Strengthening the capacity of the AU Commission in the field of good governance
Title: Strengthening the capacity of the AU Commission in the field of good governance
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Commission of the African Union (located in Ethiopia)
Lead executing agency: Commission of the African Union
Overall term: 2006 to 2013
The AU Commission (AUC) plays an important role in achieving Africa’s governance objectives. Particularly important in this respect are the Departments of Political Affairs (DPA) and Social Affairs (DSA). In the AUC Strategic Plan (2009–2012), activities that support good governance among the AU Member States are titled ‘shared values’.
The DPA, as lead department, and the DSA play a coordinating role. Their wide-ranging tasks include establishing common standards of governance. They do this using legal instruments, such as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. The departments are responsible for drafting instruments such as this, and securing their adoption and ratification by Member States.
The capacity of the Departments of Political Affairs and Social Affairs to raise standards of democracy, elections and human rights in the AU member states has increased.
With advisory services and organisational development, the programme is helping to strengthen the DPA and DSA institutionally. It also promotes processes-oriented strategic planning and budgeting activities. The programme’s activities are mainly concentrated in the following areas:
- Ratification, proliferation and implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance
- Support for capacity building at the Electoral Unit of the AUC to help improve electoral processes in Africa, including reforms of national electoral management bodies
- Setting standards for the elimination of harmful traditional practices, including female genital mutilation, as an aspect of the AUC’s work to promote women’s rights in a multi-faceted human rights agenda.
The programme promotes capacity development at the DPA and DSA, in particular through the work of experts seconded from AU member states to the AUC, and it supports the International Conference on the Elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices. This includes the provision of financing, materials and equipment, and assistance with the integration of the Commission into international networks.
Results achieved so far
The second African Governance Report, which was produced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in cooperation with the DPA, was an early achievement for the programme. Since then, some core processes of the AUC in the field of governance have been initiated. These include the elaboration of the African Governance Architecture and the promotion of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. This was followed by the development of cooperation with key stakeholders, such as Africa’s regional economic communities and representatives of the member states.