Durban, 19 December 2021: The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) are in Durban, South Africa, to participate in the very first Joint Retreat from 19 – 21 December 2021. The Joint Retreat is co-chaired by H.E Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma Sabo, the Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the PSC for December 2021, and H.E Ambassador Ombeni Yohana Sefue, Chairperson of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons.
The convening of this Joint Retreat is pursuant to the PSC decision adopted at its 914th meeting held on 5 March 2020 and reaffirmed in a subsequent PSC meeting on 5 November of the same year. As a standing decision-making organ of the AU with a mandate for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, the PSC, in these meetings as mentioned above, underscored the importance of enhancing the contribution of APRM in early warning for conflict prevention in harmony and synergy with the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA). This PSC decision is informed by the critical work done by the APRM in areas of democracy, good governance, human rights, the rule of law, and acceleration of political, social and economic integration in Africa. Furthermore, the PSC stressed the critical role of the APRM in efforts towards the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps in Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030.
A number High-Level speakers will grace the opening of the Joint Retreat. Honourable Sihle Zikalala, Premier of the KwaZulu-Natal Province, will welcome participants on behalf of the Government of the Republic of South Africa. Honourable Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister for the Public Service and Administration of the Republic of South Africa and the Chairperson of the APR Committee of Focal Points, will deliver the keynote address. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, will deliver a statement on behalf of the Chairperson of the AU Commission. Other speakers include H.E Madam Graça Machel, Co-Chair of the Elders and Chairperson of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) Board of Trustees, and Prof Eddy Maloka, CEO of the APRM Continental Secretariat.
The Joint Retreat will deliberate comprehensively on areas of interest and focus, including APRM Peer Review Reports and studies and explore ways to foster close collaboration and strengthen coordination in preventive diplomacy efforts and work done in areas of democracy and elections, good governance and the rule of law, in pursuance of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.
The Joint Retreat will further discuss strategies to enhance the role of the APRM in complementing the work of the PSC and other APSA Pillars in line with the provisions the PSC Protocol.
It is worth mentioning that this Joint Retreat will also look at plans towards the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the APRM in 2023.
At the end of the Joint Retreat, the PSC and the APRM will adopt the joint Conclusions.