AU website. Today’s College to College meeting between the African Union Commission and the European Commission, the fourth of its kind, is taking place at a critical moment, just a few months before the third Africa-EU Summit and amidst an intense international agenda. The strong partnership between the two Commissions is instrumental to providing further impetus to the preparations for the next Africa-EU Summit and to the implementation of its outcomes which will undoubtedly contribute to shaping the future of Africa-EU relations.
During this meeting, we shared experiences, learnt from each other and exchanged views on the policy setting agenda of the two institutions. We also discussed how best to implement the Africa/EU Joint Strategy and its Plan of Action and how to address the common contemporary challenges facing the two Commissions.
Our discussions have further fostered operational links, stimulated joint strategic thinking and enabled us to explore synergies between our respective priority actions. The discussion also provided us with the opportunity to define common positions on issues of mutual concern in the international arena, as well as to further consolidate our already successful political, technical and administrative cooperation.
The participation of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in this College-to-College meeting is a crucial step towards giving additional impetus to, and enhancing our partnerships, particularly in relation to the Africa-EU Partnerships on Trade, Regional Integration and Infrastructure and on Peace and Security.
The linkages between our two institutions have continued to grow stronger and assumed unprecedented importance within the framework of our evolving partnership. Our interactions today were characterised by consensus on our shared vision, values and mutual interest.
In this respect we have agreed to the following:
– We will maintain and strengthen our efforts to improve the global management of crises and to address long-term threats to stability, peace and security in Africa, Europe and world-wide. We recognise that transnational threats – such as terrorism, trafficking of human beings (especially women and children), the destabilising effects of illegal trafficking of firearms, drugs and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) materials, and maritime piracy – demand enhanced regional and international cooperation. The partnership on Peace and Security is the appropriate framework for an enhanced cooperation and will be used to make our influence felt. We recognise and welcome Africa’s efforts to establish and strengthen the Peace and Security Architecture and appreciate the EU’s readiness to continue support to all its components. A roadmap jointly elaborated by AUC and RECs/Regional Mechanisms will pave the way for more progress in the next years, as the basis for coherent and comprehensive EU financial support for its implementation.
– We will enhance the Africa-EU political dialogue and cooperation on governance and human rights. This is of utmost importance as the implementation of the Joint Strategy will lack political substance and remain piecemeal without solid perspectives in this area. The progressive establishment of the African Governance Architecture and the AU Summit in January 2011 under the theme of Shared Values provide an excellent opportunity to deepen our dialogue and extend our cooperation in areas ranging from democratic governance and state-building to human rights and peace-building processes. In this respect, the two Commissions have decided to:
- support initiatives by the AUC in enhancing its capacity in governance, conflict prevention and –response, including humanitarian assistance, state building and post conflict reconstruction and development;
- work within established partnership frameworks and mechanisms to support the AU in the facilitation and implementation of the January 2011 AU Ordinary Summit whose theme is Shared Values.
- further our dialogue on Human Rights and Governance on priorities identified by the Joint Platform and ongoing Human Rights Dialogue, with a specific and added focus on the rights of the most vulnerable, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Refugees, Returnees, and Persons with Disabilities.
– We re-affirm our strong commitment to regional and continental integration. We also agreed that regional economic integration must play its full role as one of the boosters Africa needs to accelerate sustainable growth and lift its people out of poverty. In this context, we stressed the need for the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) under negotiation to be supportive of regional and continental integration. We also agreed to explore ways and means of working towards the establishment of an appropriate mechanism on Regional Economic Integration that would allow regular, in-depth discussions between all interested parties and provide leadership and guidance to this Partnership.
– We acknowledge the critical importance of regional and continental infrastructure within the African development agenda and of the necessity to improve the effectiveness and visibility of the Africa-EU Partnership on Trade, Regional Integration and Infrastructure. We also reaffirm the need to strengthen our relations in the implementation of the Partnership on Infrastructure and reinforce coherence with national, regional and continental programs. In this respect, we reiterate our commitment and support to:
- Strengthening institutional coordination structures between African stakeholders and defining and implementing a comprehensive institutional Capacity Building Programme, the Programme on Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA);
- The appointment of coordinators for major infrastructure pilot projects;
- The Port Moresby 10 Million Euros agreement.
– We take note of the progress made towards the 12th replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF) and welcome its strategic selectivity focusing on infrastructure, governance, fragile states and regional integration. Whilst recognising the challenging financial situation facing many Donor countries, we hope this process will be concluded positively and succesfully.
– We will develop a bilateral cooperation in the field of raw materials and work together, taking fully into account the Africa Mining Vision of February 2009 and the EU Raw Materials Initiative of December 2008, to the elaboration of further progress and initiatives, in particular on issues such as governance, infrastructure and investment and geological knowledge and skills.
– We will work together for the swift adoption of a joint AU-EU political statement on the MDGs in view of the UN High Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs in September 2010 and beyond. Furthermore, as the AU and the EU have placed food security high on their developmental agendas, we will intensify our cooperation within the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). We will also explore new areas of cooperation in agriculture, such as geographical indications, organic farming, and strengthen farmers organisations in order to exchange best practice and to reinforce local capacity to elaborate effective agricultural policy framework. We recognise the EU’s commitment to achieving the international goal of halving the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015, notably via the support to Africa national and regional CAADP compacts. Special attention will be given to ensure effective participation of farmers and farmer organisations. We will also cooperate to accelerate the implementation of the African Land Policy Guidelines. We welcome the progress to improve the overall approach for food safety in Africa and to foster the harmonization of sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) frameworks throughout the continent, under the Better Training for Safer Food (BTFS) Africa programme. We will pursue efforts to ensure the implementation of the referential on food hygiene inspections, and strengthen cooperation on emerging issues.
– We will work together in the field of health on key challenges, including the access to essential medicines, sexual and reproductive health and rights, maternal and child health, social protection, and promote a comprehensive and integrated approach to all MDGs in the implementation of all requirements within the framework of the MDG Partnership. In the area of gender equality, we will initiate work towards a medium-term strategy of cooperation. In the field of education, we will pursue efforts to ensure the achievement of MDG 2 on universal primary education and to enhance the participation of African students in programmes such as Erasmus Mundus or Mwalimu Nyerere which will be launched at the next Africa-EU Summit 2010. We will also seek to better incorporate the cultural dimension in our cooperation framework.
– We will work together to implement the action plan of the Second Decade of Education in Africa in the sectors of Teacher development and the tertiary level education. We will enhance the establishment of the Pan-African University to revitalize the African universities, to facilitate the African students’ mobility and to attract the African scholars from abroad.
– We recognized the importance of statistics in the integration process and the Monitoring of the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We further recognized the need to strengthen the African Union Commission’s capacity in the area of statistics and consequently welcomed the existing and mutually satisfactory cooperation ties between the African Union Commission and EUROSTAT and are resolved to step up common action in this field, notably to:
- Exchange of staff between the African Union Commission and EUROSTAT;
- To strengthen the statistics capacity of the African Union Commission as well as the implementation of the African Charter on Statistics and the African strategy for statistics harmonization.
– We will strengthen our cooperation in the field of energy in order to: (i) promote access to modern and sustainable energy services, hereby contributing to reaching the MDGs; (ii) improve energy security through increases in the capacity of cross border electricity interconnections, both within Africa and between Africa and Europe, iii) increase the use of natural gas in Africa, as well as of gas exports from Africa to Europe; and (iv) increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency in Africa, starting with the electricity sector. We will also strengthen our cooperation with the aim to reduce gas flaring and venting in Africa, to promote the efficient local utilisation of currently flared gas, and to support transparency in the extractive industries. This will be done through international initiatives such as the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
– We will pursue a strong and open dialogue on climate policy in order to build a common EU-Africa consensus for a legally binding agreement under the UNFCCC. We recognise the steps taken by Africa to develop a common position on Climate Change which could be further consolidated through the ongoing African Conferences ahead of Cancùn. Such Conferences will offer opportunities to discuss cooperation on climate change and to deepen dialogue on issues emerging from Copenhagen. We note that the EU is currently working on the implementation of the fast-start component of the Copenhagen Accord with focus on Africa which takes into account the African Group’s proposals presented in Copenhagen. All these efforts will be linked to relevant international initiatives such as the High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing. Joint cooperation on environmental challenges comprises initiatives such as the Global Climate Change Alliance, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative as well as the Clim-Dev Africa Program. These will be pursued, together with the African initiatives on disaster risk reduction and environmental monitoring such as the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Pool and Risk Reduction, as well as AMESD (African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development).
– We will continue our fruitful cooperation on migration, mobility and employment. Existing priorities, such as further involving diasporas in Africa’s development, favouring cheaper, faster and more secure remittances, supporting employment and decent work with a special focus on social protection, fighting trafficking in human beings and preventing the smuggling of migrants within the framework of the Joint EU-Africa Declaration on Migration and Development (Tripoli Declaration); the Continental Policy Framework on Migration and the Ouagadougou Plan of Action on human trafficking, should continue to serve as a basis for EU-Africa cooperation in this area. In this regard, the two Commissions have entered into an agreement on a 3 Million Euro Project to support the Africa-EU Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment. Tertiary level education and mobility, including the proposed WHO Code of ethical recruitment of health workers, should become a more preeminent part of the partnership, in particular in relation to the African brain drain challenge. In addition, taking into account the great number of refugees in Africa and their often precarious situation, more attention should be given to addressing refugee protection issues. Both Commissions welcome the convening of the 1st Steering Committee Meeting of the African Remittances Institute project comprising of the representatives of the AUC, EC, World Bank, IOM and African Development Bank (AfDB) in Brussels from 10 to 11 June to mark the beginning of the implementation of the Project, which will be instrumental to ensure that remittances can better serve the development of receiving countries.
– We will pursue the timely implementation of Science, Information Society and Space initiatives approved under the 2008-2010 Action Plan. This is particularly relevant in the area of Science, where the launch of a call under the African Research Grants initiative will start to provide the AUC with the requisite experience and management capacity to design a multi-annual African Research Framework. We will also support the proposal accepted by AMCOST IV for a High-Level AU-EU science policy dialogue. We will promote the African Science, Technology and Innovation(STI) Incubators network for the commercialization of STI and contribute to the industrialization of Africa. The development in the implementation of Africa STI observatory is recognized and this partnership should support this African initiative.
– In the field of Information Society, we aim to foster bilateral cooperation by exploiting synergies between the European Digital Agenda which has recently been adopted as the first flagship initiative of the “EU 2020” Strategy and the results of the last AU Summit focused on ICT for African development and the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE). We will continue to address all ICT-related issues in a comprehensive and integrated way, from infrastructure deployment to promoting the use of e-applications. Further we underscore and acknowledge the achievement made so far in the implementation of the project under information society and the need to expedite the African virtual campus project. In the field of Space, We agreed to deploy all necessary efforts to define and finalize the GMES-Africa Action Plan for approval by the next AU-EU Summit in November 2010 and to implement the African geodetic reference framework (AFREF), as a foundation for space applications and investigate together the establishment of the African Space Agency.. We intend in particular to set up an AUC-EC policy dialogue addressing all ICT-related issues in a comprehensive and integrated way, from infrastructure deployment to promoting the use of e-applications. In the field of Space, we agreed to deploy all necessary efforts to define and finalize the GMES-Africa Action Plan for approval by the next AU-EU Summit in November 2010.
– We will foster our bilateral technical and administrative cooperation, including twinning and exchange arrangements between our services and through a new Memorandum of Understanding on administrative cooperation. This MoU builds on its predecessor of 2006 and confirms our shared commitment to strengthen our institutional ties. The main objective is to promote the sharing of experience and best practice in various areas including policy analysis and strategic planning, budgeting, auditing, contract and finance, conference management and services as well as human resources management. Cooperation in the field of multilingualism and communication will also be reinforced through new initiatives, and the European Commission will share sharing with the AUC expertise and technical assistance related to the common recruitment service for the EU Institutions.
We agree to further strengthen our collaboration to make the third Africa-EU Summit a success. We remain determined to deliver tangible results within the framework of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership and on the basis of equality, mutual respect and benefit, and encourage all other stakeholders to share our efforts. Africa and Europe need to work together to address continental and global challenges. We also have to seize new opportunities to shape globalization that will benefit all and to establish an effective and credible alliance that enables both continents to make their voice heard in the international arena.
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