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The Panel of the Wise to hold its Second Retreat to examine current challenges to peace and security in Africa

By African Union Commission (AUC)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Panel of the Wise will be organizing its Second Retreat with similar regional mechanisms, from 11 to 12 April 2013, at 9:00 a.m., at the Plenary Hall (old conference building) at the AU Headquarters. The objective of the two-day Retreat is to deliberate on the “Institutionalization of the Pan African Network of the Wise, as a contribution to Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance” (PANWISE). The Retreat will be followed by the 13th Statutory Meeting of the Panel of the Wise on Saturday, 13 April 2013.

The meeting will bring together the AU Panel of the Wise, as well as its regional counterparts, namely the Council of the Wise of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Mediation Reference Group and the Panel of Elders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Committee of Elders of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Additionally, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Mediation Contact Group, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the East African Community (EAC), the Union of Maghreb States (UMA) the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CENSAD) will participate among others.

Notes to the Editor

About the Pan African Network of the Wise

The African Union (AU) Panel of the Wise was created in 2002, and became operational in 2008; ECOWAS' Council of the Wise was created in 1999; COMESA's Committee of Elders was put in place in 2008; SADC's Mediation Reference Group and Panel of Elders was established in August 2010; and IGAD is in the process of putting in place a Mediation Contact Group, whose responsibilities will be similar to those of the AU Panel of the Wise.

Since their inception, the above institutions have taken concrete steps to strengthening their relations and enhancing their capacity to collectively address the scourge of conflicts on the continent. These efforts took a concrete shape at the Retreat of the AU Panel of the Wise held from 4-5 June 2012 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where the institutions agreed to establish a Pan-African Network of the Wise (PanWise) – an umbrella network bringing together these various mechanisms, the Union's High-Level Representatives and Special Envoys, the Friends of the Panel, and individual mediators and institutions engaged in mediation activities at various levels – with the aim of enabling them to work on joint activities and cement their partnership, on one hand, and between the AU and RECs at large.

It is therefore timely to convene a Retreat where the above-mentioned institutions and high level individuals engaged in mediation will agree on the modalities for the functioning of the PanWise, a step which will allow for its institutionalization within the African Union framework and the consideration of endorsement by the Peace and Security Council.