The Panel of the Wise (PoW), is one of the critical pillars of the Peace and Security Architecture of the African Union (APSA). Article 11 of the Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council (PSC), sets up a five-person panel of “highly respected African personalities from various segments of society who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of peace, security and development on the continent” with a task “to support the efforts of the PSC and those of the Chairperson of the Commission, particularly in the area of conflict prevention.”


Background

The first Panel was appointed in December 2007 and composed of Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria, who served as chair, Salim Ahmed Salim of Tanzania, Elisabeth K. Pognon of Benin, Miguel Trovoada of Sao Tome and Principe, and Brigalia Bam of South Africa. At the July 2010 Summit in Kampala, Ben Bella and Ahmed Salim were reappointed for another term ending in December 2013 and three new members were appointed: Mary Chinery Hesse of Ghana; Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia; and Marie Madeleine Kalala-Ngoy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Panel has produced some thematic reports on issues relevant to peace and security such as non-impunity, women and children in armed conflicts and electoral disputes.

Methods of Work

The PoW reports to the PSC and through it, to the Assembly. Members are selected by the Chairperson of the AU Commission and appointed through a decision of the Assembly for three year renewable once terms. The Protocol states that the Panel, at the request of the PSC or its own initiative “shall undertake such action deemed appropriate to support the efforts of the PSC and those of the Chairperson of the Commission for the prevention of conflicts”.

The Panel meets at least three times annually to deliberate on its work program and to identify regions or countries to visit; it furthermore organizes annual workshops on issues related to conflict prevention and management to assist in producing a thematic report to be submitted to the Assembly of African Heads of State and Governments for endorsement.

Mandate

1. Support and advise the effort of the chairperson of the commission and the AU PSC, in the area of conflict prevention;
2.  Advise both the Commission and the Council  on   issues that are necessarily considered by the policy organs of the AU such as the issues of impunity, justice and reconciliation as well as, women and children in arms conflicts and its  impact on the most vulnerable ones;
3. Use its good offices to carry out conflict mediation and broker peace agreements between warring parties; and
4. Help the AU Commission in mapping out threats to peace and security by providing regular advice and analysis and requesting the Commission to deploy fact-finding or mediation teams to specific countries.

Current Panel Members (2014 – 2017)

CENTRAL AFRICA:                

Albina Faria de Assis Pereira Africano, a former government minister and (as of September 2014) Special Advisor to the President of Angola;

EASTERN AFRICA:

Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, a former Vice President of Uganda;

NORTHERN AFRICA:                 Lakhdar Brahimi, a former Foreign Minister of Algeria and former Arab League and United Nations Special Envoy for Syria;

SOUTHERN AFRICA:

Luisa Diogo, a former Prime Minister of Mozambique; and

WESTERN AFRICA:                 Edem Kodjo, a former Prime Minister of Togo and a former Secretary-General of the OAU.

Latest publications

1. Election-Related Disputes and Political Violence: Strengthening the Role of the African Union in Preventing, Managing and Resolving Conflicts (English, French)
2. The African Union Panel of the Wise: Strengthening Relations with Similar Regional Mechanisms: Download here
3. J. G. Porto and K. Y. Ngandu, The African Union’s Panel of the Wise: A concise history, ACCORD/AUC, 2016 Download here
      
View all the publications of the panel at: