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The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 464th meeting held in Addis Ababa, on 29 October 2014, adopted the following decision on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa:

Council,

1. Takes note of the briefings made by the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs on the Ebola situation in some countries in West Africa, the efforts of the affected countries and the support being provided by the AU, as well as by the Director of the United States of America Centre for Global Health based in Atlanta and the United Nations (UN) Special Envoy on Ebola. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, as well as by those of France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Norway, the UN and the European Union (EU);

2. Recalls communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDL) on the outbreak of Ebola, adopted at its 450th meeting held on 19 August 2014, as well as decision Ext/EX.CL/Dec.1(XVI) on the same subject, adopted by the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council held in Addis Ababa on 8 September 2014;

3. Reiterates its deep concern over the continued spread of the epidemic and its growing negative impact on the socio-economic fabric of the affected countries, in particular, and on peace and security, in general. Council also reiterates AU’s full solidarity with, and support to, the countries affected by this epidemic;

4. Notes with deep appreciation the efforts being deployed by the Commission in responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including the deployment of the AU Support Mission for the fight against the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), as well as the recent visit by the Chairperson of the Commission to the countries most affected by the epidemic. Council welcomes the calls for support, particularly through the provision of medical personnel and equipment, launched by the Chairperson of the Commission, to all AU Member States, and commends those that have positively responded and urges the others to expedite their responses;

5. Commends the countries of the region, under the auspices of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the other AU Member States, as well as the rest of the international community, for the steps they have already taken in responding to the Ebola outbreak. In this regard, Council calls on all AU Member States and other members of the international community, which have not yet done so, to also join the fight against Ebola and extend the necessary support to ASEOWA;

6. Reiterates the call by the Chairperson of the Commission to stop stigmatizing and isolating the countries affected by Ebola, as well as to avoid creating problems for these countries beyond what the epidemic is already doing. In this regard, Council calls on all AU Member States to immediately lift all travel bans and restrictions and to respect the principle of free movement, as well as to resume flights to those countries, consistent with decision Ext/EX.CL/Dec.1(XVI), and scientific advice by the World Health Organization and recommendations by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);

7. Further reiterates the need for particular attention to continue to be paid to the impact of the epidemic on the post-conflict reconstruction and socio-economic development efforts in the countries affected;

8. Emphasizes the need for long-term solutions in order to effectively contain the spread of the epidemic and prevent its recurrence. In this regard, Council urges Member States to further strengthen their healthcare delivery systems;

9. Notes that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is of an unprecedented scale and therefore, requires a united, coordinated and sustained approach in order to successfully contain and eradicate it;

10. Stresses the need for the convening, as soon as possible, of an international conference on Ebola under the aegis of the AU with a view to mobilizing additional support towards the fight against the epidemic and long-term mitigation of its effects. Council calls on the Commission to take the necessary steps to this end;

11. Council further stresses the urgent need to step up African efforts to fight against the epidemic; and, in this respect, requests the Chairperson of the Commission to appoint a Special Envoy for Ebola, who, in addition to providing political leadership of ASEOWA, will be responsible for political coordination with the affected countries and other actors on the ground, as well as for mobilization and follow-up of the required resources in the fight against the epidemic;

12. Reiterates the request of the 16th Extraordinary Session of the AU Executive Council for the Commission to take all the necessary steps for the rapid establishment of an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDCP), pursuant to Assembly Decision AU/Dec.499(XXII) on the establishment of the Centre;

13. Decides to dedicate every month a meeting on the Ebola epidemic, on the basis of comprehensive reports to be submitted by the Commission, covering the evolution of the situation, the implementation of ASEOWA’s mandate, the status of contributions by AU Member States and the level of engagement of the larger international community;

14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Tchioffo Kodjo

Last updated by Abraham Kebede

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