Today, the African Union (AU) Commission and the European Commission held the 8th College-to-College meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was hosted by the African Union Commission, under the co-chairmanship of its Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana C. Dlamini Zuma and the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.
On its part, the AU has developed a Fifty (50)-year Agenda known as 'Agenda 2063' and its First Ten (10)-Year Implementation Plan adopted at the Johannesburg Summit in June 2015 as a framework to accelerate the integration of the continent. Over the last twelve years, the European Union (EU) has grown from fifteen (15) to twenty-eight (28) Member States and has also taken steps towards greater integration through the creation of the Euro currency and the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty.
As was the case on previous occasions, the College-to-College meeting was attended by the AU New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) and was open to the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs)[I], the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
During the meeting, discussions touched upon the preparations of the next Africa-EU Summit, which is to take place in 2017 in Africa, and on cooperation between the two Commissions. Discussions were structured around the five (5) priority areas of the 2014-2017 Roadmap adopted at the Africa-EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium in 2014: (i) peace and security; (ii) democracy, good governance and human rights; (iii) human development; (iv) sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration; (v) global and emerging issues.
PEACE AND SECURITY
The Colleges reaffirmed their commitment to peace and security on both continents in conformity with the aims and principles of the United Nations Charter.
The Colleges underlined their commitment to continue to cooperate towards the operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the development of African capacities including in peace support operations (PSO) and the fight against terrorism. In particular, they welcomed the recent decision of the European Commission to contribute with EU funding to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram. The Colleges will also continue to cooperate in promoting the effective participation of women in peace building processes, peace negotiations, warning and response mechanisms, and pay particular attention to addressing the structural causes of gender inequality and marginalisation of women.
The Colleges reaffirmed the need to join efforts to mobilise other partners to ensure appropriate and sustainable financial support to peace and security in Africa, as well as to put in place efficient and sound management of this financial support.
Both institutions also noted the role of threat multipliers, such as climate change and associated extreme weather events and droughts, posing a major challenge on the need for development that may lead to situations of conflict and instability, and agreed to intensify collaboration in addressing such root causes.
In the face of the too many victims of terrorism on African soil and in Europe, the Colleges discussed how they could best contribute to combatting the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, which pose a major threat to democracy, security and stability in both Africa and Europe. Within existing programmes, they agreed to pursue work jointly to enhance technical and operational capacities.
They welcomed the continued joint consultative meetings between the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC), which contribute to finding durable solutions to conflict and crisis situations in Africa, as well as enhancing conflict prevention, mediation and capacity building for peace and security, among others.
On South Sudan, they reiterated the need to fully implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of the South Sudan as a necessary step to end the civil war and put the country on a new path of peace, security and development. On Burundi, they expressed their deep concern over the prevailing political situation, as well as the insecurity and violence persisting in the country, and welcomed the swift launch of the inclusive inter-Burundian Dialogue facilitated by President Mkapa on behalf of the EAC, supported by the AU and the United Nations. On Somalia, they condemned the terrorist attacks perpetrated against the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali civilians in the country and called for concerted efforts by the international community to assist the Somali Government to achieve its 'Vision 2016'. On Mali, they also expressed their deep concern over the security situation in the country and called for effective implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation to resolve the crisis in the northern part of the country as part of the overall effort to enhance peace and stability in the country.
The Colleges reaffirmed their determination to reject and fight against impunity, bearing in mind the need for justice, peace and stability, while also enhancing political dialogue on international criminal justice, including the issue of universal jurisdiction, in the agreed fora between them. They further endeavoured to taking all necessary measures to end all forms of violence against women, including sexual exploitation, trafficking and harmful traditional practices within their respective mandates. They further underscored the pertinence of strict zero tolerance policy on sexual abuse in all peacekeeping operations in the world and the importance that it is respected.
DEMOCRACY, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
The Colleges agreed to pursue the operationalisation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and of a strong African Human Rights System that responds to the needs and aspirations of African citizens within the existing legal instruments in the area of democracy, good governance and human rights and to the fight against corruption in all its forms and manifestations, and agreed to strengthen joint efforts in that regard.
In particular, the Colleges agreed to continue to consolidate actions with 2016 as the year of Human Rights and further stressed the need to reduce gender inequality, end violence and discrimination in all its forms and manifestations against women and girls, to enable them to play their full role in political, economic and social development in line with the AU's specific focus on the rights of women in Africa. Strengthening dialogue with civil society and promoting their active role in those areas was reemphasised as essential.
The Colleges reaffirmed their engagement to continue their cooperation to maximise the benefits of science, technology and innovation to address the challenges of eradicating poverty, addressing the root causes of illegal migration and promoting sustainable development and they welcomed the efforts of the EU towards the implementation of its EUR 1.9 billion Emergency Trust Fund in this regard as well as the launch of a dedicated programme to assist their dialogue on migration.
They welcomed the adoption of a Road Map by the Africa-EU High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation, and the launch of a jointly funded and co-owned EU-Africa Partnership on Research and Innovation on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. This initiative is in line with the agriculture and food systems' policy goals of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, as well as the relevant sectorial strategic frameworks – namely the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2014), the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Malabo Declaration for Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Prosperity.
They welcomed the contributions from European and African countries to support the advocacy and implementation of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) based on better Education Management Information System (EMIS) allowing to measure the Teacher development and the effort made on Girls Education. They also welcomed the recent announcement of the launch of a call for proposals of the Intra-Africa Mobility Scheme to promote the mobility of students and staff and contribute to the harmonisation of higher education systems in Africa.
The Colleges underlined the importance of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to ensure youth empowerment and employment by aligning TVET skills portability initiatives with ongoing work on harmonisation and quality assurance in higher education in Africa.
SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT, GROWTH AND CONTINENTAL INTEGRATION
The Colleges agreed that regional and continental integration is an engine for inclusive growth and sustainable development. In the framework of their support to the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa, building on existing regional integration processes, they welcomed the progress in the Doha Development Agenda made at the 10th WTO ministerial conference in Nairobi and the strong commitment of all WTO members to advance negotiations on the remaining Doha issues including the interest of some to identify and discuss other issues for negotiations, as agreed in the WTO Nairobi Ministerial Declaration. They will also continue to work towards the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement which will inter alia contribute to the objective of the CFTA.
In line with the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) framework and the Malabo Declaration, they reaffirmed their support regarding the ambition to triple intra-African trade in agricultural products by 2025 and to increase value-added exports to the EU. They will focus their support to CAADP Result Framework in order to reach the Malabo targets in the areas of productivity, Intra-Africa Trade and value Chain development, Climate change, Resilience and Sustainable Agriculture as well as promoting responsible private sector investment in African agriculture. They welcomed the joint report from the "Agriculture, Food Security and Food Safety" Contact Group.
The Colleges underlined their support to Africa's drive to achieve rapid and sustainable industrialisation to create decent jobs and eradicate poverty. Particular attention must be paid to ensure an active role of the youth and women in these processes. On infrastructure, they also agreed that the Programme for Infrastructure Development for Africa (PIDA) will continue to orient their strategic cooperation towards innovative solutions to facilitate and accelerate infrastructure delivery in Africa, with the aim to significantly contribute to the realisation of Agenda 2063. A number of major Pan-African infrastructure projects in the transport, energy, water, and information and communications technology sectors that could leverage large-scale investments across Africa were identified. The Colleges also welcomed the Joint Statement of the "Reference Group on Infrastructure" meeting held on 25 and 26 February 2016.
In particular, they restated that they will intensify efforts towards improving aviation and maritime safety and security. They will also continue their cooperation in the energy sector by addressing challenges related to access, sustainability and affordability of services, as well as in the water sector, by working on the strategic directions agreed to at the 2014 EU-Africa Summit to attain the Africa Water Vision by 2025, and in the ICT sector, the harmonisation and alignment of policies and regulatory frameworks, including cyber-security, safeguarding human rights and data protection.
GLOBAL AND EMERGING ISSUES
The Colleges reiterated that the EU and Africa should tackle global problems jointly such as climate change, irregular migration, environmental issues, terrorism and transnational crime as well as illicit financial flows, and that their voices will have greater impact if they communicate complementary positions.
They welcomed the adoption of the African Union's Agenda 2063 and its Ten-Year Implementation Plan and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and agreed to hold regular dialogue on their implementation, financing, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. They also agreed to cooperate with a view to adapting and improving statistical systems, sharing best practices and promoting cross-regional peer-learning.
They saluted the historic success of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (COP21) reached in December 2015 and agreed that all parties should now move to translate their intended nationally determined contributions into robust and sustainable national policies and measures. The Colleges are committed to support the implementation of contributions and look forward to cooperating on COP22 in November 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco.
They reaffirmed their willingness to continue on-going efforts to combat land degradation and desertification and its impact on livelihoods and communities through programmes such as the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative. In addition, they will also continue to collaborate on multilateral environmental agreements including those on chemicals and desertification, as well as to cooperate towards implementing the adopted agreements as well as flagship programmes on Green and Blue Economy. They will make all efforts to ensure that women and men contribute to and benefit equally from climate change policies, financing and implementation at all levels.
Furthermore, joint efforts in the monitoring of Africa's environment, including through the use of Earth observation systems for capturing environmental indicators, were reiterated. They also emphasised their commitment to collaborate towards the implementation of the African Space Policy and Strategy adopted by the AU's Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 31 January 2016.
They agreed to cooperate in the fight against wildlife trafficking and illegal exploitation and illegal trade in wild flora and fauna in Africa and in the implementation of the African Strategy on Combatting Illegal Exploitation and Illegal Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna in Africa. They took note of the recent adoption of an EU action plan against wildlife trafficking.
In order to foster bilateral technical and administrative cooperation an administrative arrangement between the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS), on the one side, and the African Union Commission, on the other side, was signed.
[I] AMU (Arab Maghreb Union); CEN-SAD (Communauté des Etats Sahélo-Sahariens); COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa); EAC (East African Community); ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States); ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States); IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority for Development); SADC (Southern African Development Community)