11th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting

11th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

22nd - 23rd January 2008


Every six months, FAS and the Gender is My Agenda Campaign meet for the Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union. The 11th Pre-Summit was held from 22-23 January 2008 at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the margins of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

More than sixty representatives from the NGOs that make up the Gender is My Agenda Campaign met at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference room was filled to capacity and the discussions frequently continued after sessions finished, during coffee breaks and lunches.

The theme of the 11th Pre-Summit was ‘The Industrialisation of the African Continent: The gender perspective'. Experts from across Africa and the world came to share their views on the subject. Several prominent women and experts attended the event. Gisèle Mandaila, Secretary of State for Families and Persons with Disabilities of Belgium and Fatou Bensouda, Deputy Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, were among the special guests invited to address the conference.

Along with discussions surrounding industrialisation and gender in Africa, the members of the Gender is My Agenda Campaign reviewed the progress made by the AU in the past six months in gender mainstreaming. The AU has made significant progress in this regard, most notably in guaranteeing an even male-female split in the AU Commission, and by working towards the same balance in the hiring policies of other AU bodies. However, much work remains to be done, and the Gender is My Agenda Campaign continues its work in monitoring, evaluating and making recommendations.

The Pre-Summits are also regular occasions for networking among NGOs and civil society representatives and a forum in which to strengthen the existing partnerships among the members of the Gender is My Agenda Campaign.
In organising the Pre-Summits and producing recommendations, the Gender is My Agenda Campaign highlights the importance of civil society must in holding the AU accountable to its commitments in gender mainstreaming and the promotion of women's rights on the continent. The Recommendations and Solemn Declaration of the 11th Pre-Summit were drafted on 25 January and, as in previous years, were brought to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU.

The 11th Pre-Summit was extended by two days to include the African Women's Consultation on Darfur, on 24 and 25 January. The objective of this second conference was to help Sudanese women draft a plan of action for peace in Darfur. More than one hundred participants from Sudan's Darfur region and the rest of Africa gathered in Addis Ababa to explore the ways in which women and civil society in Sudan could effectively engage in the existing Sudan Peace Process to ensure that peace talks properly address the needs of Darfuri women and girls.

The Pre-Summit was organised by FAS and the Gender is My Agenda Campaign network with the support of the African Union Gender Directorate, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom.

Since 2003, FAS and its network have been organising the Pre-Summit Consultative Meetings twice each year prior to the regular AU meetings of Heads of State and Government. The Pre-Summits and their advocacy activities have resulted in notable achievements such as the landmark adoption of the gender parity principle in the African Union. In 2004, the AU Commission made the parity principle a reality by electing an even number of male and female commissioners to the AU Commission.

The Gender is My Agenda Campaign was established in 2006 at the 8th Pre-Summit in Banjul, Gambia. The Campaign monitors the progress of the implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) in the African Union. The SDGEA was adopted by the AU in July 2004 during its Third Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Solemn Statement and Recommendations of the 11th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting » PDF