1. I.                    Introduction


  1. From 4 to 5 December 2017, the Government of the Republic of Zambia, in collaboration with the Commission of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), organized in Livingstone, Zambia, the Fifth High-Level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa: Assisting Incoming African Members of the United Nations Security Council (A3) in Preparing to Address Peace and Security Issues on the Continent. The Seminar was held within the context of implementation process of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture.

II.    Participation

2.    The Seminar brought together the following countries: Egypt and Senegal (outgoing A3 Member), Ethiopia (sitting A3 Member) and Cote d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea (incoming A3 members). The following Member States of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC), representing the five regions of the AU also attended the Seminar, namely, Algeria (Northern Africa region), Kenya (Eastern Africa region), South Africa (Southern Africa region) and Togo (western Africa region), as well as Nigeria and Rwanda, in their capacity as members of the PSC. Congo, participated in its capacity as Chairperson of the PSC for the month of December 2017, while Zambia participated in its capacity as PSC member and host of the Seminar.

3.    Her Honour Mrs. Inonge M. Wina, the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, presided over the opening ceremony of the high-Level Seminar.

4.    The Seminar was chaired by the Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council for the month of December 2017, Hon. Jean-Claude Gakosso, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Congo. The delegations of Zambia and Rwanda were led by Ministers and State Minister of Foreign Affairs, namely Hon. Mr. Harry Kalaba and Hon. Mr. Olivier Nduhungirehe, respectively. Other delegations were led by senior officials from their respective missions and capitals.

5.    The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, accompanied by officers of the AU Commission, AU Special Envoys and Representatives, attended the High-Level Seminar. The United Nations (UN) delegation, including officials from UNITAR, was led by,  the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office to the AU, H.E Haile Menkerios. The High-Level Seminar was also attended by AU partners, namely the European Union, Netherlands, Switzerland and Norway.  

III.    Objective

6.    Building on the foundation laid by the previous High Level Seminars, inaugurated in 2013, the objective of the Fifth High Level Seminar was to take stock of achievements and challenges in the process of articulation, coordination, promotion and defense of common African positions on peace and security issues concerning Africa, within the decision-making process of the UN Security Council, which has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Seminar, which came on the eve of Cote D’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea assuming their status as incoming African Members of the UN Security Council, was also aimed at finding best ways and means of further enhancing the coordination between the PSC and the A3, within the context of further strengthening the capacity of the PSC to more effectively discharge its mandate.  

7.    The Seminar provided an opportunity for participants to discuss and exchange views on a number of critical issues, including Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020, financing of AU-led Peace Support operations and cooperation between Member States of the A3 and the PSC. Participants also received briefings/updates from the AU and UN Special Envoys and Special Representatives on some conflict/crisis situations in Africa, particularly, in the Great Lakes region (Democratic Republic of Congo), the Horn of Africa (Somalia and South Sudan) and the Sahelo-Sahara region (Libya and Mali). Participants also exchanged views on challenges being faced and necessary steps to be taken in order to address those challenges. They were appraised of the AU positions and pronouncements, in particular decisions made by the PSC on African peace and security issues on the Agenda of the UNSC.

(a)    On Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020

8.    Participants:

i.    Noted the significant progress in the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap on Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa by the year 2020, including the launching, by the PSC, of September as the Amnesty Month, in line with Assembly Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.645(XXIX) adopted by the 29th Ordinary Session of the AU held from 3 to 4 July 2017, of the Month of September of each year as Africa Amnesty Month for the voluntary surrender of arms/weapons;
ii.    Emphasized the importance of all AU Member States to observe the Africa Amnesty month each year and, in this regard, called for public awareness raising campaigns. In this respect, participants urged Member States to report on the status of implementation of the Amnesty month;
iii.    Underscored the importance of addressing the root causes of violent conflicts/crises;
iv.    Reiterated the importance of further strengthening the Continental Early Warning System, including the need for early and appropriate responses, as well as the imperative for political commitment in addressing the issue of denialism as key success factors in achieving the goal of silencing the guns  in Africa;
v.    Stressed the need to prioritize preventive diplomacy and mediation, along with Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development efforts to avoid relapses and welcomed the operationalization of the Network of African Women in Mediation (FemWise);
vi.    Emphasized the need for priority setting and sharing of responsibilities among all actors concerned, mainly AU Member States and RECs/RMs in the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap;
vii.    Also emphasized the need for Member States to submit their progress reports to the AU Commission on the status of implementation of the AU Master Roadmap;  
viii.    Underscored the need for expediting the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020;
ix.    Called on the UN to effectively support the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns in Africa;
x.    Underlined the importance of national reconciliation and justice, including traditional justice mechanisms;
xi.    Need for the AU Organs, Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), AU partners and other relevant stakeholders, to effectively contribute to the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap;
xii.    Stressed the need for redoubling of efforts in mobilizing the necessary political will, in order to foster the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap;
xiii.    Also stressed the importance of expediting the ongoing efforts in counter-terrorism efforts throughout the continent, in addition to the interrelated emerging threats such as human and drug trafficking and the phenomenon of foreign fighters;
xiv.    Underlined the importance of emulating the best practices from within the continent on steps to be taken in silencing the guns;
xv.    Bearing in mind the time constraints, they urged all Member States, RECs/RMs to expedite the implementation of the AU Master roadmap.

(b)    On AU Peace Fund:

9.    Participants:
i.    Welcomed the progress being made in the revitalization of the AU Peace Fund pursuant to AU Assembly decision, adopted at the 27th Ordinary Session of the Union adopted in June 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda;
ii.    Urged all Member States to expedite the implementation of relevant decisions of the AU Assembly of the Heads of State and Government on the Financing of the Union and the PSC decision adopted at its 689th meeting held on 30 May 2017, on the operationalization of the Peace Fund, following the adoption by the UNSC of resolution 2320(2016);
iii.    Recalled the importance of mobilization of necessary political will of Member States to contribute more generously to the AU Peace Fund, taking into consideration the importance of using UN assessed contributions to finance AU-led peace support operations authorized by the UN Security Council.

(c)    On Coordination between the A3 and the AU Peace and Security Council

10.    The Seminar welcomed the progress made in the process of strengthening cooperation between the PSC and the A3, both, those based in Addis Ababa, and those based in New York, which has significantly contributed towards spearheading common African positions in the decision making process of the UN Security Council on peace and security issues of concern to Africa.

11.    While welcoming the progress made to date, participants underscored the need for more enhanced cooperation and coordination among the A3 pursuant to Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.644(XXIX) adopted by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government at its 29th Ordinary Session held in July 2017. In this regard, participants agreed on the following :

i.    The need for the AU PSC to align its provisional monthly programmes of work with the UN Security Council programme, in order to allow A3 ample time for necessary preparations;
ii.    The importance of timely transmission of PSC decisions to the A3, in New York, ahead of UN Security Council meetings, in order to allow them sufficient time for preparations for articulation of African common positions in the UN Security Council;
iii.    The need to implement the conclusions of the previous High-Level Seminars on cooperation and collaboration between the PSC and A3. Participants also reiterated the importance of strengthening institutionalization of information sharing between the PSC and A3 on peace and security issues in Africa, including through  regular video-tele-conferences;
iv.    The need to commend the outgoing members of the A3, Egypt and Senegal, and Ethiopia (sitting member) for the efforts aimed at promoting common African positions in the UNSC during their tenure, as well as for regular briefings provided to the PSC on their activities within the UNSC. In this respect, the Participants stressed the need to enhance those briefings, including through ad hoc consultations whenever necessary and, in particular, on the eve of  major UNSC decisions on peace and security issues of concern to Africa;
v.    The importance for the PSC, whenever necessary, to state in its communiques and press statements, its expectations from the A3, in fostering African common positions in the UN Security Council decision making process on issues of concern to Africa;
vi.    The need for the A3 Members to be sufficiently capacitated in order for them to more effectively discharge their responsibilities in the UNSC;
vii.    The need to further enhance the capacity of the experts, both, the AUPSC and the A3, to coordinate their activities, collaborate and work together, particularly during the preparation of annual joint consultative meetings between the AUPSC and the UNSC;
viii.    The importance of regularly convening consultative meetings between the AU Commission and the A3, at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, before the A3  take their seats in the UNSC, with a view to enhancing their capacity in the preparation of their programme of work during their respective presidencies of the UNSC;
ix.    Need for A3 to be more actively involved in the decision-making process of the UNSC on issues of concern to Africa on the agenda of the UNSC. In this respect, the Seminar reiterated the need for the A3 to be either pen holders or co-pen holders on issues of concern to the continent;
x.    Enhanced cooperation and interaction between the A3 and other non-permanent members of the UNSC;
xi.    Need to further enhance the capacity and status of the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the UN, in New York, in order to increase its visibility in both, the UNSC and in the General Assembly. The Seminar encouraged the PSC to take the necessary steps to this end with the Permanent Representatives Committees and its relevant Subcommittees, with a view to providing the Mission with the required expertise to further enhance its support to the A3;
xii.    The importance of utilizing the facilities of the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, in New York, including for meetings and other activities of the A3 and the Africa Group.

12.    Participants congratulated the newly elected members of the A3, namely Cote d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea and looked forward to their unwavering commitment to articulate, defend and promote AU’s common positions on peace and security issues relating to the continent, during their tenure in the UNSC.
IV.    Vote of thanks

13.    Participants thanked the Government of the Republic of Zambia, under the leadership of H.E. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic, as well as the people of Zambia, in particular Livingstone authorities, for the generous hospitality and the excellent facilities put in place to ensure the successful organization of the Fifth High-Level Seminar. Participants further expressed their gratitude to the partners, particularly Norway, for their support extended to the organization of the Seminar.  

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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