Support from the United Nations and its regional partners in Africa is crucial to addressing the root causes of conflict and galvanizing locally-owned, women-led peace efforts, the Security Council heard today during a far-reaching debate on the role of preventive diplomacy across the continent.
Civil society leaders, United Nations officials and delegates from regional organizations joined the 15-member Council in underlining the complexity of Africa’s current challenges. Citing rapid global changes and evolving threats — especially those posed by climate change and terrorist networks — many speakers advocated for a more proactive approach by the Council. Others emphasized that, for any such efforts to be sustainable, they must be driven by affected communities themselves.
“The fact that the Council is debating the primacy of preventive diplomacy is a stark reminder that we have not lived up to the raison d’être of the United Nations,” said Liberata Mulamula, Associate Director of the Institute for African Studies at George Washington University. Recounting her experience as the first Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, she said the complexity of many of Africa’s conflicts necessitates a strong regional approach as well as the active participation of women. “It is high time to see women not as victims but as agents of preventive diplomacy and as catalytic to peacebuilding,” she stressed.
Linda Vilakazi, of the group African Women in Dialogue, echoed some of those points and noted that despite an impressive increase in the number of leadership positions held by African women, no mechanism yet exists to help them leverage their expertise for the benefit of all. Acknowledging that there will be pushback from some against a strengthened pursuit of peace on the continent, she nevertheless appealed to Council members to help strengthen dialogue at all levels. “The objective is to let communities own and drive their peace process,” she said.
Naledi Maite, of South African Women in Dialogue, said the organization — founded during the Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue — has used dialogue to successfully overcome divisions while enabling women to work together towards peace and stability. Outlining the group’s work across southern Africa, she emphasized that rebuilding societal links, acknowledging the pain and trauma of citizens and investing in healing are all crucial components of peacebuilding. However, she stressed that dialogue must be consistent, sustainable and well-resourced.
Secretary-General António Guterres, providing an intergovernmental perspective, spotlighted a range of successful initiatives led by African regional leaders and supported by the United Nations. Those included a political dialogue and elections in Madagascar, a democratic transition in the Gambia and a recent agreement in Sudan. Noting that Boko Haram and other groups continue to terrorize communities in Nigeria and across the Sahel, he warned that terrorism continues to spread despite the efforts of the “Group of Five for the Sahel” (G5 Sahel) Multinational Joint Task Force. “This is a battle we are not winning,” he emphasized.
As Council members and other speakers took the floor, many welcomed the progressively deepening alliance between the United Nations and the African Union, sparked by a 2017 Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. Several hailed the latter’s expanding peacebuilding efforts — including its support for the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation, known as FemWise-Africa — while emphasizing that lasting peace and stability in Africa will benefit the world at large.
Namibia’s representative, underscoring that the nature of conflicts has changed since the Security Council’s inception, stressed that the organ must adapt. “The Council can no longer be simply reactive,” he emphasized, calling on it to play a stronger role in preventing wars and conflict. To that end, external factors such as climate change and food insecurity must be identified and addressed, with strong cooperation among the regional and subregional organizations most familiar with those situations, he said.
Equatorial Guinea’s representative underlined the important role of United Nations good offices in mediation and other conflict prevention, noting that an extensive toolkit is already in place for that purpose. As peace in Africa is critical for peace and security around the world, African-Union-led peace operations should receive adequate support, including predictable funding, he said.
The representative of Ethiopia, also citing insufficient progress in negotiating sustainable and predictable funding for such operations, pointed to the use of United Nations assessed contributions as a possible option. Among other things, he said, it is particularly important to increase the inclusion of young people to prevent their recruitment by terrorist groups.
The Permanent Observer of the African Union noted that the African Union-United Nations Joint Framework is based on the recognition that a stronger partnership between the two organizations is critical for the early, coherent and decisive management of conflicts in Africa. Describing their annual consultative meetings and other joint activities, she declared: “Only by pooling our collective expertise and resources together […] can our two organizations realistically expect to have a positive impact.”
China’s delegate, advocating for enhanced dialogue and the inclusion of women and youth, underscored the importance of African solutions to African problems. Calling for more international support for development, he highlighted his country’s Belt and Road initiative and its impact on Africa’s growing connectivity and infrastructure.
The representative of the United States stressed that “peace cannot be imposed from abroad” and emphasized that African actors must themselves drive conflict resolution forward. While the Council meets nearly every week to address conflicts after they break out, it should instead target the root causes of conflict. Council members should also continue to support efforts to empower and engage women, whose participation in peace processes will translate to more sustainable results, she said.
Also speaking were representatives of Kuwait, Côte d’Ivoire, Russian Federation, Belgium, Peru, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Germany, France, Poland, Indonesia and South Africa. A representative of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) also participated.
The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 1:12 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said all of the Organization’s conflict prevention and resolution work relies on partnerships with Member States, regional and subregional organizations, as well as regional economic commissions and other actors. Outlining progress across the African continent, he said the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional partners prevented a crisis in the Gambia from spiralling and supported the country’s democratic transition in 2017. In Madagascar, partners including the European Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) helped to facilitate a dialogue that contributed to peaceful presidential elections in 2018. More recently, the United Nations supported regional partners in brokering a political agreement in Sudan and is joining the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries and other actors to address political tensions in Guinea-Bissau. Work is also under way with partners in Cameroon to address the root cause of a crisis in the country’s north-west and south-west regions.
Drawing attention to the growing threat posed by terrorism across Africa, he said terrorist groups regularly attack local and international security forces in the Sahel region. That violence is spreading to coastal States along the Gulf of Guinea. Meanwhile, Boko Haram and its splinter factions continue to terrorize communities and attack security forces in Nigeria, despite efforts of the “Group of Five for the Sahel” (G5 Sahel) Multinational Joint Task Force. Terror networks stretch across Libya and North Africa to the Lake Chad region as well as appearing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique. “This is a battle we are not winning,” he stressed, noting that the impact of the crisis in Libya is growing and spreading weapons and fighters across the region. Outlining the work of the United Nations and regional States and partners to combat those threats, he recalled that he forwarded a related proposal from the African Union to the Security Council and is looking forward to enhanced cooperation with the former in Libya.
Underlining the importance of peace in Mali to the entire region, he expressed hope that an inclusive political dialogue will proceed in the country despite recent attacks in the Mopti region. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) will continue to implement Mali’s peace agreement and requires continued strong support. Welcoming the recent decision to lift geographic restrictions on provisions by MINUSMA and the G5 Sahel Joint Force, he urged Council members to provide African peace-enforcing and counter-terrorist operations with clear mandates. Emphasizing that sustainable, inclusive development is an end in itself — as well as the most effective way to address the underlying causes of conflict, extremism and terrorism — he called for redoubled efforts to tackle poverty and inequality, strengthen State institutions and civil society and to promote human rights.
Those goals are central to both the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, he continued, also calling for women’s meaningful participation and urgent efforts to combat climate change. Noting that nearly half of Africa’s 1.3 billion people are under the age of 15, he underscored the importance of education, training and job opportunities as a central part of any development strategy. “As we saw most recently in Sudan, women and young people are key builders of peaceful societies,” he said, voicing strong support for the African Union’s “Silencing the Guns by 2020” initiative and the United Nations-African Union 2017 Joint Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. Noting that the United Nations largest peacekeeping missions are located in Africa — and that Africa is now the world’s largest troop-contributing region — he said subregional organizations across the continent are working to prevent and resolve conflicts.
LIBERATA MULAMULA, Visiting Scholar and Associate Director, Institute for African Studies, George Washington University, United States, declared: “The fact that the Council is debating the primacy of preventive diplomacy is a stark reminder that we have not lived up to the raison d’être of the United Nations.” Flagging some issues emerging from her own experience in her home country of the United Republic of Tanzania and the wider region, she recalled that she served as the first Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region from 2006 to 2011. Recalling that organization’s origins in the Rwandan genocide and wars in the Great Lakes region in the 1990s, she said the signing of the Pact on Peace, Stability and Development represented a milestone demonstrating the region’s commitment to build and expand the scope of responsibility of conflict prevention beyond Governments to include a range of civil society groups.
Emphasizing that the complexity of many of Africa’s conflicts necessitates a strong regional approach, she went on to underline the critical role of women in breaking cycles of violence and genocide, citing the adage “if you want to get something done, give it to a woman, and if you want it well-said, give it to a man”. She called for stronger partnerships and more efforts to build local capacities, noting that various initiatives undertaken at the international and African Union levels have had little effect on the ground because they often work in isolation from local efforts. Turning to international efforts to implement the Council’s women, peace and security agenda, she spotlighted the platform founded by United Nations Special Envoy and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, which makes women’s efforts in preventive diplomacy a flagship programme. Meanwhile, peace missions in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan have all served as outstanding models of the global “HeForShe” campaign.
“Violence against women remains perhaps the most pervasive human rights violations in the region,” she said, citing the continued lack of participation by African women in the continent’s various formal mediation and peace processes. Against that backdrop, the African Union undertook the landmark decision in 2017 to establish a Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation, which is now known as FemWise-Africa. It provides a platform for strategic advocacy, capacity-building and networking aimed at enhancing the implementation of commitments for women’s inclusion in peace-making in Africa, she said, outlining some of the network’s core priorities. Meanwhile, the African Women Leaders Network launched by the United Nations, the African Union and other partners seeks to bolster women’s leadership in governance and peace and security in Africa. Spotlighting their particular importance in prevention efforts, she said today’s meeting is a clear demonstration of the commitment by States to take deliberate measures to prevent conflicts and mass atrocities in Africa and around the globe.
Appealing to Council members to put their money where their mouths are and to invest in conflict prevention, as well as efforts to target the root causes and drivers of violence, she stressed: “It is high time to see women not as victims but as agents of preventive diplomacy and as catalytic to peacebuilding.” Making several recommendations to those ends, she called for efforts to give regional and subregional preventive diplomacy approaches primacy in Africa. The annual cost of more than $1 billion for maintaining the peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, would go a long way in helping to implement national action plans under the Council’s resolution 1325 (2000) in African countries. Focus should be on “proactive conflict prevention”, rather than reactive approaches, she said, also calling for more coherence between regional and local conflict prevention initiatives. Among other things, she said, development frameworks should put women and young people at their centre and States should be supported in developing national architectures for the prevention of atrocity crimes.
NALEDI MAITE, South African Women in Dialogue, said that her organization is an independent forum committed to providing a platform for every woman to be heard through dialogue, in order to improve the status of women. Founded during the Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue, she saw dialogue overcome deep divisions and enable women to work together towards peace and stability in their country. The need for such cohesion and unity in South Africa then became apparent, leading to the first South African dialogue event based on women expressing their own views, diverse participation and private reflection. Through them, she said, her organization learned that rebuilding societal links, acknowledging the pain and trauma of citizens and investing in healing are as important to peacebuilding as infrastructure development. However, such dialogue must be consistent and sustained in time. In addition, adequate resourcing is needed; without it her organization’s scope is dwindling, leaving a void in the struggle against gender violence and other critical areas.
LINDA VILAKAZI, African Women in Dialogue, said that experience gained from the organization led to the realization that though an impressive number of African women occupy important positions at local and global levels, there is not yet a mechanism to help them access and utilize their expertise for the benefit for all. In response, her group launched a yearly dialogue based on the South African Women in Dialogue model, with the second such event, for 2019, expecting 1000 women from all 55 African countries. Acknowledging that the pursuit of peace throughout Africa is not an ideal supported by all and there will be pushback from the status quo, she appealed for the support of the Security Council to enable the dialogue process to progress at all levels — in villages, communities and countries. Silencing the Guns by 2020 will remain an elusive ideal if women and youth are not adequately engaged as core participants in peacebuilding, she stressed. “In the final analysis”, she concluded, “the objective is to let communities own and drive their peace process, making this a lasting principle that underpins engagement for development and builds social cohesion beyond African borders”.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) affirmed the importance of the principles of the United Nations, particularly under Chapter VI of the Charter. The transitional agreement in Sudan is recent evidence of the success of mediation to resolve tensions. Stressing that the Security Council is particularly important in resolving conflicts, he maintained that it is most effective when it works in concert with regional organizations. Therefore, a predictable policy on financial support for regional peace activity is needed, particularly in Africa. He noted that his country, prioritizing preventive diplomacy, has recently sponsored forums on the issue and is promoting the use of quick advance teams that can employ mediation to keep peace. “Rapid intervention is vital,” he stressed.
TIEMOKO MORIKO (Côte d’Ivoire), hailing instruments that have strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, stressed that a wide partnership, along with extensive early-warning mechanisms, is essential to prevent conflicts on the continent. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has established a West African early warning system called ECO-WARN. Such strides forward are important links in a broader approach that includes all stakeholders across Africa. He hailed cooperation with the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and affirmed the importance of participation of women and young people at all levels of peacebuilding. He also called for renewed solidarity between all countries and strengthened partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) expressed support for the priority of the prevention of armed conflict. Why this task is not being done as it should be is a question that must be raised, he stressed, noting that the United Nations already has all the tools it needs to be effective in this area. Urging that the voice of Africa be central in efforts to prevent and end conflicts, he welcomed the strengthened African peacebuilding frameworks. Obligations for preventive diplomacy are an important component of the African Union partnership with the United Nations and it has already paid dividends in results. The prevention of crisis in Madagascar is one of many success stories. Such cooperation must be carried out with mutual respect and on an impartial basis, he continued, adding that dialogue with all important players must be maintained and external interference must be avoided. The many problems caused by such intervention can be seen in the results of the Libyan intervention. He pledged his country’s continued assistance to building African capacity for conflict prevention and resolution.
KAREN VAN VLIERBERGE (Belgium) said regional and subregional organizations play a critical role in preventive diplomacy, especially in Africa. Such organizations and neighbouring States are often best-placed to respond effectively to emerging crisis. “It is in all of our best interest for the African Union to strengthen its peace and security toolkit,” she said, citing positive recent examples in the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and the Central African Republic, among others. Noting that mediation is the arena where complementarity makes the most sense, she said regional organizations bring their local expertise to bear while the United Nations brings its neutrality and diplomatic channels. In taking proactive action, the latter should remain as open as possible and not rule out any options. Member States must be willing to listen to various information sources and be flexible in deploying rapid diplomatic responses.
LUIS UGARELLI (Peru) called for a preventive diplomacy approach based on analyses of early warning signals and appropriate action plans, as well as efforts to address the structural causes of conflict. That includes a stronger focus to push forward the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, as well as the creation of a broader space for the private sector and regional organizations. Citing the unwillingness of some States to take such preventive action, he called for the establishment of more national early warning systems as well as more options to ease tensions. Meanwhile, mediation should be used as a tool to put forward positive alternatives for action prior to the emergence of conflict. He also expressed Peru’s strong support for the establishment of multidisciplinary mediation teams.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) welcomed the Council’s ability to unite around recent political progress in Sudan and called on partners to leverage their various comparative advantages in supporting the country going forward. Meanwhile, more discussion on the root causes of conflict — including longstanding grievances — is needed in the Council. Calling on the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to contribute to a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Cameroon, he also encouraged all actors in Burundi to work towards political progress ahead of that country’s 2020 elections. Urging the international community to unite behind a single shared road map for Libya, he stressed: “This emphatically does not mean minimizing regional voices.” Among other things, he welcomed the African Union’s continental early warning system and its FemWise network of women mediators, both of which the United Kingdom supports.
JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) welcomed the emergence of preventive diplomacy as a critical tool of the United Nations, while outlining various challenges to its practical implementation. The Council has a critical role to play, including in its partnerships with regional and subregional organizations under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. Spotlighting those organizations’ crucial grassroots knowledge, he said his Government is a staunch believer in the need to involve young people in efforts to stabilize societies, as well as in the potential of women to transform societies for the better. He welcomed progress made in implementing the Roadmap of Practical Steps aimed at pushing forward the African Union’s Silencing the Guns by 2020 initiative. There is also a need to address the underlying social causes of conflict, he said, adding his support for the establishment of guidelines for enhanced United Nations participation in conflict resolution.
JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany) encouraged Member States to make use of all United Nations available instruments, including the Peacebuilding Fund to which Germany recently announced a total 2019 contribution of €30 million. Highlighting the work of the United Nations Mediation Support Unit and the Group of Friends of Mediation, he noted that Germany is a main supporter as well as the largest donor to the joint Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conflict prevention programme. While some longstanding conflicts in Africa no longer appear in daily headlines, there remains a danger that simmering tensions may erupt again. He country continues to invest in peacebuilding and prevention and advocates for a reformed Security Council to ensure that Africa’s voice in the Chamber is strengthened, he said. Among other things, the organ can play a more effective role in preventing conflict by monitoring early warning signs and taking early action; remaining aware of human rights abuses; facilitating action to mitigate the negative effects of climate change on fragile States; imposing well-targeted sanctions on peace spoilers; driving forward sustainable development; and working in close partnership with the African Union.
NICOLAS DE RIVIERE (France) said that despite a clear mandate to prevent conflict, the Security Council has mostly focused on open crises after they have already begun. To reverse that situation, he welcomed the initiative of the Secretary-General to strengthen “peace diplomacy”, early-warning capacity and mediation. Results have already been seen, including in Madagascar. More must be done and high vigilance must be maintained in many situations, such as Burundi. The Peacebuilding Commission can report to the Security Council further for the purpose of early warning. In addition, risks posed by climate change must receive greater focus and work to increase participation of women in peace processes must be intensified. Expressing the importance of partnership with the African Union and subregional organizations in conflict resolution, he said preventive diplomacy in Africa requires the use of all available tools.
ZHANG JUN (China) underscored the importance of preventive diplomacy, as well as African solutions to African problems. Good use must be made of Chapter VI of the Charter, with Chapter VII avoided as much as possible. In that context, dialogue must be promoted, with the inclusion of all parties’ concerns, including the voices of women and youth. Assistance for development is crucial, he added, highlighting the goals of connectivity and development of his country’s Belt and Road initiative. Noting extensive Chinese contributions to United Nations peacekeeping, he described Chinese-African platforms for partnership, including a related fund. Counter-terrorism, mediation and other efforts of African countries had also received much aid from his country. His country will “continue to march shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand” with its African partners, he pledged.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) emphasized that good offices play a great role in mediation and other conflict prevention, a critical component of the Security Council’s work. An extensive toolkit is already in place for that purpose. As peace in Africa is critical for peace and security around the world, African-Union-led peace operations should receive adequate support, including predictable funding. Noting that his country has been involved in many mediation efforts, including the one in the Gambia, he welcomed a renewed focus on conflict prevention. Recounting recent Security Council work on the topic, including the resolution backing the “Silencing the Guns” initiative, he invited all Member States to the related ministerial-level conference to be held in his country. The time is also right to greatly increase the role of women in all dialogue processes for conflict prevention. He finally noted his country’s efforts to prevent conflict in Libya as part of the African initiative which unfortunately did not bear fruit.
KELLY CRAFT (United States) said that “peace cannot be imposed from abroad” and that African actors must themselves drive conflict resolution forward. Noting that the Council meets nearly every week to address conflicts after they break out, she called such efforts backwards and urged members to instead target the root causes of conflict. Meanwhile, they should use early warning systems and all the analytical tools available to ensure that they are focused on areas where conflict could emerge, not where it already has. Council members should also continue to support efforts to empower and engage women — whose participation in peace processes will translate to more sustainable results. As well, she welcomed Niger’s leadership in combating terrorists and extremist groups in the Sahel and voiced the United States commitment to those efforts. “These are not just words to us,” she stressed, spotlighting its new $13.5 million pilot project to help prevent conflict in Burkina Faso as a concrete example of United States support.
PAWEŁ RADOMSKI (Poland) said that while the United Nations has long made use of conflict prevention and mediation techniques, they have not always been regarded as core pillars of the Security Council’s work. Among other things, it is crucial for such work to be pursued in the context of strong support for sustainable development as well as consistent respect for human rights and the rule of law. Calling for efforts to better align the work of the private sector with conflict prevention goals — including by leveraging more private financing for sustainable development — he said a strong economic climate helps to ensure peace and stability. Meanwhile, more innovative tools for information gathering and analysis can help identify where the international community’s support is needed most.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) underlined that synergy must be fostered between the Security Council and other United Nations entities that harnesses their comparative strengths to comprehensively address conflict drivers. A robust partnership between the United Nations and the African Union and subregional organizations is quintessential. Because African organizations have unmatched knowledge of the complexities of conflicts in their subregions, the United Nations must always listen to them and engage with them from the earliest signs of conflict. Meanwhile, the United Nations should provide policy advice, political backstopping and logistical support to the African Union, as well as resources to ensure the Union can meet their critical endeavours, including in the case of financing of Union-led peace operations. Africa and South-East Asia have much to learn from each other, as the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been hard at work promoting preventive diplomacy, she noted, adding that regional organizations are limited in what they can achieve without a united and active Security Council.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), Council President for October, spoke in his national capacity, expressing hope that the debate strengthens emphasis on preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention and resolution in Africa. It is in that context that diplomatic efforts continue to seek solutions to the challenges in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and other conflicts. Citing Nelson Mandela on the topic, he also paid tribute to the Secretary-General’s prioritization of preventive diplomacy. Maintaining that the recent operationalization of the African Union Peace Fund will further boost capacities in mediation and conflict prevention, he said African Union member States should be commended for their contributions, which demonstrates their political will to resolve conflicts on the continent. He also stressed the critical role of women and youth in conflict prevention and urged the United Nations to deploy more women mediators, peace envoys and other officials. In addition, it is time for the Organization to put more resources into pacific settlement of disputes under Chapter VI of the Charter, and for the principle organs of the United Nations to work together in holistic and integrated approach to sustainable and durable peace.
NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), underscoring that the nature of conflicts has changed since the Security Council’s inception, stressed the organ must adapt. “The Council can no longer be simply reactive,” he emphasized, calling on it to play a stronger role in preventing wars and conflict. To that end, external factors such as climate change and food insecurity must be identified and addressed, with strong cooperation among the regional and subregional organizations most familiar with those situations. Welcoming the successes of the United Nations-African Union partnership in recent months — including the signing of a peace agreement in South Sudan and the prevention of conflict in Sudan — he said that during its chairmanship of SADC from 2018 to 2019 Namibia prioritized preventive diplomacy and mediation approaches to conflict. He also underlined the importance of women negotiators in the various peacebuilding processes espoused by the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and pledged his country’s support to such efforts going forward.
TAYE ATSKESELASSIE AMDE (Ethiopia) affirmed that conflict prevention and mediation are critical tools for sustaining peace and development and are central pillars of the African Union Peace and Security Architecture. He underlined, in that context, that satisfactory progress was not being made in Security Council discussions on the need for sustainable and predictable funding for African Union peace support operations through such mechanisms as assessed contributions. He also stressed the need for the better utilization of good offices in mediation efforts and more support for national and regional conflict-prevention efforts. In intra-State disputes, inclusivity and national consensus is a foundation for successful prevention efforts, he emphasized, stating: “Peace endures when development is inclusive, when citizens’ security is guaranteed, when women and young people are actively involved in decision-making and when barriers to their economic advancement are removed.” It is particularly important to increase inclusion of young people to deny terrorists and other armed groups the chance to thrive by exploiting gaps. In that context, State capacity and good governance must be bolstered at the local level, including in spaces outside extension of State authority. His country, committed to the implementation of the African Union’s peace initiatives, champions the goals of the early warning and response mechanisms of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD). Describing national initiatives for peacebuilding, he said they are anchored in indigenous traditions such as elders’ councils and aimed for inclusiveness.
JEANNE D’ARC BYAJE, Permanent Observer for the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), said that her region’s alarming state of affairs was already in the making between 1992 and 1998, leading to the establishment of subregional structures on conflict prevention, early warning and liaison with civil society for that purpose, along with initiatives on small arms and light weapons. However, complex factors that include endemic poverty, conflicts between pastoralists and farmers and terrorism continue to foment conflict. To prevent violence, she argued, indigenous African solutions for conflict must be empowered, participation of women and youth engaged, resources pooled and comparative advantages realized. Progress has been made in that regard in cooperation between the African Union, ECCAS and other partners in mediation efforts in her region. ECCAS is in the midst of boosting its early-warning and quick response mechanism but is faced with a lack of resources and a tedious manner of decision-making. She called on partners to help bolster its capacity, pledging that ECCAS will in turn report on progress on a daily basis. Reforms of ECCAS have taken account of all reforms in the peace and security framework of the African Union. She affirmed the organization’s commitment to mediation and other forms of conflict prevention in its efforts to maintain peace in the subregion.
FATIMA KYARI MOHAMMED, Permanent Observer of the African Union, said today’s threats to peace and security are so complex and interconnected that no single organization alone can provide appropriate solutions. Instead, collective action in support of preventive diplomacy is critical, especially at a time when the credibility of multilateral forums is being questioned. Outlining the African Union’s twin frameworks driving such efforts, she also spotlighted the work of the organization’s Panel of the Wise and its support to various subsidiary platforms, including the FemWise network of women mediators. Meanwhile, the joint African Union-United Nations framework agreed in 2017 is based on the recognition that a stronger partnership between the two organizations is critical for the early, coherent and decisive management of conflicts in Africa. Describing the annual consultative meetings and other joint activities as a testament to that deepening alliance, she also welcomed the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2457 (2019), which endorsed the African Union’s flagship Silencing the Guns by 2020 initiative. “Only by pooling our collective expertise and resources together […] can our two organizations realistically expect to have a positive impact,” she said.