JWF and Peace Islands Institute in New York (PIINY) held the first panel in the African Ambassadors Series in New York on February 12, 2014. The series aims to create a space for United Nations diplomats, academics, experts, and civil society to discuss global issues and exchange multiple perspectives.
JWF hosted UN Ambassadors to discuss “African Solutions to African Problems.”
The African Solutions to African Problems Panel was moderated by Sharene Louise Bailey, the Political Advisor of the African Union to the UN. Huseyin Hurmali, JWF’s Vice President, first briefed the audience about JWF’s work worldwide and outlined the Foundation’s upcoming events on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Then speeches were given by Dr. Richard Nduhuura, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the UN; Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Permanent Representative of Gambia to the UN; and Dr. T.A. Elias-Fatile, Senior Counselor of the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the UN.
The panel caught the attention of many ambassadors and diplomats from the UN, including the Permanent Missions of Portugal, Kazakhstan, Norway, Montenegro, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Spain, the Republic of Slovakia, Israel, Bangladesh, and Cyprus, as well as the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UN University for Peace (UPEACE), and the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa to the UN.
The panel considered multiple issues: the significance of natural resources in the causes of African conflicts, the place of culture in finding African solutions to African problems, and the role of women in conflicts. Education-related problems and issues regarding shared values were also brought into the discussion. The core values and shared lessons among African nations that could play a role in solutions to such problems were addressed. The history of this process and the desire of the African founding fathers for unity were also mentioned. The panelists raised the question of what Africa could concretely expect from the so-called decade of Africa and what it has achieved throughout that period.
The right to intervene in conflicts, genocide, or other crimes against humanity was discussed, followed by the success stories of African Union missions. Investment was a key issue raised by the panel as they addressed Africa’s current economic situation and sought answers for how to have sustainable investments and build skills-based economies. Related points included the promotion of regional integration, the need for better financing for sustainable peace in Africa, and boosting inter-African trade.
The panelists also highlighted the need for political unity and listed great examples of African leadership. Indicating that the basic ingredients for peace are based on reconciliation and dialogue for the settlement of disputes, compromise, and win-win solutions, the panelists addressed the interplay between peace, security, and development. The challenges of peacekeeping operations and the lack of enforcement mandates in this respect were also discussed during the panel, which concluded with a Q&A session.