Why AGA

WHY AGA

The African Governance Architecture (AGA) is inspired by the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) that expresses the AU’s determination to ‘promote and protect human and people’s rights, consolidate democratic institutions and culture and ensure good governance and the rule of law’. The principle objective is implementation of AU Shared Values and in particular the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

Mandate of AGA

The African Governance Architecture (AGA) is inspired by the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) that expresses the AU’s determination to ‘promote and protect human and people’s rights, consolidate democratic institutions and culture and ensure good governance and the rule of law’. This determination is buttressed by related objectives and principles contained in Article 3(g and h) and Article 4(m) of the Act on the promotion, protection and respect for human rights, democratic principles and institutions, and good governance. These ideals are further reinforced by norms, pronouncements, decisions and instruments adopted by the AU in particular the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

The mandate of AGA stems from the Decision of the 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government (AU/Dec.304 (XV) held in July 2010 which recalled the decision adopted by the 16th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU and endorsed by the 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government to dedicate the theme of the 16th Ordinary Session of the African Assembly to the Shared Values of the AU, that was held in Addis Ababa in 2011 and provided a mandate for putting in place a ‘Pan-African Architecture on Governance’. In order to give effect to the Assembly decision on the Establishment of the Pan-African Governance Architecture, the African Union Commission (AUC) established AGA as a “platform for dialogue between the various stakeholders” who are mandated to promote good governance and strengthen democracy in Africa, in addition to translating the objectives of the legal and policy pronouncements in the AU Shared Values.

WHAT IS AGA

The AGA is a platform for dialogue between the various stakeholders who are mandated to promote good governance and strengthen democracy in Africa, in addition to translating the objectives of the legal and policy pronouncements in the AU Shared Values. Four interrelated and dynamic components make up the structure of AGA:

  1. Norms and Standards
  2. Institutions and other stakeholders
  3. Mechanisms and processes of interaction
  4. African Governance Facility

Objectives and Principles

Objectives

  1. Accelerate the ratification, domestication, implementation and monitoring of African Shared values instrument
  2. Deepen synergy, coordination, cooperation and harmonisation of shared values instruments among AU organs, institutions and RECs on democracy, governance, human rights and humanitarian affairs.

  3. Enhance the capacity of AU organs, institutions and RECs to support Member States to strengthen governance and consolidate democracy through implementation of shared values agenda

  4. Enhance popular participation and citizen engagement in attainment of democracy, governance and respect for human and peoples’ rights

  5. Coordinate evaluation and reporting on implementation and compliance with AU norms on governance and democracy as envisaged by article 44, 45 and 49 of the ACDEG.

  6. Foster dialogue and share comparable lessons on trends, challenges, opportunities and prospects for improving governance and democracy among Member States

  7. Generate, manage and disseminate knowledge on African shared values agenda, good governance and democracy in Africa.

  8. Facilitate joint engagement and deepen synergy with the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) in strategic interventions: preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention and post-conflict, reconstruction and development in Africa.

Guiding Principles

The following principles are derived from AU Shared Values particularly the Constitutive Act and the African Charter on Elections, Governance and Democracy.

  1. Effective participation of the African peoples in strengthening and consolidating democratic governance in Member States and continental affairs;
  2. Respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance;
  3. Holding of regular, transparent, free and fair elections;
  4. Promotion of the principle of separation of powers;
  5. Promotion of gender equality and youth empowerment;
  6. Promotion of transparency and fairness in the management of public affairs;
  7. Condemnation and rejection of acts of corruption, related offenses and impunity;
  8. Condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of governments.
  9. Strengthening political pluralism and recognizing the role, rights and responsibilities of legally constituted political parties, including opposition political parties.

The African Governance Facility

The African Governance Facility (APF) is designed as a resource mobilisation framework to support Platform Members’ initiatives and programmes towards the promotion of good governance and consolidation of democracy on the continent. The focus of the Facility includes institutional capacity strengthening and building; dialogues to facilitate citizen engagement in democratic governance processes; technical support to Member States towards the ratification, domestication, implementation and reporting on AU Shared Values instruments; and preventive diplomacy, post conflict reconstruction and peace building initiatives.

Shared Values

Shared Values are a means of accelerating Africa’s integration agenda through values and principles that are embodied in the various instruments, decisions and declarations that have been adopted by the Union.

African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance expounds upon the constitutive act, committing Member States to the adherence of universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights. It promotes the adherence to rule of law, the holding of free and fair elections, and the rejection of unconstitutional changes of government.

African Charter of Human and People's Rights recognizes the rights, duties and freedoms that accrue to all Africans and commits Member States to undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to those rights.

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child recogni- zes the freedom from discrimination, inherent rights, and the necessity of protecting children under the law on the continent.

African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa establishes a legal framework for preventing internal displacement, and protecting and assisting internally displaced persons in Africa, while providing for durable solutions to displacement.

African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption acknowledges the damaging effects of corruption on the continent and promotes the development of mechanisms required to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption and related offences in the public and private sectors.

African Union Post-Conflict and Reconstruction Policy Framework (http://www.peaceau.org/uploads/pcrd-policy-framwowork-eng.pdf) sets out an African agenda for post-conflict reconstruction which aims to, among other things, address the nexus between the peace, security, humanitarian and development dimensions of post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding.

African Youth Charter protects young people from discrimination and ensures freedom of movement, speech, association, religion, ownership of property and other human rights, while committing to promoting youth participation throughout society.

Algiers Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes addresses the importance of strengthening the capacity of the AU to deal with the scourge of unconstitutional changes of government.

Conference on Stability, Security, Development and Democracy (CSSDCA) Memorandum of Understanding reaffirms the fundamental link between stability, human security, development and cooperation in a manner that reinforces each other.

Constitutive Act of the African Union establishes the African Union and defines its objectives, in particular a commitment to promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance.

Declaration on the Theme of the 2012 Summit “Towards Greater Unity and Integration through Shared Values” establishes AGA and commits the African Union towards implementing and affirming its Shared Values.

Kigali Declaration on Human Rights in Africa (http://www.achpr.org/instruments/kigali/) reaffirms the principle that all human rights are universal, indivisible, inter-dependent and inter-related. It reaffirms Member States commitments to upholding and protecting these rights as noted.

Lomé Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Government affirms and updates the Algiers Declaration, committing to the AU’s rejection of unconstitutional changes in government.

Memorandum of Understanding on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) (http://aprm-au.org/admin/pdfFiles/aprm_mou.pdf) establishes partnerships with the States who have signed on to APRM and commits to implementing the shared commitments as established in the Constitutive Act.

New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic & Corporate Governance (http://www1.uneca.org/Portals/nepad/Documents/declaration-on-democracy-political-economic-corporate-governance.pdf) commits to ensuring that Heads of States’ respective national constitutions reflect the democratic ethos and commits support to democracy and good political governance, economic and corporate governance, socio-economic developmen

The AU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa acknowledges the increasing number of refugees on the continent and seeks to find ways and means of alleviating their misery and suffering as well as providing them with a better life and feature.

OAU/AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/compilation_democracy/ahg.htm) provides for democratic elections as a basis of the authority of any representative government and states the principles for such elections, including guidance for observers and monitors.

Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice & Human Rights aims at merging the African Court on Human and People’s Rights and the Court of Justice of the African Union. It specifically establishes the Court and defines its organization, jurisdiction and procedures.

Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union establishes a standing decision-making organ for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts on the continent.

Protocol to the African Charter establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights provides for the functions, responsibilities and jurisdiction of the Court, along with the process for submitting to the Court.

Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (http://www.achpr.org/instruments/court-establishment/) requires State Parties to combat all forms of discrimination against women through appropriate legislative, institutional and other measures.

Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa reaffirms the commitment to gender equality and agrees to accelerate the implementation of measures to combat discrimination and ensure the full and effective participation of women in peace processes.

  • Not Signed/Ratified
  • Signed
  • Ratified

AGA Platform

The Institutional Framework: The African Governance Platform

In an effort to operationalize AGA, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government affirmed the importance of establishing an African Governance Platform in Assembly/AU/Dec.1 (XVI), a basis for facilitating harmonisation of instruments and coordination of initiatives in governance and democracy. Consequently, the Platform was established as the institutional framework of the AGA, composed of AU Organs, Institutions and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) with a formal mandate for the promotion and sustenance of democracy, governance and human rights in Africa. The Platform serves as a first concentric circle that draws inspiration and inputs from representative of AU Organs, Institutions and RECs and a second circle of continental stakeholders in the private sector, development partners, civil society and the diaspora. The Platform serves as the coordinating arm or catalyst for the achievement of the goals of AGA. In this role, it does not assume or duplicate the functions established by other policy organs, rather it provides a framework for interaction, active engagement, synthesis and convergence.

Workings of the platform

The Platform offers a flexible and dynamic meeting point that facilitates information flows, exchanges and dialogue; and promotes synergies, mutual complementarity, close coordination, collaboration and concerted action on democratic governance issues. In this capacity, it performs the following specific functions:

  1. Coordinate efforts by Platform Members to accelerate the elaboration, popularisation, domestication and reporting of African Shared Values on democracy, elections, governance, human rights and humanitarian assistance across the continent;
  2. Facilitate the harmonisation of instruments and coordination of initiatives in governance and democracy amongst Platform Members;
  3. Evaluate implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance as envisaged by Article 45(c) of the Charter;
  4. Encourage the active participation of African peoples in democratic governance initiatives and programmes;
  5. Foster a systematic exchange of information on democracy, governance, elections, human rights and humanitarian assistance across the continent;
  6. Create a framework for dialogue and cross-fertilization of ideas and comparable lessons and experiences among the Platform Members and key stakeholders in the promotion of good governance and strengthening of democracy in Africa; and
  7. Strengthen the capacity of Platform Members to track compliance and implementation of the AU Shared Values by AU Member States.

Platform Members/Institutions

The respective mandates of the Platform Members point to the centrality of human rights, democratic governance and the participation of citizens for the transformative development and integration in Africa.

See the platform activities

The Platform serves as the coordinating arm or catalyst for the achievement of the goals of AGA. In this role, it does not assume or duplicate the functions established by other policy organs, rather it provides a framework for interaction, active engagement, synthesis and convergence amongst them.

The Platform is organised along five clusters and these are:

Constitutionalism
and rule of law
Humanitarian
Assistance
Human Rights
and traditional
Justice
Democracy
Governance
  • Rejecting Unconstitutional
  • Executive, Legislative and Judicial Systems
  • Free Movement of Peoples
  • Refugees
  • Protection of Civilians
  • Norms and Standards
  • Redress Mechanisms
  • Elections
  • Parliaments
  • Political Parties
  • Public service and administration
  • Local governance and decentralisation
  • Anti-corruption and accountability

AGA Secretariat

The AGA Secretariat is housed in the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC) and serves as the coordinating hub of the Platform. The Secretariat has over the last three years undertaken several critical and innovative initiatives aimed at facilitating the achievements of the objectives of the AGP. Specifically in 2014, the Secretariat opened up new frontiers for citizen engagement, including development of engagement standards and mobilisation of women, youth and civil society to meaningfully participate in democratic governance processes and agenda on the continent. The Secretariat has further deepened synergy, coordination and cooperation among AGP members; contributed to the generation of knowledge on good governance and democracy in Africa; set standards for the evaluation and reporting on implementation and compliance with AU norms on governance and democracy as envisaged in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG); as well as enhanced joint engagement in strategic interventions, including coordination of interdepartmental efforts towards preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction and development in Africa.