B Explanatory memorandum,
by Mr Bjørnstad
“…Africa, the biggest moral cause, I think, in the world today…”
(Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, speaking to CNN at the
Davos World Economic Forum, 2007)
1. Half way into the time frame
the international community has set for itself to achieve the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) there is broad consensus that much more needs to be
done. According to the United Nations, it is not unlikely that none
of the internationally agreed goals for poverty reduction will be
met for the African continent. While some progress has been made
so far on education and poverty reduction, the political commitment
of African leaders and of the international community needs to be
sustained and increased in order to speed up progress for improving
the living conditions of millions of Africans.
2. NEPAD was launched in 2001 and has prominently been endorsed
by African countries and their partners in industrialised countries.
It builds on the premise that Africans bear the primary responsibility
for the development of their continent and subscribes to achieving
the MDGs. On the basis of African ownership and commitment, a renewed
form of partnership with the international community has been defined.
While African leaders promised to improve governance structures
and to take charge of the development process, the international
community pledged to increase its financial contribution and its
commitment to making aid more effective. The terms of this new form
of co-operation were endorsed in the 2002 Monterrey Consensus and
the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.
3. It is widely acknowledged that good governance is a key element
for successful social and economic development. Parliaments are
a necessary actor to ensure good governance through their functions
in legislation, oversight, and representation, as well as through
their budgetary and elective powers and their power to influence
foreign affairs. The heads of state endorsing NEPAD have recognised
the importance of good governance for African development. It is
now also up to parliamentarians to follow up on the African and international
commitments and monitor their implementation.
4. The objective of this report is to analyse what role parliamentarians
play in advancing the NEPAD agenda and meeting the 2015 target for
poverty reduction. It provides background on NEPAD and the commitments
of Monterrey and Paris. On this basis, it illustrates the existing
monitoring mechanisms and where parliamentarians can play a role
both in Africa and in Europe.
The Assembly has, with its Resolutions 1449 (2005)
on the environment and the Millennium Development Goals
and 1450 (2005) on the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund
and the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals, already
contributed to mobilising parliamentarians and governments for development
issues by underlining the importance of the MDGs. As part of the
yearly report on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) and the world economy to the enlarged Parliamentary
Assembly, the committee also reviews the OECD’s work in increasing
the effectiveness of its members’ development co-operation efforts.
6. The rapporteur would like to thank not only his colleagues
who made helpful suggestions but also the experts who contributed
to the hearings organised by the Committee on Economic Affairs and
Development in the course of the preparation of this report: Mr Eugene
Owusu, Senior Advisor, Strategic Africa Partnerships, UNDP Brussels
Office; Dr Jeff Balch, Director for Research and Evaluation, AWEPA;
Mr David Gakunzi, then Head of the Dialogue Unit, North-South Centre
of the Council of Europe; Mr Denis Huber, Executive Director of
the North-South Centre; Professor Ben Turok, MP, member of the South
African Parliament and Chairman of the NEPAD Contact Group of African
Parliamentarians; Dr Eckhard Deutscher, Chairman of the OECD Development
Assistance Committee (DAC); Ms Doris C. Ross, Assistant Director
of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offices in Europe; Mr Jean-Christophe
Bas, Development Policy Dialogue Manager for the External Affairs
Vice-Presidency of the World Bank; and Professor Uwe Holtz, member
of the Society for International Development, former Chairman of
the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Economic Affairs and Development
and former Chairman of the German Bundestag Committee on Economic
Co-operation and Development. Naturally, the rapporteur bears sole
responsibility for his report.
2 The New Partnership for Africa’s Development
NEPAD represents a “vision
and strategic framework for Africa’s renewal”. Drafted by five African
heads of state,Note
was endorsed by the Organisation of African Unity – now the African
Union (AU) – at its summit in 2001. Its main significance lies in
the fact that it is an African led strategy for development and
that it entails strong political commitments by the participating
heads of state. It therefore represents a benchmark against which
leaders can be held accountable and a framework into which the international
community’s efforts can be placed. It is so far a programme of the
African Union with its own secretariat in South Africa. There are, however,
strong advocates for formally integrating NEPAD into African Union
structures, which would substantially increase the bureaucratic
burden on the programme (Jeune Afrique
8. The strategy centres around four primary objectives: the eradication
of poverty, b. placing African countries
on a path of sustainable growth and development, c. the integration of Africa in
the global economy and the end to its marginalisation in the process
of globalisation,and the acceleration of women’s empowerment. In
order to achieve these objectives, sectoral priorities have been
defined. These are notably infrastructure (such as communication
infrastructure, energy, transportation, water and sanitation) and
human resource development, but they also include agriculture, the
environment, culture, and science and technology.
9. NEPAD’s founders have acknowledged the fact that good and
responsible governance is key to overcoming the hurdles to Africa’s
development. Unaccountable governments, waste of resources and corruption
have for a long time hampered sustainable economic growth and equitable
social development. In the NEPAD Framework Document, political leaders
take joint responsibility to “promote and protect democracy and
human rights in their respective countries by developing clear standards
of accountability, transparency and participatory governance at
the national and subnational levels”.
10. The most important mechanism to improve governance in participating
countries is the APRM, created by the African Union two years after
the adoption of the NEPAD strategic document. The voluntary compliance and
mutual learning mechanism is open to all 53 African Union states.
Historically, African leaders have not been keen to discuss governance
issues on a regional or international level. With the adoption of
the APRM and despite continuous setbacks in individual countries,
there are strong hopes that a genuine discussion on andcommitment
to good governance will take hold. The concept of peer review and
learning assumes that a noncoercive, gradual convergence of policy
and practice in participating countries is more effective for building well-governed
systems than coercive attempts or straightforward conditionality.
11. The APRM reflects NEPAD’s diagnosis that good governance is
key to creating a positive investment climate as a prerequisite
for sustained economic growth. The country assessment therefore
also includes various dimensions of governance: democratic and political
governance including efficient public sector governance and the
fight against corruption; economic governance including the implementation
of transparent, predictable, and sound macroeconomic policies as
well as sound and transparent public finance systems; corporate
governance including the creation of a favourable business environment,
sound regulations, and codes of conduct for ethical corporate governance.
As a further element, the APRM also looks at the socio-economic
development of a country and its capacity to shape its own development
process and mechanisms for implementing development policies.
12. By now, 28 countries have signed up to the APRM and have thereby
in principle declared their readiness to undergo a review of their
governance systems and practices. It is interesting to note that
six of the participating countries are rated as “not free” and 13
as only “partly free” by Freedom House. This partly dispels fears
that only the best performers would stand up to the test. In the
first round of assessment, a country committee prepares its own
review through a consultative process. After a review visit by a
team from a peer country, the country self-assessment report and
plan of action are finalised. These form the basis for review by the
APRM forum of heads of state or government. The resulting documents
provide civil society and parliaments with powerful tools to hold
governments accountable. At the same time, throughout the process,
it is expected that governments have an incentive to improve their
governance to avoid naming and shaming. It is to be hoped that more
countries will take part in this constructive evaluation process,
which can contribute to a positive development climate, and that
the findings will be acted upon.
13. In moving from a framework document to a strategic action
plan, NEPAD sets out actions at the African and also on the international
level. Subscribing to the Millennium Development Goals, the founders
of NEPAD estimate that a total of US$64 billion would be needed
annually to reduce the number of people living in poverty by half
by the year 2015. It is expected that the bulk of this will have
to be levied from external sources and notably Official Development
Assistance (ODA). Private capital flows are described as a “longer-term
concern.” Furthermore, NEPAD calls on developed countries to open
their markets for African products.
With its emphasis on African ownership in connection with
a call for increased financial assistance, NEPAD is in line with
the broader context of international development policy making of
recent years. A struggle for more (and more effectively used) money
for development cooperation has been at the core of international
conferences, which followed the UN Millennium Summit in 2000. Country
ownership and alignment of aid withcountry plans and strategies
is one of the central elements of delivering better money.
in the context of international conferences: relationship with the
UN Millennium Development Goals, the Monterrey Consensus 2002, and
the Paris Declaration 2005
15. At the end of the Cold War, high hopes were placed on new
paradigms of development co-operation independent from the great
powers’ interests and open to genuine partnership. However, ten
years later, policy makers had to admit that progress was too little
and too slow to contribute significantly to the eradication of poverty
and to mitigate global imbalances. The main focus of concern was
Africa, where human development indicators showed no signs of improvement.
At the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders thus adopted the
Millennium Development Goals as clear and quantifiable targets for
improving the living standards of people in developing countries.
The overall goal of reducing poverty by half by 2015 is catalysed
and complemented by targets in the areas of health, education, gender
equality, and the environment.
16. At the Monterrey Conference “Finance for Development” in 2002,
over 50 heads of state, finance ministers and foreign ministers
reached an agreement on a new partnership between developing and developed
countries to achieve the MDGs. They recognised that the main responsibility
for progress lies with the governments of developing countries themselves
and hinges notably on their ability and willingness to put in place
appropriate policy and institutional frameworks. At the same time,
they acknowledged that countries would not be able to achieve these
goals without significant assistance from the international community.
On a quantitative level, participants called on “developed countries
that have not yet done so to make concrete efforts towards the target
of 0.7% of gross national product (GNP) as Official Development
Assistance to developing countries and between 0.15% and 0.20% of
GNP of developed countries to least developed countries”. On a qualitative
level, the agreement calls on donors to make greater efforts to
harmonise their procedures, to untie aid, and to adopt frameworks
that are owned and put forward by developing countries.
17. The quality of aid was the focus of the March 2005 Paris High
Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Improving the quality of aid entails
a greater focus on results of development co-operation and the reduction
of transaction costs. Core principles of the Paris Declaration on
Aid Effectiveness are therefore ownership, alignment, harmonisation,
managing for results, and mutual accountability. It was agreed that
developing countries would exercise effective leadership over their
development process and that donor countries would align their support
with national development policies. Through improved co-ordination
and harmonisation of procedures aid would be used more efficiently.
Furthermore, donor and developing countries pledged that they would
be mutually accountable for development results.
18. The commitment to increase Official Development Assistance
was prominently reiterated by G8 countries at their Gleneagles Summit
in July 2005. Of the additional annual US$50 billion of Official Development
Assistance, half was committed to Africa. The continent has been
a particular focus of the G8 since the presentation of the NEPAD
document and the adoption of the Africa Action Plan at the 2002 Kananaskis
Summit. In Evian in 2003, the expanded G8-NEPAD partnership created
the Africa Partnership Forum to monitor commitments and generate
international support for NEPAD.
19. The political dynamic surrounding
Africa’s development has, at least partly, been underpinned by a surge
in economic growth. Since 1997, growth in real GDP in Sub-Saharan
Africa has been at 3% or above. In 2005 and 2006, it was even above
5%. It was estimated at 6.6% in 2007 and projected at 6.5% in 2008
(IMF, Regional Economic Outlook, Sub-Saharan
Africa, April 2008). Although this expansion is attributable
to rising production in oil exporting countries, it is interesting
that oil importing countries have also experienced high growth rates,
due to strong domestic investment fuelled by progress on macro-economic
stability and reforms in most countries. The region also benefited
from strong demand for its commodities, increased capital inflows, and
debt relief. Despite this positive picture, observers remain critical
about the impact of this economic recovery which remains vulnerable
to the risks of a global economic slow-down, rising inflation, weak
domestic policy implementation and political instability. Although
the share of people living in extreme poverty fell by 4.7 percentage
points from 1999 to 2004, the number of poor still remains constant
at nearly 300 million due to high population growth (World Bank, Global Monitoring Report 2007. It
is widely expected that the income MDG of reducing poverty by half
by 2015 will not be met for Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, the continent
is also lagging behind in most other indicators, although evaluating
progress in many countries is difficult because statistics are weak.
Chart 1: Better performance
Growth in sub-Saharan Africa is strongest in decades
Sources: IMF World Economic Outlook, and IMF,
African Department database
20. Building on the premise of
a new partnership approach, a number of monitoring mechanisms have
been proposed and implemented for the actions foreseen in the NEPAD
framework and the commitments of the international community. At
the 2003 G8 summit, African and G8 leaders established the Africa
Partnership Forum as a monitoring mechanism for NEPAD. Its mission
is to “catalyse action and to co-ordinate support behind African
priorities and NEPAD”. Based at the OECD, a support unit co-ordinates
the forum composed of personal representatives of NEPAD subscribers’
heads of states, the AU, heads of regional economic communities,
the head of the African Development Bank, heads of state of development
partners, the president of the European Commission, and heads of
selected international organisations.
21. The latest published progress reports (presented in 2006 in
St Petersburg) are those on infrastructure, the fight against HIV/Aids,
and agriculture. They conclude that “little or no progress has been
made” in the field of agriculture. For HIV/Aids and infrastructure
they state that steps have been taken in the right direction but that
much more still needs to be done. Particular efforts have to be
made in accelerating implementation of projects and programmes in
infrastructure and in addressing the needs of vulnerable groups
in the fight against HIV/Aids.
22. As NEPAD’s core element, the APRM is the focus of particular
attention in evaluating NEPAD’s progress. Only three countries have
so far concluded the process and published their results (Ghana,
Kenya and Rwanda). Two have completed the process but not yet published
results (Algeria and South Africa) and another nine have started
the assessment. The quality of the process has reportedly been high
in Ghana with widespread civil society and parliamentary involvement.
In Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa, it is reported to have been dominated
by the executive. It has also been noted that parliamentary involvement
was very low both in the assessment process and theresulting follow-up
of the country action plans. Moreover, there is a growing feeling
among the lead actors, including the United Nations Economic Commission
for Africa (ECA) and some participating countries, that the mechanism
may atrophy if it is not injected with the resources to implement
the plans of action emanating from the process. Moreover, concern
has been expressed about lack of political will to correct weaknesses
that have been identified in the process or even to identify them
properly in the first place (Manby, 2008).
23. The ultimate success of the APRM will be determined by how
well it walks the thin line between high standards on the one hand
and broad adherence by African countries on the other. High and
rigid standards might jeopardise the idea of gradual improvement
by preventing countries from signing up and concluding the process.
Lowering standards puts the credibility of the mechanism with the
international community and civil society organisations at stake.
This is important in so far as there is an implicit expectation
that well-performing countries can expect an increase in aid flows.
The main points of criticism are that the APRM is being implemented
too slowly and lacks teeth to force real change in poorly governed
24. From the perspective of the international community, the picture
in 2006 showed that donor countries were on track to meet the ambitious
commitments of Monterrey and Gleneagles. Official Development Assistance
had increased since 2004 by US$25 billion to US$104.4 billion, which
represented 0.3% of OECD Development Assistance Committee members’
GNI. However, the lion’s share of this increase (US$18 billion) could
be attributed to debt relief, that is, outstanding debt from governments
or under government guarantees that is written off by the creditor
country. The years 2005 and 2006 saw exceptional debt relief to
Nigeria and Iraq, which boosted ODA figures.
Figure 1: Components of DAC donors’
Most of the recent increase in aid is due to debt relief
25. The influence of unusual debt
relief also needs to be taken into account when evaluating the latest OECD
DAC figures on ODA in 2006. According to the OECD DAC, ODA from
DAC members fell by 4.5% mainly due to a decline in debt relief.
On a positive note, ODA did not really fall as much, because the abovementioned
debt relief distorts the picture. On a negative note, however, excluding
debt relief, ODA still fell by 0.8% in 2006 compared with 2005.
The combined ODA of the 15 DAC-EU members rose slightly by 2.9% in
real terms (taking account of inflation and exchange rate movements),
from US$55.8 billion in 2005 to US$59 billion in 2006. This represented
0.43% of their combined GNI, surpassing the EU collective ODA/GNI
target of 0.39%. In order to meet their international commitments
until 2010, OECD countries will still have to considerably step
up funding for development projects, programmes and technical co-operation.
The DAC estimates that “the present rate of increase in core development
programmes will have to more than double over the next four years
to fulfil the pledges.”
With regard to their commitment to doubling aid to Africa
by 2010, DAC donors are also facing great challenges. Since 2004,
aid for development projects, programmes, and technical co-operation
to Africa has barely increased. On the surface, ODA numbers look
better due to the increase in debt relief and humanitarian aid.
Between 2004 and 2006 total ODA to Africa rose from US$29.3 billion
to US$43.4 billionNote
in order to meet the 2010 goals, aid for projects and programmes
has to increase substantially. One factor to be reckoned with is
that the target will be all the more difficult to meet in periods
of strong economic growth since ODA targets are defined as shares
of GDP but budget decisions in parliaments are debated with absolute numbers.
This has already spurred the establishment of new financing mechanisms
(such as the air ticket levy) and it might well be that debates
over adjusting the definition of ODA within the OECD DAC will intensify.
27. As already stated, the international community has not only
promised to deliver more aid but also to deliver better aid. The
first round of monitoring of the targets for effective aid delivery
of the Paris Declaration was completed in 2006. The report showed
a mixed picture and considerable need for progress. According to the
OECD Secretary-General and OECD DAC Chairman, all donor agencies
“have made major efforts to implement the Paris Declaration within
their organisations.” Donors also seem to increasingly understand
that countries need to determine their own priorities, pace, and
sequencing of reforms. However, implementation is slow. Countries
complain about the slow pace of change in donor practices, especially
when it comes to donor-driven technical co-operation and the only
reluctantly abandoned practice of tying aid. Donors also have a
long way to go in cooperating in their missions and programme implementation.
Countries still have to bear a high number of individual donor visits,
which are time consuming and entail high transaction costs (in 2005, the
34 developing countries covered by the survey received 10 507 donor
missions, more than one for each working day). The next round of
monitoring is taking place in the first quarter of 2008 for discussion
at the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Accra,
Ghana, from 2 to 4 September 2008.
parliaments for African development
28. In development policy thinking,
the 1990s can be considered the decade which focused on the role
of the state in advancing the development of poor countries (see
“World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World”).
The notion of an effective state, however, has been equated with
an effective executive (ODI, 2007) and largely focused on civil
society for checks and balances. Only slowly, and with increasingly critical
thinking about the role of NGOs, have parliaments in developing
countries received attention as actors in development. They are
formal institutions and draw direct legitimacy from the population
through a growing number of free electoral processes. As such, they
have come to be seen as actors that should play a greater role in
29. The new partnership approach to development as described above
entails a growing role also for parliaments. It is already a step
forward that international agreements on development include clear
targets and indicators for monitoring them. Institutional monitoring
mechanisms for governmental commitments are, however, until now
solely composed of representatives from the executive (such as the
OECD DAC or the Africa Partnership Forum). Parliamentarians in both
Africa and Europe can take a more active role in monitoring and
evaluating progress and implementation of these commitments and
policies. This was also one of the recommendations of the Cape Town
Declaration of European and African parliamentarians of May 2006.
30. Due to the nature of political systems, the difference in
capacities of parliaments, and the various kinds of actions needed,
the role of parliaments in Africa and in Europe will be examined
role of African parliaments – building capacity and widening parliamentary
31. The 1990s saw the return of
multiparty politics throughout Africa. African parliaments are gradually emerging
from their roles as rubber-stamps of the executive and are beginning
actively to take part in policy making and in the monitoring of
their executives. Although the degree of influence and independence
of parliaments varies greatly among countries, they are “arguably
more powerful today than at any time since independence” (Barkan
et al., 2004). The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s
“African Governance Report 2005” found that about a third of African
parliaments are “largely free from subordination to external agencies
in all major areas of legislation.”
32. Although this represents considerable progress, the optimistic
picture should not belittle the huge challenges that still lie ahead
for African parliaments. Over half of them cannot act independently
from other governmental agencies (UNECA, 2005). Constitutional reforms
have theoretically increased the power of parliaments but political
realities do not always match these prescriptions. Strong executives
still shape African politics and the constitutional role of parliaments
remains limited in many countries. Few parliaments have independent
funding (through dedicated budget lines) which renders them dependent
on ad hoc funding by the executive.
33. In addition to these external constraints, there are a number
of internal constraints and limits of parliamentary capacity. African
parliamentarians are amongst the most poorly remunerated throughout
the world. This prevents the best and the brightest from entering
parliament or makes parliamentarians rely on alternative sources
of income. This not only takes away time from parliamentary work,
it also facilitates corruption and favouritism (UNECA, 2005).
34. Furthermore, many parliaments lack basic resources such as
offices, libraries, electronic equipment or parliamentary staff.
The parliament of Malawi, for example, meets only eight to ten weeks
a year due to financial constraints. The Malian parliament employs
merely five parliamentary assistants for 11 committees (Barkan et
al., 2004; UNECA, 2005). Lack of access to information and means
of communication with constituencies prevents informed parliamentary
discussion and effective oversight of the executive.
35. In assessing the role of parliamentarians in African development
these constraints and challenges have to be taken into account.
Calls for increasing their role have to consider the available human
and financial resources and how quickly they can be built up. Parliamentary
involvement can only be built gradually and according to the institutional
setting of a country. Dialogue attempts should be careful not to
exclude those which are more difficult to access. At the same time,
the lack of parliamentary capacity should not be a justification
for sidelining them in development policy making. Capacity building
and parliamentary involvement should go hand in hand.
36. Parliament’s roles in the various development policy tools
and strategies such as NEPAD and the attainment of the MDG is fundamentally
linked to the proper functions of any parliament. Among a variety
of roles for parliaments and parliamentarians, three stand out as
particularly important: legislation, oversight, and representation.
Irrespective of the specific shape of political systems or the political
culture of a country, these are important channels for parliaments
and parliamentarians to shape policies and their country’s future.
37. In their capacity as legislators, parliamentarians discuss,
evaluate, and pass laws that constitute a country’s legal framework
and that have an important effect on economic and social development.
The Poverty Reduction Strategies initiated by the World Bank are
a vivid example for increasing parliamentary involvement in development
policy making at a country level. Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
(PRSPs) are designed as a country’s plan for macroeconomic, structural,
and social policies for three-year economic structural adjustment
programmes to foster growth and reduce poverty. In the past, parliaments
have largely been sidelined in the PRSP process. The implementation
of PRSPs has, however, frequently met resistance from national parliaments
when it comes to introducing or changing the required laws. As a
result, there is a growing consensus that parliaments must be systematically
involved in the drafting of PRSPs and in subsequent implementation
38. The monitoring of policies and a strong relationship of accountability
between the different branches of government are at the core of
the NEPAD process. Through parliamentary oversight, governments
and the donor community can be held to account if goals are not
met as measured by the various indicators attached to development
programmes. The APRM provides a powerful tool for parliamentarians
to put their governments’ feet to the fire. Calling on governments
to sign up to the APRM and to undergo a review of the country’s
governance system will be harder to ignore the more countries sign
up. Parliaments must also be involved more systematically in overseeing
the implementation of the country action plan that results from
the APRM process.
39. The budgeting process is any parliament’s most powerful way
to ensure oversight and accountability of the executive. Fiscal
transparency rules and public expenditure management systems (including
gender and development budgeting) are at the core of development
programmes that are delivered as budget support and other forms
of programme-based approaches. Many bilateral and multilateral agencies
now deliver a significant share (between 30% and 50% for the European
Commission, the United Kingdom, the World Bank and others) as direct
contributions to a country’s general budget. These contributions
are mostly linked to the introduction of budgetary transparency
rules and public sector reform programmes. Parliaments can take advantage
of this new space and transparency and critically analyse and debate
budgets. Each ODA allocation should include a percentage of the
grant which is set aside for parliamentary oversight by the relevant committee
in the recipient country.
40. Where aid flows are not directly linked to a country’s budget,
the lack of transparency and predictability of aid flows makes it
difficult for parliaments to keep track and hold governments accountable.
Donors should therefore provide timely, transparent and comprehensive
information on aid flows in order to enable partners to present
comprehensive budget reports to both their parliaments and their
citizens. Donors should allow recipient country parliaments to co-decide
on ODA priorities and targets, allow parliament to test objectives against
NEPAD goals, and provide resources for inter-parliamentary dialogue
on ODA effectiveness between donor and recipient country MPs.
41. The function of representation describes the role of parliamentarians
as a link between the executive and the people. It is about collecting,
aggregating and expressing the concerns and preferences of citizens. Moreover,
parliamentarians are also a voice through which they can explain
to the citizens they represent, and inform them, about public policy
choices and trade-offs. With respect to NEPAD and poverty reduction,
this is an especially vital function. Citizens need to be engaged
in the process so that it can establish a solid grassroots base.
In order for parliamentarians to act as a voice to the people, they
need to have sufficient access to information themselves.
Europe (for example, parliamentary committees, and so on)
42. As an African initiative first
and foremost, watching over the implementation of NEPAD is primarily
a task for African parliamentarians. The role of European parliaments
is to support their African counterparts in this endeavour. On the
one hand, this means to monitor their governments’ commitments to
development co-operation. On the other hand, parliaments can engage
in dialogue with their African counterparts in order to better inform
policy making and streamline policies with development issues.
43. Parliamentarians in donor countries are well placed to play
an effective oversight role over their governments’ development
policies and aid commitments. The mechanisms and intensity with
which development issues are followed in national parliaments varies
across European countries. Some countries have established parliamentary
committees on development policies. Others are mainly concerned
with development issues when it comes to budgetary discussions and
the allocation of development assistance.
44. The most immediate way for parliamentarians to get involved
is by scrutinising their governments’ performance on agreed indicators
for quantity and quality of aid. The OECD DAC’s reports on the quantity
of aid delivered by its members provide parliamentarians with a
basis for questioning governments if commitments were not honoured.
45. However, development co-operation is about more than delivering
aid and supporting development programmes in poor countries. A coherent
approach to development policy also includes scrutiny of other policy
arenas that have an impact on developing countries. Aid flows become
less significant if their effects are offset by distortionary policies
such as agricultural subsidies or trade restrictions against developing
countries’ products. Providing market access for African goods and
reducing domestic subsidies is generally considered as an important
step towards integrating African countries into global markets and
value chains. NEPAD addresses this in its “Market Access Initiative”.
Other areas with more or less direct impact on African countries are
agriculture, migration, employment, finance, environment, science
and technology, security and defence.
46. Very few countries have so far introduced formal mechanisms
for ensuring policy coherence for development. With its policy for
global development, Sweden is the first OECD country to formally
require that all policy areas have to contribute to global poverty
reduction and the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs). This policy is accompanied by extensive monitoring mechanisms
such as an annual report to parliament. The Netherlands has a unit
charged with ensuring policy coherence. It is based at the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs and provides reports to parliament and issues
coherence indices. Such reports would be an important tool for parliamentary
debate beyond the development committee.
47. The Center for Global Development highlights the importance
of coherence in its Commitment to Development Index. The Washington-based
think tank provides an alternative measure of donors’ performance.
In order to capture a more comprehensive picture of development
cooperation, it measures a country’s performance in the fields of
aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology. For
example, the index penalises countries that give with one hand (through
aid or investment) but take away with the other (through trade barriers
or pollution). Among the best performers on this score are the Netherlands
and the Scandinavian countries.
48. Information is also a prerequisite for effective involvement
of European parliamentarians in NEPAD and African development. While
NEPAD attracted considerable attention at its inception and with
the endorsement of the G8, its evolution is rarely discussed. This
phenomenon not only applies to parliamentary discussions. Media
coverage of African issues in general mainly focuses on political
and humanitarian crises. Updates on or analyses of progress of NEPAD
activities or the APRM are rarely seen.
49. Parliamentarians engaged in development co-operation policies
will often find that they need to undertake considerable efforts
to explain development policies to their constituents. The practice
of tying aid represents a case in point. While development co-operation
has often been marketed as fostering market entry for domestic products,
governments have committed within the OECD to untie aid. Parliamentarians
need to be able to inform and give arguments to constituents and
business lobby groups as to why aid should be untied. According
to a Eurobarometer 2005 survey, 80% of citizens perceive development
narrowly as aid but nonetheless support development aid and their
government’s pledges. A Eurobarometer 2007 survey confirms this,
adding the perception that Sub-Saharan Africa is in greatest need
of European development assistance. Relating to constituencies and
building public support for comprehensive development policies would
also increase the weight of parliamentarians’ arguments vis-à- vis
Parliamentary Co-operation (Association of European Parliamentarians for
Africa (AWEPA), Parliamentary Assembly Co-operation Agreement with
the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), etc.)
50. In addition to national parliaments,
regional parliaments, parliamentary networks and assemblies play an
increasingly high-profile role in fostering development co-operation
and dialogue. While they formally lack teeth to hold governments
accountable, their resolutions and recommendations are widely acknowledged
as important contributions to global policy making. They can provide
national parliamentarians with backing for views that would otherwise
go unnoticed or be hardly recognised in national parliaments.
51. Perhaps their single most important function is to provide
a platform for networking among parliamentarians to exchange views,
experiences and examples of best practice. For European parliamentarians,
they can be an important source to inform their own policy makers
on African issues and development. For African parliamentarians,
they are an opportunity to learn about the variety of political systems
and forms of organisation in order to see which could be models
for their own countries.
52. AWEPA addresses these goals. The core functions of the association
are strengthening parliamentary capacity through exchange and raising
awareness for development issues. This international non-governmental
organisation counts some 1 500 members from parliaments of EU member
states plus Norway and Switzerland and from the European Parliament.
Its roots lie in the campaign to end apartheid in South Africa.
Founded in 1984, the association through its members contributed
to the framing of sanction policies through laws, monitoring and
implementation. Its present work focuses on supporting parliaments
in Africa and keeping African issues high on the political agenda
53. The Pan-African Parliament, as an institution of the African
Union (AU), is initially designed as a forum for consultation on
the AU’s policies. Launched in 2004 to ensure that governments carry
out their developmental promises, it is envisaged that the parliament
will be granted more power in the future. In March 2005, the Pan-African
Parliament passed a resolution calling on national parliaments to
“urge their governments to accede to APRM as a demonstration of
their commitment to democracy and good governance in Africa”. Having
said that, the Pan-African Parliament includes some parliaments
(its second vice-president is from Libya) whose democratic credentials
are dubious. Nevertheless, as an organ of the African Union, it
is a natural forum for the monitoring of NEPAD’s progress. In this
context the rapporteur recalls the agreement concluded by the Parliamentary
Assembly with the Pan-African Parliament in 2005 and considers that
steps should be taken to implement it more actively, notably with
a view to strengthening the latter’s role as a parliamentary forum
for reviewing the activities of such institutions as the African
Development Bank. This could be modelled on the Assembly’s role
as a parliamentary forum for such international institutions as
the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and
54. Other interparliamentary institutions and networks involved
in mobilising parliaments in Europe and Africa, in strengthening
their capacity and involvement in development issues and in promoting
NEPAD include the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the European Parliament,
the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB), the African
Parliamentarians’ Forum on NEPAD, the NEPAD Contact Group of African Parliamentarians,
the African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC)
and, in the context of the preservation of Africa’s environment
and its capacity to produce its own food, the Parliamentary Network
on the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (PNoUNCCD).
role of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity
55. The European Centre for Global
Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre) is the Council
of Europe’s prime mechanism for dialogue with developing countries.
As a part of the Council of Europe, it promotes the fundamental
values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Its focus
is on promoting dialogue between Europe and its southern neighbours
from the Mediterranean region and Africa.
56. The North-South Centre has been facilitating dialogue through
a series of Europe-Africa meetings. In preparation for the Europe-Africa
Summit in Lisbon in December 2007, the centre held a successful
Euro-African Youth Summit, to be followed up by a programme from
June 2008 to November 2009 hopefully with financing from its co-sponsor,
the European Commission, as well as an interparliamentary conference
as an opportunity for parliamentarians to provide input to the official
summit. At the Cape Town conference in May 2006, organised by the
North-South Centre, parliamentarians took a first step. Their Cape
Town Declaration calls for parliamentary monitoring of the EU-Africa
strategy and activities under the 10th European Development Fund
under the Cotonou Agreement.
57. With its expertise in promoting human rights protection and
advancing democratic governance, the North-South Centre is well
placed to focus on these areas in its exchanges with African parliamentarians.
It is furthermore an advantage that the Council of Europe includes
countries which have themselves recently experienced and completed
the transition to democracy. Sharing this experience with African
parliamentarians can be a useful way to engage in a constructive
dialogue on an equal basis.
58. The North-South Centre, as a partial agreement of the Council
of Europe, is in crisis as a result of the withdrawal of Italy and
France, two major contributors to the budget. It is vital that the
centre is placed again on a sound financial footing and that its
programme of activities correspond more closely to the needs and interests
of its stakeholders. The accession of Montenegro on 1 March 2008
is a hopeful sign that the process of restoration of confidence
has begun. In an increasingly wide network of parliamentary dialogues
and capacity-building programmes, it is especially important that
activities are well defined and targeted. Ad hoc and donor-driven
conferences are far too often limited to declarations and reports
posted on the Internet. While dialogue processes have per se no
measurable outcomes, some form of follow-up or implementation of activities
ensures the effectiveness of such efforts.
European Union-Africa Summit
59. The European Union-Africa Summit
held in Lisbon on 8 and 9 December 2007 adopted a joint strategy and
action plan to provide the means and instruments to implement the
new strategic partnership that is supposed to characterise the future
relationship between the two continents. Although still based on
European solidarity towards Africa in the struggle to overcome poverty
and fulfil the Millennium Development Goals, the partnership is
designed to go beyond the development framework and relations between
donor and recipient. The action plan comprises eight separate partnerships
for the period 2008-10 (when the next summit is planned): peace
and security; democratic governance and human rights; trade, regional
integration and infrastructure; Millennium Development Goals; energy;
climate change; migration, mobility and employment; and science,
information society and space. The objectives, expected outcomes
and activities are set out for each area and are to be implemented
through more frequent high level political contacts, including between the
Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament and other institutions
of the African and the European Union, civil society, joint expert
groups, research institutes, and so on. It is to be hoped that national parliaments
will also be fully involved in promoting and overseeing the implementation
of the joint strategy and action plan.
60. At the Lisbon Summit, the EU signed the country strategy papers
of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) with 31 countries of
Sub-Saharan Africa, providing a total of €8 billion over the period
2008-13. These co-operation programmes, worked out bilaterally with
each country, detail the priorities and results expected by 2013,
and these reflect the eight partnership areas of the EU-Africa Summit
action plan. One of the new features of the 10th EDF is that provision
is made (totalling €2.7 billion) for an “incentive tranche” to reinforce
a mutual commitment to good governance. Strategy papers with the
other Sub-Saharan countries are under way. Again, it is impor-tant
that parliaments play their part in ensuring the effective implementation
of these programmes.
In preparation for the Lisbon Summit, on 25 October 2007 the
European Parliament adopted a comprehensive resolution on the state
of play of EU-Africa relations.Note
other things, the resolution stresses that national and continental
parliaments in both Africa and Europe have an important role to
play in improving governance and accountability as regards aid commitments
and better donor co-ordination with a view to taking greater account
of the so-called “aid orphans” (paragraph 36). It points out that
parliaments should exercise full scrutiny over programming and sees
ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly reviews of ACP Country Strategy
Papers as a first step (paragraph 47). It acknowledges the usefulness
of budget support, in particular for improving basic social services,
but underlines that it is not appropriate in the case of fragile states
or countries in conflict, and insists that it be accompanied by
the strengthening of the capacity of parliaments (paragraph 90).
It insists that national, regional and continent-wide parliaments
must be expressly considered as beneficiaries of aid (paragraph
100); and it states that parliamentary scrutiny and approval of development
assistance packages must be a requirement for the disbursement of
funds (paragraph 105).
look at some key issues
62. From the above analysis, it
is clear that parliamentary monitoring is important. In addition,
through questions and debate, parliaments also contribute to agenda
setting. Two issues in today’s development discourse should thus
be highlighted: the role of good governance for development and
the empowerment of women.
63. Good governance has become both a condition for development
assistance and a goal in itself. It is widely recognised that good
governance is a vital prerequisite for development. The increasing
number of indices and reports on governance reflects that there
is so far no perfect indicator or methodology for assessing governance.
For parliamentarians, the recently established Open Budget Index
might be of particular interest. Based on questionnaires completed
by local experts in 59 participating countries, the index assesses
the availability of key budget documents, the quantity of information
they provide, and the timeliness of their dissemination to citizens.
64. As a particular aspect of governance and one of special relevance
in most African countries, the fight against corruption has led
to the creation of a specialised network. The highly active African
Parliaments Network Against Corruption (APNAC) has chapters in participating
countries in close co-operation with Transparency International.
It provides parliamentarians with tools and information for combating
corruption. Most importantly, it provides a platform to exchange
experience of what works and what does not.
65. Gender equality and the empowerment of women according to
the UN’s definition – require improved access of women to rights
(equality under the law), to resources (equality of opportunity),
and to voice (political equality). Improving gender equality has
a positive effect for poverty reduction and growth directly through women’s
greater labour force participation, productivity, and earnings as
well as indirectly through the beneficial effects of women’s empowerment
on the well-being of children and families.
66. African parliaments are not doing much worse than European
parliaments when it comes to the representation of women in parliament.
According to statistics by the Inter-parliamentary Union, women
in OSCE member countries account for 19.8% of parliamentarians in
the single or lower house. In Sub-Saharan Africa, these are 16.8%
and thus more than in Asia or the Arab countries. These numbers
are, of course, not representative for the situation of women in
their respective societies.
An important element within the parliamentary process is the
scrutiny of the budget from a gender equality perspective (see Parliamentary
on gender budgeting). According to the Global Monitoring Report 2007
than 60 countries have, over the last decade, undertaken analyses
of public budgets to assess differential incidence and effect on
men and women, as well as to measure men’s and women’s economic
contributions. Although it has to be acknowledged that not all parliaments
have the capacity for this kind of analysis, public scrutiny of
the budget from a gender equality perspective is a useful tool for
parliamentarians. It is important for both mainstreaming gender
in government policies and empowering citizens to influence policy-making
and hold governments accountable for public financial management.
68. This report has attempted to
analyse the role of parliamentarians – in both Europe and Africa
– in advancing the agenda of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(NEPAD) and in meeting the 2015 target for poverty reduction and
other Millennium Development Goals. It has provided background on
NEPAD and the commitments undertaken at Monterrey in 2002 with a
view to financing the achievement of the MDGs and in Paris in 2005
aimed at increasing the effectiveness of aid. It has taken stock
of progress made so far in Africa’s development and described existing
monitoring mechanisms and the ways in which parliamentarians can
play a role both in Africa and in Europe.
69. In general, there is a need to step up bilateral parliament-to-parliament
dialogue and co-operation on the subject of Official Development
Assistance, whether at the national or continental levels. In this
context the Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament
should take steps to implement their agreement more actively, and
the joint statement adopted by the European and Pan-African Parliaments
in advance of the Lisbon EU-Africa Summit in December 2007 is to
70. Parliaments should involve themselves more closely in development
issues. National parliaments might consider establishing development
co-operation committees where they do not exist. Parliamentarians
must be duly mobilised and informed, and in this context the work
of such non-governmental bodies as AWEPA and the PNoWB is essential.
71. The APRM is an important African Union initiative that aims
to improve governance in participating countries, on the assumption
that good governance is key to creating a positive investment climate
as a prerequisite for sustained economic growth. African leadership
over such initiatives should be maintained but Council of Europe
member states and their parliaments should follow developments critically
and sustain their support.
72. In Africa, there is a need for a greater role and involvement
of parliaments in policy making and monitoring (Millennium Development
Goals, Africa Partnership Forum, African Peer Review Mechanism,
New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Poverty Reduction Strategy
Papers), as well as a need for capacity building and institutional
strengthening. Parliamentarians should play their full constitutional
role in relation to the executive.
73. In Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly should endorse and prioritise
the concept of parliamentary involvement in and scrutiny of Official
Development Assistance. There should be more effective monitoring
of commitments both in quantity and quality. There should be greater
policy coherence. Parliamentarians should be mobilised to take African
and other development issues into account and to explain the importance
of these issues to their constituents.
74. The experience of international co-operation has shown that
sharing of experience and good practice improves the quality of
policies. Among other institutions, the North-South Centre of the
Council of Europe has a wide range of experience on which to base
new work focusing on global development education and on good governance
based on human rights, democracy and rule of law. It is vital that
the centre regain the full confidence of the Council of Europe member
states by pursuing programmes that correspond more closely to the
needs and interests of its present and potential stakeholders, with
the full support of the Parliamentary Assembly.
Africa Partnership Forum, Progress reports, 7th meeting of
the Africa Partnership Forum, Moscow, Russian Federation, 26 and
27 October 2006.
Africa Partnership Forum, Revised terms of reference for Africa
Partnership Forum, 5 October 2005.
Jeune Afrique, “Autodestruction
programmé”, 25 March 2007.
Barkan et al., “Emerging Legislatures: Institutions of Horizontal
Accountability”, in: Levy, Brian and Sahr Kpundeh, Building State Capacity in Africa,
World Bank Institute, Washington, DC, 2004, pp. 211-256.
Bayley, Hugh and Turok, Ben, “Holding Governments to Account
on Commitments to Development. A Best Practice Toolkit for Parliamentarians
in Africa, Europe and the West”, October 2005.
Bio-Tchané, Abdoulaye and Vibe Christensen, Benedicte, “Right
Time for Africa”, Finance and Development, December
2006, Volume 43, No. 4.
Hebaum, Harald, “Making the African Peer Review Mechanism
(APRM) Work. A rough road ahead for NEPAD’s key component”. SWP
working paper FG6, 2005/05, Berlin, December 2005.Hubli, Scott K.
and Mandaville, Alicia P. “Parliaments and the PRSP”, World Bank
Institute Working Papers: Series on Contemporary Issues in Parliamentary
IMF, “World Economic Outlooks”, 2007, 2008.
IMF, Regional Economic Outlooks, Sub-Saharan Africa, 2007,
Nijzink, Lia, Mozaffar, Shaheen and Azevedo, Elisabete, “Parliaments
and the enhancement of democracy on the African continent: An analysis
of institutional capacity and public perceptions”, in: The Journal of Legislative Studies,
12 March 2006, pp. 311-335.
Manby, Bronwen, Was the APRM process
in Kenya a waste of time? Open Society Institute, April
NATO Parliamentary Assembly, 2006 Annual Session, “G8 commitments
to developing countries”, rapporteur: Hugh Bayley.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Framework Document,
OECD, Statement by Mr Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary General,
and Mr Richard Manning, Chairman, OECD Development Assistance Committee
(DAC), Development Committee meeting, Washington, 15 April 2007.
OECD, “Development Cooperation Reports”, 2006, 2007.
Overseas Development Institute (ODI), “Parliamentary strengthening
in developing countries”, Report to the United Kingdom Department
for International Development, February 2007.
Radelet, Steve, “Aid Effectiveness and the Millennium Development
Goals”, Center for Global Development, Washington, DC, February
Stultz, Newell M., “African States Experiment with Peer- Reviewing.
The APRM, 2002 to 2007”, in: Brown Journal
of World Affairs, 13:2 (summer/autumn 2007).
Terlinden, Ulf, “Good Governance in Africa – a Parliamentarians’
Forum on Realistic Policies in North and South”, summary of discussions,
conference convened by the Development Policy Forum of InWEnt, Capacity Building
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“Helping Parliaments and Legislative Assemblies to Work for the
Poor. A Guide to the Reform of Key Functions and Responsibilities”,
July 2004, www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/helping-parliaments.pdf.
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Commission for Africa and Policy Coherence for Development: First
do no harm”, First Report of Session 2004-05.
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Reporting committee: Committee on Economic Affairs and Development.
Reference to committee: Doc. 10905 and Reference No. 3236 of 26 June 2006.
Draft resolution adopted by the committee on 2 June 2008.
Members of the committee: Mr Márton Braun (Chairperson),
Mr Robert Walter (Vice-Chairperson) (alternate: Mrs Claire Curtis-Thomas), Mrs Doris Barnett (Vice-Chairperson), Mrs Antigoni
Papadopoulos (Vice-Chairperson), MM. Ruhi Açikgöz,
Ulrich Adam, Mrs Veronika Bellmann, Mr Radu Mircea Berceanu, Ms Guđfinna
Bjarnadóttir, MM. Vidar Bjørnstad,
Jaime Blanco Garcia (alternate: Mrs Elvira Cortajarena), Luuk
Blom, Pedrag Bošković, Patrick Breen,
Gianpiero Carlo Cantoni (alternate: Mr Dario Rivolta),
Erol Aslan Cebeci, Ivané
Chkhartishvili, Valeriu Cosarciuc, Ignacio Cosidó Gutiérrez, Joan
Albert Farré Santuré, Relu Fenechiu, Carles Gasóliba i Böhm, Zahari
Georgiev, Francis Grignon, Mrs Arlette Grosskost, Mrs Azra Hadžiahmetović,
MM. Norbert Haupert, Stanislaw
Huskowski (alternate: Mrs Danuta Jazłowiecka),
Ivan Nikolaev Ivanov, Jan Jambon (alternate: Mr Luc van den Brande), Miloš Jevtić,
Ms Nataša Jovanović, MM. Antti Kaikkonen, Serhiy Klyuev, Albrecht Konečný, Bronislaw Korfanty, Anatoliy Korobeynikov,
Ertuğrul Kumcuoğlu, Bob Laxton,
Harald Leibrecht, Ms Anna Lilliehöök,
MM. Arthur Loepfe, Denis
MacShane, Yevhen Marmazov,
Jean-Pierre Masseret, Ruzhdi Matoshi, Miloš Melčák,
José Mendes Bota, Mircea Mereută, Attila Mesterházy, Mrs Olga
Nachtmannova, Mrs Hermine Naghdalyan, Mr Gebhard Negele, Mrs Miroslawa Nykiel, Mr Mark Oaten, Mrs Ganira
Pashayeva, Mrs Marija PejčinovicBurić,
MM. Manfred Pinzger, Viktor
Pleskachevskiy (alternate: Mr Nikolay Tulaev),
Claudio Podeschi, Jakob Presečnik,
Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Maximilian Reimann,
Roland Ries, Mrs Maria de Belém Roseira (alternate: Mr Maximiano Martins), Mrs Gitte Seeberg, Mr Samad
Seyidov, Mrs Sabina Siniscalchi (alternate: Mr Giorgio Mele), MM. Giannicola Sinisi, Leonid
Slutsky, Serhiy Sobolev, Mrs Aldona Staponkienė, MM. Christophe
Steiner, Vjaceslavs Stepanenko, Vyacheslav Timshenko (alternate:
Mr Yury Isaev), Mrs Arenca
Trashani, Ms Ester Tuiksoo, MM. Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Oldřich Vojíř, Konstantinos Vrettos, Harm
Evert Waalkens, Paul Wille, Mrs Gisela Wurm, Mrs Maryam Yazdanfar.
NB: The names of the members who took part in the meet ing
are printed in bold.
The draft resolution will be discussed at a later sitting.