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The Civil Society Forum brought together people from business, labour, research institutions and non-governmental organisations, including environmental and social rights groups. Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland of the SADC EPA Group were represented.

The main objectives of the Forum were:

  • To sensitise civil society on the Southern African Development Community-European Union (SADC-EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (the EPA), with specific attention to the sustainable development objectives embedded in it.
  • To explore the role of civil society in the EPA implementation and monitoring processes.
  • To share knowledge of best practices in the region on participation and monitoring.

Participants were invited to engage on a number of underlying questions, including: How is sustainable development mainstreamed into trade and other policies, both in the EU and in SADC EPA countries? How can the impact of the EPA be monitored? In which ways are citizens’ voices heard? Where do the opportunities and challenges of the EPA lie?

The introductory session and keynote speeches were followed by five breakaway sessions. These focused on identifying how to monitor the EPA’s impact over time around its economic, social and environmental dimensions (such as economic inclusion, gender, poverty eradication, labour standards, environmental protection, use of resources, alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and development co-operation). The suggestions from the groups will feed into the SADC-EU EPA mechanisms on monitoring to be adopted in the coming months.

Briefing Note (PDF, 750KB) Programme (PDF, 400KB)




Civil Society Forum October

South African Cheese and Wine Business Reception at Liliesleaf

Cheese supplied by Indezi River Creamery and wine by Treasure Chest
Civil Society Forum photographs by students from the Film Programme, Tshwane University of Technology