“No decision about us without us!” – Joint African-European CS statement ahead of the 6th AU-EU Summit
Ahead of the AU-EU Summit on 17 and 18 February 2022, ACT Alliance EU joined more than 200 hundred Civil society organisations (CSOs) from Africa and Europe in signing a Joint Declaration urging governments and institutions to build a new AU-EU partnership based on equality, inclusivity, mutual accountability, shared values and prosperity.
Despite a two-year delay, and regular urging from CSOs to be a part of the planning process for the Summit, civil society has been largely shut out from having any real influence on the Summit outcomes. This has caused a disconnect between the institutions that are organising the Summit and the people who will be impacted by the decisions they make. If the EU is committed to creating a collaborative, equal and sustainable partnership, each of its institutions and services, without exception, must reach out to civil society and listen to its recommendations before, during and after the Summit.
The Declaration points out the need to establish clear governance mechanisms to reset the partnership, through a broad multi-actor approach, joint decision-making, transparent and participatory processes, implementation, monitoring and accountability structures.
A people-centred approach – focusing on human development and human rights – prioritises the well-being of the majority over the interests of the few. It recognises and builds on the diversity, knowledge and skills within the African and European continents. CSOs and regional organisations are key to ensuring that initiatives and policies resonate with local realities. Therefore, for all decisions and actions, the EU and AU must recognise a people-centred approach to promote human welfare.