New York: I am pleased to address the Security Council on the important subject of preventing armed conflicts and addressing their root causes. Although we are focused today on Africa, there are universal lessons in conflict prevention that apply everywhere around the world. Conflicts breed where there is poor governance, human rights abuses and grievances over the unequal distribution of resources, wealth and power. Tensions simmer where people are excluded, marginalized and denied meaningful participation in the political and social life of their countries. Unrest flourishes where people are poor, jobless and without hope.
Addis Ababa: This Retreat, and the idea to establish the Pan African Network of the Wise (PanWise), is taking place at an opportune time, on the eve of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the OAU, celebrated this whole year under the theme of “Pan Africanism and African Renaissance”. Therefore, let us reflect on the background to the creation of the PanWise. It will be recalled that since the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, various efforts were made towards preventing conflicts and mediating in long-lasting ways the conflicts on the continent; with various degrees of success. Among the main constraints were the lack of proper policies, strategies, instruments and structures at both continental and regional levels; that would have also advanced closer cooperation between the OAU and Regional Groupings - that today are regional economic communities.
Johannesburg: Tomorrow [Friday] marks 40 years since King Sobhuza II abrogated Swaziland’s independence constitution and created an absolute monarchy but Swazis have no reason to celebrate – as they continue to struggle with a devastating combination of political, economic, judicial and social crises. With undemocratic elections – or ‘selections’ as they are more commonly referred to – due in August, 21 Swazi civil society organisations have called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to bring an end to Swaziland’s sham democracy by ensuring the Swazis’ civil and political rights are respected.
Dakar: For the population of northern Mali, the feeling of being “liberated” by the French military intervention launched on 11 January 2013 is real. The sudden, but clearly well-prepared intervention, which received widespread support in Mali, West Africa and beyond, ended the offensive by jihadi groups that the Malian army had been unable to repel. France also took the opportunity to try and destroy al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) forces. Although Mali is in a better place than a few months back, sporadic fighting in the north continues and formidable threats to security, stability and the coexistence of the country’s various communities remain.
Addis Ababa: The on-going violent conflicts in Africa highlight the continuing need for the African Union (AU) to remain actively seized not only of the management and resolution of conflicts, but also with the prevention of armed conflict. Regional, continental and international efforts to manage and resolve conflicts in Africa raise the necessity to deliberate on how to enhance the tools and methodology for conflict prevention, management and resolution. I would like to seize the opportunity to reflect more generally on the notion of preventive diplomacy, the efforts being made by the OAU/AU on conflict prevention in general and preventive diplomacy in particular in the course of the past decade. I will also outline some challenges which, I believe, this open debate will help address.
Durban: South Africa, host to this year's summit of the emerging BRICS countries in just a few days time, is not a model for sustainable development on the African continent. That is to say, the country, in contrast to Brazil for example, has not made convincing social progress in important areas, such as education, health, social inclusion and unemployment, whereas other African countries are catching up and becoming more attractive to the BRICS countries. This is the conclusion reached by an international comparative study of the BRICS countries by the German Bertelsmann Foundation.
Stockholm: What is global civil society? And what is the meaning of global civil society? A few years ago, there was a debate on whether a global civil society existed or not. Today, few people doubt the existence of a global political space, and research on “global civil society” has emerged as a sub-field of study in the broader context of globalisation theory and research. The London School of Economics has published the Global Civil Society Yearbook since 2001, and quite a few books and articles have engaged theoretically as well as empirically with the subject.
Stellenbosch: According to Oxfam International findings published in 2007, the cost of conflicts on Africa’s development between 1990 and 2005 was approximately $300 billion. The study titled “Africa’s Missing Billion” shows that our continent loses an average of $18 billion a year due to armed conflicts. This is a clear demonstration of the imperative need for peaceful conflict resolution through mediation in Africa. In the early 60′s and 70′s conflict mediation in Africa was, within the framework of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), assigned to elder statesmen in Africa. They were often guided by the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs of member states. However, with the transformation of the OAU into the African Union (AU) in 2001, a new principle came into play – the principle of the responsibility to protect.
Addis Ababa: This report is the latest update by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on the progress that Africa is making towards the Millennium Development Goals. It builds on the reports of previous years in taking stock of progress made by African countries in the implementation of the MDG commitments in 2012, including the support provided by the ECA secretariat. The central message of this year’s report is that Africa has made significant progress towards the MDGs, but that it is uneven and too slow. There are also wide variations in performance across regions and countries, as well as across targets and indicators within the goals.
The Strategic Review for Southern Africa is an internationally accredited and peer-reviewed periodical of the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria. The Strategic Review is listed as an accredited journal in South Africa and on the IBSS (international) list of accredited journals. All submissions are peer-reviewed by at least two members of the Editorial Committee and/or external reviewers.