The African Charter on Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development Workshop

UCLG Africa Secretary General attended the African Charter on Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development workshop in Addis Ababa, on 12 and 13 May 2015. The workshop was financially supported by the UCLG Africa.

The meeting was attended by representatives of AU-STC 8 subcommittee experts on decentralization, the African Governance Institute (AGI), Transparency International (TI), UNDP, UN Habitat, and Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission (DPA). The meeting was facilitated by Mr. Patrick Karanja, AU-STC 8 expert from Kenya.

In his opening remarks, Mr. John Ikabuje Gibodi from the Department of Political Affairs at the African Union informed that only 2 countries have signed the Charter adopted in June 2014 (Mauritania and Guinea Bissau) and no single ratification was registered so far.

Ms. Chantal Uwimana, from Transparency International reported on the way TI managed the advocacy process for the ratification of African Union convention on the fight against corruption. Firstly, TI participated fully in the drafting and negotiation of the convention, which gave it a strong legitimacy for its involvement in the ratification process.

Being an interested party to the process, TI mobilized mainly its own network to popularize the convention across the continent. Different chapters of TI were designated in the different regions to be the champions for the advocacy for the ratification process. Compelling messages were crafted to show the benefits for the countries to ratify the convention. TI also managed to conclude partnerships with the African Union, the African Development Bank, and the Pan African Parliament.

The process of ratification was also explained through a series of regional and national workshops. A booklet was written by a renowned lawyer, Mr. Akere Muna, who had the needed credibility across the continent, to serve as a dissemination and advocacy tool for the convention. Then specific letters were written to specific line Ministers included in the process of ratification and depositing of the legal instruments. Each time a country ratified the convention congratulations letters were sent with a reminder for the instruments to be deposit.

A strong media campaign was also launched to keep the convention alive in the media. The strategy followed was to systematically mention the convention in all TI communications and events. A guide was also produced to help civil society and parliamentarians to advocate for the ratification of the convention and implementation of its provisions. The guide highlighted the added value of the convention. TI felt important to build partnerships with Youth Organizations as well as Women Organizations. TI also endeavored to scrutinize the link between already existing ratified instruments and the ratification process of the convention.

TI also established a link with African Ambassadors to keep them abreast about the ratification process and send letters of congratulations to those who ratified. Thanks to the implementation of the action plan, the convention against corruption entered into force within 3 years being adopted in 2003 and ratified in 2006.

Sandra Machara from UNDP presented considerations for an affective advocacy strategy. She pointed that 2015 is a critical year for the international community being the year for the definition of the International Development Agendas for the coming 20 years, which are being defined during UN conferences on: the Finance for Development (July 2015, Addis Ababa); the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (September 2015, New York); the Conference of the Parties meeting (December 2015, Paris).

The ratification process of the African Charter on values and principles of decentralization and local governance should be defined in this particular context. There is need for a strong and compelling message on decentralization to remove the fears some of the countries might have to ratify the Charter. Best Practices could be used to unlock the resistances observed. The African Decentralization Day on 10 August could also be used as a rallying point for the ratification process. Finally an action plan and timeline should be defined in order that progress is monitored on the implementation of the ratification process.

John Ikubaje said the AU has 49 instruments, only few has a universal ratification. The UA instruments need a minimum of 15 ratifications to enter into force. 23 countries have ratified the charter on democracy and Governance. 9 ratifications have been registered so far for the Charter on public service; 35 Countries has ratified the convention against corruption which is now an AU legal instrument. He noticed also that although not having ratified some instruments, some Countries are neverthelesd implementing their provisions. There seems to be little awareness on the instruments; many question are still raised on the added values of the AU instruments. In many Countries ratification processes are cumbersome. Also these processes differ from country to country. Most of the time due consultation with line Ministers is not done.

The political economy of the ratification should also be done. For example there are more African countries who signed the UN convention against corruption than the ones who signed the African one. After the adoption of an instrument, normally the PRC members should communicate the adopted documents to member states. A note verbal was written and sent on July 2014 to the ministers of foreign affairs to encourage them to start the ratification process. The African Union of the Legal Council also call on members for the ratification process. In principle, there will be a meeting. Not all African members are State parties to ratification, so only State parties can report according to the follow up mechanism to see the level of implementation. Only when an instrument is ratified can the AUC report on the implementation of the instrument.

Challenges: translation in African languages, critical role of civil society, foreign affairs, line ministers, and parliamentarians should be party to the ratification process. Dr. Dia said that in the last 5 years, there is a retraction in African Union budgets. 2.5 million dollars were allocated got popularizing the charter on democracy adopted in 2007, signed 2/3 later. We need at least 20 years and some 15 ratifications within 1 year. We need to popularize the charter across the continent. Rose ask why Guinea Bissau and Mauritania, no extra effort from AU for this signing. The big difficulty in AU is the PRC. The scrutiny of PRC is nearly paralysing the African Union. Rose asked also how much the advocacy effort cost? IT received 150.000 USD for meetings.

On the political economy there is need to build on African Pride. The Gender is my Agenda Campaign can set an example. The workshop pursued its proceedings on 13 May within two parallels groups:

Group 1: Strategy and Stakeholder Mapping jpem Sandra Chantal john Patrick Group 2: Finance Mobilization. Rose, Maurice, Strategic Group 1. Identifying 15 countries 2. Advocacy strategy: internet, media, meetings 3. Implementation plan and timeline.

The group proposed a list of 19 countries categorized as follows:

Category 1: the 2 countries that signed already Guinea Bissau, Mauritania Category 2: Bureau members of AMCOD subcommittee: Benin, Mozambique, Cameroon, Burundi, Algeria Category 3: Senegal, Kenya, Angola, South Africa, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia, Burkina, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda

The approach is to follow up on the formal communication (note verbal) sent by DPA through Ministries of Foreign Affairs to have a focal point for STC 8; and the letter sent by the subcommittee from former AMCOD to the directors of local governments that have been working on the charter to organize the follow up. The subcommittee to present the list of directors of local governments to be focal points for the UCLG-A to provide the names and contacts of the President and Permanent Secretary of the national association.

“Coalition of the willing” Target 15 countries. The approach is to get a buy-in of local Authorities and their national associations putting pressure in national governments and parliament to get the charter ratified. It is also necessary to have a mass communication sensitization campaign before and after the ratification. It is proposed to organize popularization Platforms, ask focal points to work with local Authorities to seek support to have the charter ratified; it is also important to engage with line ministers, and the diaspora.

Timeline for the implementation plan 1. Information needs and focal points (by end of May through Rachel) 2. Knowledge on the national ratification process (by end of May through Rachel and Patrick) 3. Regional Workshops (Parrick East Africa; West Africa Maurice; Central, Abraham Okoko, Southern Africa Kitswell; North Africa Abdi Horma) Chantal to prepare PPT presentation for the Charter and ratification process 4. CLGF meeting on 16-18 June in Gaborone. Invitation to the Commissioner for Political Affairs 5.

Use the decentralization day on 10 August with as theme the ratification of the charter. Rachel to present the theme of the Subcommittee and Patrick to inform about the venue for the celebration of the Decentralization day.

6. Local Authorities Forum on the New Africa Urban Agenda (3 days beginning of September) 7. Africities: open session on ratification of the charter; open session on new urban agenda. 8. Media: Chantal to provide a database on media mobilization. A mapping shows that the following media could be targeted: Africa 24 (cost: € 30,000) SABC APO (cost: around € 20,000) Group 2 on Resource Mobilization Potential Partners AUC Special member states : Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Algeria…to support the work on decentralization and local Governance, including human resources for the AUC/DPA secretariat.

UCLG-A private sector: water, telecom, engineering, banking, power, housing, finance, …

Philantropic foundations (Dangote, Mo Ibrahim, Tony Elumelu) -CSOs

Bilateral partners : DFID, GIZ, SIDA

International Foundations: Gate, Rockefeller, Ford

Multilateral partners: UNDP, UN Habitat, EU, China, RECs, World Bank, BRICS, …

Outsreach roundtable meetings high level panel side events

Costing Following the implementation plan

Resource Mobilization implementation

Need for initial seed money from AU-DPA (USD 31,000)AU; UCLG Africa (?)

Need for a lobbying pack (1 pager note with a compelling narrative on decentralization and related resource mobilization with a powerpoint presentation) Support modalities flexible mechanisms for channeling the money: DPA, UCLG-A, UNDP, UN Habitat all forms of contribution AUC-DPA oversight, coordination between STC 8 subcommittee, quality assurance and periodic reporting.

After the reception of the Group meetings reports, a roadmap was defined which final version will be disseminated to the participants within a week time.