No decision about us without us!

Monday, February 14, 2022


Joint African-European Civil Society Statement to All Heads of State and Government and Dignitaries attending the 6th EU-AU Summit, February 2022

Today’s efforts by the AU and EU to create an equal and fair partnership are entrenched in past colonial and postcolonial cooperation. They are challenged by structural and systemic inequalities between the two parties. The success of today’s efforts will depend upon a recognition of the past, an awareness of the present and a commitment to a mutually beneficial transformation towards the future. Building a transformed partnership will necessitate a continent-to-continent approach as well as a meaningful engagement with key actors such as civil society in all its diversity, with priority voice for the people’s organisations mandated to represent major sectors of the population.

It is highly regrettable that in the framework of their partnership, the EU and AU have failed to reach out to civil society organisations until the very last moment, underscoring the lack of inclusivity and transparency of this process. In so doing, you have excluded the voices of the millions of people who will be directly affected by the decisions you take. On the other hand you will likely prioritise the interests of the few over the well-being of the majority and you risk leaving millions even further behind.

We, African, European and diaspora CSOs, take this opportunity to express our concern that such a flawed process can but reinforce current imbalances of power and privilege. CSO participation is crucial to ensure that cooperation between the AU and EU promotes joint priorities, that flagship initiatives resonate with local realities and possible existing solutions, and that no one is left behind. As it is, the EU continues to disregard African Union priorities as set out in the Agenda 2063, cherry-picking those elements which suit it. The EU, despite its commitment to forge a people-centred partnership, does not appear to be putting people first. For its part, the AU’s policy decision-making could benefit from more inclusive and transparent dialogue with civil society and people’s organisations.

As a result of such an imbalanced partnership and of shutting out civil society, the Summit’s long-awaited outcome has insufficient emphasis on the key, systemic issues for African countries such as widespread unemployment and especially of the young people, imbalanced trade relationship, debt cancellation, food sovereignty, land- and resource-grabbing, human rights violations - including economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights - the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and vaccine and medicine inequity. 

Civil society exclusion is symptomatic of the past and the present, but there is still time to use the EU-AU Summit as a moment of transformation toward the future.



The AU-EU partnership should be based on equality, inclusivity, mutual accountability, shared values and prosperity. A partnership reset is urgently needed. To this end:

The EU and AU should work to transcend the traditional colonial and post-colonial, North-South, donor-recipient framework within which relations have thus far been established. This must entail a thorough review of systemic and structural issues which underpin the currently imbalanced AU-EU relationship - in areas such as trade relations, debt, illicit financial flows - and which exacerbate rather than improving equity of international governance. Rules governing world order must be established fairly and democratically. Respect and promotion of universal human rights must be at the heart of the EU-AU strategic partnership. The review should also address recovery post-COVID19 and joint priorities such as promoting equitable access to COVID19 vaccines, enhancing human development, promoting gender equality, tackling the climate crisis and reducing Africa’s dependency on food imports.

The EU and AU should establish clear governance mechanisms within which to reset the partnership, encompassing a broad multi-actor approach, joint decision-making via transparent and participatory processes, timely, accessible and available information, implementation, monitoring and accountability structures. This should include a meaningful, long-term engagement with African, European and Diaspora CSOs. The voices of people most affected by decisions, must be at the core of an effective and transformational AU-EU partnership. The partnership should reinforce the role of public policies and effectively regulate corporate sector influence and investment. The establishment of such governance mechanisms should start with agreement on an inclusive monitoring and accountability system regarding the outcomes of this Summit.

The AU-EU partnership should recognise and build on the diversity, knowledge and skills within the African and European continents. To this end, the AU and EU, in dialogue with civil society organisations, regional economic communities and local authorities, should draw up a clear roadmap to respect and deliver on the localisation agenda, ensuring a transfer of power and resources to local actors who are directly involved in ensuring the political, social and economic progress of a nation, while respecting the planetary boundaries. In all decisions and actions, the EU and AU must recognise and promote human rights, a people-centred approach and territorially embedded social and solidarity economies.


List of signatory organisations (the list will follow an alphabetical order):

11.11.11 - Koepel van Internationale Solidariteit (Belgium)


ACT Alliance EU

Act Church of Sweden

Act On Sahel

Action Against Hunger

Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l'Homme à Shabunda (ACADHOSHA) (DRC)

Action pour le Développement du Monde Rural (ADEMORU)

Action progressiste laïque (France)

ActionAid International

ADeD/Forum Biodiversite du Bénin

ADRA (Slovenia)

África Activa (Spain)

Africa Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT)

African Women’s Communication and Development Network FEMNET

Afrique Verte Burkina


Agir ensemble pour les droits humains

AgroMEC Bénin

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)

Alliance of NPO Networks (South Africa)


Alternatives Agroécologiques et Solidaires (SOL)

Amref Health Africa

Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz (ACPP)

Associação para a Cooperação Entre os Povos (ACEP)

Association Action pour le Sursaut de la femme Malienne - (ASFEM)


Association de Formation et d'Appui Développement (ONG AFAD)

Association de Gestion des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune de la Comoé-Léraba (AGEREF/CL)

Association Jeunesse Volontaire pour la promotion du Leadership,la Santé et le développement (AJVLS).

Association pour la promotion des énergies renouvelables

Autre terre (Belgium)

AVSI Foundation



Bloggers of Zambia (Zambia)

Botswana Council of NGOs (BOCONGO) (Botswana)

Broederlijk Delen (Belgium)

Brot fuer die Welt (Bread for the World), Germany

CAN West & Central Africa

Caritas Africa

Caritas Austria

Caritas Europa

Caritas International Belgium

Caritas Poland

Caritas Slovakia

Caritas Slovenia

Caritas Spain

Centre d'Etude et d'Expérimentations Economiques et Sociales de l'Afrique de l'Ouest - Association Internationale (CESAO-AI)


Centre for 21st century Issues (C21st) (Nigeria)

Centre national de coopération au développement (CNCD-11.11.11) (Belgium)

Centre pour l'Information Environnementale et le Développement Durable (CIEDD) (Central African Republic)

Christian Aid

Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS)

Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe)

Coalition des Alternatives Africaines Dette et Développement CAD (Mali)

Coalition for Health Research and Development (CHReaD)

Coalition Malienne pour une Gouvernance Inclusive et le Développement Durable (Mali)

Collectif des Organisations pour la Défense du Droit à l'Energie CODDAE (Niger)

CONCORD (Europe)

Conseil des ONG D'Appui au Développement (CONGAD) (Senegal)

Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité (CIDSE)

Coordination SUD

COPAC (Central Africa)

Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)

Diaspora Développement Education Migration (DIADEM) (Senegal)

Diobass Burkina

Društvo Humanitas – Center za globalno učenje in sodelovanje  / Humanitas – Centre for Global Learning and Cooperation (Slovenia)

Dynamique OSCAF (Gabon)

Ecumenical Service on Southern Africa (KASA) (Germany)

Ekvilib Institute (Slovenia)

Emergence & Développement (Morocco, Tunisia)

Enda Diapol


Enda Energie

Enda inter-arabe

Enda Lead Afrique Francophone



Entraide et Fraternité (Belgium)

Espace de Co production des Offres Populaires pour l'environnement et le développement en Afrique (Enda ECOPOP) (Senegal)

EU-CORD (Europe)


European Disability Forum (EDF) (Europe)

European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP)

Federația Organizațiilor Neguvernamentale pentru Dezvoltare – FOND (Romania)

Fédération Internationale de la Diaspora Afar (FIDA)

Fédération Léo Lagrange Bénin (FLLB)

Federation of ACAT

Fédération Togolaise des Associations de Personnes Handicapées (FETAPH) (Togo)


Finn Church Aid (FCA)

Finnish Development NGOs


Fondation Camerounaise de la Terre Vivante (FCTV)

Forum des Organisations de Producteurs Agricoles du Burundi (FOPABU)

Forum for Equitable Development (Slovenia)

Forum Social Panafricain sur les Migrations

Forum Social sénégalais (Sénégal)

Gestion Durable des Ressources Naturelles et de l’Environnement (GDRNE) (Central African Republic)

Global Focus (Denmark)

Global Responsibility (Austria)

Groupe de Recherches et d'Applications Techniques (GRAT)

Humanity & Inclusion

IBON International Europe

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)

Justice, Peace and Development Commission (SECAM)

La Coordinadora de Organizaciones para el Desarrollo (Spain)

LA PAEDD/Citoyenneté - Éducation au Développement Durable (Sénégal)

Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (LAPAS)

Light for the World


Ministère de l'Energie du Bénin

Missão sem Fronteiras (MIFRO)


Mouvement des Jeunes pour le Développement et l’Education Citoyenne (MOJEDEC)

Movimiento por la Paz –MPDL (Spain)

Nature Tropicale ONG

Nature Tropicale ONG (Benin)

Network of Peasant Organizations and Agricultural Producers in West Africa (ROPPA)

NGO Collective for Food Security and Rural Development (COSADER, Cameroun)

OCADES Caritas Burkina/SED-Dori

OCDH (Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme) (Congo)



ONG JEVEV (Jeunesse et Emplois Vert pour une Économie Verte)

Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI)

Organisation Nationale des Parents pour Handicapés Auditifs de Côte d'Ivoire (ONG ONPHA-CI)

OSF Africa, Open Society Foundations

Oxfam International

People in Need

Plan International EU Office

Plataforma Portuguesa das ONGD (Portugal)

Plateforme d'Actions pour la Sécurisation des Ménages Pastoraux (PASMEP)

Plateforme Droits de l'Homme (PDH) (France)


Power Shift Africa

Protection International

Protection International Africa

REPONGAC (Central Africa)

Réseau Climat et Développement de Djibouti ( RC&D-D)

Réseau d'Organisations des Droits Humains et d'Education Civique d'Inspiration Chrétienne (RODHECIC)


SAILD (Service d'Appui aux Initiatives Locales de Développement) (Cameroun)

SANGOCO (South Africa)

Save the Children Finland

Secrétariat Permanent des Organisations Non Gouvernementales (SPONG) (Burkina Faso)

SIRIRI o.p.s.

Slovenian Global Action (SLOGA)

Slovenska filantropija / Slovene Philanthropy (Slovenia)

Speak Up Africa



Solidarité Internationale LGBTQI

Solidarité Laïque

SOS Children Villages

Terra Nuova


VIDC Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (Austria)

WACI Health

Welthaus Diözese Graz-Seckau

Women Environmental Programme (WEP)

Women for Africa Foundation


Zavod KROG / Institute CIRCLE (Slovenia)