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Report on African Civil Society Organizations

19 April 2007 at 19:54 | 1753 views

The African Civil Society Organizations’ Consultation on AU - EU Joint Strategy for Africa’s Development was held in Accra, Ghana, from 26 - 28 March 2007. The Consultation was declared opened by Mrs. Erieka Bennet, the representative of the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Alhaji Aliu Mohama. The purpose of the Consultation is to collate ideas from civil society organizations and harness their inputs into the framework of the AU-EU Joint Strategy for Africa. It would be recalled that the AU and the EU are currently engaged in negotiations aimed at elaborating a new “Joint AU-EU Strategy for Africa” to be adopted at the 2nd EU-Africa Summit scheduled for November 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Participants at the Accra Consultations comprised of forty-three (43) representatives of African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other invited organizations, such as the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). The list of participants is hereby attached to this report as Annex A.

The Programme for the Meeting is also attached as Annex B.

II. OPENING SESSION

The Opening Session was chaired by Mrs. Erieka Bennet, the Head of Mission of Diaspora African Forum, who welcomed participants and guests to Ghana and conveyed the apology of the Special Guest of Honour and Vice President of Ghana, H.E. Alhaji Aliu Mohama, for his inability to attend the Opening Ceremony on account of pressing state matters. She also informed the meeting that the Vice President has asked her to deliver his opening remarks, noting however that the Vice President has promised to attend the Closing Session on 28 March 2007.

Opening Statement by representative of the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.

The vice President in a statement read on his behalf by Dr. Erieka Bennett, welcomed the representatives of the African Civil Society community to the African Union-organized Consultation on the AU-EU Joint Strategy for Africa in Accra, Ghana. While noting that his country is at the helm of affairs at the African Union, the Vice President stated that the government and people of Ghana hold this responsibility as a sacred trust and are determined to play a critical and vigorous role in defining and charting the course of African renaissance.

The Vice President declared that it is not an accident of history that the golden jubilee celebration of Ghana occurred at precisely the time that the continent bestowed the mantle of leadership on the country. He believes it is a divine sign, a coincidence of duty, desire, commitment and dedication and reminded the participants that Ghana’s first President and Africa’s foremost nationalist, President Kwame Nkrumah, had declared in 1957 that Ghana’s independence would be incomplete without that of other African brothers. Alhaji Mohama maintains that this assertion regarding Africa’s independence must also hold true for development.

According to the Vice President, the AU-EU Civil Society Consultations was an important meeting because it comes in the wake of on-going negotiations between Africa with Europe, which is expected to culminate in the Europe - Africa Summit in Lisbon at the end of 2007. He believes the current process is different as it is an “official continental dialogue” that is expected to build on history and to produce a compact that would give added value and new momentum to collaboration among old neighbours. The meeting is also significant because it demonstrates the desire of African leaders to in the tradition of the African Union, begin the process of decision-making with civil society consultations. It is in this tradition that the African Union created the African Citizens Directorate (CIDO) to mainstream civil society and Diaspora participation in its affairs.

He also noted that CIDO is the Secretariat of ECOSOCC, a civil society organ of the Union established under Article 20 of the Constitutive Act to serve as a civil society parliament. Since the establishment of CIDO and under the guidance and able leadership of His Excellency, Prof. Alpha Oumar Konare, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Department has developed a “civil-society-first tradition” through which all gatherings begin with civil society consultations as evidenced in the AU pre-Summit meetings. This is a consolidation of our tradition that seeks to establish a people-driven community in the African Union.

The Vice President believes that a co-owned AU-EU strategy must reflect the wishes and aspirations of the peoples of Europe and Africa hence, the critical challenge facing the civil society community is to define and reflect those interests in this joint strategy in a manner that sets the pace for consultation with other stakeholders. He therefore called on the civil society community to assess the process and its content at both operational and strategic levels, as well as propose changes that would promote and strengthen the interest and values of African people in the framework of a wider multilateral engagement. It is on this note that the Vice President declared the meeting open and wished all participants fruitful and most rewarding deliberations.

Statement of Representative of the Chairperson of the

African Union Commission.

Dr Jinmi Adisa, Principal Coordinator, African Citizens Directorate (CIDO); African Union Commission welcomed participants to the meeting on behalf of His Excellency, Professor Alpha Omar Konare, Chairperson of the African Union Commission. He thanked His Excellency, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana for honouring the invitation to declare the meeting open in spite of his very tight schedule and the late arrival of the invitation. This, according to Dr Adisa, is a demonstration of the Ghanaian government’s attachment to the continent’s development and to the letter and spirit of the Constitutive Act, particularly its principle of partnership. He thanked the people of Ghana, whose traditional hospitality creates a particularly tranquil environment for a fruitful meeting.

According to Dr Adisa, the AU has, in line with its the people-centred orientations, made it a practice to always consult all components of African societies on issues that have implications on their lives and the future of the continent. The ongoing dialogue between the African Union and the European Union aimed at evolving a new “joint EU-Africa Strategy’ for Africa’s development is such a critical process that the African Union recognizes the important role that African civil society can play in shaping and structuring the process. The AU therefore considers it a distinct honour to begin consultation with Civil Society as part of preparations for the Lisbon Summit involving all stakeholders.

He highlighted some of the challenges in this process to include: bringing civil society perspectives to bear on the discussion - a perspective that is not limited to civil society, but one that would forge synergies among the regions of the continent and between the two continents. Such a perspective will involve an appraisal of content and process at various levels: strategic, operational; and tactical. It must also embrace an analysis of objectives and means. The purpose of this exercise, according to him, must be to add value to the process, and this should necessarily involve identifying issues that have not been raised in the dialogue so far, and areas that need redefining or refocusing as well as perspectives that require greater intensity and dimensions that have not been properly addressed.

Dr Adisa pointed out that there is need to carve out a niche for civil society in this context, particularly in relation to their role and contribution in the five cluster areas: a shared vision; peace and security; governance; trade and regional integration; key development issues and others that the civil society itself could define.

He also emphasized the need to consider how civil society will work in tandem with other actors and stakeholders within the continent and in Europe to achieve the objectives of the ongoing inter-continental political dialogue. The ultimate objective is to establish a socio-economic and political compact between Europe and Africa. It would therefore be useful, as the processes advance, for civil society to define the structures and layers of engagement. At one level, it would be important to identify the Pan -Africanist objectives through which civil society in Africa would work with other actors to achieve Africa’s aims within the framework of inter-African dialogue. At another level, there would be instances where the interests of CSOs are distinct from those of governments of both regions - European and African governments - in which case compromises would have to be sought to ensure that a people-driven inter-continental compact is developed. Within this context there is also the need to reconcile Pan-Africanist and civil society orientations in a manner that best serves the interest of both. He therefore urged the gathering to address such questions with a spirit of enquiry, purpose, openness and commitment.

He enjoined the meeting to consider follow-up actions. In this regard, he urged participants to examine options and methods that are available within the process and work constructively with other stakeholders to establish a definite agenda for sustaining this programme on the road towards the Lisbon Summit in November 2007.

Finally, he reminded participants that the Lisbon Summit will only be the beginning of a process since it will set a definite agenda that all stakeholders must strive and work to achieve. Thus, there will be further need to define the role and responsibility of civil society in the context of implementation of the Joint Strategy in the short, medium and long-term after the Summit. He, on behalf of the Chairperson of the Commission, Professor Konare, urged participants to pay close attention to all the issues raised, which in his opinion, will demonstrate clearly the wisdom of the people-driven orientation of the African Union.

Vote of Thanks by CSO Representative.

After the opening remarks, a representative of the CSOs, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu, delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of his colleagues. He commended the African Union Commission for convening the meeting, which he believes, provides a great opportunity for the African civil society community to add value to the on-going negotiations between Africa and Europe. He expressed the hope that the AU - EU Summit in Lisbon will not be a governmental affair as African CSOs are also keen to participate in it.

PLANERY SESSION

An Overview of the Background and Structure of the Consultations

The session was chaired by Mrs. Saida Agrebi, member of the Pan-African Parliament and the Interim Standing Committee of ECOSOCC, congratulated the people of Ghana on the occasion of their 50th Anniversary of national Independence. She extended special thanks to the Vice President of Ghana for accepting the organizers’ invitation to preside over the opening ceremony of the meeting. She also paid special tribute to the Chair of the African Union Commission, Prof. Alpha Oumar Konare for giving African civil society the opportunity to contribute to such an important process.

She announced that an Interim nine-member Steering Committee had been established and the five regions of Africa were duly represented, while the remaining four slots will be filled based on elections. The five regional representatives were: Akere Muna (Central Africa and President of the Committee); Saida Agrebi (North Africa); Alh. Hassan Sunmonu (West Africa); Yohannes Mezgebi (East Africa); and Desire Assogbavi (South Africa).

The process of selecting members of the Steering Committee generated heated debate and some participants questioned the rationale for a Steering Committee. Others objected to the consultation, the procedure and composition of the Committee, as well as its terms of reference. Dr. Adisa explained that the Steering Committee became necessary to coordinate civil society’s engagements and inputs in the process of the EU-AU Joint Strategy. He therefore proposed three options for resolving the issue, namely: that the members could decide to dissolve the present committee and elect a new one; or empower the AU to set up the committee; or shelve the idea of a Steering Committee. It was eventually decided that the matter should be stood down to allow for more consultations.

Giving an overview of the structure of the AU-EU Joint Strategy, Mr. Pamacheche of the Economic Affairs Division of the Commission traced the various forms of Africa’s engagements with Europe, beginning with the ‘colonizer-colonized’ pattern of interaction, through the ‘donor-recipient’ pattern of engagement to attempts in recent times by Europe to selectively and separately engage with various African states. He stated that recent global changes have impelled both Europe and Africa to redefine their relationship. He pointed out that a first concrete step at this was the Europe-Africa meeting held in Cairo in 2000, which produced the Cairo Declaration and Plan of Action. Unfortunately, this was never implemented rather Europe has continued to engage with individual African countries and regions. For example, Europe has continued to view and treat North Africa as separate and distinct from the rest of the continent, while its engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has tended to treat South Africa as a separate category. And recently, Europe introduced the concept of Economic Partnership Agreements within which framework it has attempted to split SSA into three regions - Central Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa and adopted different modalities of engagement for these regions. This has tended to further weaken the continent.

Pamacheche stated that the position of the AU has always been that Africa is one indivisible entity and should engage with other continents of the world on this basis. This he believes underscored the need for new patterns of Euro-African relationship, a development that has now been recognized by Europe, hence current negotiations for a joint strategy for engagement. Efforts at developing a joint strategy have evolved and have involved consultations with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the African Union Commission. This resulted in the setting up of monitoring structures and bi-regional representations, however, cost implications has compelled the AU to form a Troika composed of the recent past Chair of the Union, the current Chair of the Union and the Chairperson of the AU Commission to coordinate and manage the process. Since the establishment of the Troika, activities have been channeled through it, particularly through its Technical Committees.

He noted that in 2005, European introduced the European strategy for Africa, which was not accepted by African leaders because it was not the product of joint consultations hence, the need for AU-EU consultations on a common and mutually acceptable strategy. The first discussion of this strategy took place in Bamako, Mali, following a Troika Meeting and the outcome was presented to the Khartoum Summit in 2005 where it was endorsed with an understanding that there was need to develop a Joint Strategy based on agreed principles and values, thus the AU was to work with the EU to come up with a jointly-owned document.

One of the decisions of the Summit was that meetings at Summit levels between the EU and the AU were to be held every two years and that the Joint Strategy was to be presented for adoption during one of such Summits. However, to date no Summit has been held because the European side has insisted that the Summit would only take place if a certain supposedly problematic country were excluded. The African side has continued to maintain its position that the continent be treated as one, thus the current lull in the process.

Pamacheche also indicated that there are some lead negotiating African states in the Troika on key issue areas such as peace and security; Governance and Human Rights; Trade and Regional Integration; Key Development Issues; and Shared Vision. He therefore concluded that the expectation from this Accra Forum was not to reinvent the will but to identify priorities that would make a difference in the lives of the people of Africa.

A representative of the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), Marie-Laure De Bergh, shed some light on the process and the role of the ECPDM in its unfolding. She stated that the ECPDM was an independent research institution and not a EU body. She argued that the AU-EU strategy was a product of consensus amongst African and European leaders who believed that there was need to move away from ‘donor-recipient’ type of relations that have characterized Euro-African engagements, to new forms of engagement that cover areas, such as the Pan-African dimensions of EU-AU relations and the issue of migration. She expressed hope that the Joint Strategy would be adopted during the Lisbon Summit at the end of 2007, which is to be preceded by the presentation of the outline of the Joint Strategy to a Ministerial meeting in May 2007.

She highlighted the various institutional and public consultations that have taken place and others that are still programmed both in Europe and in Africa as a prelude to the Lisbon Summit, noting that the negotiations and public consultations have been anchored on the five themes or clusters inherited from the Cairo process. She stated that the African civil society consultation in Accra would be followed by an European CSO consultation meeting in Bonn, Germany on 23-24 April 2007. She added that subsequently, an intercontinental civil society meeting would take place later in the year as the Summit approaches

De Bergh further stated that to be able to influence the process, it is important to know its various phases and planned meetings. In this regard, she informed that the first phase of the consultations would involve two expert meetings and also meetings of the Troika. She also indicated that Internet consultations have been on going and their outcome would be presented at the end of April. Meanwhile, the second phase of the consultations, which will span out until the Summit would be dedicated to the drafting of the strategy and further engagement with other institutional actors. There would also be possibilities to react on the basis of the outline and to have other events organized before the Summit. The third phase will consisting of monitoring of the Joint EU-AU Strategy and believes the civil society community can do a number of things in this regard, such as direct lobbying, participation in internet consultation, networking and building common positions. She added that, for civil society to be effective in this process, they need to prioritize key issues rather than present a shopping list.

She concluded by posing some questions that should be addressed by participants to be able to better understand the content of the process and to influence it. The questions include: how to link the public consultation to the institutional negotiation? How to link up the European and African consultation processes? What are the missing elements in the present EU-Africa relations? And how civil society can be an actor in the Joint Strategy?

On his part, the Principal Coordinator of CIDO, Dr. Jinmi Adisa gave a brief background to the origins of the negotiations of the AU-EU Strategy. He said the process could be traced back to the development, by the continent’s European partners of an EU Strategy for Africa. The AU later impressed on the EU that an EU strategy for Africa could not be adopted as a Joint Strategy and that there was need for the two parties to engage in some negotiations to produce a Joint Strategy, hence, the commencement of negotiations between the two institutions for the development of a new joint strategy.

He then proceeded to identify three main objectives that the Accra consultation seeks to achieve, namely: to apprise the African civil society community on the progress so far made in the joint strategy process; to collect and collate initial civil society inputs on the substance of the joint strategy, such as shared vision, peace and security, governance, trade and economic integration, as well as development issues; and, to agree on the follow up of the consultation process up to the Lisbon Summit.

In the ensuing discussions, some participants suggested the need to deepen the discussion beyond simply crafting an AU-EU Strategy, to a broader objective of evolving a comprehensive AU Development Strategy, which could then be fed into Africa’s engagement with various regions and external actors, including Europe. Concerns were also expressed over the practice whereby every region of the world is preoccupied with developing a plan for Africa, with Africa always being at the receiving end. While appreciating the importance of the envisaged partnership with Europe, some participants observed that the framework document for engagement reads like what EU wants to do for Africa and not a partnership document.

Some participants also felt that there were conceptual problems with the so-called joint strategy, insisting that discussion of technical issues should be preceded by a wider political discussion. Some delegates also questioned the Internet consultations, which they perceived as elitist given the difficulty in accessing the Internet by most Africans. They also joint issues with the character of the relationship between the EU and Africa, arguing that that the envisaged new joint strategy appears to be anchored on inequality instead of inequality. They suggested that for Africa’s relationship with Europe to be useful, it must be based on values that are universal, adding that most of the difficulties facing Africa today derive from political injustices, ranging from slave trade, colonialism to Africa’s indebtedness.

Participants also questioned the role of the ECDPM in the consultation given that some of the discussion documents for the Accra Meeting appear to have been produced by ECDPM and not by AU-CIDO. It was felt that African CSOs ought to have been given the opportunity to produce similar documents endorsed by the AU to match those produced for Europe by the ECDPM. These participants recommended the commissioning of African issue papers. Fears were also expressed regarding the multiple plans that are being crafted in the name of the continent, e.g. NEPAD, APRM and MDGs, thus creating confusion about the destination of the continent. In this regard, participants wanted to know the relationship between existing processes and strategies for the development of the continent and the AU-EU Joint Strategy.

CLUSTER I: SHARED VISION AND UPDATE ON STATE OF NEGOTIATION

34. This item was introduced by the Chair of the Cluster session, Professor Bayo Olukoshi, who began by elaborating the historical connection between Africa and Europe. He stated that a certain unilinear sense of vision has pre-dominated the relations between Africa and Europe and that vision is often subordinated to external concerns or values or translated into mimicry to be relevant. He observed that there is excessive deployment of conditionality in the base documents presented by ECDPM, adding that Africa must be co-definers of the conditionality as there is no basis for Africa to accept conditions that are pre-determined by others as pre-conditions for partnerships. Olukoshi maintains that the principle of reciprocal accountability must underpin any kind of partnership, noting that accountability is too much of a one-way traffic; hence Africa cannot hold its partners accountable in the event of any default on their partnership commitments. He believes that certain basic historical facts and principles must be spelt out to serve as a basis for the exploration of cooperation, namely:

That Europe’s relations with Africa have never been based on altruism but on the pursuit of clearly defined interests corresponding ultimately to the requirements of securing the welfare of its peoples and that Africa has always been the worsted partner in previous relationships with Europe;

That in formulating a new African-Europe partnership, priority concerns should be set by Africans based on a reading of their key developmental needs and concerns;

That the proposed new partnership must be constructed on the principle of reciprocal accountability in which the latter would be as accountable as the former, noting that the one-sided structure and culture of accountability in the past explains the high authoritarian nature of the donor-recipient relationship.

35. He believes key issues for Africa-Europe partnership should include the following:

The question of migration and the drain of talent from Africa;

The strengthening and re-orientation of the institutional mechanisms of the African Union Commission to enable it monitor and evaluate the joint cooperation between Africa and Europe;

The question of injustices of slave trade and colonialism, both of which have not been adequately addressed. Europe must acknowledge its responsibility in this regard tabling an apology and paying reparations;

The governance of the international development architecture, including the international financial institutions, such as IMF, World Bank, WTO, the UN family of organizations and transnational corporations and the disproportionate ways in which their activities and powers impact on

Africa.

36. Speaking on this agenda item, the AU representative observed that the process of transforming the EU Strategy for Africa from a European framework for engaging with Africa into a “Joint Strategy” must begin with a “shared vision”. He defined a shared vision to mean an inspiration that gives perspective to any undertaking and establishes a common understanding of goals, means and end, as well as embrace elements of convergence and recognize divergence. Adisa posited that a shared vision must be informed by a history of the past, the present and aspirations for the future, as well as offer benefits to all parties while limiting or minimizing differences.

37. He reminded participants that the development of a new shared vision within the context of AU-EU Strategy cannot begin on a clean slate as there are previous strategies developed by the EU to anchor cooperation with Africa. Under some of these texts, the European vision for cooperation with Africa is spelled out in the following words: “Europe and Africa are bound together by history, by geography and by a shared vision of a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future for all their peoples”. He believes this vision places too much emphasis and premium on political elements.

38. He further stated that the EU documents distributed to participants as working papers recognized the need for partnership with the AU, NEPAD and other African partners respecting the principles of African ownership and the importance of working closely with Africans at multilateral fora. The documents also acknowledged the need to build on the Cairo Summit and the need to hold a second AU-EU Summit in Lisbon. Adisa however, expressed regrets that some aspects of the documents remain Euro-centric as they vest the right to review and monitor the process on European institutions, adding that the objective of a Joint Strategy cannot be the validation of the existing EU Strategy for Africa but to come up with a new and truly joint strategy that reflects the merged aspirations of both sides.

39. Elaborating on the elements of the proposed partnership, Adisa stated that they must be based on history, geography and previous dialogues, as well as the new geo-political context prevailing between Africa and EU, particularly the emergence of the African Union. Consequently, African inputs for the shared vision must include the following: partnership based on mutual respect, common interests, shared purpose, genuine co-ownership and the concept of Africa as one monolithic bloc, as well as reconcile Africa’s developmental needs with Europe’s focus for respect for democracy, human rights, governance and peace and security.

40. After the ensuing debate on shared vision, participants agreed that the following considerations should underpin any joint strategy or partnership with Europe:

Africa must conduct its partnership with Europe within the context of unity and reject the existing multi-track approach through which Europe pursues a three-tier relationship with Africa as a region. The three tiers consist of sub-Saharan African countries grouped under the Cotonou Agreement; the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership targeted at the countries of North Africa and built into the new European Neighbourhood Policy; and, the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement with South Africa. Participants believe that this approach carries serious problems of differential treatments for the continent;

Africa’s priority in any partnership should be focused on the socio-economic development of its people rather than the civil and political issues of governance, democracy and human rights that have underpinned past relationships with Europe. It was noted that issues that ought to be on Africa’s top priority list were consigned and lumped together under the Cluster titled “Key Development Issues”, which participants referred to as the “dustbin category”. Consequently, it was proposed that this Cluster should be broken up or unraveled, while the priorities are re-organized;

That the work of RECs and various Ministerial Conferences on the five issue areas should be collated to form the base document for the consultations;

Africa and the EU should move away from a fragmented relationship and forge a continent-to-continent relationship. Existing legal frameworks and instruments should be adapted accordingly, while Pan African dimensions should be integrated in all themes and at all levels of the AU-EU partnership. The Africa civil society community should be involved in the monitoring of implementation of the Joint Strategy;

Recommendations

41. At the discussion on shared vision, the following recommendations were made on both the process and substance of the AU-EU Joint Strategy:

Process

42. The participants agreed that there is a wide range of opportunities and issues inherent in engaging with Europe. However, they firmly believe that an enduring partnership must place equal emphasis on process and substance. On process, the Consultation decided that a Joint Africa-Europe Strategy must be one of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual accountability. Europe must be prepared to change the current mode of interaction with Africa in which it behaves as a senior partner. On its part, Africa needs to unlearn many things, including the syndromes of dependency that have developed over the years in order to play its role as a full and equal partner with Europe. Accordingly, Africa and Europe should strive to develop the continent, living side by side in peace, security, dignity and prosperity.

Substance

43. The participants also noted with concern that the issue of shared vision cannot be discussed outside the frameworks that already exist in the continent that captures the essence of Africa. They resolved to recommend the following seven priority areas to the African Union as the centrepiece of the prospects of the continent’s development and which should underpin any joint strategy or partnership with Europe, these priorities are:

Pro-development policy for social equity and economic development;

Satisfaction of basic needs should be the anchor of any socio-economic policies for human welfare;

The values of democracy, rule of law, social justice, participation and citizenship;

Strengthening of public institutions and services;

Regional integration and continental unity as pillars of the partnership arrangements. In this area, particular attention must be given to the indivisibility of Africa;

The need for adequate infrastructure; and,

The requirement of balanced integration into the world economy encompassing trade, labour movements and investments.

CLUSTER II: PEACE AND SECURITY

44. Introducing this Cluster, Desire Assogbavi and Admore Kambudzi, noted that peace and security did not feature in discussions between Europe and Africa until the 1990s. Since then, it has become a recurring theme and the main areas of focus in recent times are Darfur, Sudan and Somalia. They believed the resolution of these conflicts and the attendant humanitarian crises would foster sustainable peace in the continent. The Speakers also stated that the principle of “the Responsibility to Protect” should govern discussions on peace and security between AU and EU and this entails prevention and management of conflicts, as well as peace-building and Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD). They maintained that the AU and EU must agree to effectively assume responsibility to protect populations threatened by genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

45. The presenters identified the main challenges in the area of peace and security in Africa to include:

The need for Africans to own their peace-making and peace support operations by providing lead financial, technical and logistical support for peace efforts in the continent;

Need for AU Member States and civil society to address the root causes of disruptive and violent conflicts beyond the current focus on management and resolution;

Need to factor grass-roots participation in conflict prevention through beneficial participatory development in the socio-economic process; and,

Need for training of personnel servicing peace and security organs in at the AU and in the RECs.

46. Participants also spelled out a set of principles to guide Africa’s quest for partnership with Europe, these include:

The principle of indivisibility of peace and security as conflict in one part of Africa has spill-over effects in other parts;

A demand for an apology and payment of reparation for past injustices by Europe on Africa, such as slave trade; and,

The adoption of Micro-economic and social policies favourable to peace and security in Africa.

Situation Report on Major African Conflicts

Sudan (Darfur)

47. Participants were informed that 7,763 troops and civilian personnel have so been deployed in Darfur as part of the African Mission in the Sudan (AMIS). So far the AU and UN are engaged in talks on UN support to AMIS in three phases; light support package; heavy support package; and hybrid operation, which will entail a joint AU/UN operation. The Sudanese government has already expressed reservations on the hybrid operation, so the stakeholders are still consulting on it. The Darfur mission is currently facing enormous constraints related to funding and logistics to the extent that some troop contributing countries have threatened to withdraw their forces.

Somalia

48. On the peace support operations in Somalia, it was indicated that the AU has recently deployed a mission of 1,700 men to the country known as AMISOM under the mandate of the UN Security Council. Uganda is the lead troop contributing country for this operation, countries such as Burundi, Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria have promised to send forces. Meanwhile, the EU and the United States are providing funding support for AMISOM, while Algeria is providing logistical support.

Recommendations

49. In order to enhance the continent’s peace and security agenda under the AU-EU Joint Strategy, the participants noted the indivisibility of peace and security and its linkage to development and resolved to recommend the following:

The AU-EU Joint Strategy should develop a sustainable, predictable and continent-based funding mechanism to support conflict management and resolution. This would reduce dependence on previous ad hoc funding arrangements and engender a true partnership. In the interim, Europe’s support for peace support operations in the continent must embrace the spirit of partnership and should not involve conditionality;

Post conflict management must focus on the plight of women and children, while peace negotiation processes must include women;

The Joint Strategy must place equal emphasis on conflict resolution and management, as well as post conflict reconstruction and development. The critical challenge that Africa faces in this area is the phenomena of return wars because of the lack of continuum for conflict management to development;

Africa should insist that the EU takes a strong stance on controlling international arms transfers to prevent the escalation of future conflicts as a major component of this joint strategy;

Negotiations on International Arms Treaty should fully reflect existing standards of international human rights and humanitarian law. It must also focus on the regulation of arms transfer originating from Europe;

The Joint Strategy should also emphasize the role of faith-based groups, women and youths in Africa’s peace processes in order to promote tolerance and foster inter-religious understanding;

The Africa-Europe Joint Strategy must recognize and limit unhelpful external interventions to avert the recurring cases of proxy wars. It should also reject unilateral external intervention in African conflicts, while insisting that interventions must be on the basis of UN or AU authorization;

The Strategy must contain provisions to address impunity. In this regard, Africa’s legal and judicial systems should be strengthened to be able to deal or try perpetrators of impunity in Africa and not at some foreign venue;

The obligation for joint pursuit and prosecution of mercenaries must be entrenched in the propose AU-EU Strategy;

The Strategy must emphasize the fair treatment of African refugees outside the continent. On-going negotiations between Africa and Europe on migration in the aftermath of the recent Africa-Europe Summit on Migration in Tripoli, Libya and the unresolved issues within this framework must take this into account;

The Strategy on peace and security must reflect and emphasize the need for multi-nationals of European origin to observe and comply with international standards and best practices of corporate and social responsibility when operating on the African continent; and,

The Strategy must also emphasize and support a holistic conflict early warning and early response system in Africa involving state and non-state actors.

CLUSTER III: GOVERNANCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

50. This item was introduced by the Chair of the Cluster, Mr. Akere Muna, who drawing on the concept of national integrity system highlighted the pillars of governance to include: the Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, Auditor-General, Ombudsman, watchdog agency, public service, media, civil society, private sector and international actors. He stressed the high level of impunity in some African countries and therefore emphasized the centrality of mutual accountability, adding that negotiations on any partnership must be based on existing and relevant African documents, such as the African Charter on Corruption.

51 The first speaker on the Governance Cluster, Dr. Said Adejumobi, interrogated the EU Strategy paper on good governance and democracy. He argued that a nuanced perspective to governance should not be accepted and that the tenet of governance must transcend the political domain to economic governance. He believes the form of democracy to be practiced, the bifurcation or division of human rights between civil, political, social and economic rights and the prior setting of priorities and agenda inherent in the new liberal hegemonic strategy require interrogation and deconstruction. While admitting that governance reforms are required in Africa, Dr. Adejumobi stated that this should be set within the context of national and regional interests, priorities and agenda.

52. He also stressed the centrality of governance as a vital process of achieving peace, stability, security and sustainable development in Africa. He believes that the documents titled “The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership” and “Governance in the European Consensus on Development”, encapsulate Europe’s vision for Africa which is essentially to promote adherence to human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, as well as effective and well governed states with strong efficient institutions. He identified six policy priorities for the EU:

Respect for human rights and the rule of law including the rights of women, children and vulnerable groups, as well as helping to end impunity in Africa;

The fight against corruption, human trafficking, illegal drugs and organized crime;

Support for good governance at the country level and capacity development for the AU and the RECs;

Support for Africa’s efforts to improve governance through the APRM; and,

Designing a monitoring guideline and producing a governance profile through which the progress on governance in African countries is to be tracked by the AU.

53. While commending the governance priorities, Dr. Adejumobi raised several issues of concern including the narrow focus on the rights regime which deprioritises economic and social rights; the skewed discourse on capacity building; the one-sided approach to the fight against corruption; and the paternalism and conditionality of the EU framework for and monitoring progress on governance. He maintained that good governance is defined by three key elements: democracy; shared vision and ownership, adding that the context of governance in Africa is repudiated by the following factors: the little space of maneuver in the design of macro-economic policies; the prevalence of neo-liberal economic policies and the uni-lineal view of democracy.

54. He finalized his presentation by proposing concrete priority areas as enshrined in the AU’s Constitutive Act, the NEPAD Document, the African Charter on Elections, Human Rights and Democracy, the Treaties, and Protocols of the RECs in relation to governance and democracy and the African Charter on Human Peoples’ Rights and its associated supplements. These include:

Emphasis on national initiative and ownership in the formulation and implementation of national economic policies and economic governance;

Strengthening of governance and oversight institutions;

Respect for and promotion of civil, political, social and economic rights, with particular emphasis on level playing field for women to participate in politics;

Popular participation in governance and promotion of constitutionalism.

55. The second speaker, Mrs. Katy Cisse Wone, complemented Dr. Adejumobi’s presentation by giving practical examples illustrating the need to share responsibility for Africa’s governance problems, unwritten conditionality, monitoring and evaluation of aid by external stakeholders. She emphasized the importance for Africa to define its own strategic framework on the basis of which it could engage with external partners including Europe.

56. Building on the points made by previous speakers, Mr. Abdul Kouroma of the AUC provided updates on key issues and state of negotiations. He indicated that the intention of the consultation is to enrich the negotiations between the AU and its European partners. His presentations focused on 4 aspects:

Corruption: he noted the progress made in the fight against corruption and commended the adoption of a Declaration on Anti-Corruption in March 2007 in South Africa by the African Forum on the Fight Against Corruption;

Illicitly acquired funds and gains: Europeans partners agree in principle on the repatriation of illicitly acquired funds but there is no formal agreement on the modalities for repatriation. The same applies to the return of artifacts held in Europe, noting that there has been difficulty securing funding to carry out an inventory of the existing stocks;

Double-standards: Europeans partners have tended to be most vociferous on human rights violations in Africa but have been very silent when it concerns violations in Europe;

Migration: African migrants endure a lot of hardship making the issue of migration a very sensitive aspect of the negotiations.

Recommendations

57. In their contributions, participants noted that governance, both as a process and outcome, should be seen as permanent work in progress confronting every country. They believed that no region of the world can claim a monopoly of goodness hence the Joint Strategy should be anchored on a desire to improve and deepen governance both in Africa and Europe.

The AU-EU Strategy should emphasize need for aid inflow to Africa from Europe and its governance to be jointly managed by AUC and EUC representatives on the basis of equality and should be directed towards the African private and productive sectors in order to guarantee economic development and sustainability;

Promotion of the effectiveness of constitutionalism and popular participation in governance;

Recognition and involvement of the African Diaspora in the development agenda of the continent as it constitutes a huge resource of finance and human capital;

The Joint Strategy should emphasize Africa’s own identity, culture, values, dignity, pride, traditions and principles, as well as existing instruments and frameworks such as the African Charter for Popular Participation;

The need for the AU to reinforce its follow-up mechanisms on implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The involvement of the AU in too many agenda may invariably lead to poor follow-up;

The AU should also prioritize its engagement with other regions of the world and ensure that it does not embrace too many multi-lateral partnerships. It should also ensure that no region outside Africa can dictate the pattern and structure of such partnerships;

There is need for Africans and, in particular, the African civil society community to engage with Europe’s governance initiative for Africa in order to ensure appropriate policy decisions. In this regard, it would be useful to have a specific civil society consultation or seminar to provide policy support for the AU-EU Strategy for Africa and preparations for the Lisbon Summit. This should involve an in-depth discussion of its relevance and utility, and how the programming of the three billion euros will be done paying particular attention to the need for allocating some of this money to the AU governance agenda. In particular, there is need to avoid any notion of conditionality and to emphasize Europe support for the APRM;

Once the programming exercise are completed by the end of 2007, an evaluation meeting at the continental level involving civil society should be organized to assess its coherence and harmony with the AU governance agenda. A high-level political dialogue on the EC support to governance is a necessity. It is of paramount importance to discuss the “governance of aid.”

The key principles of EC support to governance should be fully discussed in the framework of the Joint Strategy. This calls for a real dialogue based on a real partnership;

Need to strengthen and revitalize public institutions as a key to good governance;

Participants further called on the AU and EU to use the existing youth-led developments, such as the Pan African Youth Leadership Summit and Euro-African Youth Leadership Programme, as an immediate strategy for acknowledging the role of youth in governance;

The priorities of the AU and EU on governance must be widely publicized at local, national and continental levels. A continental press corps may be established to disseminate information on this issue;

CLUSTER IV: REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND TRADE

58. This Cluster was chaired by Lucia Quachey who observed that trade and regional integration in Africa are being impeded by restrictions on movement of persons and goods, as well as lack of a common currency and infrastructural facilities, especially the trans-African Highway that has been on the drawing board for too long. She urged participants to explore how the developing AU-EU Strategy could significantly impact on Africa’s quest for accelerated regional integration and trade.

59. In his presentation, Dr. Tettei noted that the central issue on trade and regional integration for the AU-EU Strategy are the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) currently being negotiated between the various regions of Africa and Europe, which once concluded, will structure the trade relationship between the two parties for decades. He believes the EPAs will make irrelevant whatever outcomes on trade and regional integration that the leaders of Africa and Europe may adopt in November 2007.

60. He noted that while the Africa-Europe Summit is scheduled for November 2007, the various regions of Africa are being pressured to complete the EPAs by December 2007. Dr. Tettei believes this is against the avowed position of many African governments and regions, as well as objective studies conducted by the UNECA, which clearly indicate that these regions are not in a position to conclude EPAs that are beneficial to their development by December 2007. To avoid trading off Africa’s future, Dr. Tettei called on African leaders to resist the pressure to conclude the EPAs by December 2007 and to insist on the extension of the deadline by at least three years. He also urged them to use the period of extension to carry out independent assessment of the impact of the EPAs on their economies, especially the different sectors and social constituencies.

61. He expressed support for civil society organizations in both Africa and Europe who are demanding the replacement of the EPAs as currently designed and negotiated with a different Africa-Europe trade relation that is based on the principle of non-reciprocity as instituted in the Generalized System of Preferences and Special and Differential Treatment in the WTO. The envisaged trade relations with Europe must also protect ACP producers’ domestic and regional markets; exclude the pressure for trade and investment liberalization; and, be founded on respect for ACP countries’ rights to formulate and pursue their own development strategies.

62. In addition, Dr. Tettei called for the unconditional exclusion of the Singapore Issues of Investment, Competition Policy and Government Procurement from any agreement with the European Union, adding that there must not be services or intellectual property liberalization in the EPA, as they are sufficiently addressed in the WTO. He urged African leaders to reject any reciprocal removal of tariff with the European Union, while market access should be based on an enhanced GSP, which protects the current market access arrangements of African countries in the EU. He commended the position taken by African Ministers of Trade and advised that their position should be the basis for any AU-EU negotiation.

63. In his contribution, Lamine Ndiaye observed that in 2006, over 100 developing countries engaged in over 67 bilateral or regional trade negotiations, while 60 signed bilateral investment treaties. He also noted that over 250 regional and bilateral trade agreements now govern 30 percent of world trade, while an average of two bilateral investment treaties have been concluded every week in the last 10 years. Elaborating further, Ndiaye stated that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) pose a deep threat to multilateralism and the core values of the WTO, as well as contradict the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) principle, a cornerstone of the multilateral trading system. He believes FTAs create a maze of overlapping arrangements, resulting in substantial trade diversion as countries discriminate against efficient, low-cost suppliers from within the trading bloc. It further increases cost as each agreement has its own rules of origin, tariff schedules and periods of implementation.

64. Ndiaye observed that African countries are lured into entering new agreements with the expectation of increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and noted that there is no empirical evidence that this is the case. He cited the case of Brazil, which is one of the world’s largest recipients of FDI but has never ratified any bilateral investment agreement. Ndiaye noted that though African countries have so far signed over 1000 bilateral investment agreements, they have only received 4 percent of global FDI.

65. He believes regional integration is a central plank of the Cotonou Agreement and a key part of the development strategies of African countries as it promotes the pooling of resources, the expansion of markets, increased trade and investment, as well as greater diversification and value addition. He maintained that the opening of regional markets before they are consolidated will undermine rather than reinforce current regional efforts and therefore urged African leaders not to rush into signing trade treaties, adding that if AU-EU trade arrangements are to serve development, a careful assessment of their impacts must be conducted.

66. Following the presentations, various participants made comments and raised similar questions and concerns as those of the previous presenters. In particular, Hassan Sunmonu reiterated that the EPAs are a barrier to Africa’s economic integration and confirmed that the Organization of African Trade Union, which he chairs, is fully mobilized to prevent governments from signing EPAs. On his part, Mr. Pamacheche of AU Economic Department stated that unless Africa defines its roadmap on trade, it would continue to be at the mercy of Europe-driven EPAs, adding that EPA negotiations should be the reference points to regional integration, which must be aligned to the AU-EU Strategy. He however assuage the fears of participants by informing them that African Heads of State and Government have already approved the extension of the timelines for the conclusion of the EPAs.

Recommendations

67. After examination of this item, the following recommendations were made:

African States should resist the pressure by the EU to sign the EPAs by the end of December 2007 and insist that the deadline for the conclusion of the negotiation be extended by at least three years.

The AU-EU Strategy should facilitate the harmonization of Africa’s social and monetary policy without dependence on the European system;

That the period of extension should be used by African governments to conduct independent impact assessment on EPAs;

No reciprocal removal of tariffs should be accepted until the full attainment of development benchmarks and Africa must insist on its right to use tariffs, subsidies and other measures in support of industrial policy and to modify them as their economies develop;

Essential public services such as education, health, water and sanitation should be excluded from liberalization commitments, African governments must reserve to themselves the sovereign right to effectively regulate the entry of foreign investors in service sectors in the public interest;

Ensure mechanisms for extensive participation of all stakeholders in the negotiation process, with full disclosure of information to the public. In addition, the AU should catalogue all existing agreements and their ratification status;

Called on African governments to insist on their right to impose capital controls on foreign investment and performance requirements that encourage joint ventures, technology transfer and local sourcing, as well as incentives to improve labour practices and build the capacity of local investors to compete with foreign counterparts;

Include in the Joint Strategy enforceable commitments by governments to protect and promote core labour standards, as set down in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and commitments to progressively extend this to cover workers, particularly women in precarious employment, as well as address gender disparities in salaries and provide equal opportunities at work;

Exclude agricultural tariff lines from negotiations as liberalization in this regard would undermine food security and rural livelihoods;

Called for the fast-tracking of Africa’s economic integration and increase in inter-African trade, in particular, accelerated regional integration at the level of the RECs should be emphasized;

The EU should support the harmonization of the RECs as building blocs for integration;

The Consultation also called on the EU to support the development of productive capacity of the African people.

CLUSTER V: KEY DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

68. Mr. Pamacheche from the AUC opened the discussion on development by presenting an overview of key development issues considered in the on-going negotiations for AU-EU Joint Strategy. Principal amongst which are education, health, gender, youth and children, energy and water, transport, information society and media, science and technology, employment and decent work, food security and agriculture, environment and climate change, migration, aid effectiveness and debt cancellation.

69. In terms of prioritization of issues, Pamacheche indicated that there was an initial agreement on the following: MDGs, climate change and migration, as well as science and technology, noting however that Africa proposed other priority areas such as increased aid, debt cancellation, decent work, dumping of toxic waste and development of nuclear energy for development.

70. On his part, Mr. Hassan Sunmonu, chair of the Cluster, re-echoed the key points highlighted by Pamacheche and reiterated that Education is a basic right, which must be available and accessible to all. He also identified the need to develop the railways and curbing of brain drain as some other priority areas. Other issues highlighted by participants are:

That the Development Cluster was the least integrated in terms of how issues were knitted together, noting that the Cluster looks like some kind of a laundry list;

That emphasis should be on higher education and discarded the view that only primary and vocational education were good for Africa;

Identified the revival of production as being the most immediate strategy for the creation of employment;

The need for the revival of regional and national planning processes/mechanisms that will set targets and restore the social contract;

Participants also rejected the idea that Africa would be the first continent to develop through market forces;

Need for integrated transportation system both nationally and regionally, as well as a rethink of Africa’s aviation policy;

Participants also recognized that there is an interconnection between social policy and economic development, noting that the Breton Woods Institutions emphasis in the 1980s on controlling inflation and cutting down on state structures resulted in the neglect of social development. They insisted that social development must be the foundation of economic development.

Recommendations

71. After examination of this item, it was recommended as follows:

African States should resist the pressure by the EU to sign the EPAs by the end of December 2007 and insist that the deadline for the conclusion of the negotiation be extended by at least three years.

The AU-EU Strategy should facilitate the harmonization of Africa’s social and monetary policy without dependence on the European system;

The period of extension should be used by African governments to conduct independent impact assessment on EPAs;

No reciprocal removal of tariffs should be accepted until the full attainment of development benchmarks and Africa must insist on its right to use tariffs, subsidies and other measures in support of industrial policy and to modify them as their economies develop;

Essential public services such as education, health, water and sanitation should be excluded from liberalization commitments and African governments must reserve to themselves the sovereign right to effectively regulate the entry of foreign investors in service sectors in the public interest;

Ensure mechanisms for extensive participation of all stakeholders in the negotiation process, with full disclosure of information to the public. In addition, the AU should catalogue all existing agreements and their ratification status;

The Strategy should support respect for women’s rights and initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality as enshrined in the AU Protocol on women’s rights and gender equality. It should also emphasize the need to mainstream gender in all key areas of development and ensure the effective implementation of all commitments made previous on the gender issue;

African governments should insist on their right to impose capital controls on foreign investment and performance requirements that encourage joint ventures, technology transfer, and local sourcing, as well as incentives to improve labour practices;

Include enforceable commitments by governments to protect and promote core labour standards as set down in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and commitments to progressively extend this to cover workers, particularly women in precarious employment;

Exclude agricultural tariff lines from negotiations as liberalization in this regard would undermine food security and rural livelihoods;

Called for the fast tracking of Africa’s economic integration and increase in inter-African trade, in particular accelerated regional integration at the level of the RECs should be emphasized. The EU should also support the harmonization of the RECs as building blocs for integration;

The Consultation also called on the EU to support the development of productive capacity of the African people.

VI. FOLLOW-UP ISSUES AND NEXT STEP

72. At the end of deliberations, the participants agreed that the African CSOs Consultations should not be a one-off affair. There should be follow-up consultations and urged CIDO to ensure that it liaises with appropriate organs of the AU to facilitate this process in the build up to the AU-EU Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

73. The forum also agreed on a number of decisions and follow-up processes, which included the following:

That a limited number of representatives of the African civil society community should participate in the forthcoming European civil society consultation in Bonn, Germany, in April 2007. The Forum recommended that the AU, through CIDO, should facilitate the participation of these representatives;

The Forum identified CODESRIA as its anchor for this process of developing an AU-EU Joint Strategy. CODESRIA should work with CIDO to ensure and facilitate CSO input and effective participation and follow-up on the process;

There is also need for civil society organizations that can organize independent consultations to feed into this process. The AU should be invited to such consultations as well as assist facilitate the effective operationalization of its conclusions;

In addition, an AU - Civil Society Review Consultation should be held in August 2007 to provide updates and facilitate effective African participation in the inter-continental civil society consultation in September 2007;

The Forum expressed concern about certain aspects of the on-going negotiations and underlined some issues that require attention. One of these is the compressed and hurried time frame of January-November 2007. The Forum urged that the time-frame be extended to ensure effective participation and result-oriented outcome;

Concern was also expressed about the continuation of multiple processes with timelines that would precede that of the Joint Strategy and would eventually undermine it. They also noted that the European Governance Initiative for Africa has not been integrated within the context of the Joint Strategy and recommends African consultations on the process, procedure and intent to facilitate the process.

The Forum also noted that the Cluster on Key Development Issues has been constructed in a manner that would not assist Africa’s development and urged that the basket should be broken down into two or more components to reflect Africa’s priorities;

CODESRIA was assigned the responsibility of producing policy documents and issue papers to assist the African negotiation process. CSOs can also provide expert support for the process of negotiations;

A Steering Committee was also established to work with CIDO, to ensure effective follow-up on African CSOs consultations on the AU-EU Joint Strategy. The criteria for selecting members of the Committee included considerations of expertise, geographical representation, gender balance, institutional representation, youth, ECOSOCC, local African CSOs and Diaspora. CODESRIA was chosen as the lead institution to lead the committee. The full list of CSO groups in the Committee include:

North Africa: TMO
West Africa: TWN
Central Africa: ALA
East Africa: AHA
Southern Africa: IFABA
Youth Corps
CODESRIA
Gender FEMNET
ECOSOCC TUU
Diaspora

The Committee also defined its mandate as consisting of:

Interface between CIDO and African CSOs on the AU-EU joint strategy in this regard support consultative process, engagement and commitment.
Ensure dissemination of information, feedback on decisions and recommendations and follow-up.
Draft roadmap and timeframe up to Lisbon.
Working in consultation with the broader African CSOs to select candidates for attending consultative meetings.
Interface with all stakeholders involved in the consultation including European CSOs.

CLOSING CEREMONY

74. The closing session was chaired by Archbishop Ndungane who expressed profound appreciation to the African Union Commission for providing a unique opportunity for representatives of African civil society community to meet and reflect on-going AU-EU Joint Strategy for Africa.

Source: African Union secretariat.

Photo: Current AU Chairman, president John Kufuor of Ghana.

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