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How does Africa speak with one voice? Africa’s evolving positions on aid effectiveness, climate change and the post-2015 goals

Briefing Note 74

04-12-2014

Ramsamy, R., Knoll, A., Knaepen, H., Wyk, L.A. van. 2014. How does Africa speak with one voice? Africa's evolving positions on aid effectiveness, climate change and the post-2015 goals. (Briefing Note 74). Maastricht: ECDPM.

Key Highlights 

  • Africa is increasingly seeking to formulate a common African position ahead of key international events
  • Pathways to common positions are not always pre-defined and evolve depending on the needs that manifest themselves during the process. However, it is clear that in recent years, there is a consistent effort to formulate common positions ahead of key moments in the global agenda
  • Creating African Common Positions involves both technical and political input from various African actors, organisations and platforms. African negotiators often seek to form international partnerships to push their agenda forward

The Fourth EU-Africa Summit held in April 2014 highlighted the complexities of the dynamic relationship between Africa and the European Union. The Summit reasserted the principles set out in the 2007 Joint Africa-EU Strategy and further proposed a Roadmap for 2014-2017.

Specific “Priorities” were set out by the Roadmap, one of which is “Priority Area 5”; which aims to ensure that the two continents “achieve common positions in global fora and international negotiations and jointly address global challenges”.

This priority presents several key areas for cooperation, including Climate Change and the Post-2015 Agenda. In order to achieve common positions however, the two partners first formulate their respective continental positions. Therefore, to understand how Africa and Europe come to take common stance in international fora is to comprehend how they currently formulate their own continental positions. Here, we will focus on how Africa formulates its common positions on global challenges.

The capacity for Africa to develop its own stance on global issues has been exemplified in different ways over the last 5 years; there are different actors and processes involved in creating a “Common African Position” on specific issues. Three case studies can be drawn upon to show this; namely Africa’s stance on aid effectiveness at the Busan High-level forum in 2011, Africa’s emerging stance on climate change and Africa’s evolving position on the post-2015 agenda.

The cases present a mixture of African positions that have been completed and are still in progress. Some of these positions are institution-led and others are more country-led. Therefore, the diversity of approaches and strategies toward developing the common position is revealed. The focus of this document is on the processes and drivers of creating the African common position; it highlights the diversity of approaches in the formulation of a common position.

Last but not least, this is a living document that will be updated to reflect progress in the African position on these issues and to reflect on the process of formulating a common position in other areas.

Watch out for our third and fourth videos coming throughout December on Climate Change and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Download (PDF, 412KB)

You can read more on Africa’s Common Position here 

Photo courtesy of Embassy of Equatorial Guinea

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Briefing Notes (series)