AU Summit Decision on the Year of Peace andSecurity in Africa

By Azim Datardina

Addis Ababa, 6 August 2010: In a move that will galvanise increased participation in the 2010 Year of Peace and Security in Africa across all sectors of society, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) adopted a key decision during the recently concluded 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly in Kampala, Uganda.

Through their decision on the Progress Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Implementation of the Year of Peace and Security in Africa, African leaders (i) welcomed the appointment of the Year of Peace and Security Advisory Council members and Peace Ambassadors; (ii) urged Member States to fully take ownership of this initiative, as well as to intensify their efforts towards peace, popularise the Year of Peace and Security nationally and to take practical steps to support its implementation; (iii) encouraged contributions by businesses to the initiative, including through signing the AU-initiated Make Peace Happen Industry Charter; and (iv) urged increased participation by AU partners, humanitarian organisations, civil society, media houses and religious organisations to contribute to the objectives and success of Peace Day.

The decision also stressed the need for Africa to mobilize increased resources from within the continent to ensure real ownership and leadership in the quest for peace. This emphasises the commitment by the African Union to find sustainable sources for the funding of the implementation of its peace and security agenda.

African leaders also emphasised the critical importance of the United Nations-proclaimed International Day of Peace on 21st September (Peace Day), as a way of providing a single rallying point for the continent to show that peace is indeed possible. In this regard, they endorsed the following activities to take place across Africa, on Peace Day:

i.) cessation of hostilities in all conflict areas which are still experiencing varying levels of violence;

ii.) distribution of humanitarian supplies, materials and services to communities in conflict areas, as well as in non-conflict areas in critical need of these;

iii.) one minute of silence for peace across Africa at 10.00am GMT;

iv.) relevant developmental work and community support in all AU Member States to be carried out by members of the armed and security forces;

v.) One Day One Goal football games; and
vi.) Make Peace Happen Lesson Plan to be taught in all schools on Peace Day or during other relevant occasions.

With just over 45 days to go to Peace Day, the African Union is calling upon all Africans to do something to make peace happen in 2010 and beyond.