AU/EU The 5th informal Joint Expert Group meeting of the Democratic Governance and Human Rights partnership took place on 29-30 September 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting was attended (by members of the iJEG) more than 50 participants, including African and EU Member States, African Union and European Commission representatives, AU representatives in NY, members of AU ECOSOC and EU Civil Society.
With 2012 being the AU year of Shared Values and the current changes taking place in the African continent and within the EU, the iJEG has represented an important opportunity to give a real push to the Africa-EU dialogue and cooperation in the areas of Democratic Governance and Human Rights.
The meeting was co-chaired by Egypt, Chair of the African Implementation Team, and Germany and Portugal, Co-Chairs of the EU Implementation Team. After the opening remarks made by the Co-Chairs, the iJEG discussed and consensually adopted a roadmap for 2011-2012, underlining the key activities, lead actors, financial resources and the state of play for the implementation of the Action Plan.
The roadmap identified some activities in the three priority areas of the partnership, including:
Priority 1: “Enhanced Dialogue and cooperation at the global level and in international fora”
a. Joint Platform for Dialogue on Democratic Governance and Human Rights
- Working Group on the Governance of Natural Resources, Including in Conflict and Post Conflict Situations
- Working Group on Freedom of Expression, including media
b. AU-EU Human Rights Dialogue: The next institutional dialogue will be taking place in November
c. Cooperation in International Fora: The iJEG agreed to work closely with AU and EU representations in Geneva on concerning on the convening of a workshop on fighting racism in the margins of the Human Rights Council. The meeting also agreed to enhance contacts in New York between the African and European Groups to facilitate the exchange of positions on priorities ahead of the next session of the UNGA 3rd Committee
d. Cross Partnership Dialogue: close collaboration with the Migration partnership will be sought
Priority 2: “Cooperation in the Area of Governance Initiatives”
a. Support to the African Governance Architecture (AGA), including the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Governance
b. APRM :Support to the APRM secretariat and implementation of National Plans of Actions
c. Elections: training will be organized for capacity building in the area of electoral observation
3: Strengthen Cooperation in the Area of Cultural Goods and Other Areas of Cultural Cooperation
a. Update on ongoing initiatives:
1. Finalize inventory on cooperation in the area of cultural goods
2. Art at work Visionary Africa Travelling Exhibition
b. Activities towards the implementation of agreed activities: The iJEG noted the lack of expertise to move forward activities in this area and agreed to use as a basis the working group model to ensure that the necessary technical expertise will be mobilized by both sides to ensure the timely implementation of the projects agreed upon and listed in the roadmap.
The full list of activities (DGHR implementation roadmap 2011-2012) is annexed to the iJEG report and will be available on the joint website.These activities demonstrate progress made in this partnership on issues that are politically important and have been considered in the past as being difficult issues to be addressed in an Africa-EU forum.
The next iJEG meeting will take place in Geneva to ensure better synergies with the Africa- EU cooperation in international fora. Date and place will be communicated in due course.
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