Pax Africana: Peacebuilding in Africa
Date: March 14, 2018
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: International Peace Institute, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017
H.E. Ms. Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations
Professor Adekeye Adebajo, Director, Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation, University of Johannesburg
Professor Ismail Rashid, Professor of History, Vassar College, and Board Vice President, West African Research Association
Ms. Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Executive Director, Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE)
Mr. Eloho Otobo, Non-Resident Senior Expert on Peacebuilding and Global Political Economy, Global Governance Institute
H.E. Ms. Fatima Kyari Mohammed listed three actions that must be taken in order to gain momentum on peacebuilding in Africa: increased coherency of work, a top-down, people-centered approach, and increased cooperation between international, national, and regional organizations.
Ms. Helen Kezie-Nwoha highlighted the need for women’s participation in the peacebuilding process.
Given the new leadership of the African Union (AU) and the AU Observer Mission at the UN, the relationship between these two organizations is crucial to peacebuilding outcomes on the continent.
The panel discussion started with opening remarks made by H.E. Ms. Fatima Kyari Mohammed, who pushed the notion that human rights and good governance are key to success in peacebuilding in Africa. She also commented on the idea that there cannot be peace without development, and vice versa.
Mr Adebajo posed a thought-provoking question: “Who will keep the peace in Africa now that colonialism is over?” He went on to praise former UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, for his efforts to bring peace in the post-Cold War era and claims that the global community should learn from these efforts.
Mr Rashid discussed the political climate in West Africa in terms of presidential elections. Much of the turmoil in that region surrounds the issue of presidents and politicians at all levels trying to stay in office past their allotted terms. However, there is a clear normative shift occurring in terms of political office, a shift that is more visible in this region than in any other region on the continent.
Ms Kezie-Nwoha introduced an initiative organized in 2016 by Isis-WICCE in her home country of Uganda. This women-led peacebuilding initiative was first carried out during Uganda’s elections in February 2016, where 450 women and children were trained to monitor elections and ensure fair practices. Women are a crucial factor in the peacebuilding agenda, said Kezie-Nwoha.
Finally, Mr Otobo discussed the need for adequate financing of conflict resolution and peacebuilding activities in order for these efforts to have a real impact. One of the key frustrations of the Peacebuilding Commission is their lack of “money on the table” to allow them to work in a productive manner. Predictable and stable financing is therefore crucial in the peacebuilding process.