Joint Civil Society Reaction
The African Union - European Union Summit that took place on 17 and 18 February 2022 aimed to deepen cooperation between the EU and the AU “based on shared interests and values” and resulted in a joint-political declaration. It was an opportunity for European leaders to work towards ending not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also persisting epidemics like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases, by supporting sustainable mechanisms for building health systems worldwide.
While we welcome the fact that health was high on the political agenda of the Summit, and Team Europe made wide-ranging commitments in the area of health, it remains unclear how some of these initiatives will be funded, what type of support will be provided (grants, loans, or blended finance), how these initiatives will connect to each other to create a coherent continental approach, or how sustainable they will be in the long run. The call from the AU and civil society to support the waiving of Intellectual Property rights on COVID tools was also not addressed, despite its urgency.
We deeply regret the absence of a commitment to the achievement of universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in the political declaration, despite the calls made by civil society and youth ahead of the Summit about the importance of prioritising SRHR. SRHR are critical to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), as well as gender equality and human development. While we welcome the development of a Team Europe Initiative on SRHR in Sub-Saharan Africa, we call on the EU and the AU to implement ambitious policies and allocate adequate funding to the achievement of SRHR for all.
Download our full joint statement below.