General News of Sunday, 28 October 2018
Professor George Gyan Baffour, the Minister of Planning, has lauded the African Union (AU) for posthumously honouring Mr Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General.
The AU, at its Ninth High Level Retreat in Accra, gave the awards to two outstanding individuals who dedicated their lives to the promotion of peace and conflict prevention on the Continent and globally.
They are the late Mr Kofi Annan and Madam Margaret Vogt.
Mr Annan was honoured for being the one who pushed the agenda to discuss the HIV/AIDS epidemic and was a firm believer of the principle of multilateralism and the rule of international law.
Madam Vogt was also honoured for being very instrumental in drafting the AU and ECOWAS Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Ghana and the Annan family, I wish to express profound gratitude to the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mr Smail Chergui and the AU Commission for the award and honour. We are most grateful,” Prof Gyan Baffour stated.
He said the Government welcomed the Declaration adopted by the Retreat to further strengthen conflict prevention and mediation, which were seen as crosscutting and collaborative activities, and continued its shift towards a focus on service delivery to Member States and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) with the aim of enhancing their capacities and ability to respond to those challenges.
“We are particularly pleased with the declaration that referenced preventive diplomacy and mediation as a firm stance that the African Union must take as against the invocation of the principle of National sovereignty,” he said.
“To fully optimist the capacity of the African Union in this regard, there is a need, as identified by the retreat, to operationalise and harmonise the activities of the Pan-African Network of the Wise (PanWise) and the Network for Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (FEMWise) Africa)”.
Mr Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, said in a bid to consolidate the peace-making efforts, the AU was in the process of operationalising its first ever Mediation Support Unit (MSU).
He said when established, the MSU would provide substantive and operational support to all AU-led and supported mediation efforts on the Continent.
The retreat, on the theme: “Strengthening AU’s Conflict Prevention and Peace-making Efforts” was attended by more than 600 participants including former heads of state and representatives from United Nations agencies.
During the two-day meeting, deliberations were focused on a wide-range of issues revolving around this year’s main theme.
The retreat took place because of the number of existing and emerging challenges, which were increasingly getting complex, protracted and transnational in nature.