Mission and Aims
It is AEPIs firm belief that strong parliaments – in their role as arbiters of peace, stability and prosperity – lie at the heart of long-term development and the realisation of human rights. Accordingly, we strive to strengthen African parliaments and promote human dignity by supporting democracy on the continent.
Our strategy is to put our efforts towards achieving SDG Goal 16: ‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.’
It is our vision that parliamentarians will be able to fulfil their role as the democratically elected voice of the people. They have a constitutional mandate and a sworn obligation to represent the people’s interests. Unfortunately, many African parliaments do not have the resources, or even the capacity and skills required to carry out their role effectively. In some cases, governments tend not to prioritise funding for parliamentarians, and often donors tend to fund civil society organisations. But it is the parliamentarians who are directly accountable to the people. Bypassing parliamentarians weakens democracy, undermines development efforts, and often leaves citizens without a policy-level representation of their rights and needs.
The uniqueness of AEPI is in its peer to peer learning that helps build the capacity and effectiveness of parliamentarians in Africa, whilst also providing invaluable insights and knowledge building for their counterparts in Europe. Exchanging with and learning from those who have faced similar issues, and who understand the ways of democracy, and the workings of a well-functioning parliament are invaluable.
The challenge today is to make aid even more effective in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The capacity of parliaments in Africa needs to be strengthened as the principal institution of representation, legislation and oversight. They need to participate in drafting national development policies and targets and receive progress reports from their governments. They should be able to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.