Acting in its capacity as the Secretariat of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, CCCPA partnered with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in the context of the 2021 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development.
The virtual forum--held under the theme “Promoting Peace in the Age of Compound Risk” from 4 to 7 May 2021--aimed to explore novel approaches and solutions to promoting peace in the age of compound political, social, economic and environmental risks reinforced by COVID-19. The discussion brought together the political, security, technology, health and peacebuilding communities, and placed the issue of improved collective action at its center.
Building on the synergies between the Aswan Forum and the Stockholm Forum, CCCPA organized two sessions: (i) “Africa and Europe Together: Towards an Effective Operational Partnership for Sustainable Peace and Development” and (ii) “Strengthening the African Union’s (AU) Peacebuilding Efforts: The Way Forward”.
CCCPA’s first session, held on 5 May 2021, aimed to explore challenges and opportunities for strengthening operational partnerships between African and European actors beyond the Africa-EU partnership in a new normal.
Ambassador Ahmed Abdel-Latif, CCCPA’s Director-General and the Executive Director of the Aswan Forum, emphasized that the Covid-19 pandemic and responses to it, highlight the need for deeper, more operational and impact-driven partnerships that go beyond crisis management and towards sustaining peace and security in Africa.
Ambassador Bernard Quintin, Deputy-Managing Director for Africa European External Action Service, provided an overview of developments relating to the EU-Africa partnership and of the EU’s engagement in Africa. He pointed out that in order to effectively tackle more complex situations, partners and stakeholders need to adopt a more strategic approach to planning processes. He also stressed on to the need to shift away from a crisis management and donor-recipient focus to give greater priority to conflict prevention.
Ottilia Anna Maunganidze, Head of Special Projects, Office of the Executive Director at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), emphasized that African states need to be at the center of any proposed solutions and interventions. Accordingly, African states should be consulted before the design process of any intervention--thus advocating the need to focus more on contextual studies.
Dr. Pedro Seabra, Guest Assistant Professor at University Institute of Lisbon and Research Fellow at the Center for International Studies, underlined the crucial need for more regular reviews, better assessment capacities, and healthy and honest communication with partners on the ground in order to realize the full potential of the partnerships between African and European actors.
The second session--held on 6 May 2021 and organized in cooperation with the Swedish Embassy in Cairo and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS)--examined how the AU and its partners can strengthen peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) efforts, in the context of a changing peace and security landscape.
Ambassador Ahmed Abdel-Latif kick-started the conversation pointing out that after more than a year since the onset of the pandemic, it is more evident than ever that peacebuilding must be an integral pillar of recovery strategies.
Dr. Linda Darkwa, Coordinator at the Training for Peace Programme, stated that the pandemic has laid bare huge inequalities among societies and that governments were grappling to renegotiate social contracts to respond effectively to the pandemic; and thus, peacebuilding must address this in the future. In the same vein, she underscored the imperative for context-specificity, commending the AU’s peacebuilding efforts for being tailored and responding to the individual needs of affected countries.
Ambassador Jainaba Jagne, Permanent Representative of the Gambia to the AU, indicated that the AU Technical Support Team to The Gambia (AUTSTG) has demonstrated the AU’s will in transforming the AU PCRD Policy into a viable solution for peace and security challenges. The Gambia offered a unique proposition in this regard, as it was in dire need for PCRD support. Amb. Jagne’s interventions highlighted that moving forward, the support of the international community and funding partners is critical to continue advancing national institutional reforms.
Meanwhile, General Adewale Awotoye, Focal Point at the AUTSTG, affirmed that the embedded mission had the comparative advantage of gaining the people’s confidence, which allowed access to certain information usually not accessible in large-scale missions. Additionally, the mission’s small size allowed for strengthened coordination and synergies with external stakeholders, while adapting programs and aligning them with overall efforts and developments on the ground.
Dr. Per-Axel Frielingsdorf, Chargé d’affaires a.i. at the Swedish Embassy in Cairo, underscored the need for enhanced international cooperation to promote sustainable peacebuilding and to build back better from the pandemic. There was a need to ensure and improve peacebuilding financing, in terms of predictability, flexibility and volume, and to enhance cooperation between national, international, and civilian peacebuilding efforts. He also emphasized the importance of including women in peacebuilding and taking the necessary steps to fully implement the women, peace and security agenda on the ground.
Dr. Emile Kemayou, Chief Fragility and Resilience Officer of the Transition States Coordination Office at the African Development Bank (AfDB), highlighted the AfDB’s contribution towards advancing the peacebuilding agenda, including through developing a third strategy for addressing fragility and building resilience (to be launched by the end of 2021.) This strategy will put a strong premium on prevention, community resilience, regional stability and coordination across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. In the context of the strategy’s consultation process, AfDB aims to engage with the AU, Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms and relevant peacebuilding actors.
Ambassador Ihab Awad, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Nigeria, honed in on the importance of the AU Center for PCRD as the AU’s executive arm in this area. In this regard, Amb. Awad recommended that the Center conduct evidence-based policy research, and analyze root causes of conflict and opportunities to advance peacebuilding, while building on best practices and lessons learned, such as from the AUTSTG. Accordingly, the AU should identify where its sector experts and rightly place them where they can best contribute.
Gustavo de Carvalho, Senior Researcher at ISS, emphasized that peacebuilding is an activity, a goal and a process--all at the same time, and that long-term planning for peacebuilding is key. He also added that “if we don't know what we want to achieve, we will continue measuring performance on an activity-basis instead of outcome-basis.”
The Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development is an African-owned platform that addresses the interlinkages between peace and development, through strengthening the policies-practices linkages.