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29.08.2005 General News

AU-Civil society consultative workshop opens


Accra, Aug. 29, GNA - A three-day consultative workshop to develop guidelines between the African Union (AU) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working for peace and security opened on Monday at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre at Teshie, Accra.

It is also to explore the role civil society should play in the evolving AU peace and security architecture, particularly in the Peace and Security Council, Panel of the Wise, and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOCC).

About 35 experts representing the AU and many African CSOs that are at the forefront of the Continent's peace and security debate are participating in the workshop.

It is being organized by the African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR), an Accra-based non-governmental think-tank, in collaboration with the AU and is being supported by the Danish Foreign Ministry.

Participants are being tasked to identify capacity gaps within both civil society and the AU, and to recommend how they could be reduced through enhanced collaboration.

The objectives of the workshop included identifying ways of enhancing the participation of civil society in peace process in general, and exploring ways in which more rational use could be made of civil society skills and capacity, particularly in AU peace missions. At the opening of the workshop, Mr Jinmi Adisa, a representative of the AU, stressed the need for globalisation, saying: "It is a necessary condition for political and economic development of the African Continent."

To this end, civil society, he noted, had a critical role to play if the Continent were to develop politically, socially and economically. Mr Adisa tasked the participants to be actively involved in the process of bringing peace and stability to Africa.

Mr Geoffrey Mungumya, Director in-Charge of implementing the peace and security architecture of the AU, said Africa was afflicted with protracted conflicts that had rendered her people homeless and deprived them of their livelihoods.

He said to mitigate the problem of conflict on the Continent; emphasis should be placed on the economic and political development of nations.

Mrs Mette Knudsen, the Danish Ambassador in Ghana, said Denmark would support the emerging security activity and interactions between African societies to foment peace and stability.