AU Retreat to Elaborate a Roadmap on Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020 Concludes in Lusaka, Zambia

The African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) today concluded its three-day Retreat in Lusaka, with the adoption of an AU Master Roadmap on practical steps for silencing the guns in Africa by 2020.

Making his closing statement at the end of the Retreat, Ambassador Chalwe Lombe, Permanent Secretary at the Zambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs echoed the commitment of Zambian President, H.E. Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu to striving for a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Continent. Zambia shall remain committed to the cause of the African Union and the Spirit of Agenda 2063, which spells out our common desire to achieve a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa as envisaged by our founders,rdquo; he said. As a member of the African Union Executive Council, I am looking forward to mobilizing support for the roadmap to get the full support of our Heads of State and Government in January 2017,rdquo; he added.

In conveying the message of the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E Ambassador Smail Chergui, the Ag. Director for Peace and Security, Dr. Admore Kambudzi, praised the participants for their commitment to the process of developing the Master Roadmap. He further noted that it was evident, their efforts during the Retreat were not calculated to gain recognition or reward but were a demonstration of their selfless desire to transform this ambitious goal into practical actions at national, regional and Continental levels. Your commitment in coming up with a working and implementable document that addresses our peace and security challenges demonstrates your resolve to charting the course for our future generations and leaving behind a legacy of peace.rdquo;

The Retreat brought together all 15 members of the AU PSC, participants from the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs) as well as ECOSOCC and African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) through an inclusive and collaborative approach to confronting common peace and security challenges on the Continent.

During his briefing to the press at the close of the Retreat, the Chairperson of the AU PSC Retreat, Ambassador Osman Kamara of Sierra Leone noted that over the last decade, conflict has continued to cause immense destruction in Africa. He added that the Master Roadmap emanating from the Retreat lays out practical steps for ending these conflicts and tackling the emerging threats such as proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons, transnational organised crime, drug and human trafficking, terrorism, piracy and climate change, as well as other persistent threats to peace and security on the Continent. Based on these trends and with the adoption of the Master Roadmap as a driver of African peace, security and economic development, it is possible to envision an Africa in which violent conflict is to be effectively eliminated by 2020,rdquo; he concluded.

Also addressing the press at the close of the Retreat, Her Excellency, Susan Sikaneta, Zambia's Ambassador to Ethiopia and the AU emphasized the need for the involvement of women in mediation and dispute resolution processes in Africa. It is only by involving women that the steps articulated in this Roadmap can achieve their intended goal of silencing the guns by 2020,rdquo; she said. She also called on the African media to play its role as a true broker of the Continent's discourse through its reporting on African affairs.

Source: African Union Peace and Security Department.