Why AU committed to peacebuilding, preserving Africa’s diverse cultural heritage

THE second consultative meeting between the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU PSC) and the Economic Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has just been wound up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The meeting that was opened by Mr Mohamed Lamine Thiaw, the Permanent Representative of Senegal and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of July came out with strong interventions and resolutions.

Tanzania was not left behind in that important meeting; it was represented by its Ambassador to Ethiopia and the Permanent Representative to the AU, Mr Innocent Shiyo, who had time to address the conference as well.

In his intervention remarks, Ambassador Shiyo noted with insistence importance of the meeting, thanking the chairman and commending him for convening that important meeting, which is critical towards enhancing Union’s readiness and capacity to respond to threats on the continent.

“Sincerely the convening of this second second Annual Consultative meeting attests to the Council’s recognition of and commitment to enhancing joint reflections on the role of CSOs in the promotion of peace, security, stability and development in Africa. It also speaks to our aspiration to creating a people-centred Union,” he said.

Ambassador Shiyo said that Tanzania takes due note of the reflections by the CSOs on pertinent peace and security questions and wishes to underscore the role of CSOs in fostering more resilient societies across Africa.

“This is in line with one of the functions of ECOSOCC, namely the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, good governance, democratic principles, gender equality and child rights. Indeed, CSOs have a unique role to play in developing and implementing strategies that promote peace and security,” he noted.

The diplomat however, said that currently, in the domain of peace and security, the role of CSOs is much more visible in conflict management and in post conflict contexts. He said that includes promoting reconciliation and promoting local ownership of peace processes.

“That being said, as has been the focus of this Council, namely enhancing early warning and early response, it is important to enhance and place more emphasis on the role of CSOs in conflict prevention,” he told the gathering.

Relatedly, the AUC and the RECs and RMs can also seek to enhance the capacities of select CSOs to better support and amplify AU and regional peace efforts. One approach could be through trainings in the various peace institutes on the continent, such as the Kofi Annan Peace Institute in Ghana or the SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Mr Shiyo said that Tanzania supports the continued convening of these annual consultations between the PSC and CSOs, which not only serve to exchange key reflections but also serve as recognition of by the PSC of the role of CSOs.

He said that the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania salutes the announcement by Mr Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, referring him as the great African Statesman on his own and by extension the country’s political future, a wise move which further cements Senegal’s already stellar credentials.

Speaking to the ‘Sunday News’ on Friday, Ambassador Shiyo said the meeting came out with several resolutions, citing one of them as to stress the ongoing role of CSOs as key actors in supporting governments to address systemic peace and security challenges.

The said challenges are encountered by nations as well as their significant role in delivering essential services to marginalized communities, empowering individuals through capacity-building initiatives, making valuable contributions to peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts, monitoring government activities, and preserving Africa’s diverse cultural heritage.

Members commended the efforts made by ECOSOCC to establish this database for CSOs an initiative which is expected to have a profound impact on enhancing the active engagement of CSOs in supporting the activities of the PSC, where needed.

They reiterated that PSC serves as a vital tool for mobilizing CSOs towards the effective implementation of AU instruments and frameworks focused on promoting democracy; including to fostering transparency, inclusivity, and coordination among CSOs, ultimately supporting the overarching objectives of the AU.

Ambassador Shiyo noted that members applauded the diverse efforts made by Civil Society in Africa, as they have served as a catalyst for constructive change and development and for their role in tackling social and economic obstacles, and promoting democratic governance as well as in spearheading positive transformation, nurturing inclusive development, and empowering the voices of African citizens, with the meaningful participation of youth and women.

He said that members, unanimously, called on CSOs to intensify coordination and cooperation through the mechanisms provided by ECOSOCC and the PSC, in order to effectively contribute in a cohesive manner to the policies and programmes of the Union. In this regard highlight the need to enhance and capitalize the engagement between the PSC and CSOs on the African continent as outlined in the Constitutive Act, PSC Protocol, and the Livingstone Formula, as well as other relevant AU instruments.

They commended and took note the establishment of a coalition of CSOs, known as the Pan-African Civil Society Network on Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PANPAPS) which will provide strong support towards preventing, resolving and addressing conflicts, as well as enhancing synergy among the CSOs and its engagement with the PSC.

In another resolution, the meeting underscored the role of the CSOs in several thematic areas, such as on Small Arms and Light Weapons and unconstitutional changes of government.

“As we have heard today; in this regard, we request the CSO to continue advocating the work of our Council, including through the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap to Silence the Guns in Africa and to regularly engage the PSC on their activities,” he quoted part of the resolutions.

Members also emphasized the imperative to cultivate additional opportunities for engagement between CSOs and the PSC in pivotal domains, which include providing support for mediation and peace-making efforts, as well as on early warning.

The meeting is looking forward to the implementation of actionable strategies on how best the PSC can engage African CSOs to present a common plan to support the work of the PSC and the implementation of Article 20 of the PSC Protocol, the Livingstone Formula, the Maseru Retreat Conclusions, as well as the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030.

Related Articles

Back to top button