Cairo, Egypt – “The primary responsibility of post-conflict reconstruction and development and peacebuilding is that of national governments….and countries of the region as a whole, need to develop their own voice and become the primary stakeholder in the discussion.” This was the key message of the two-day expert workshop, titled: “Operationalizing the African Union Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development Policy in the Sahel: Charting the Way Forward”, held on 15-16 October 2018.
The workshop was organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Peacebuilding (CCCPA) and the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD), as part of Egypt’s commitment to strengthen the AU PCRD framework and implementation, and in preparation for Egypt’s preparation for assuming the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) in 2019. The discussions were also useful in informing the ongoing discussion between Egypt and the African Union on the role of the newly-established African Union Centre for Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development (AUC-PCRD). It aimed at providing a platform for national, regional and international actors engaged in PCRD and peacebuilding efforts in the Sahel to deliberate on practical ways and means to refocus PCRD efforts on more comprehensive and long-term strategies that address the root causes of conflict and instability, instead of quick-fix solutions.
Participants highlighted that “a people-centered approach” is key to advancing peacebuilding, and that building viable state institutions is a long-term process. They went on to emphasize the important role of the African Union in preventing conflict and sustaining peace and the urgent need to operationalize the AU-PCRD. In addition, the G5, and other relevant sub-regional groupings and regional economic communities, can and should play an important role in assisting the countries of the region to address cross-border challenges, such as terrorism, transnational organized crime, illegal trafficking, and exploitation of natural resources.
The workshop also emphasized the urgent need for actors and initiatives to works in the same direction. The newly-launched UN Support Plan for the Sahel region is a platform that can help with such an alignment. Participants also recognized the imperative for mobilizing and channeling predictable and sustainable resources to implement peacebuilding and PCRD programs. The newly-established AUC PCRD can act as a pillar around which partners’ support can be organized and extended. (Please see the Chairman's Summary below).
The workshop brought together representatives of the governments of the G5 Sahel, the AU Commission, African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, as well as key bilateral partners to the countries of the Sahel participated in the workshop. Major African think tanks, research centers and peacebuilding practitioners also contributed to the discussions