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AU-WB project to promote peace in Africa

afrol News, 4 February - The African Union and the World Bank are combining efforts to promote innovative approaches to achieving long lasting peace, economic development, and security in conflict-affected countries through collaboration of two flagship projects: The African Year of Peace and Security and the World Development Report 2011 on conflict, security and development.

At a joint panel discussion during the 14th AU Summit in Addis Ababa on ‘Securing Development – Regional Initiatives in the 21st Century’, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick and Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, were joined on February 2, 2010 by Surin Pitsuwan (Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and Donald Kaberuka (President of the African Development Bank) to discuss past lessons and future opportunities for regional initiatives to address conflict. A second event on today focuses on the World Development Report’s main themes.

Chairperson Ping declared that “addressing the challenges of peace and security in the continent requires African leadership, because without such leadership, there will be no ownership and sustainability; because we understand the problems far better than those who come from far away; because we know which solutions will work, and how we can get there; and because, fundamentally, these problems are ours, and we will live with their consequences”.

“We recognise the pioneering role African regional organisations have played in managing conflict across the continent and we can learn from them. Events like these are unique opportunities to exchange experience and ideas on practical ways in which economic initiatives can better support regional peace and security,” says World Bank President B. Robert Zoellick.

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, participated in the meeting of the Advisory Council of the World Development Report, which took place at the AU Headquarters on February 3, 2010, addressing himself to a number of themes of the WDR, including the interrelated issues of managing difficult reforms in transitions and cross-border and regional initiatives.

The AU’s and World Bank’s initiatives have the common goal of building momentum for peace and security efforts in Africa and around the world. While the World Development Report 2011 is an in-depth research project, it also hopes to make practical suggestions for improved peace-building. The African Year of Peace and Security aims at putting together a broad range of policy and outreach initiatives that will kick off new peace efforts and could generate effective results and an enabling political and social environment beyond 2010.

The African Heads of State and Government of the African Union, at their special session held in Tripoli, Libya, on 31 August 2009, declared 2010 to be the Year of Peace and Security in Africa. Through a variety of continent-wide activities the AU hopes to increase visibility of African initiatives that will promote capacity for peace-building. The overarching message for all the activities that will be carried out and the advocacy programme is, “Make Peace Happen”, a message that highlights the need to mobilise all stakeholders for them to take ownership of this initiative and commit to actions that will make possible the achievement of peace.

The goal of the 2011 World Development Report is to contribute concrete, practical suggestions on how better to prevent and respond to conflict. Due to be released in December 2010, the report has launched a robust consultation effort, recognising that solutions involve cooperation between a variety of actors at a local, regional, and global levels. “We view the World Development Report as an opportunity to provide a perspective on security and development informed by reformers in the countries themselves and the leadership of regional institutions,” said Sarah Cliffe, who is co-directing the report with Nigel Roberts.

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