In order to have an impact in the post-2015 development goals debate, the African Union (AU) should strategically use four key criteria to cut their 29 recommendations down to five priority areas, according to a new report released by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

In policy brief no. 45, The African Union and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, CIGI Senior Fellow Barry Carin says that “effective goals should reflect the complexity of the real world, but capacity for effective communication requires specifications that are concise and simple.”

“Negotiators for the African Union are faced with a difficult task – representing the priorities of 54 diverse countries. There are several criteria they should apply to maximize their effectiveness so that the post-2015 product that ultimately emerges is as congruent as possible with the [Common African Position],” according to Carin.

The Common African Position (CAP) advocates 29 post-2015 development goals, prepared by African Heads of State and Government and published by the AU in March 2014. By using four key considerations — including prospects for global and pan-African support and the availability of measurable indicators — Carin recommends that African negotiators focus on promoting only five of the CAP goals:

  1. Diversification, industrialization and value addition, as it relates to structural economic transformation and inclusive growth;
  2. Developing the services sector, as it relates to structural economic transformation and inclusive growth;
  3. Addressing desertification, land degradation, soil erosion, flooding and drought, as it relates to environmental sustainability, natural resources management, and disaster risk management;
  4. Improving domestic resource mobilization, as it relates to finance and partnerships; and
  5. Maximizing innovative financing, as it relates to finance and partnerships.

To download and read a free PDF copy of The African Union and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, please visit:


Barry Carin is a senior fellow at CIGI. He has served in a number of senior official positions in the Government of Canada and played an instrumental role in developing the initial arguments for the G20 and a leader’s level G20. Carin brings institutional knowledge and experience to his research on the G20, international development, energy and climate change.


Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7238, Email: [email protected] 

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit


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