Monday, November 12, 2007

EU-Africa strategy and action plan: what place for civil society?

Source: EU News no. 7, October 2007 (APRODEV, CIDSE, Caritas Europa)

According to the official calendar the Joint EU-Africa strategy and the accompanying action plan should be adopted at a ministerial EU-AU Troika meeting on 31st October.

It followed intensive work on both sides to fine-tune the text of the two documents in separate and joint sessions. At mid-October, the following issues were still subject to divergence of views between the two parties:

- cultural goods, which is one of the most sensitive issues
- energy and climate change, especially concerning nuclear power development
- migration and specifically the feasibility of a new fund as proposed in the Tripoli declaration
- EPAs
- debt cancellation, also from the aspect of debt sustainability

In parallel with the finalisation of the text of the strategy, the two parties worked on the elaboration of an action plan for the first two years of implementation of the strategy and on a joint institutional architecture. The action plan will be organised around a series of 8 partnerships (namely joint action programmes) on the model of the already effective infrastructure partnership.

It seems that civil society actors are expected to play a role in most of these partnerships but their real contribution will depend on the possibilities offered for civil society participation in the implementation of usual aid instruments (EDF, ENPI, annual EU budget and in certain cases additional contributions from MS) that will form the financial arm of the strategy. No radical change is to be expected in practice at least in the next two years. Our understanding is that the existing cooperation instruments will be adapted to the strategy and that the mid-term review will be a perfect opportunity for such a revision.

The Lisbon Civil Society Forum that will take place in November is the best occasion to draft a civil society declaration. It will gather up to 400 CS actors from Europe and Africa on 15 November and is followed by a seminar on 16 and 17 November where 100 participants are expected to discuss issues more in depth. More information


Also check out the Public consultation on the EU-Africa Joint Strategy and Euforic's dossiers on Africa and civil society