AU Watch

Political Dialogue

Democracy and peace require a social contract between the governed and those in power which allows them to manage and resolve conflicts amicably. And many times, it starts with dialogue. Local and political leaders are key stakeholders in these contracts. They represent different constituencies, and have a responsibility to find ways of ensuring new political settlements forged in fragile contexts are seen as fair and inclusive.

For us that requires a wide range of activities, from high-level negotiations to mediation to community attempts at reconciliation. These processes of political dialogue are complementary and normally run in parallel.We, therefore, work with political actors to create safe spaces that can sustain dialogue, bridge gaps in communication and promote new models of collaboration where violent conflict or the threat of violent conflict demands ways of doing politics differently.We work with local people around Africa to help them build peace and we advise governments, organisations and companies on how to support peace.

What we offer
We support those directly involved in politics, and other individuals with political influence, to explore new approaches for collaboration. By bringing together political leaders and actors from different sectors, we help shape political settlements and social contracts that can sustain peace. This involves organising dialogue to help forge fresh visions of what a peaceful society might look like, and practise new ways of conducting the politics required to realise these visions.

The AU is the premier political forum for Africa – where we come together to advance their common goals and work out their differences.Political dialogue is important within the pillars of the AU – democracy, human rights, security, and development. As part of its monitoring of regional democracy in Africa, we maintain a regular dialogue with the AU and its Members. We also have direct contacts and exchanges with national governments, in particular, on the occasion of official visits in the Member States, or during follow-up visits or observation of local and regional elections.

We do this by:
• Creating safe spaces for political actors to come together and discuss difficult and contentious issues;
• Providing training in dialogue skills;
• Organising visits to other countries going through political transitions, to provide exposure to alternative approaches to politics and political leadership;
• Supporting and collaborating on research, to illuminate some of the contentious political issues and facilitate problem-solving.