Africa Liberal Network General Assembly concludes with spectacular success

International officeThis year saw the 11th Africa Liberal Network (ALN) General Assembly, which took place in Marrakech, Morocco, between 26 – 29 November 2014. President of the ALN Olivier Kamitatu said: “This year, the ALN accomplished a number of historic firsts including the election of a gender representative executive committee, the adoption of a robust new constitution and the acceptance of 9 new observer member parties, taking the total number of members to the largest in the Network’s history, with 44 parties.”

It was also the first conference to bring the ALN and the Arab Alliance for Freedom and Democracy together making this the biggest in the history of the network with over 90 delegates from 22 African countries.

The ALN is an organisation of liberal parties across the African continent, managed and funded by the Liberal Democrats’ International Office through the ALN Secretariat in Capetown, South Africa.

Head of the International Office Iain Gill said: “The UK Liberal Democrats are immensely proud to sponsor the Africa Liberal Network. Over the last five years we have watched it develop exponentially and beyond expectations. The ALN is now has the largest regional network in the Liberal International family outside of ALDE with a total membership of 44 parties and we are growing in both quality and quantity. Our 2018 objective is to surpass the European network and become the dominant force in LI politics.”

This year’s General Assembly was entitled ‘Human rights and increasing political participation: providing a voice for all’. The packed programme featured three panel discussions tackling different aspects of human rights, with high-profile experts and speakers including Hakima El Haiti, Moroccan minister of energy, mines, water and the environment, President of Liberal International Juli Minoves, and Frerik Kampman, Secretary General of the International Federation of Liberal Youth.

Each panel discussion was followed by breakaway group sessions in which the delegates had the opportunity to give input and examples from their respective countries. Feedback from these discussions fed into a human rights framework, which was scrutinised, discussed, amended and finally approved by all member parties.

Named the Marrakech Declaration, this document took the radical steps of committing all signatories to providing not just free and compulsory primary but also secondary education for all children, and to implementing laws prohibiting any discrimination on the basis sexuality. The Marrakech Declaration will be an invaluable tool for further strengthening the ALN as a force for promoting liberal values across the African continent.

Andrew Stunell, Liberal Democrat MP for Hazel Grove and Governor on the board of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, led the session and commented: “Many member parties gave first-hand testimony to the serious lack of basic political and human rights in their own countries. This land-mark Declaration can now be the reference point for future action and campaigning for justice for all, regardless of status or power.

Robert Woodthorpe Browne MBE, head of the Liberal Democrats’ International Relations Committee, chaired the election of the new ALN executive committee. The outcome of this election was a fantastic statement on the ALN’s status as a bastion of progressive, liberal values: gender parity among the regional vice-presidents.

Another milestone was reached with the approval of a new constitution for the network, introducing a more rigorous application process for new member parties, putting more stringent demands on existing members and empowering the ALN to take stronger action against members who do not pay their membership fees. This is a crucial step towards improving the internal mechanisms to ensure that member parties conform to the ALN’s requirements and adhere to their commitments.

ALN

Sponsored and funded by the UK Liberal Democrats, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the ALN is not just our flagship project, but the star performer of all UK political party programmes. The General Assembly in Marrakech will be instrumental in ensuring that the ALN continues to go from strength to strength.

* Harriet Shone is Head of the Liberal Democrats’ International Office.

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5 Comments

  • This is really wonderful. Positive and forward looking, like so much home grown African thinking. Proud.

  • David Faggiani 16th Dec '14 - 10:52am

    Wow, I actually just felt pretty inspired and optimistic. It’s been a while!

  • This is positive stuff. I wish I had been there. I would love to read more.

    For example I would be interested to know if Hakima El Haiti, the Moroccan minister of energy spoke about the excellent work that the Moroccan Government is doing on solar power.

    Any chance that LDV could give us more on the ALN ?

  • suzanne fletcher 16th Dec '14 - 2:22pm

    I’d be interested to know how to get in touch with ALN. I went to their fringe meeting in Glasgow and was very interested. i’ve been on their website twice and sent a message (from me as chair of Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary) but no response either time.
    sad they have nobody from DRC involved at all.

  • Richard Underhill 31st Jan '16 - 12:15pm

    “Andrew Stunell, Liberal Democrat MP for Hazel Grove”?

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