The regional consultation in Addis Ababa was arranged by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), the Cairo Centre for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping (CCCPA) – with Norwegian financial support provided under the Training for Peace (TfP) programme. The goal of the session was to involve the AU Commission, the UN, Member States, civil society and think tanks, to provide a platform for reflection and deliberation, and to more concretely identify the particular perspectives emerging from the continent - concerning challenges and threats.
Among the attendants was the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr Mogens Lykketoft, the Ethiopian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Commissioner for Political Affairs in the African Union Commission (AUC), Ms Aisha L. Abdullahi, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the AU, Mr Haile Menkerios, and Head of Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division in AUC, Mr Fred Ngoga Gateretse.
Mr Lykketoft said that today’s developments in international peace and security, including the situation in Syria and a number of ongoing conflicts and security threats in Africa, call into question the effectiveness of the UN. Mr Lykketoft said he had therefore decided to convene a High-Level Thematic debate in May, to specifically focus on the role and coherence of the UN’s architecture in support of the comprehensive, efficient and effective management of global peace and security concerns. The overall aim of the debate will be to pursue a pragmatic course of action that will generate concrete results on peace and security.
Ms Abdullahi talked about the AU’s goal of «Silencing the guns» before 2020 and that the AU now needed to move from norm-setting to implementation. This should include, she said, increased efforts at the nexus of peace and security, on the one hand, and governance deficits, on the other. She highlighted the need to include women and youth in peacebuilding in their countries and that, overall, there is a need for new ideas and structures in the work on peace and security. Ms Abdullahi also stressed the AU’s commitment to deepening its partnership with the UN on these issues.
The meeting highlighted the importance of conflict prevention in Africa and the world. There are many conflicts and crises in the world today, and it is a challenge to work on prevention in a time when current situations demand such a high amount of work and money. Mr Lykketoft said it is time to take concrete steps of action to prevent future conflicts. He also addressed the importance of institutional building and partnerships with regional organisations, such as the African Union, which have the best knowledge about their region.
In addition to the regional consultation In Addis Ababa, there have been similar consultations in Europe (Brussels), Latin America (Brasilia), League of Arab States (Cairo), and there will be one for Asia in Shanghai on March 23. The outcomes of these regional consultations will be integrated at a seminar in New York in April, and the outcomes will serve as the basis for the High Level Thematic Debate on May 10-11 in New York.
NUPI has released the report «Synthesis Report: Reviewing UN Peace Operations, the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325.» You can read the report here: http://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2379246/3/NUPI_Report_2_16_Stamnes_Osland-final.pdf