Constitutive meeting of the Africa-EU Platform for Dialogue on Governance Issues

AU On the occasion of the launch of the Africa-EU platform for Dialogue on Governance Issues H.E. Emile Ognimba, Director for Political Affairs at the African Union Commission, made the following statement:

“Distinguished Members of the European Union Delegation
Distinguished Members of the African Union Delegation
Ladies and Gentlemen

I feel highly honoured and privileged to be here with you today and to have the opportunity to deliver this statement at the opening of this Constitutive Meeting of the Africa-EU Platform on Governance Issues.

At the outset, on behalf of the African Union Commission and my personal behalf, I would like to express our profound appreciation to the European Union for organizing this meeting and we are grateful for the hospitality demonstrated and the warm welcome accorded to the African Delegation. Once again, I wish to take this opportunity to extend warm fraternal greetings to you all.

In view of the significance of this meeting, I am pleased to announce that the African Union is represented by representatives of African Implementation Team of the Africa-EU partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights, the African Union Commission, Representative of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), Representatives of the African CSOs, and the African Union Permanent Missions in Brussels.

This meeting is a follow up to our previous meeting which was held in Addis Ababa on 13-14 September 2010 aiming at reviewing and finalizing the basic document for the establishment of the Joint Platform of Dialogue on Governance Issues. Also, this meeting comes after a very successful Informal Joint Expert Group (IJEG) meeting on the Africa-EU Partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights, in which many agreements were reached and many decisions to enrich and enhance our continent-to-continent dialogue were made.

Also, it is important to highlight the participation of the European and African CSOs in this process. The participation of the African CSOs is a clear indication that the African Union is a people-centered institution and ECOSOCC, the Parliament African CSOs, is an organ of the Union intends to provide advisory opinions and support the work of the AUC for a unite and prosperous Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Governance and human rights occupy a central position in the new policy framework of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership. The first Action Plan 2008-2010 includes priority actions geared at enhancing dialogue at various levels and the Partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights is expected to “enable a comprehensive continent-to-continent dialogue and cooperation” on a wide range of governance issues.

Over the last two years, both parties have tabled their ideas on the proposed Platform and the Workshop held in Addis on 13-14 September addressed the gaps and brought us together to agree on the content, format and modalities of the Platform, in view of developing a consolidated joint Africa/EU approach.

The Platform is an innovative mechanism for dialogue within the overall JAES dealing with democratic governance and human rights. It is anticipated to be an open and inclusive space for thematic discussions on governance issues of common concern with a view to formulate shared governance agendas and recommendations that can feed the political dialogue between the two continents, to enhance the Africa-EU partnership and to strengthen governance on both continents.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This year will also see the holding of the Africa-EU Summit on 29-30 November 2010 in Libya, which will discuss the future of the joint partnership, identifies priorities in the area of Democratic Governance, Human Rights and other key development issues. Consequently, it is appropriate that this meeting is taking place before the said summit and after the 4th Informal Joint Experts Group (IJEG).  This meeting contributes in no small way to the implementation of the commitments made in the Joint Strategy and enhances and strengthens our partnership and I believe the time has come to pave way for the launching of the Africa-EU Platform on Governance Issues and constitute the modalities of its implementation

Once again, I would like on behalf of the African Union Commission to express our appreciation to the European Union for taking the initiative to organize this very important meeting, and invite you to contribute your ideas and suggestions on how we can move forward together and make this forum a success.”

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