Piebalgs at AU Summit to push for more stability in view of sustainable development

EU EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will attend the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 30/31 January. Leaders will meet to discuss the theme of the summit – “Greater Unity and Integration through Shared Values”. The European Union is working in close partnership with the African Union in promoting sound governance, rule of law, human rights, gender equality and culture. He will also attend a meeting organised on the situation on Somalia chaired by Ban-Ki-Moon, and he will hold a series of bilateral meetings with key representatives of the continent to discuss political and aid issues.

Ahead of his trip, Commissioner Piebalgs said: “The focus of the African Union Summit, on greater unity and shared values, is particularly timely in the light of recent political events in the continent. I will attend the Summit to confirm of EU’s full support to the continent’s evolution towards more integration, democracy and good governance. They represent the indispensable basis on which African growth will blossom on the long run and for the benefit of all the people”. “

As part of the Africa-EU Partnership established in 2007 and reviewed in 2010, the EU cooperates actively with the African Union (AU) in its efforts to develop the emerging African Governance Architecture (AGA). The AGA comprises a set of normative and institutional instruments and bodies, such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ rights and the Pan-African Parliament as well as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

Financially, the EU is supporting the work of its African counterparts on spreading democracy and human rights by providing more than €2 billion over the period 2007-2013.

Some of the key achievements of the Africa-EU Partnership in this area include:

The EU is supporting the AU’s Electoral Assistance Fund with €1 million.

In November 2010, the Africa-EU “Platform for dialogue” on governance and human rights was launched in Brussels. By creating an open space for key stakeholders, institutions, governments and civil society it will contribute to enhancing democratic governance policies and respect for human rights on both continents.

Two Examples of EU support to democratic governance and human rights

Tanzania: After the 2007 elections, the European Commission contributed €1.4 million to a programme that has helped to improve the quality of review of the national budget in parliament as well as the scrutiny of bills by committee chairpersons. In addition, it increased dialogue between parliament and civil society. The involvement of civil society in the review of bills has increased its influence on legislation.

Sudan: The EU gave €80.000 to a project which successfully raised awareness amongst women and people living in rural areas (namely the Nuba community) in Sudan, prior to the elections of 2010. It provided education on civil rights, census, and voter’s registration. It also contributed to the empowerment of local community leaders to participate in the elections and monitor them.

Schedule of Commissioner Piebalgs

On the sidelines of the Summit, Commissioner Piebalgs will meet with Jean Ping, Chairperson of the AU Commission, and Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.

He will also have meetings with representatives from Kenya, Benin, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia.

The Summit will also provide the opportunity to meet with Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Mo Ibrahim who chairs the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

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