2019 AU Summit: CSOs hold African leaders accountable on African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance

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Ahead of the 2019 African Union Summit, African civic organisations working on the project: “Mobilising Civil Society Support for Implementation of the African Governance Architecture,” will between February 1-2, host a pre-summit event, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia targeted at holding African Heads of State and Governments accountable for the slow implementation, ratification and reporting on the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

African leaders at the 29th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
African leaders at the 29th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The two-day event, which will bring together policymakers, governance activists, civil society organisations (CSOs) and democracy stakeholders to dialogue and understand the low-level implementation of the ACDEG in Africa, is holding ahead of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union, themed: “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa”.

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The pre-summit event will also be focused on the nexus between migration and good governance as well as developing key messages and recommendations for the Heads of State and Governments and other stakeholders on how to advance the implementation process of the ACDEG.

The AU adopted the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) during the 8th Ordinary Session of the Assembly in 2007; in which shared African values on good governance, democracy, including rule of law, respect for fundamental human rights and the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections, are deeply enshrined.

Nonetheless, over a decade after the adoption of the ACDEG, only 33 out of 55 African Union member states have signed and ratified the charter, while 20 others had signed but not ratified the charter. Also, among the 33 countries that had signed and ratified the ACDEG, many are falling short in terms of implementation and reporting on the ACDEG, with only one country, Togo, having reported to date.

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The two-day event will therefore assess the status of governance in Africa and develop strategies on engaging the Heads of States and various stakeholders to fast-track the ratification, implementation and reporting on the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG). The AU pre-summit event will also host officials from the European Union and AU Commission, experts in governance and development in Africa and partners from CIVICUS, Oxfam, as well as women and youth groups across Africa.

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The civic organisations collaborating in the project include ActionAid in Denmark, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, as well as the West African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (WACSOF), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), and the East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF).

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