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Strengthening Democracy Through NEPAD:
The Role of African Civil Society


Declared from the proceedings of a conference convened by

The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa

Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa

26-27 May 2003

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Seventy representatives of civil society groups in Africa from the southern, eastern, western and central African regions met over two days in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss questions of how to strengthen democracy through NEPAD. The conference was officially opened by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Lesotho and Chair of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the Honourable Madame A.N. Motsamai.

The major themes discussed at the conference included: the consolidation of democracy in Africa over the last decade, the relationship between institutions and governance and civil society's participation in institutions of governance. Conference noted with regret the non-participation of representatives from the North African region due to logistical difficulties, but undertook to make every effort to include North African civil society representatives in all future engagement.

Conference identified a number of concrete strategies for tackling the challenges confronting civil society in its engagement with the African Peer Review Mechanism. These strategies will address the need to publicise and share research findings, the need to establish civil society 'nodes' to improve co-ordination and the need for the establishment of a working group and the need to establish a Pan African Civil Society. The major task of the working group will be concerned with setting of norms and standards for credible democratic governance, with special focus on elections and accountability of public representatives.

The working group will be comprised of two civil society representatives from each of the four African regions participating in the conference. The working group was tasked with sketching the way forward to formalising the establishment of a Pan African Civil Society Forum on NEPAD and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). EISA was requested and agreed to perform a co-ordinating role in the establishment of the Forum.

For further information contact:

Denis K. Kadima
Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA)
Tel: +27 11 482 5495

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