CCPAU was established in 2007 as an independent network that aspires to broaden and strengthen opportunities for substantive engagement between the African Union (AU) and citizens. CCPAU was established with the mandate to coordinate and facilitate citizens’ engagement with the AU so that it can be a Union that delivers to African peoples and addresses their issues.
CCPAU was started due to civil society frustrations in trying to engage with the African Union. While it initially was set up to increase Ethiopian CSOs’ engagement with the AU its mandate was expanded to also facilitate African civil society’s access and engagement with the African Union. Most civil society actors had limited understanding of the operations, structures and processes of the AU; civil society faced challenges in accessing officials, processes and getting accreditation to Summits and also there were challenges with practical aspects such as getting visas into Ethiopia and any other countries hosting a Summit including practical information on accommodation and other logistical support. As more CSOs across the continent got more involved, the membership, mandate and scope of the organization broadened.
From 2007, the CCPAU held Citizens’ Conferences which brought together civil society actors from across the five regions of the continent. The organization also held training workshops on understanding the AU in countries hosting AU Summits; together with others held pre Summit dialogues with ambassadors/ members of the PRC and mobilized hundreds of national, regional and continental networks, coalitions and organizations into its membership.
A Task Force was put in place in 2009 with the mandate to drive the agenda of institutionalizing the CCPAU. The Task Force succeeded in drafting a Constitution for the organization, registering the CCPAU in Kenya, recruiting an Executive Director and organizing the first CCPAU General Assembly. The Task Force thus carried the work of the CCPAU until the February 2011 General Assembly.
As of March 2011, the CCPAU had a newly elected Board comprising of African civil society leaders and a newly founded secretariat.