African leaders meet for 35th African Union Assembly

African heads of state will gather in Ethiopia today for the 35th African Union (AU) Assembly. The two-day meeting will

35th African Union assembly

African leaders convene the 35th African Union Assembly – Photo: African Union

African heads of state will gather in Ethiopia today for the 35th African Union (AU) Assembly.

The two-day meeting will focus on executing the agenda drafted during this week’s Executive Council session. Per the agenda, this year’s theme is “Building Resilience in Nutrition on the African Continent: Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development,” and seeks to address food insecurity to stimulate continent-wide development. Another major agenda item is whether to revoke Israel’s AU observer status, an action supported by South Africa and Algeria.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated Africa’s food insecurity crisis; an October 2021 UN report estimates one in five Africans is malnourished. Consequently, Africa is unlikely to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #2—end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture—by 2030.

At the 35th African Union Assembly, expect the AU to advocate for increasing programs that strengthen members’ food systems’ resilience, especially concerning nutrition. Likely candidates are agricultural programs that promote crop diversity and climate-smart practices like land regeneration. Still, the AU’s efforts are unlikely to put Africa back on track to achieve SDG 2. Further, expect Israel to retain its observer status, as 46 out of 55 AU states maintain official relations with the country.

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