Key messages from Civil Society representatives on the future Joint Africa-EU Strategy

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    As the final step of the first phase of the public consultation, ECDPM organised a Conference on Civil Society and the Joint EU-Africa Strategy in cooperation with VENRO, the Association of German development NGOs. The Conference, which was held on 23 and 24 April 2007 in Bad Honnef, was attended by 104 participants and built on the topics raised in the internet consultation as well as in the institutional negotiations. It allowed African and European Civil Society actors to formulate expectations vis-à-vis the EU and the AU regarding the contents of the EU-Africa Joint Strategy and their role in it. Key messages and recommendations were identified and communicated to the official negotiators.

    Global fora and existing thematic networks must be used to inform and disseminate relevant information and discuss the process, progress and objectives of the Joint Strategy. There is a need to map open, decentralised and autonomous civil society initiatives concerning the Joint Strategy. Taking a sector-based approach may be more manageable in this context. Although an appropriate space is needed for African, European and joint Euro-African civil society discussions, meetings with officials remain of vital importance. Concerning the monitoring work, using scheduled events and active networks would be useful. Finally, the African caucus met after the formal closing of the Conference in order to discuss possibilities for cooperation, coordination and follow-up.

    Two key messages emerging from the conference. There is a need to move from consultation to involvement and civil society will not endorsing a strategy that they do not know


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