The African Union (AU) convened the inaugural meeting of the new members of the Panel of the Wise, in line with the Decision of the 29th Assembly of the African Union of July 2017. The AU Panel of the Wise is one of the pillars of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), as provided for in the 2002 Peace and Security Council (PSC) Protocol. The Panel, which was launched in Addis Ababa, in December 2007, is composed of five highly respected African personalities who have made outstanding contribution to the cause of peace, security and development on the continent.
The new members of the Panel are: i) for the Eastern Africa region, Dr. Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, from Uganda, is currently a member of the Panel of the Wise of the African Union since June 2014. Dr. Wandira was a Deputy President of the Republic of Uganda; ii) for the Northern Africa region, Mr. Amr Moussa, from Egypt, who was the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2011; iii) for the Western Africa region, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, from Liberia, is the 24th and current president of Liberia. Her current term of office will expire in December 2017. Dr. Sirleaf was the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner; iv) for the Central Africa region, Mrs. Honorine Nzet Bitéghé, from Gabon, is the former Minister for Social Affairs and has been a long-time human rights activist, especially women’s rights; v) for the Southern Africa region, Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, from Namibia, is the former President of the Republic of Namibia from 2005 to 2015. He is also the Chairperson/Spokesperson of the Panel.
The inaugural meeting of the Panel of the Wise was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 4-5 October 2017. The Meeting brought together senior leadership of the African Union Commission, the incoming and outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise, representatives from the United Nations as well as peacemaking experts and scholars.
The meeting provided a platform for exchange of views on the strategic positioning of the Panel of the Wise and how it can support the ongoing efforts of the Peace and Security Council and the Chairperson particularly in the area of conflict prevention. The meeting further provided a platform for discussion on issues of collaboration and coordination with international stakeholders involved in the prevention of the outbreak of political crisis. The meeting also was an opportunity to review lessons learned and discuss outstanding matters with the outgoing members of the Panel, and to adopt the 2018 work plan.
ACCORD contributed to the discussions in the inaugural meeting of the Panel of the Wise by leading an interactive session on “New Approach to Prevention and Mediation in a Deteriorating Multilateral Context: The Role of the Panel of the Wise”.
ACCORD’s participation in the event reflects the commitment and crucial support that the organisation continues to provide in the field of conflict management. ACCORD will continue to collaborate with the Panel of the Wise and the Pan African Network of the Wise (PANWISE) in order to contribute to strengthening mediation and preventive diplomacy in Africa.