Maathai was elected on Monday night by professional groups and civil society organisations from AU member states, who also elected four regional deputies for the council, set to be launched on Tuesday.

 

Ecosocc is envisioned as an advisory organ of the AU for building "a strong partnership between governments and all segments of African civil society and for achieving the goal of creating a people-centred African community", the AU said in a statement.

 

A biologist by training and the first woman from East Africa to earn a doctorate, Maathai was recognised by the Nobel Foundation last year for her work in promoting human rights and environmental conservation.