7 November 2016, Lusaka; The African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) Retreat opened today in Lusaka under the theme: Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020. Speaking when he opened the Retreat, H.E. Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of Zambia, recalled the Solemn Declaration of the AU Assembly, adopted during the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU in 2013, which stressed the determination of African leaders “to achieve the goal of a conflict-free Africa, to make peace a reality for all our people and to rid the continent of wars, civil conflicts, human rights violations, humanitarian disasters and violent conflicts and to prevent genocide. We pledge not to bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars by 2020.”

In this regard, he commended the African Union Peace and Security Council for assuming a locomotive role towards silencing the guns on the Continent by setting in motion the master roadmap for the implementation of concrete and practical steps towards achieving this goal.

The outcome of the Retreat will be submitted, as part of the Report of the Peace and Security Council on its activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa, to the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government during its session in January 2017, for consideration.

In a statement read on his behalf by the Ag. Director for Peace and Security, Dr. Admore Kambudzi, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E Ambassador Smail Chergui said that once the master roadmap for silencing the guns by 2020 has been considered and adopted by Heads of State and Government, there will be a need to institute an elaborate public information and outreach campaign to engage interactively with all partners at political, institutional, civil society and community levels, and encourage all citizens to play a part in achieving this noble goal. “Silencing the guns will involve more than just collecting and destroying guns. It will be more about creating and developing a culture of peace among our people and a strategic shift in the way Africa manages its affairs,” he said.

Speaking during the opening, the Chairperson of the AU PSC Retreat, Ambassador Osman Kamara of Sierra Leone said, “If we fail to silence the guns on the Continent, then, even Agenda 2063 will remain a myth.”

Members of the AU PSC present lauded the development and execution of this ambitious yet practicable master roadmap, complete with an implementation matrix and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for tracking progress as a milestone towards achieving the aspirations of Africans for the continent they want, as elaborated in Agenda 2063, and in particular the fourth aspiration for a peaceful and secure Africa.

The three-day Retreat is the first of its kind, to the extent that it will afford the PSC an unprecedented opportunity to be the driver in articulating concrete actions designed for AU Member States and Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, with the support of various other stakeholders.

Posted by Marsden Momanyi

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