By John Ikani
Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan will depart Abuja on Saturday for Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to attend the 12th African Union (AU) high-level retreat on the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa.
Jonathan who is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Special Envoy for Mali and also chairman of ECOWAS Council of the Wise will be attending the three-day event which is designed for High Representatives, Special Envoys and Special Representatives of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCC) to brainstorm on ways of improving the impact of ongoing mediation efforts across the continent.
AU’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, who signed the invitation letter, stated that the retreat which themed ‘Improved Coordination and Harmonization for Impactful Mediation’ would bring together Chairperson of the Commission, senior Kenyan government officials, as well as representatives of AU member states, regional organisations, international agencies and AU organs.
He said: “It will also provide participants an opportunity to reflect, take stock and review ongoing mediation efforts in the evolving conflict context on the continent, towards better coherence for more sustained Impact. The retreat would in addition offer insights and exchanges by mediation practitioners on emerging policy and practice as it relates to inclusivity, particularly on women, youth and civil society.”
Background information provided by AU described the annual High Level Retreat on the Promotion of Peace, Security and Stability as one of the key continental body’s initiatives for improving impact in addressing conflict contexts in Africa.
“Established in 2010 during the Africa Year of Peace and Security, the High-Level Retreat has become the leading forum for the Special Envoys, High Representatives and Special Representatives of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCCs), and Mediators working in Africa to share experiences and best practices in the areas of conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacemaking”, it said.
Over the years the retreat has strategically engaged with timely, contextual and challenging issues, with a particular emphasis of strengthening mediation capacity and collaboration on the continent. Most recently, in 2020 under the theme, ‘The future of mediation in Africa: Towards silencing the Guns-Lessons and Opportunities from the Covid-19 Pandemic”, the High- Level Retreat focused on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the African continent and the implications for peacemaking and peacebuilding.”