The European Civil Society Steering Group

The European Civil Society Steering Group

Background

Ahead of the Africa-EU 2007 Summit in Lisbon, Civil Society Organisations in Europe came together in a view to express shared concerns and interests of CSOs in the final stages leading towards the Summit.

Following this Summit, civil society organisations from both continents were invited to participate in the implementation of the first two action plans between 2007 and 2013, by nominating focal persons for the Joint Expert Groups of each thematic partnership, by attending Joint Task Force meetings as observers and giving brief inputs at the Heads of States Summits.

Against this background, a CSO Steering Group was constituted in 2008 to foster coordination and formalisation of civil society inputs and work, in particular as regards the monitoring of the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.

Main role and objectives

The main purpose of the Steering Group is to monitor and influence the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. It pursues that objective both proactively (e.g. by requesting updates from institutions regarding the Partnership) and reactively (e.g. by responding to consultations and invitations coming from institutions). In all these undertakings, the Steering Group acts as a focal point of European Civil Society for institutional actors. Moreover, the Steering Group works closely with its African counterpart in order to exchange information, points of view etc. between the Civil Society organisations of both continents, and in order to seek joint positions to the process and implementation of the Joint Partnership.

If the objectives and role of the Steering Group are still valid today, the forms of engagement and the level of participation of civil society in the institutional architecture are in constant evolution depending on the re-shaping of the Partnership and its priorities. Making sure that civil society remains a key actor of the Partnership is therefore one of the primary tasks of the steering group in close cooperation with its African counterpart.

Membership

The membership of the Steering Group reflects the thematic diversity of the areas covered by the JAES on the one hand, and the representativeness of each member on the other hand. It is based on Terms of Reference (click here) and a List of Members (click here).

Examples of activities and achievements:

  • Together with the African Civil Society Steering Group, and with the support of the European Commission, two intercontinental Africa-EU Civil Society Fora were organized (Cairo 2010 and Brussels 2013);
  • At key moments of the Partnership, assessments of the progress were made (e.g. assessing the implementation of the 2007-2010 Action Plan, assessment of the outcome of the 2014 Africa-EU Summit);
  • Representation of the point of view of European Civil Society at official meetings (e.g. presenting the CSO Declaration at the 2014 Summit as well as the Parliamentary Pre-summit, attendance at Joint Taskforce meetings, discussing CS assessments with EU and Member States officials etc.);
  • Contributing to consultation processes (e.g. input into the 2014-2020 Pan-African Programme);
  • Providing expertise and input to Africa-EU events, e.g. Joint Annual Forum (JAF) of Stakeholders.

Contact the EU CSOs Steering Group: jaeseucso@gmail.com