A Renewed Partnership: The AU-EU Summit and the Civil Society and Local Authorities Forums at the Africa-Europe Week
Last month, the heads of state and government of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) attended the sixth AU-EU summit to strengthen their partnership through increased solidarity, security, peace, and development for the citizens of the two Unions. Among others, the outputs of the summit included an agreement for a 150 billion Euro investment package along with improved access and fair distribution of vaccines for all.
Ahead of the summit, the first Africa-Europe Week was launched by the European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen. Objective of this novel forum is to strengthen people-to-people relations by reinforcing linkages among youth, culture, civil society, local authorities, and businesses. The aim of the involvement of non-state actors is to add perspectives of civil society and local governments to the agenda of the AU-EU summit.
Two interactive Civil Society and Local Authorities Forums were part of the Africa-Europe week. During these forums, civil society organisations and local authorities discussed ways forward towards “Participatory and transparent governance: A people-centred approach” for the African-European partnership. Representatives of two partner organisations of DeLoG participated in the forums. Speakers from United Cities and Local Governments Africa (UCLG Africa) and Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) contributed to the session “Delivering on the AU-EU partnership: local government’s role”. The speakers shared their experiences on good practice in partnerships with an emphasis on why localisation and decentralisation are central to the achievement of the ambitious AU-EU summit aspirations.