Monegasque High Commissioner elected to AOMF Executive Board

Monegasque High Commissioner elected to AOMF Executive Board

06 November 2018

The 10th Conference of the Association des Ombudsmans et Médiateurs de la Francophonie (AOMF) was held from 6 to 9 November 2018. Over the four days, independent mediation and human rights institutions from 37 of the 50 French-speaking countries which are members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) met first in Brussels and then in Namur.The Monaco High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Anne Eastwood, took part accompanied by her Deputy, Cécile Vacarie-Bernard.

The Conference opened on 6 November with a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the French-speaking network at Brussels City Hall on the famous Grand Place, where participants were welcomed by the President of the AOMF and the First Alderman of the City of Brussels. The celebrations were attended by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie, the IOF’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, and many ambassadors from the countries represented, including H.E. Ms Sophie Thevenoux, the Principality’s Ambassador to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Numerous issues were then tackled over three days of intense work, including the state of the rule of law internationally, the contribution made by mediators and ombudsmen to peace-making in crisis situations and to open government, and an assessment of how the Tirana AOMF resolutions on the rights of children (2012) and on the rights of migrants (2016) are being implemented.

Anne Eastwood gave a speech to her peers and representatives from the international organisations invited to attend the conference (the IOF, the OECD and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission), in which she shed light on the role of mediators and ombudsmen in promoting good governance. There then followed an exchange of views with the Secretary-General of the Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, who attended the conference and shared his clear vision of the contribution made by the ombudsman to the initiatives launched by the Wallonia Regional Administration to support continuous improvements in the quality of public service delivered to users.

It should be noted that a resolution of the Walloon Parliament adopted in January 2018 commits the Walloon Government to promoting implementation of the guide to good administrative practice developed by Wallonia’s Mediator and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation in all departments and public bodies, and to report back on progress within a year.

Once this process is complete Wallonia, alongside Luxembourg, will be one of the first French-speaking European administrations to adhere to a code of good practice designed to provide a framework for administrative action in its entirety, for the benefit of citizens. The code is already in place in European Union bodies and is the norm within the Anglo-Saxon approach adopted by all of the French-speaking states of North America. In Monaco, the High Commissioner has already embarked on efforts to promote this comprehensive “quality approach” with the authorities, including during the interview she gave to Monaco Info following the publication of the High Commissioner’s public report for 2015/2016 in March 2017.

The 10th Conference closed on 9 November with the association’s General Assembly, held in Namur, during which its governing bodies were reappointed. Marc Bertrand, the Mediator for Wallonia and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, and President of the AOMF since 2015, handed over the baton to Abdelaziz Benzakour, Mediator for the Kingdom of Morocco, who will lead the organisation for the next three years as the rotating presidency returns to Africa.

In parallel, the Monegasque High Commissioner put forward her candidacy and was unanimously elected as one of the three European representatives on the Executive Board, in addition to the Secretary-General post which is statutorily reserved for the French Defender of Rights.

This is the first time that such a young institution, set up just over four years ago and a member of the AOMF for barely three years, has been offered the opportunity to sit on the network’s Executive Board, with the aim of supporting the new mandate and strengthening and championing the momentum of cooperation between independent mediation and human rights institutions for the benefit of populations and in service of good governance.

Through this appointment, Monaco, which previously hosted a meeting of the association’s governing bodies and a seminar at the initiative of Anne Eastwood in October 2016, will see its image within the La Francophonie community further consolidated and enhanced.