EU-Africa - Europabüro Brüssel
“The joint Africa-EU Partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights“
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In December 2007 Africa and Europe adopted a new strategy for their political cooperation and partnership. A new framework has been set for a continuous future dialogue on several levels. The new and comprehensive partnership goes beyond aid and adapts to new global challenges (climate change, migration, human security) as well as the rising interest of new players with a strong interest like China, India and Latin America in Africa.
The implementation phase started on 1 January 2008. Its first action plan (2008-2010) sets out 8 closer partnerships in areas of common interest. The focus lies on themes such as security, democratic governance, climate change and energy security, trade and migration as well as setting up an information society. Each partnership formulates priorities, joint objectives, expected outcomes, activities, actors involved and mentions appropriate finance sources. It has been agreed by both sides that each partnership is chaired by one European Member State and involves an implementation team consisting of officials from other European Member States. African and European Civil Society Organisations and other Non State Actors are also currently organising informal joint expert groups with a CSO contact person to each partnership.
This conference will specifically look at the implementation of the second partnership on
“Democratic Governance and Human Rights”.
The issue of democratic governance has moved to the forefront of African-EU relations. The initial scope of governance under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (with a focus on the efficient and transparent management of public finances) has been geographically and thematically extended in the joint strategy to an ambitious agenda, covering: the observance of human rights, deepening democracy and strengthening the rule of law, public sector reform and the management of public finances, decentralisation and local governance, and more effective state-civil society dynamics.
As Germany will co-chair the implementation team on “Democratic Governance and Human Rights” and European and German political foundations have a longstanding experience in implementing locally owned projects in the field of democracy promotion and development cooperation in Africa, this conference will also be an opportunity to share experiences with local partners of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung to discuss their potential involvement in the implementation and monitoring of the partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights on the African side.
Three topics related to a successful implementation of the action plan on Democratic Governance and Human Rights have been identified for constructive discussions.
Africa-EU Partnership on “Democratic Governance and Human Rights” – Priorities, Actors involved and Expected Results
The African-EU partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights consists of three priorities:
a)Enhance Dialogue at global level and in international fora
b)Promote the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and support the African Charter on Democracy, Elections
c)Strengthen cooperation in the area of cultural goods
Under priority action b) a number of activities have been addressed to strengthen and consolidate the African Governance architecture:
-Strengthen the dialogue and cooperation on the implementation of the recommendations of the APRM process
-Step up EU support to an-African governance architecture, including the African Charter on Democracy,
Elections and Governance
-Speed up ratification and implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance
-Strengthen capacities of the AU, regional and national institutions and CSO in the fields of election
organisation and observation
-Promote the participation of woman in political processes and governance
-Strengthen the capacities of independent organisations to combat corruption, impunity and fraud
The panellists should openly discuss the setting of priorities and activities in the governance and Human Rights partnership, the role of the different actors involved in the monitoring and implementation of this Partnership (AU/EU CSOs), its timetable and the adaptation of existing funding instruments and mechanisms to these priorities
How to improve orchestration/coordination between European and home grown African Governance Initiatives
To ensure that progress on democracy, human rights, good governance and sound development practices highlighted in the NEPAD initiative become irreversible, the APRM has been adopted as an African self-monitoring mechanism.
The launch of the APRM and the completion of the first country reports (Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya) and their actual peer reviews represent a transition to an important stage of Africa’s commitment to the consolidation of political, economic and corporate governance as well as for the continent’s socio economic development.
From the European side the EC Governance Initiative includes an incentive tranche, a governance profile and a financial support to African mechanisms. While preparing the governance profiles the EC wants to more rely on self assessment, when they exist.
The second panel will focus on the existing, home grown, African initiatives in the field of governance, their strengths and weaknesses and the question of how external actors can best support theses efforts to consolidate African governance structures and processes.
Civil society plays a vital role in the creation of democratic governance and the respect for and protection of human rights. Best practices on how to involve civil society structures shall be exchanged. This involvement could trigger off a more sustainable elaboration of democratic governance systems. When targeting the institutional cooperation between Africa and the EU, one shall equally abide by parliamentary cooperation. Panellists will therefore also touch upon the cooperation between AU and EU, the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament.
Furthermore, it shall be scrutinized how the Africa-EU partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights could integrate these African Governance Initiatives into its implementation. Governance initiatives on both sides need to be combined more effectively. The focus in this part of the discussion will lie on the African side. Responding to the African expert on APRM, European policy makers will clarify how to align the partnership with African Governance Initiatives and how to build common efforts on this basis. The African side, however, still has to respond to the partnership as well. The discussion shall therefore strive to give an impetus to the common implementation of the partnership by both sides.
Effective Partnerships for democratic governance and Human Rights – Role of Non State Actors
One of the general aims of the strategy is to form a people-centred partnership and to increase the involvement of civil society in its implementation. Indeed, the involvement of the civil society in the various stages of the joint strategy is of utmost importance and has been always a significant part of the relationship. It is also crucial to identify each actor’s specific added value in the partnership. As many European Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have representations in Africa and strong pre-existing relationships with African CSOs, local authorities, governments and other NSA, one has to build on those relations.
-Which are the Entry points for African and European CSOs in the implementation and monitoring process of the joint strategy and especially the partnership on Democratic Governance and HR?
-How can African and European CSOs strengthen their cooperation on joint monitoring of the partnership
-Which is the added value of European actors?
-How can African civil society be better reached and involved into democratic governance structures?
-What role do African parliaments as representatives of Africa’s peoples play?
-Finally, what specific role could political foundations take up in the implementation of the partnership?