A Sudanese woman attends the closing ceremony of United Nations Volunteer Day in Sudan. Over 500 volunteers gathered to renovate the Omer El-Mukhtar primary school for girls (UN Photo/Fred Noy)
A consultative meeting held in SA aims to develop peacekeeping strategies in order to keep up with changing conflict environments.
The Humanitarian Affairs Division within the Department of the Political Affairs of the African Union Commission organised a consultative meeting from 26-27 May 2015 which was held in Midrand, South Africa for the Southern Africa Regional for the Development of a Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness. ACCORD/TfP attended the Consultation, having been involved in humanitarian effectiveness, more particularly in relation to peacekeeping issues and protection of civilians. The consultation follows the 2013 Civil Military Coordination Roundtable which aimed at examining the progress on Civil-Military Coordination (CIMIC) on the African environment.
The Consultations brought together Southern Africa member states and civil society to discuss the emerging issues within the global and humanitarian landscape specific to their regional context. The effects of implementing Regional consultations will give chance to Africa in order to strengthen and provide greater cooperation in shaping a future humanitarian system that is rooted in values that put humanity at the centre. Furthermore, the Consultation aimed to lay emphasis on a future humanitarian architecture that is more relevant, timely, effective, efficient and fit for future challenges.
The current humanitarian assistance model is guided by a framework provided in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/182. However, the landscape of humanitarian action has changed over the years. The growth of the scope and diversity of humanitarian needs and more complex operating environments have created new risks. Moreover, the changing nature of conflicts and patterns of displacement have created complex crises. Therefore, new ways of humanitarian action, particularly in expanding the humanitarian space to ensure access; enforcement on International Humanitarian Law (IHL); use of innovation and technology; creating new partnerships and financing; and enhanced role of local communities are needed. As such, the mandate for a common African position regarding its engagement on global issues has undoubtedly and rightfully grown over the years. The African Union continues to seek an enhanced role to emphasise its position, priorities and the manner in which international governance architecture is organised around security, social, economic and political issues.
The common African position on humanitarian effectiveness is to be submitted to the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit which will be held in Turkey in 2016. The Summit comes at a time when the AU is pursuing her own humanitarian agenda encapsulated in Vision 2063 and Common African Position on post-2015. This is also at a time when Africa is faced with growing challenges. At the end of the Consultations, vital recommendations were presented, and participants were able to develop a summary report to be considered during the High Level Platforms and Consultations which will be held later in 2015. This was not only to reaffirm the Southern Africa region’s commitment to dealing with challenges regarding humanitarian issues, but to unequivocally bring to the global agenda its concerns. Africa remains a continent where a large number of humanitarian activities are undertaken. Its engagement on such issues include the establishment of high level mechanisms which are strengthening normative frameworks and finding new ways for conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding, through the peace and security architecture. Therefore, the debate on global and African humanitarian challenges will generate a collective-forwarding looking agenda that will shape the future of humanitarian action.
This initiative is in line with the TfP Programme’s strategic goal for improved and sustainable capacity for peace operations on the continent, through ensuring that functional organisational systems are in place in the UN, AU and RECs using relevant policy frameworks mandated by the UN, AU and RECs.
The Training for Peace Programme at ACCORD is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.