Consultative Meeting between The AU and The CSO’S, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The AU organized a consultative meeting with CSO’s (Civil Society Organizations) at the AU Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 29 to 30 May 2012.

The landmark Tripoli declaration in paragraph 23 stated: “We declare the year 2010 as Year of Peace and Security on the Continent.  In this regard we request the Chairperson of the Commission to prepare a detailed programme which would identify concrete steps that could be taken to promote peace, security and stability on the Continent.”

Consequently, the AU embarked upon a campaign to reach out to ordinary African citizens, institutions, governments, the private sector, Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), think tanks, faith-based organizations, the academic sector, as well as international organizations active in Africa.  It was against this aforementioned background that the AU organized the meeting with CSO’s at the AU Head Office on 29-30 May 2012.  The ACSRT (being involved in peace and security in the Continent) was also invited to attend, and was represented by Judith van der Merwe (Alert and Prevention Analyst).  The objectives of the meeting were:

To strengthen the links between the CSO’s and the AU Commission with the view to mobilize popular understanding and support for AU peace efforts and give more recognition to the role of CSO’s in the promotion of Peace in Africa;

Develop effective working methods between the AU and the CSO’s to enable the emergence of an effective, practical and sustainable relationship;

Create awareness and understanding on the mandate, structures, operations and status of operationalization of the CEWS;

AU and CSO’s to elaborate the modalities for engagement and effective participation of CSO’s in Conflict Prevention and Early Warning with the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) and the Regional Economic Communities (REC’s);

Participants were drawn from AU Departments, AU Organs, RECs, African CSO’s, international organizations, the private sector, and academia;

The Peace and Security Commission (PSC) of the AU made presentations on the Make Peace Happen Campaign (MPHC), Livingstone Formula, the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) and the envisaged CSO Forum.

 

Make Peace Happen Campaign

 

Participants received a presentation on the status of implementation of the Make Peace Happen Campaign.

 

The aforementioned campaign aims to:

Give added momentum to peace and security efforts on the continent;

Give greater visibility to ongoing and past efforts by the AU to promote peace and security;

Speed up the implementation of commitments made by Member States to various AU instruments relating to peace and security;

Coalesce efforts by stakeholders at all levels to promote peace and security;

Mobilize resources to support peace and security efforts on the continent;

To link the efforts of the AU with those of Africa’s civil society institutions (CSO’s) working in the area of peace and security, and to encourage them to fully take ownership of this initiative; and

To develop effective working methods between the AU and CSO’s to enable the emergence of an effective, practical and sustainable relationship.

 

The participants to the consultative meeting welcomed the sustainability of the Make Peace Happen Campaign, in particular the awareness raising and sensitization on peace and security efforts on the continent; and

Called for increased efforts to enhance the impact of the campaign in order to sensitize more stakeholders at country and community level.

The participants furthermore recommended the design of a database of CSO’s for Africa.

 

Livingstone Formula

 

Participants received a presentation by the PSC secretariat on the Livingstone Formula:

 

In short, the Livingstone Formula originated from a meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) held in Livingstone, Zambia, from 4-5 December 2008.  The purpose of the conference was to consider an appropriate mechanism for interaction between the Peace and Security Council and Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) in the endorsement of peace, security and stability in Africa.

 

Accordingly, it was decided that the PSC remain master of its procedures and decisions, and that the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), as the consultative organ responsible for coordinating the participation of civil society in the work of the African Union, particularly the Peace and Security Cluster, is the focal point and shall play a consultative role in the interface between the PSC and CSO’s; and the African Union Commission  Identified areas of contribution by CSO’s toward the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa, and encouraged CSO’s (in consultation with the PSC) to undertake activities in the areas of Conflict Prevention (Early Warning), Peacemaking, Mediation, Peacekeeping, Humanitarian support, post-conflict reconstruction/development, provision of technical support, workshops on peace-building, and monitoring of the implementation of peace agreements.

 

Participants to the consultative meeting, on 29-30 May 2012, expressed the need to follow-up on the realization of the Livingstone Formula and agreed that such follow up may take place during the envisaged annual conference with ECOSOCC.

Delegates also stressed the necessity to encourage and facilitate the process of accreditation of CSO’s by the AU to enable a wider range of CSO’s to interact with the PSC as deemed appropriate;

 

Participants furthermore reiterated the need for the PSC secretariat to publicize the agenda of the PSC to allow CSO’s input to the deliberations of the PSC; and

 

Emphasized the need for the PSC secretariat to carry out more outreach and awareness-building cooperation with CSO’s about the Livingstone Formula. In this manner, the CSO’s may play a complimentary role in the advocacy/publicity of AU PSC decisions and activities by using their wide continental and international networks, to contribute to a better understanding of PSC decisions by the population.

 

Establishment of a Strategic Partnership between the CEWS and CSOs

 

Participants received a presentation on the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) of the AU, and they agreed on the necessity to take tangible steps to facilitate the engagement of CSOs in the successful operationalisation of the CEWS. These include:

 

Identifying CSO’s from the five regions on the continent that can actively engage in the sharing, exchange and dissemination of information and analysis on potential, on-going and post-conflict situations in Africa. These CSO’s can also serve as focal points to facilitate engagement of other relevant CSO’s from their region in sharing timely and up-to-date information and analysis, with the overall objective of preventing conflicts in Africa;

Harmonization of the methodology and templates for the collection and sharing of information between CSO’s and CEWS;

Organizing of regular joint training and capacity-building for CSO’s on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA);

The CEWS shall organize regular meetings with the objective of enhancing coordination and collaboration with relevant CSO’s in the area of early warning and conflict prevention;

The PSD Department shall create an online platform for the submission of analysis and recommendations by CSO’s on potential, actual and post conflict situations; the platform shall be used to facilitate information sharing between the Department and CSO’s.

 

Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Forum

 

The delegates to the consultative meeting agreed that the envisaged CSO’s forum should:

 

Provide an opportunity where, on an annual basis, the Peace and Security Department(PSC)and CSO’s will have an opportunity to discuss, exchange views and together formulate solutions toward peace, stability and security in Africa.