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In 2017, the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance (ACDEG) celebrated the tenth and fifth anniversaries of its adoption and entry into force, respectively. These milestones offer an excellent opportunity to reflect on the instrument’s past, present and future. Bringing together a group of distinguished scholars and practitioners, a research project was launched to commemorate the ACDEG, jointly organized by IOB, the African Union and the Centre for Human Rights Law at SOAS University of London.
The project focuses on the challenges and opportunities presented by the ACDEG and addresses a range of issues related to its implementation from different theoretical, empirical and country-specific perspectives. Together with a variety of audiences including academics, practitioners and policy makers working in the area of democratization, governance, rule of law, human rights and development in Africa various reflection processes around the implementation of the ACDEG have started. The project has already received contributions from senior officials of the African Union, members of the African Diplomatic Community, African Diaspora Scholars and African NGOs on the development and implementation of the ACDEG: first, in order to engage in the kind of conversation that is typically missing – but needed – between them; and second, to ensure that the publications resulting from this process reflect unique and rich scholarly as well as practitioner perspectives.
The specific results of this project include the publication of key peer-reviewed papers in two special issues of prestigious Africa focused journals: Africa Spectrum and the Journal of African Law. Based on these academic papers, a policy brief has been developed that synthesizes different policy relevant conclusions. A draft of this policy paper formed the basis of the discussions during a Practitioner Dialogue. The Practitioner Dialogue provided space for a critical appraisal of the progresses, challenges and opportunities presented by the ACDEG and led to the development of critical policy recommendations that will support both the African Union and the Member States in adhering to the provisions of the ACDEG and in effect improving democracy, governance and human rights on the continent. This policy brief has been formally presented to the Office of the Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union Commission and to the Office of the AU Ambassador to the European Union.