25, 2011In “Community”January Geocacher of the Month Nominees – Add Your CommentFebruary 7, 2014In “Community”Geocaching Employee Spotlight: Product Owner & Avid Geocacher, Ben HewittMarch 13, 2016In “Community” “Wow, look at the sunset from up here!” Liz said. And you know, she was right. It was a gorgeous sunset, and we had the best view perched up on this hill. No one was around, and we had this entire sunset to ourselves. So in the end, we decided thatwe would accept this DNF proudly. Because even though we didn’t find the cache, we had a fun adventure, and we were taken to this place that we had no idea existed. I looked over at Liz and said “this might have to be the best Geocache we never found.”Thanks to Geocaching for taking us to another great place on our world travels. Sometimes, you don’t have to find the cache to have a great memory. #DNFPrideShare with your Friends:More Recently, we took to the roads of New Zealand in an RV and wanted to do some Geocaching. So during our drive toward the west coast of the south island of New Zealand, I pulled out my GPS and found just the cache for us. Located along the coast, it had a lot of favorite points and according to our watches, we had just enough time to get there before dusk. So off we went!Upon arrival, we parked our RV near GZ and started walking along the rocky coast. Eventually we came to a grassy opening, with the ocean on our right and a steep hill on our left. The cache was located up on top of the hill, but there was no visible trail. We decided that our best option was to climb up a small wash-out ravine.After a tricky climb, we arrived at the top, which was a flat plateau. The Geocache was only 183 feet away. But we quickly realized that we had a problem. The entire area leading to the cache were full of giant briar bushes. These bushes were thigh high, with thorns 2-5 inches long…seriously! We’ve done our share of “bushwacking” before, but we had never seen anything like this before.We tried many ways to get to the geocache, even trying to use giant sticks to make bridges or push down the bushes. But nothing worked. We were getting stabbed by the thorns and tearing our clothes. Ultimately, we realized that there was no way for us to get to the geocache. Disappointed with the thought of admitting defeat, we turned back toward the ocean just as the sun was beginning to set. Editor’s note: DNF’s or Did Not Finds are an important part of the geocaching experience, and maybe one of the most frustrating parts. The questions start to boil over, is it even here, why is the hint so vague, can’t anyone post a picture which offers a clue? WHY!?! But, as we learn through exploring, it’s not often the destination but the journey. Geocachers, Peanuts or Pretzels, show us that sometimes a DNF is the gift of a story, a voyage, a view and a sunset.By:Josh & LizPeanuts or Pretzelswww.peanutsorpretzels.com
Airbnb’s network of rental listings includes more than 5 million properties globally, a $38 billion empire built on the idea that homeowners would be willing to rent a spare room, or give up their homes completely while they were out of town. Now the 10-year-old company is working on a new business model: designing prototypical homes that are built specifically with shared occupancy in mind. Airbnb’s future’s division, called Samara, announced its Backyard initiative late last month, saying that one of the questions it would like to answer is: What would a home that is “designed and built for sharing” look like if you started with a blank sheet of paper and designed it from the ground up?RELATED ARTICLESRedeveloping Our Neighborhoods: Goodbye Suburbs, Hello NewUrbsTiny Houses Hit a Neighborhood RoadblockAffordable Housing is Leading Green BuildingCan Sustainability Be Affordable? Joe Gebbia, Airbnb’s co-founder, said in a press release, “With Backyard, we’re using the same lens through which Airbnb was envisioned — the potential of space — and applying it more broadly to architecture and construction.” Gebbia offered no clues about what such a dwelling might look like, but said that the company expects to begin testing prototypes in about a year. The starting point was an understanding of how Airbnb hosts modify their homes in order to take in guests. In developing a new template for housing, the company wondered how a dwelling could be designed to meet the needs of many residents over a long period of time. Housing types that are currently on the market didn’t seem to do the trick. “Simply put, nothing addressed long-term adaptability from a systemic perspective,” said project leader Fedor Novikov in a prepared statement. “The only way to close the gap was to work from first principles and imagine entirely new approaches for building homes.” Samara said it was exploring how it could make use of sophisticated manufacturing and smart home technologies in a new design. “The way buildings are made is outdated and generates a tremendous amount of waste,” Gebbia said. In order to meet future housing demands, he added, the home “needs to evolve, to think forward.” Airbnb is not beloved everywhere There’s some irony in Airbnb’s claim that it has a “unique responsibility and global opportunity” to improve how homes are built and used. It’s Backyard announcement comes at a time when Airbnb is being challenged in a growing number of cities. Renters may love the deals they can find online, but city officials and residents alike have criticized the company for degrading the quality of life in neighborhoods with invasions of noisy wedding groups and weekend party hounds. Critics also complain that the number of housing units committed to short-term rentals drives up the cost of housing for everyone else. In New York City, the city council voted in July to restrict Airbnb and other home rental services by enforcing disclosure requirements that are already on the books. The New York Times said that the new requirements could force many of the 50,000 housing units rented through Airbnb off the market. When a similar plan was enacted in San Francisco, listings were cut in half. New York and San Francisco are major markets for Airbnb, but it’s not just big cities that are rebelling at the growth of short-term rentals in markets where housing is already in short supply. In South Portland, Maine, for instance, a city of just 25,000, voters capped a year-long campaign in November by backing a city council effort to ban unhosted stays in residential neighborhoods. The city is right across the harbor from Portland, an increasingly popular destination for tourists in pursuit of upscale food and craft beer. Housing is tight, and critics said that Airbnb and companies like them were altering the basic fabric of neighborhood life. “We have protected the integrity of our neighborhoods,” said Jeff Steinbrink, president of Neighbors for Neighborhoods, after city residents voted 6,375 to 5,378 to uphold the council’s revised plan. South Portland Citizens for Property Rights opposed the ordinance and said that it would put most operators out of business, The Portland Press Herald said. The same dispute is now playing out in Portland, where city councilors recently enacted new rules to allow property owners to register as many as five short-term rentals per year. Mayor Ethan Strimling, who opposed the plan, predicted that the issue won’t go away. “This body will be back looking at short-term rentals in a few years because we didn’t get it right,” he said.