WEST AFRICA PEACE AND INNOVATION (WAPSI) FORUM
9-10 MARCH 2020 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE ON:
RESPONSES TO PEACE AND SECURITY CHALLENGES
AMIDST THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC
OPENING SESSION : WEDNESDAY 9TH MARCH, 10.00 TO 10.30 HOURS ABUJA TIME, 4.00AM NEW YORK TIME.
GOODWILL MESSAGE BY HE BANKOLE ADEOYE, COMMISSIONER FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS, PEACE & SECURITY, AU COMMISSION
- Your Excellency Jean Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission,
- Your Excellency Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria;
- Your Excellency, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the Secretary General & Head of UNOWAS;
- Gen Francis Behanzin, Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace & Security, ECOWAS Commission;
- Distinguished Participants,
- Ladies and Gentlemen.
The theme of this brainstorming session finds complete resonance with what we are trying to do at the African Union, both in terms of substance and approach.
Regarding content, the African Union has been mobilizing AU Member States around the AU CDC for an integrated and coordinated approach to the pandemic response. And I am happy to note that with the commitment and drive of our Leaders, the push of the Chairperson of the African Union, supported by the AU CDC and RECs, we have achieved considerable success in order to minimize the negative impacts of the pandemic.
In this effort, our partners from different continents, starting with the UN, continental and national partners, have been very supportive.
But there is still quite some work to be done although the pandemic seems to have abated for now. For instance, in the strategic areas of action moving forward, we need to at least d pursue 8 key measures:
- develop critical vaccine production capacity on our continent with the much needed solidarity of relevant partners;
- mobilize critical resources both domestic and external, especially in the face of crippling debt servicing, in order to alleviate the negative socio-economic impacts of the pandemic;
- find early solutions to the political and security impacts of the above on the world and in particular African vulnerable groups;
- build critical resilience capacity and strategic partnerships within and beyond the African continent, towards effective response to pandemics and other disasters;
- develop and enhance the nexus between governance, peace, security, and development;
- mobilize resources to systematically and effectively address complex political transitions, terrorism and violent extremism; here , the AU PAPS has an ongoing initiative in collaboration with UNDP in its preparative phase; it us gratifying to note that the Republic of Togo, in collaboration with UNDP, is already showing leadership by organizing an international conference on the subject in Lomé on 5th March 2022; I wish to entreat our other partners to join us in this strategic project;
- prioritize the critical role of women and youth, especially those in rural communities and inner cities;
- leverage traditional knowledge systems and technology, as well as good practices from elsewhere appropriate the African context.
But to effectively do so, we need a knowledge approach that drives policy-making and execution as well as strategic partnerships.
That is why in terms of approach, this event, as the beginning of a process, along with other initiatives, also reflects what the AU Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, is trying to do under the leadership of the Chairperson of the AU Commission.
There is already an AU PAPS and APRM research initiative on the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on Africa.
Furthermore, my department, in collaboration with sister departments of RECs, is also launching what I call the I-Recke initiative. This is essentially to be a knowledge platform around which the African Union anchors vertical and horizontal synergies with key stakeholders in the peace and security sector, to provide a systematic knowledge approach to the work of the AU Commission, RECs, and Member States, along with relevant Non-State Actors.
Examples of other similar ongoing initiatives include, creating an annual consultation platform with CSOs engaged in governance, human rights, peace and security issues on the continent and a planned launch of a process to establish an African Network of Think Tanks, hopefully to be done in the margins of the Accra Reflection Forum on Unconstitutional Changes of Government, jointly organized by the AU PAPS and the Government of Ghana, in Accra, from 15th – 17th March, 2022.
And so, on behalf of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, HE Moussa Faki Mahamat, and in my own name, I would like to congratulate the ECOWAS Commission, and our collaborating partners, particularly the EU and GIZ, for this critical knowledge approach project, designed to build institutional resilience in African governance and security.
I wish you very successful deliberations.