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Communique of the 901st PSC: Briefing on the “Bamako Declaration on Access to Natural Resources and Conflicts between Communities”

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Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) at its 901st meeting held on 13 December 2019, on the theme Strengthening Governance Systems in the Management of Natural Resources Between and Among Communities in Africa: Briefing on the “Bamako Declaration on Access to Natural Resources and Conflicts between Communities” adopted in Bamako, Mali on 29 November 2019.

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR.(DLXXV)] adopted at its 575th meeting, held in Addis Ababa, on 11 February 2016, in which Council stressed the imperative need for effective and transparent management, as well as equitable distribution of a country’s natural resources that ensures the interest and well-being of the local populations, communities and of the country at large;

Also recalling paragraph 15 of the Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.(DCCCXXXVIII)] adopted at its 838th meeting held on 9 April 2019, in which Council requested the Commission to develop a credible framework for the effective prevention and management, as well as resolution of local conflicts, including inter-communal violence, transhumance, and land disputes, in collaboration with other relevant organizations and mechanisms, as well as communiques [PSC/MIN/COMM. (DCCCLXXXIII)] adopted at its 883rd meeting held in New York, on 27 September 2019 and [PSC/MIN/COMM.(DCCCXCIX)] adopted at its 899th meeting held on 5 December 2019 in Luanda, Angola;

Noting the inextricable link between climate change, natural resources and peace and security, and mindful of the need to mitigate the negative effects on community cohesion and the need for innovative approaches to strengthen the resilience of affected populations in the Continent;

Also noting the statement made by Ambassador Francisco José da Cruz, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Angola and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of December 2019, and the briefing made by Ambassador Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security;

Expressing solidarity with the governments and people of Member States adversely affected by local conflicts as a result of effects of climate change and management of natural resources and emphasizing the importance of addressing the factors which contribute to natural disasters and lead to the destruction of peace and stability within and among communities.

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council,

  1. Expresses deep concern over the growing complexity of conflicts related to the governance and management of natural resources between communities, acerbated by climate change, as well as the related governance challenges in Africa; underscores that the growing transnational nature of intercommunal conflicts linked to natural resources, which threatens peace and security in Africa; in this regard calls for concerted and coordinated regional, continental, and international efforts to combat this scourge;

  2. Deplores the persistence of natural resources-related conflicts between communities and the attendant negative impact on human security, particularly in terms of the humanitarian situation, the economy, social cohesion, governance and the rule of law in the countries concerned; stresses that natural disasters and climate change contribute to exacerbating the existing tensions among communities, threaten the availability and access to vital resources and, disproportionately, affected the most vulnerable. In this context, reiterates its call for Member States to reinforce measures to address effects of climate change, environmental degradation and natural disasters, particularly in conflict-affected areas within the context of the AU Solemn Declaration to Silence the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020;

  3. Condemns the exploitation of natural resources by armed terrorist groups and other criminal groups with a view to tightening their hold on communities for the financing their activities; in this respect, appeals to all Member States to enhance their governance and security systems with a view to curb intercommunal conflict relating to natural resources and stop the terrorist groups and criminal groups from manipulating these conflicts for their own objectives;

  4. Reaffirms that the primary responsibility for the maintenance of law and order, as well as the security of persons and property rests with the sovereign responsibility of States;

  5. Calls on the AU Member States to develop frameworks of intervention and partnership based on the relevant AU instruments and policies related to local conflicts and to governance and management of natural resources; furthermore encourages Member States, which have not yet done so, to sign, ratify and domesticate all relevant AU legal instruments relating to the issue of local conflict and natural resources, in particular within the context of the African Governance Architecture (AGA), also calls for the enhancement of governance systems of natural resources in African countries in particular through the creation of platform for dialogue between local communities within African countries, while addressing causes from climate change, through adaptation and resilience policies ;

  6. Reaffirms the importance of coordination and complementarity of initiatives between the countries concerned, the AU and larger international community, particularly in the area of early warning and early response to conflicts related to access to natural resources and effects of climate change in Africa;

  7. Commends the efforts of the AU Commission to contribute towards resolving local conflicts related to scramble of natural resources in communities in Africa which cause disharmony and division in the communities; also commends the initiative by the Commission, in collaboration with the Government of Mali, for having convened a Ministerial Conference on the theme, ‘Access to Natural Resources and Conflict between Communities’ from 28 to 29 November 2019, in Bamako, Mali, which provide guidance on how to prevent and resolve conflicts related to natural resources in African communities, in line with the above-mentioned paragraph 15 of the Communique of its 838th meeting;

  8. Welcomes the Bamako Declaration on Access to Natural Resources and Conflict between Communities adopted on 29 November 2019, in Bamako, Mali; requests the Commission, in close collaboration with the respective Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), to implement the recommendations contained in the Bamako Declaration, in particular paragraphs 13 and 14 of the Declaration and brief the Council on regular basis;

  9. Also requests the Commission, working in close collaboration with the respective RECs/RMs, to develop a policy framework and a plan of action for the prevention, management and resolution of local intercommunal conflicts relating to the governance and management of natural resources, in line with AU policies in the area of agriculture and mitigation of climate change effect, to be submitted to the PSC for consideration;

  10. Decides to remain actively seized on the matter.