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Post-Tana Forum - African leaders should practice “sovereignty with responsibility”

Under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana

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26 July 2018 – The Post-Tana Forum, a multi-stakeholder dialogue for experts in peace and security, successfully concluded on 19 July in Gaborone, Botswana. Organized under the theme, ‘The Content and Shape of the Peace and Security Agenda in the Post-Reform Era: Reflections from the 7th Tana Forum’, the meeting was organized in collaboration with the government of Botswana, the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).


More than 50 experts drawn from the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, member states, international organizations, civil society organizations and development partners met at the Walmont Hotel to discuss and further deliberate on the outcomes of this year’s Tana Forum, which took place in April in Ethiopia.  In total,  35 countries were represented at the post-forum.


The 2-day meeting opened with a keynote address from H.E. Mr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, followed by remarks from Hon. Dr. Unity Dow, Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Botswana.

 

In his address, H.E. Mr. President Masisi stated: “It is common knowledge that most conflicts are the result of competition for resources, the violation of human rights and prevalence of corruption. Platforms such as the TanaForum can contribute to preventing, managing and resolving such conflicts”. He also shared examples from Botswana’s political and economic experiences in the hope that “some elements may help others to improve their governance systems”.

 

Alex Ratebaye, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Bureau of the AU Commission Chairperson, said that the AU has “important normative and institutional frameworks as tools for the enhancement of reforming African peace and security”, however, “Operationalizing them remains a challenge”.

 

The Post-Tana Forum agenda featured four panels that explored topics related to African Union reforms, financing of Africa’s peace and security, the free movement of people, and women and youth inclusion in peace and security.

 

Click here to read the Outcomes Report from the Post-Tana Forum

 

The issue of outsourcing of Africa’s peace and security processes and system was a key point raised during the meeting. “When Africa owns its own peace and security processes, African peace and security will thrive,” said Ambassador Alfred Dube, the Addis Ababa Office Director at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

 

Challenges to the implementation of the AU Peace Fund were noted, key of which is its overlap with other processes. The purpose and managed of the Fund was also raised an area still lacking clarity, especially in terms of the rules and responsibilities regarding the management and disbursement of the funds. The fact that not all member states have contributed to the Fund remains a major gap.

 

The third session focused on the free movement of people on the continent and how to address the security impediments to its implementation. The difference among African countries in terms of economic and social development has implications on the perception and understanding of the free movement of people and its consequences. It is therefore imperative to understand and respond to the legitimate concerns of African states.

 

The fourth session women and youth inclusion in peace and security noted that despite the many institutional efforts made by African countries, there are several gaps in implementation. Stella Sabiiti, Coordinator of FemWise Africa described it as acting as a ground breaking step for women from different backgrounds to participate in conflict prevention and protection.

 

Several recommendations were put forward on how to ensure the successful implementation of the AU reforms.

 

Recommendations:

  • Concerning the financing of peace and security activities on the continent, African leaders need to practice sovereignty with responsibility.
  • There should be transparency on the use of the Peace Fund.
  • Practical steps to build trust between the government and youth should be taken; for example, by involving them in policy formulation and implementation.
  • Establish an AU technical committee to address legitimate issues raised by member states on the free movement of people.

 

 

Click here to read the Outcomes Report from the Post-Tana Forum

 

Click here to view photos from the Post-Tana Forum.

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