Recommendations of “Civil G8” on African Partnership Forum, Moscow, October, 24-25, 2006
We, representatives of civil society organizations from African, G8 and OECD countries, call on the members of the African Partnership Forum (APF) to optimally utilize the mutual review processes of the APF to transform commitments into action that will catalyze the process of greater stability, growth and sustainable development in Africa.
We therefore urge that the following recommendations that emanated from our deliberations are given due considerations by the APF. They are as follows:
On trade and finance:
1. Ensure delivery of the additional $25 billion ODA for Africa by 2010.
2. Reach a binding timetable to extend official aid to 0.7% of GNI by the developed countries by 2010.
3. Extend debt cancellation up to 100% for 49 African indebted countries.
4. Make a clear distinction between debt cancellation and aid. “Inflated” aid should not be accounted as aid.
5. Suspend EU-ACP negotiations in the framework of European Partnership Agreements until a new timetable and a real reciprocal approach are defined between ACP and European countries.
6. APF should support initiatives for innovative financing such as the IFF, tax on air tickets and the regulation of money transfer agencies to benefit small, medium and micro-enterprises.
7. The African Group initiative within the WTO on commodity prices, promoting market regulation mechanisms (such as supply management), should be discussed, promoted and implemented through an effective dialogue within the African Partnership Forum to solve the commodity prices crisis.
We regret that both donor governments and African countries have paid insufficient attention to the issues and challenges of the agricultural sector, even though an estimated 70% of Africa’s populations rely on this for their livelihoods. As such, we recommend that development aid should support the Increase of Africa’s productive capacity, enhance mechanized farming and building the capacity of farmers, including women.
1. African countries should be provided the policy space to determine their own priorities, particularly in the area of agriculture. In this light, the demand for liberalization of the agricultural sector should cease.
2. The APF should also focus on increasing productivity of small farmers and launch market regulation mechanisms offering small farmers remunerative prices.
3. Privatization of land and water should not be forced upon Africa communities who are opposed to this.
4. Agriculture should sit at the top of the priorities of the Africa Union and donor countries. The European Development Fund could play an important role in this regard.
On infectious diseases:
Recognizing the numerous global health commitments and targets made by developed and developing countries, namely, the MDGs, UNGASS AIDS political declaration, AU Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria on universal access for the three diseases by 2010, G8, Commission for Africa and other major commitments . . . .
APF, as the main forum for information sharing and monitoring of G8 and other global policy commitments, should:
1. Ensure that its efforts related to infectious diseases give equal attention to the three major infectious diseases of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (as well as child and maternal health)
2. Be proactive in finding out when and where donor-driven policy discussions and plans are being developed regarding health (i.e. IMF missions to countries, WB-organized roundtables on development of action plans – Africa Action Plan for HIV/AIDS 2007-2001); and actively communicate this information to African CS to ensure their input and voice into these processes which ultimately affect progress towards the health of Africans
3. Ensure that donors, specifically the WB, DFID and CIDA, who are shifting to a health systems strengthening focus away from a single-disease focus, clarify what financing for “health systems development” means in the context of addressing specific outcomes related to AIDS, TB and malaria
4. Ensure that controversial issues related to HIV/AIDS, such as stigma and discrimination of PLWHA and family members of PLWHA, IDUs and sex workers be addressed proactively by APF to ensure that donors are educated on the importance and complexities of these issues
5. Work with AFP members to ensure discussions related to infectious diseases and health overall include the issue of the healthcare worker crisis and the impact of IMF inflation and deficit reduction targets on African countries’ ability to hire much needed additional healthcare workers
On Energy and Infrastructure
Africans require clean, reliable and affordable energy, driven by a focus on demand rather than supply. The APF should enable effective dialogue with civil society, assessing the power requirements of African countries with an emphasis on locally applicable and sustainable energy solutions.
Africa faces a considerable challenge in the current energy market – high oil prices impact heavily on Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Consideration needs to be taken on how Africa’s oil and gas reserves could directly benefit African energy needs.
Rural markets should be supplied by renewable resources while urban areas could be supported through clean coal/carbon capture, storage and gas technologies.
The APF should commission a report assessing private sector initiatives and how FDI and the private sector can contribute to meeting the challenges of energy poverty.
On strengthening CSO participation in the African Partnership Forum
As core stakeholders in Africa’s development agenda, civil society can play a significant role in ensuring the delivery of commitments from African, OECD and G8 countries. The roles include:
1.Joint planning and informing APF strategy for example in the areas of monitoring delivery of commitments at local, national, regional and international levels as well as ensuring an enabling international environment for implementation of G8 commitments.
2. Civil society engagement should be integrated and institutionalised within the APF process
3. A civil society preparative engagement process should be supported by APF member states to facilitate a comprehensive, coherent, strategic and focused CSO engagement.
4. A standing agenda item should be included in the APF meeting, enabling CSO feed back on deliberations
5.In integrating civil society into the APF processes, stakeholders should be involved and included in monitoring activities, expert group meetings an, recognizing the expertise within civil society
6. The African diaspora, the private sector, African CSO’s, international partners, international CSO’s, parliaments, should be recognised as part of this process.
7. Open access to information by establishing information dissemination mechanisms such as a website, availing pre-forum documents, data bases etc should be made readily available
8. On the Joint Action plan – we ask for full information and disclosure on the reasons why a joint action plan has not been possible so far and how is the APF moving forward on this issue.
9. For March 2007 a representative CSO delegation should be present at the APF meeting.
In conclusion, we believe the APF should be informed by African priorities ensuring human security for African families and communities. We as civil society organisations will avail ourselves to facilitating this through better coordination and the development of an African agenda. However, this will be made possible by the provision of available resources and by removing the language divide in the discourse on the APF.