The AU and its various organs and programs were created primarily to improve governance, promote sustainable development, uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights. Within this framework, RECs are also increasingly being given new impetus, especially in the implementation of continental developmental projects, in particular those drawn up by the NEPAD.
The Constitutive Act of the African Union and in particular the treaty establishing the African Economic Community (1991), the Abuja Treaty, make provisions for the inclusion of civil society in the programs of the AU. Thus, the launching of ECOSOCC as the official platform for civil society in the AU opened up the space for civil society organizations (CSOs) to demand even more and effective inclusion. At the NEPAD level, the introduction of a civil society desk and the think tank has meant that civil society can contribute to NEPAD programs and their implementation. Furthermore, the inclusive nature of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) provides space for AU Watch to interface and engage the AU especially at the country level.