In line with its mandate to support the efforts of the African Union to promote peace and stability in Africa, ACCORD participated in the Third AU High Level Retreat of Special Envoys and Mediators, which took place in Cairo from 5-6 November 2012, centering on the theme: Transforming the African Peace and Security Context in the Next Decade: Appraisal and Opportunities.
Hon. Mme Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma delivering the keynote address at the African Union High level Retreat of Special Envoys and Mediators on the promotion of Peace, Security and Stability in Africa.
The AU High Level Retreat is held annually in the Arab Republic of Egypt. This year the event was organised by the AU in collaboration with ACCORD and the Cairo Regional Centre for Training on Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA). The event was established in order to bring together high level officials from the AU, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Special Envoys, civil society and international strategic partners to assess emerging peace and security challenges in a concerted manner.
Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the AU, the third retreat focused on reviewing the progress made regarding peace and security in the last decade, appreciating the efforts sustained in the operationalisation of components of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), whilst reflecting on remaining challenges plaguing the continent. Discussions acknowledged the need to: streamline the relationship between the AU and the RECs/RMs; to intensify efforts in preventing conflicts through the effective implementation of the AU instruments on governance, human rights and democracy; and, to enhance the role of civil society, particularly women's groups, in promoting peace. Additionally, participants called for an increased mobilisation of resources from within the continent to support the AU's peace and security agenda.
The event was attended by high level officials from the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Special Envoys, civil society and international strategic partners.
The summit resulted in the Third AU High Level Retreat Declaration and Action Plan, which recommended that robust efforts be used to promote the implementation and integration of all available instruments ensuring peace and security on the continent. The declaration also emphasised the need to strengthen the partnership with the international community in the development of an agenda focusing on peace through the next decade. Participants demanded that the AU incorporates these recommendations into its 2014–2018 Strategic Plan.
ACCORD Executive Director, Mr. Vasu Gounden, served on the panel for the plenary session on 'Ten years of the African Union efforts in the promotion of peace and security'. The session was moderated by Dr. Margaret Vogt (on the left), Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA). Also on the panel, Dr. Joao Gomes Porto, visiting Professor Addis Ababa University and University of Leipzig.
ACCORD will produce a Research Report based on the recommendations resulting from the debates of this event. The report will ensure that the outcomes of the Retreat are documented and will contribute to the implementation of the Action Plan.
The retreat was implemented with support from ACCORD's AU Mediation Support Capacity Project. The project aims to strengthen the AU's mediation support capacity and is jointly implemented by the AU, ACCORD, and the Crisis Management Institute (CMI), with funding from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.