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Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) at its 1204th meeting held on 13 March 2024 on the briefing by the Panel of the Wise on its activities in Africa.

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling Assembly Decision [Assembly/AU/Dec.824 (XXXV)] adopted by the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held from 5 to 6 February 2022, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, appointing the 5th Panel of the Wise and encouraging Member States to extend unflinching support to the incoming members of the Panel to facilitate the implementation of their strategic mandate to the fullest extent possible;

Further recalling its previous decisions and pronouncements on the activities of the Panel of the Wise, particularly Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM.1152 (2023)] adopted at its 1152nd meeting held on 11 May 2023, and Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM(DCLV)] adopted at its 665th meeting held on 13 March 2017;

Noting the opening remarks by H.E. Emilia Ndinealo Mkusa, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia and Chairperson of the PSC for March 2024 and the statement by H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security; further noting the briefing by Professor Babacar Kante, Chairperson of the AU Panel of the Wise;

Faithful to the provisions of Article 11 of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, which established the Panel of the Wise to support the efforts of the PSC and the Chairperson of the AU Commission on conflict prevention, and all matters relating to the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa; and reaffirming its commitment to regularising the briefings by the Panel of the Wise;  and

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council: 

1.  Underscores the critical role of the Panel of the Wise, including advising the Council and the Chairperson of the Commission on all issues relating to the promotion and maintenance of peace, security and stability;

2. Takes note, with appreciation, of the briefing by Professor Babacar Kante, Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise, on the activities of the Panel of the Wise, and commends all the members of the Panel for their tireless effort to ensure peace, security and stability on the Continent;

3. Commends the effort of the Panel of the Wise to revitalise their cooperation with similar mechanisms at the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of the Wise, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Panel of Elders, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Committee of Elders, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Panel of Elders, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Mediation Reference Group; emphasises the importance of the Pan-African Network of the Wise (PanWise) Network as a foundational framework for collaborative engagements between the Panel of the Wise, RECs/RMs, and other key stakeholders; applauds the Panel of the Wise for launching Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention (FemWise-Africa) national chapters;

4. Highlights the valuable roles of the Panel of the Wise’s subsidiary mechanisms – FemWise-Africa, PanWise and Network of African Youth (WiseYouth) – in the promotion of peace, security and stability on the Continent; emphasises the importance of coordination and ensuring synergy of efforts in conflict prevention and the need for creating platforms of meaningful participation of women and youth in preventive diplomacy, mediation and peacebuilding;

5. Welcomes the efforts by the Commission to support the decentralisation process for the FemWise-Africa Network, aimed at strengthening the role of women mediators at regional and national levels, and underscores the need to ensure the consistent and systematic inclusion of women and youth in peace processes at all levels;

6. Further welcomes the outcomes of the Second Joint Retreat of the Panel of the Wise and the African Peer Review (APR) Panel of Eminent Persons held on 10 December 2023 in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa, and the signing of the Communique of the Second Joint Retreat and Framework of Cooperation between the AU Panel of the Wise and APR Panel of Eminent Persons; encourages the two Panels to implement the Framework of cooperation and to further enhance synergies in areas of conflict prevention and peace-making in Africa; further encourages the Panel to extend its interface with other AU organs, including the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul;

7. Calls for the establishment of comprehensive follow-up and re-engagement strategies for missions conducted by the Panel of the Wise, including periodic assessments and revisits to previously engaged contexts to ensure the implementation of recommendations and adapt interventions as necessary for sustained peace and stability;

8. Welcomes the Panel of the Wise's proactive engagement with countries in political transitions and processes and the Panel’s essential role in fostering stability and peace on the Continent and recognises the critical need to utilise the Panel's extensive expertise and influence to accompany Mali, Gabon, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger and Sudan to return to constitutional order, as well as processes in South Sudan and Chad; encourages the Panel of the Wise to support the implementation of peace agreements on the Continent, as well as support mediation efforts of AU High-Level Panels in their respective areas of engagement;

9. Reiterates its call for quarterly briefings by the Panel of the Wise and affirms the importance of maintaining open and continuous communication channels between the Council, the Commission, and the Panel of the Wise;

10. In this regard, directs the Commission to undertake the following:

 i. Provide requisite resources, including political, human and financial resources, to enable the Panel to implement its mandate effectively in line with its modalities to ensure the timely prevention and resolution of conflicts in Africa, as well as to support the decentralisation of FemWise-Africa through the establishment of regional and national chapters;

 ii. Facilitate rapid deployment mechanism for the Panel of the Wise to timely respond to emerging conflicts and crises and facilitate the provision of mission reports of the Panel of the Wise to the Council, as well as facilitate both formal briefings by the Panel during the Council’s consideration of country-specific developments and informal consultations on emerging conflicts and crises;

iii.  In collaboration with relevant partners, including the Network of Think Tanks for Peace (NeTT4Peace) and other early warning mechanisms, ensure the Panel of the Wise receives early warning information and analyses to enable the Panel to proactively deploy preventive diplomacy efforts and facilitate the undertaking of joint scenario planning with NeTT4Peace to bolster the Panel’s intervention efforts;

iv.  Conduct annual strategic reviews of the Panel of the Wise's activities to evaluate the effectiveness of the Panel's interventions, identify areas for improvement, and adjust strategies in alignment with the dynamic nature of conflict and crisis situations on the continent;

v.  Ensure transparency in decision-making processes and guarantee the accountability of those involved in promoting peace and security in Africa. Redouble efforts to build mutual trust and respect for commitments made with a view to strengthening the effectiveness of actions.

vi.  Actively support and facilitate joint deployments of the Panel of the Wise with similar regional bodies, particularly in contexts requiring urgent attention, leveraging the collective expertise and resources for conflict prevention and management efforts;

vii.  Facilitate increased participation of the Panel of the Wise and its subsidiary mechanisms (PanWise, FemWise-Africa and WiseYouth) in electoral preventive diplomacy, mediation, dialogue, and other processes;  and

viii.  Facilitate the briefing by the Panel of the Wise on the horizon scanning in June 2024.

11. Requests the Panel of the Wise to continue engaging stakeholders in the countries they undertook missions, in order to ensure the implementation of recommendations of the mission reports and report back to the Council;

12. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter. 

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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