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2010 is the Year of Peace and Security in Africa

Mussie Hailu & Tomoko Watanabe

Mussie Hailu & Tomoko Watanabe

ANT-Hiroshima‘s representative in Africa, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, reports that at the Special Session of the Year of Peace and Security conference held on 31st August 2009, in Tripoli…

…the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), in paragraph 23 of its Declaration on the Elimination of Conflicts in Africa and the Promotion of Sustainable Peace, declared 2010 as the Year of Peace and Security on the continent.

This decision was taken in the context of the continued peace and security challenges facing the continent. Indeed, while significant strides have been made in the resolution of conflicts in Africa, large parts of the continent continue to experience conflict, insecurity and Instability, with its attendant humanitarian consequences and socio‐economic impact. Armed conflicts in Africa kill thousands of people every year; create humanitarian disasters; wipe out livelihoods and wealth that ordinary people have worked hard to accumulate over their lifetimes; and make sustainable economic development impossible.

There is also a more profound loss: the destruction of hope for a better future. Against this background, the Year of Peace and Security will be an opportunity for African people and leaders, as well as African institutions, in partnership with the international community, to review current efforts at peace on the continent, with a view to strengthening them and, where appropriate, launching new initiatives for the promotion of peace and security.

The objectives of the Year of Peace will be to give added momentum to peace and security efforts on the continent; give greater visibility to ongoing and past efforts by the AU on the ground; to speed up the implementation of commitments made by Member States; harmonize all efforts to promote peace and security, including with those being undertaken at the grass roots.

More specifically, in the context of the Year of Peace and Security, the Commission intends to initiate a number of activities. Some of these are symbolic outreach activities aimed at communicating and mobilizing the African public throughout the Year while others will consist of initiatives and efforts by relevant AU policy organs to speed up the resolution of existing conflicts and crises and consolidate peace where it has been achieved.

The overarching message for all the activities that will be carried out and the advocacy programme is, quite simply, “Make Peace Happen”. This message highlights the need to mobilize all stakeholders for them to take ownership of this initiative and commit to actions that will make possible the achievement of peace.

In the meantime, the Chairperson of the Commission pledges the commitment of the entire AU Commission to intensify its efforts in the area of peace and security and appeals to African Governments, people, media, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to take advantage of the Year of Peace and Security to rededicate themselves to the realization of the objective of a conflict‐free continent.

The Flame of Peace will travail to all 53 capitals of Africa, returning to Addis in January 2011 during the Summit.

MAY PEACE PREAVIL ON EARTH

Mussie Hailu

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