Civil Society

The involvement of the civil society in the various stages of the Africa-EU dialogue is of utmost importance and has been always a significant part of the relationship.

The role of the civil society in the dialogue and in the Joint Strategy
The consultations towards a Joint Strategy
Positions of CSOs on the Joint Strategy
The Civil Society Steering Group for the Joint Africa-EU Strategy
The African Civil Society
Civil Society Events on the Joint Strategy

The role of the civil society in the dialogue and in the Joint Strategy
Already during the preparation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and its Action Plan Civil Society Organisations have expressed their interests in being fully involved in the implementation and monitoring of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. There are different entry points stipulated in the Joint Strategy.

Read more about the different stages and entry points of civil society involvement

The consultations towards a Joint Strategy
The European Union and the African Union have in the past years strengthened their relations and participated in a structured dialogue since the first EU-African Summit in Cairo in 2000. Africa is a priority of the European Union as stated in the EU strategy for Africa adopted in December 2005 by the European Council.

Read more about the consultation towards the Joint Strategy and ECDPM’s role


Positions of CSOs on the Joint Strategy
Civil Society Organisation (CSO), from Africa and Europe, have extensively commented on the Joint Africa-EU Strategy before its approval to influence the drafting process. This page links to position papers and extensive comments on the Joint Africa-EU Strategy before its approval at the Lisbon Summit 2007. Those were submitted to the public consultation by organisations.

Africa-EU civil society forum adopts position on the Joint Africa-EU Strategy ahead of summit


The Civil Society Steering Group for the Joint Africa-EU Strategy
CSOs have strongly expressed their willingness to become actively involved in the Action Plan implementation. An Interim Steering Group for the Joint Africa-EU Strategy has been established that brings together members from a broad array of non-state sectors and networks. They have identified one contact person per partnership and submitted a detailed proposal on both a methodology for the mapping of existing CSO networks in Europe and Africa, and on their participation in the EU Implementation Teams and the future Joint Experts Groups. The issue of funding their active participation has also been raised and should be addressed. Meetings between Steering Group and the Africa Working Group are foreseen for the near future, as well as with the AU CSO Steering Committee, to discuss how CSOs can best contribute to the implementation and the monitoring of the Action Plan. Major European and African research institutes and think-tanks also created a Europe-Africa Policy Research Network (EARN), with the aim, inter alia, to strengthen cooperation and to provide independent policy analysis and advice on issues relevant to the Joint Strategy and Action Plan.

During the 12th Ministerial troika, the non-State actors, and in particular the civil society were encouraged to participate actively in the Lisbon agenda, while the Joint Expert Groups (JEGs) were encouraged to associate civil society in their respective work and facilitate their effective participation. Given that the civil society representatives had started to participate in the first JEGs, the Civil Society representatives and JEG co-Chairs were invited to speedily set up effective dialogue and cooperation mechanisms between them, and to ensure that at least one representative from each side participates in each of the JEGs.

Likewise, the Joint Task Force meeting held on 17 – 18 March also welcomed progress made in the participation of African and European civil society in the eight thematic partnerships, and gave similar recommendations on quick involvement in the work of the JEGs in line with the institutional architecture agreed in Lisbon.

Civil Society representatives were invited to the 2nd IJEG for a more detailed discussion on modalities for their involvement. In respect of CSO representation at JEG meetings, the African side suggested to initiate work for developing guidelines for the participation of CSO representatives in the various JEGs. An harmonized and consistent approach for all partnerships and in line with the principles and provisions of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership, will have to be followed. At the IJEG meeting in Cairo, Participation of civil society and international organisations will be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the agenda of the meeting, and on the question whether these organisations can provide an added value to the discussion.

Civil society involvement in the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) has been encouraged. It was decided at the JTF meeting that the Energy Partnership Forum should comprise three independent components: private sector, research institutions and civil society.

The African Civil Society
Read more

Civil Society Events on the Joint Strategy

3-5/03/2008 CSO Consultation on the Implementation Phase of Africa-EU Strategic Partnership by the AUC, Bamako (Mali, Bamako)

10/03/2008 Seminar on Civil Society Involvement in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy implementation and monitoring in Brussels (Belgium, Brussels)

• 8-10 November 2010 First Africa–EU Civil Society Intercontinental Dialogue Forum (Cairo, Egypt) Access the Declaration and further information here
Access the meeting report here

• 10 May 2011: Joint CSO Steering Group Meeting (Brussels, Belgium) Access the notes of the meeting here


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