The African – European Parliamentarians Initiative (AEPI) was formed as an off-spring of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) after its dissolution in September 2017. Therefore, AEPI took over programmes left behind by AWEPA and went on to acquire AWEPA’s property rights, including intellectual property rights. It is in that sense that AEPI inherited AWEPA’s programmes as well as its publications.
Similar to AWEPA’s approach, AEPI’s activities are divided into programs that either take an institutional focus, or programs that are more thematic in nature. At the institutional level, AEPI works with African parliaments at a national, regional, or continental level as well as decentralized local authorities. Thematic programmes are programmes that carry a theme informing parliamentarians and mobilizing parliamentary action on specific issues through conferences, exchanges and publications.
AEPI’s overarching goal is to eradicate poverty and support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, through the realization of human rights, democracy and development in Africa.
AEPI aims to achieve this objective by promoting:
- A parliamentary competency and authority
- A good governance based on separation of powers
- An increased participation of women in decision-making
- Participation of civil society in the political process
- An independent and qualified media, as a component of the democratic process
AEPI specializes in promoting good governance, human rights and democracy in Africa by offering technical support, capacity-building and training services to regional, national and sub national parliamentary institutions as well as to the elected councils that govern and oversee development efforts at district and municipal levels of local government structures. AEPI uniqueness resides in its approach of peer-to-peer exchanges between parliamentarians as well as specialists in parliamentary capacity building.
At the time of dissolution, AWEPA’s Institutional Programmes included:
Pan-African Parliament, East African Legislative Assembly, Réseau de Femmes Parlementaires d’Afrique Centrale, Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Parliament of Rwanda, Parliament of Burundi, Parliament of Kenya, Parliament of Uganda, Parliament of Somalia, Parliament of Mozambique, The South Africa Provincial Legislatures (SAPL) Support Programme, The South Sudan Legislative Assembly(SSLA), and the Stability Pact for the Great Lakes peace process.
AEPI has begun re-establishing relations with the institutions above and has already signed Memorandum of Understanding with the East African Legislative Assembly, The Parliament of Somalia and letter of cooperation with South Sudan Parliament. Also, the Ethiopia regional parliament of CAFFEE has agreed to sign an MOU.
Through thematic programmes, AEPI informs and mobilizes parliaments to act on developmental issues.
Thematic programmes include:
- Famine in the Horn of Africa
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Strengthening Regional Parliaments towards Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
- Climate Change Mitigation
- Aid Effectiveness
AEPI’s thematic focus for the coming period will include a range of policy themes which complement its core institutional capacity-building work. These themes include the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), women’s rights, food security, climate change, conflict resolution, anti-corruption, illicit financial flows, domestic resource mobilisation, public financial management, development effectiveness and policy coherence for development. Despite the variety of themes, AEPI’s focus remains on parliamentary capacity development. All of these themes are addressed in the setting of parliamentary committees and related institutions, to qualitatively improve parliamentary performance, and are adopted in unique programme compositions tailor-made at the request of parliamentary partners and with the support of international donors.