BIC: Promoting principle of oneness in African-European partnership

May 11, 2022

BRUSSELS — Over the past two years, the pandemic has prompted greater global recognition of the interdependence of nations, particularly their economic ties. During this same time, the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) has sought to foster understanding of a deeper reality—that at a fundamental level, humanity is one.

This was the theme of the BIC’s latest statement titled “The Oneness of Humanity—Implications for the Africa-European Union Partnership,” which was jointly prepared by the Addis Ababa and Brussels Offices of the BIC on the occasion of the 6th African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) Summit held in Brussels.

Solomon Belay of the Addis Ababa Office states: “The summit offered an opportunity to present EU leaders with key insights emerging from the many conversations of the BIC with government officials, policy makers, faith leaders, and civil society organizations about a range of themes being explored by the BIC in recent years, including global governance, migration, climate change, agriculture, and food security. We will be offering the same perspectives to AU leaders.”

Dr. Belay explains the importance of the AU-EU relationship arises from the fact that the two continents are intertwined socially and economically. “Current relationships need to change to ones based on advancing the well-being of all people on both continents and beyond. This requires mutual support and trust,” he says.

The BIC acknowledges in its statement that while many people agree with the idea that the progress, prosperity, and well-being of one continent is inextricably linked with the welfare of the other, “the current structure of the global order does not give [the principle of oneness] full expression.”

The statement continues: “Many of today’s political and socioeconomic systems were created at a time when the primacy of one part of the world over others was considered a basic fact. While efforts have been made to overcome some of the most blatant expressions of this assumption in recent decades, patterns of inequality remain stubbornly resistant to change.”

Rachel Bayani of the Brussels Office explains that reshaping international structures and relationships according to the principle of humanity’s oneness is a challenging task that will require effort over generations. “The statement offers a few practical suggestions for moving toward this goal. First is for careful consideration to be given to the impact of European policies on all segments of society in Africa, Europe, and across the world,” she says.

“Another suggestion is the creation of certain structured spaces,” Mrs. Bayani continues, “for African and European social actors at different levels of society to engage in a consultative process that goes beyond transactional bargaining and does not advocate for preconceived and predetermined solutions.”

The statement of the Brussels and Addis Ababa Offices builds on the ongoing efforts of the BIC to contribute to the discourse on global governance and the ideas highlighted in the statement titled “A Governance Befitting: Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order.”