ECOSOCC is the civil society policy organ of the African Union. It is an advisory organ of the Union designed to serve as a policy development interface that will harness civil society expertise to the work of various Departments of the Commission and through it, to its union at large. The core function of ECOSOCC as contained in Article 7 of its Statutes is to “contribute, through advice, to the effective translation of the objectives, principle and policies of the Union into concrete programmes.” Their main vehicles for doing this are Sectoral Cluster Committees approximating the different Departments of the AU Commission with which it should work continuously to initiate and produce advisory opinions on policies and programs. CIDO serves as ECOSOCC’s Secretariat to facilitate its linkages across the AU Commission, provide Secretarial and policy support for its activities and help with the organization of meetings and implementation of outcomes and support ECOSOCC Assembly, committee and intra-organ elections.
Thus, as an advisory organ of the AU, the purpose of ECOSOCC is to:
- Contribute, through advice, to the effective translation of the objectives, principles and policies of the Union into concrete programmes, as well as the evaluation of these programmes
- Undertake studies that are recommended or deemed necessary by any other organ of the Union and submit recommendations accordingly
- Carry out studies as it deems necessary and submit recommendations as appropriate
- Contribute to the promotion of popularization, popular participation, sharing of best practices and expertise, and to the realization of the vision and objectives of the Union
- Contribute to the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, good governance, democratic principles, gender equality and child rights
- Promote and support efforts of institutions engaged in review of the future of Africa and forge Pan-African values in order to enhance an African social model and way of life
- Foster and consolidate partnership between the Union and CSOs through effective public enlightment, mobilization and feedback on the activities of the Union
- Assume other functions as may be referred to it by any other organ of the Union.
The ECOSOCC General Assembly recommends amendments to the established Sectoral Cluster Committees as it may deem necessary.