1st Africa-EU Summit, Cairo, Egypt, 2000
The 1st Summit took place in Cairo in 2000. It was the first meeting at the continental level between European and African leaders, where both sides expressed their commitment to come together and give a new dimension to their partnership.
The 2nd Summit took place in Lisbon in 2007 and put Africa-EU relations on a new and equal footing. The two sides agreed to move from donorship to partnership symbolised by the first ever Joint Strategy and to address together the new challenges and opportunities at the global level.
3rd Africa-EU summit, 29 – 30 November 2010 in Libya
The 3rd Summit must be the one where Africa and Europe demonstrate their ability to pool their efforts and to live up to their ambitious Lisbon commitments. Both partners need to assess progress made in the eight thematic partnerships of their Joint Strategy, translate ambitions into more tangible results and agree on the priorities of their cooperation in the years to come.
Key themes of the third Africa-EU Summit
The third Africa-EU Summit is a major political event. Taking place amongst an intense political agenda - two months after the UN MDG High level meeting in New York and a few days before the Cancun Conference on Climate Change- the Summit brings a unique opportunity to reinforce the strategic relationship between Africa and Europe.
Heads of States and Governments will focus their discussions on key thematic issues of interest for both continents and agree on concrete deliverables and flagship initiatives for the future of their partnership. Reflection is ongoing between all actors concerned to define a precise agenda, but Economic Growth and Development, Peace and Security, Millennium Development Goals and Climate Change should be at the core of the debates.
Action Plan 2011 - 2013
The third Africa-EU Summit is also expected to adopt the Second Action Plan (2011-13) of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. At the 14th Africa – EU Ministerial meeting in April 2010, ministers took note of the expectations and challenges ahead of the 3rd Africa-EU Summit in Libya and urged all actors to speed-up their implementation efforts, including on the elaboration of the Action Plan for 2011 – 2013.
In the run-up of the Summit, the right balance of ambition and realism is required. The new Action Plan will build on existing partnership roadmaps and take into account the experience and results of the past years. The initiatives comprised will have a clear regional, continental, or global added-value and will contribute to the innovative approaches of the Joint Strategy - to move the Partnership "beyond development, beyond Africa and beyond institutions".
A Draft Action Plan is expected to be presented for the next ministerial meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi in October 2010.
All partners are expected to make suggestions on the working arrangements of the eight thematic partnerships. In the drafting of the next Action Plan 2011 – 2013, both sides have also committed to looking into how adjustments can be made to improve the operational efficiency of the partnership.
A people-centered Partnership: all stakeholders are concerned
Given their role as building blocks of the African Integration, more substantial engagement of African regional and sub-regional economic communities (RECs) is crucial for the Africa-EU Partnership.
Other actors, such as parliaments, civil society, or the private sector, have also been associated to the Strategy and are welcomed to pool their efforts for its implementation. .
This inclusive approach beyond institutions will also materialise during the Summit itself. As during the previous Summit in Lisbon three years ago, a series of side-events will take place in the margins, bringing together representatives from civil society, youth, private sector, trade unions, researchers and scientists, etc. from both continents. The objective is to provide further impetus to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy as a "people-centred partnership", inviting all stakeholders to actively contribute to its implementation. It is therefore crucial that relevant actors can take part in the process, so that the political momentum created by the Summit can be collectively shared and serve as an impetus for further mobilisation all other interested players.
Several side events are already being planned:
- The Europe - Africa Business Forum will take place in November 2010, followed by a roundtable between CeO of key European and African companies and officials, allowing an in-depth exchange on political issues such as investments.
- Parliament: a European Parliament & a Pan-African Parliament delegations will meet prior to the meeting to agree on some recommendations to be made to the Summit on the future implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Partnership
- The II Africa-Europe Youth Summit organised by the European Youth Forum and the North South Centre. After a successful experience in Lisbon 2007, the Youth Summit will hold its second edition. The objective is to offer young people and youth organisations from Africa and Europe the opportunity to strengthen their dialogue and cooperation on regional and global issues and to promote their meaningful participation in the Euro-African cooperation, contributing to the further development of the Africa-EU strategic partnership.
- A workshop on higher education will take place to identify and put forward policy, regulatory and capacity building recommendations for the support of higher education and academic mobility in Africa. At this occasion, the Nyerere programme will be launched, with the objective to promote student exchanges between universities in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, as well as twinning partnerships bringing together, inter alia, European and African universities.
- Culture exhibition: a travelling African art exhibition will be launched in Sirte at the occasion of the Summit, before moving to Addis and Ouagadougou.
- GMES and Africa: GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) is the European Initiative for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation. The GMES and Africa Process, launched in December 2007 by European and African main stakeholders, aims at developing the GMES and Africa Action Plan and submitting it for adoption at the next Africa-EU Summit. Once implemented, GMES will act as an umbrella for coordinated and sustainable Earth Observation activities in Africa.
- Information Communication Technology (ICT): the third Euro-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT Research will take place in Helsinki, Finland, on December 7-8, 2010, is being organised by the EuroAfrica-ICT EU project under the aegis of the European Commission DG INFSO with the support of the Finnish Government and of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Civil Society, local authorities, Trade Unions and some other actors may also be interested to organise some meetings to feed their inputs into the Summit.