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Communiqué adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) at its 899th meeting, held at ministerial level, on 5 December 2019, “National Reconciliation, Restoration of Peace, Security and Rebuilding of Cohesion in Africa”

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The Peace and Security Council,

Faithful to the AU Vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa that is driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena;

Mindful of the importance of redoubling efforts aimed at creating conducive conditions for the realisation of African Union Agenda 2063, among others, by ensuring continued implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), AU Post-Conflict, Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) Policy Framework adopted in Banjul, The Gambia, in July 2006, as well as the AU Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP), in line with Article 4 (o) of the Constitutive Act, which calls for peaceful resolution of conflicts, respect for the sanctity of human life, condemnation and rejection of impunity;

Fully conscious of the persistence of violent conflict and crisis situations and other threats to peace and security in Africa, which require renewed and concerted efforts in order to effectively address them; recognizing the threat posed by the impact of climate change to national cohesion, in terms of managing scarce natural resources in the Continent;

Recalling Assembly Decision [Assembly/AU/Dec.501(XXII)] by which the Assembly declared the decade 2014-2024 as Madiba Nelson Mandela Decade of Reconciliation in Africa; the 50th OAU/AU Anniversary Solemn Declaration by which the Assembly pledged not to bequeath the burden of conflictsto the next generation of Africans and undertook to end all wars in Africa by the year 2020; the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020; and UN Resolution [A/RES/72/130]adopted by the General Assembly on 8 December 2017, which declared 16 May as the International Day of ‘Living Together in Peace’;

Also recalling Communiques[PSC/MIN/COMM.(CCCLXXXIII)] adopted at its 383rd meeting held at ministerial level in Algiers, Algeria, on 29 June 2013 on the theme “National Reconciliation: Crucial Factor for Security, Stability, and Development in Africa”; and [PSC/MIN/COMM. (DCCCLXXXIII)] adopted at its meeting held at ministerial level, in New York, on 27 September 2019 on the theme “Interdependence between Peace, Security and Development;

Further recalling Press Statements [PSC/PR/BR. (DCCCXCI)] adopted at its 891st meeting, held on 5 November 2019 on the theme “ Living Together in Peace”; [PSC/PR/BR.(DCCXXVI)] adopted at its 726th meeting held on 20 October 2017 on the theme “Peace, Justice and Reconciliation in Africa”; [PSC/PR/BR.(DXXV)] adopted at its 525th meeting held on 23 July 2015 on the theme “Peace, Justice and Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Societies in Africa”; and [PSC/PR/BR. (CDXXX)] adopted at its 430th meeting held on 24 April 2014 on the theme “Silencing the Guns: Pre-requisites for Realising a Conflict-Free Africa by the Year 2020”;

Taking note of the Bamako initiative of 29 November 2019, on access to natural resources and conflicts between the communities; in this regard, looking forward to a substantive discussion by Council on the thematic agenda on strengthening governance systems in the management of natural resources between and among communities;

Noting the opening statement by Honourable General Pedro Sebastiao, Minister of State and Head of Security House of the President of the Republic of Angola, as well as statement made by H.E. Manuel Domingos Augusto, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of December 2019, and the presentation made by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Smail Chergui; also noting with appreciation the experiences and lessons learned shared on national reconciliation, restoration of peace and rebuilding of cohesion by Algeria, Angola, Mali and Rwanda, as countries invited to make presentations on the theme of the meeting.

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

  1. Stresses the importance for Member States emerging from conflicts to redouble their efforts and holistically address the fundamental root causes of the situations, including rebuilding inclusive societies, capacity of state institutions, fighting impunity, promoting transitional justice for the victims using a judicious combination measures relating to truth-telling and reparations, both local and/or traditional institutions and, where necessary, regional and international institutions as a last resort, with a view to promoting resilient societies, national reconciliation and cohesion; also underlines the importance of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) interventions, which, among others, directly and effectively address trauma and other psycho-social needs of victims of violent conflicts particularly women, children and other vulnerable groups;

  2. Commends the AU Commission for providing technical support to Member States through the development of regional stabilization strategies and Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) and Peace Strengthening Projects (PSPs), Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), and Security Sector Reform (SSR) support programmes, as well as support to national reconciliation and healing efforts and gender-oriented programmes to the countries concerned; also commends all Member States who have submitted their requests to the Commission for the support and requests the Commission to scale up the deployment of technical needs assessment missions to Member States, upon their requests, to assess national reconstruction priority needs and assist in developing appropriate intervention strategies in collaboration with the relevant RECs/RMs;

  3. Encourages Member States to use the expertise available at the AU Commission on PCRD related issues and develop policies that create conducive conditions for the inclusion and more meaningful participation of women and youth in peace processes and in decision-making;

  4. Underlines the imperative for Member States to redouble efforts in promoting the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) with a view to enhance good governance and inclusive and sustainable development, as an effective tool for promoting conflict prevention, that contributes in addressing some of the structural root causes of conflicts in the Continent, particularly those relating to governance; commends all Member States which are already acceded to the APRM and encourages those, which have not yet done so, to also consider becoming members; requests the Commission and the APRM Secretariat to continue providing support to Member States, in this regard;

  5. Emphasizes the need for Member States to harmonize national and regional policies on PCRD to guide the implementation of regional, cross-border and transnational programmes relating to post conflict era; in this regard, commends the development of the Regional Stabilization Strategy for the Lake Chad Basin and the Strategy for the Sahel, as steps in the right direction and encourages other Member States to develop similar strategies for their concerned areas;

  6. Also underscores the importance of further enhancing the partnership between the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and the AU PCRD Architecture, with a view to ensuring coherence in the implementation of PCRD programmes; in this regard, requests the Commission to evolve a draft common African position ahead of the review conference of the UN Peace Building Architecture planned to take place in the year 2020, for consideration by the PSC;

  7. Commends all bilateral and international partners for their continued support to PCRD efforts in Africa and underlines the importance of ensuring coordination and complementarity of their support, as well as to ensure that any support provided directly responds to the national priority needs of the recipient countries;

  8. Stresses the need to mainstream the important role of traditional leaders, youth and women in the designing and successful implementation of national reconciliation and national cohesion processes, with a view to enhance inclusivity and participation of all components of the national community, including through continued devolution processes;

  9. Underscores the important role of the media in educating the public on the importance of national reconciliation and mutual respect and tolerance of all forms of diversity; in this regard, urges the media to continue using their positions in the society in promoting the culture of peace in the Continent, complementing education curriculum on peace;

  10. Underlines the urgent need to address the impact of climate change on peace, security and development in Africa, and requests the Chairperson of the Commission to prepare a comprehensive report on climate change, adaptation and resilience strategies, with a view to enable Member States to effectively respond to the impact of climate change on peace, security and development in Africa;

  11. Appealsto all Member States to further strengthen their governance systems, particularly in the management of natural resources, including fighting corruption; in this regard, urges Member States to implement best practices in natural resources governance systems, in order to ensure that the African people are the primary beneficiaries of the natural resources in their countries, which foster harmony, rebuilding of peace and cohesion among the communities;

  12. Tasks the Commission to pursue and intensify its efforts in support of Member States, with particular attention to:

i. expedite the finalization of the continental strategic policy framework on transitional justice that balances the imperatives of peace and justice in conflict and post-conflict contexts;

ii. explore and propose to the PSC measures to develop and deepen the AU’s capacity for assessing the goals and limitations of various accountability measures to respond to impunity and promote reconciliation;

iii. develop an implementation and monitoring mechanism, in order to take forward, in the best possible conditions, the various aspects of national reconciliation in postconflict situations;

iv. within the framework APSA and the African Governance Architecture (AGA), ensure close coordination with the RECs/RMs in all efforts aimed at promoting national reconciliation, learning from past and ongoing processes and facilitating exchange of experiences among Member States;

v. strengthen and capacitate the AU Liaison Offices in the Six Pillars of the PCRD Policy Framework, namely: security, humanitarian/emergency assistance, political governance and transition, socio-economic reconstruction and development, human rights, justice and reconciliation and women and gender;

  1. Expresses concern that, despite the progress made in promoting national reconciliation, restoration of peace and rebuilding of cohesion, serious gaps continue to exist in terms of implementation and follow-up, thus undermining the effectiveness of efforts of the Continent; in this regard, stresses the urgency for an action-oriented approach to give concrete expression to the commitment made by Member States to ensure full implementation of AU instruments and policies relating to national reconciliation, in line with the Madiba Nelson Mandela Decade of Reconciliation in Africa; in this respect, decides;

i. to dedicate a session, once a year, aimed at experience sharing and lessons learning on national reconciliation, restoration of peace and rebuilding of cohesion in Africa;

ii. to undertake a review of the implementation of the Madiba Nelson Mandela Decade of Reconciliation in Africa, based on the common African position on the review of the UN Peace Consolidation Framework to be developed by the AU Commission as mentioned in paragraph 6 of this Communique;

iii. to urgently activate the PSC Sub-Committee on PCRD, with a view to providing the necessary oversight, political leadership and strategic guidance to Member States emerging from violent conflicts;

  1. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter