Africa 2016 regional meeting of the EU Policy Forum on Development

The EU Policy Forum on Development (PFD), the structured dialogue between the European Commission and CSOs and local authorities working on development, organised its regional Africa meeting in Dakar on 3-4 October 2016. A trade union delegation attended the event.

The trade union delegation to the Africa PFD meeting in Dakar was formed by Adrien Akouete (Deputy General Secretary, ITUC Africa), Alex Nkosi (ATUDN/ITUC Africa) Caroline Khamati Mugalla (EATUC), Tendai Kamanza (SATUCC), Anne Cécile Coly (UNSAS, Senegal) and Joan Lanfranco (TUDCN-ITUC, PFD Task Team member).

The meeting started introducing the PFD’s structure, work, past events and publications including the PFD Task Team joint position on the relevance of multi-stakeholder approaches to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the PFD reports on national strategies supporting the implementation of Agenda 2030 in the Netherlands and Indonesia, to which trade unions contributed. This was followed by a working session on how African CSOs and LAs can collectively influence the new global development agenda through high-level upcoming events: the HLM2 of the GPEDC, Habitat III and the COP22 Low Emissions Solutions Conference.

A session on enabling environment for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda served to share stakeholders’ perspectives on Africa’s role and experience in the implementation of the SDGs. The trade union delegation shared their experience with decent work and social dialogue as a means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda, as a vehicle for stability, resilience, and social and economic progress. Alex Nkosi also denounced how tax dodging, tax evasion and illicit financial flows prevent African countries to finance their development priorities. It was also noted by participants that the very concept of enabling environment has a different meaning for CSOs, LAs and the private sector.

Participants discussed in working groups the factors that facilitate or prevent the implementation of 2030 Agenda at national level. As factors facilitating factors, groups agreed on the opportunities the SDGs offer to CSOs to access to policy-making, and how CSOs can provide useful experience and data to governments. Given that indicators can be developed at regional level, there is still a chance to shape the agenda, as well as to harmonise the 2030 Agenda with the African Union 2063 Vision.

Day 2 started with a panel discussion with the European Commission and diverse stakeholders on the main elements that will define the future relationship between Africa and the EU, notably in the wake of the revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement after 2020. Anne Cécile Coly, from the Union nationale des syndicats autonomes du Sénégal (UNSAS), outlined the trade union priorities for the next framework, namely the recognition of decent work and the value of social dialogue and civil society participation in the new framework. Anne Cécile highlighted the challenge of informal work and its consequences in terms of inequalities and lack of social protection for workers and their families. Read her full intervention here (in French). This session was followed by working groups that discussed ways to improve the cooperation between Africa and the EU.

A last session was devoted to the very salient issue of fragility and migration, which is high on both the EU and Africa’s agenda. This session focused on examples to address fragility, resilience, peace-making and migration. Trade unions once again reiterated the value of decent work and social dialogue as tools to improve livelihoods and regional development, and stressed that a higher role of the private sector in development must be matched with higher responsibility to observe basic labour and human rights. Caroline Khamati Mugalla shared that in Eastern Africa, diaspora remittances currently exceed ODA, which calls for a greater voice of migrants in development issues.

Read the Africa PFD official report and recommendations and concuclusions.

The PFD Africa meeting was followed by a gathering of the PFD Task Team, which discussed the Forum’s upcoming meetings in 2017. The next Global PFD meeting will take place in Brussels on 22-23 March 2017, and two big policy areas are on the draft agenda: 1. migration, employment and youth, and 2. crisis, fragility and resilience. The European Commission will also organise a Partnership Forum in May/June 2017, to showcase the different partnership initiatives between the EU and CSOs and LAs.

For more information on trade unions and the Policy Forum on Development, contact Joan Lanfranco, [email protected].