Peace and Security

In the News: 2010 is the Year of Peace and Security in Africa

Durban, South Africa — Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, has called for all nations in Africa to support the objectives of the 2010 Year of Peace and Security in Africa, through engaging in activities to Make Peace Happen in Africa in 2010 and beyond.

Jean Ping was speaking at the ceremony to award the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) 2010 Africa Peace Award to Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma. He said: "This award is an acknowledgement of the sterling efforts of the People of Sierra Leone, and the wise leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma to bringing peace and stability in the country.... Your experience shall remain as an inspiration to all Africans that, no matter what our challenges are, peace is achievable."

Understanding that peace and security are cornerstones of a thriving and integrated Africa, African leaders have committed to push forward the agenda of conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction – to Make Peace Happen in 2010 and beyond, and leave a legacy of peace for the next generation.

"While the number of conflicts has been significantly reduced and important advances have been made – thanks to the collective determination and efforts of Africa, as exemplified by countries like Sierra Leone – many African countries remain trapped in a vicious cycle of conflict, with its attendant deadly consequences" said Jean Ping in his address.

In order to engage all partners at political, institutional, civil society and community levels, and to encourage all citizens to play a part in making peace happen, the Year of Peace and Security in Africa campaign will culminate in one day, the International Day of Peace on 21 September (Peace Day).

Established by a UN resolution in 1982, Peace Day provides a single rallying point for Africa to show that peace is possible. The AU is pushing for a day when all Africans can experience peace simultaneously; the cessation of hostilities in conflict zones will allow for humanitarian relief, such as vital food, water, mosquito nets and other emergency supplies, to be provided to people living in those areas.

Talking about the importance of the Year of Peace and Security, Jean Ping said: "The Year of Peace and Security offers an unprecedented opportunity to review current efforts to peace-building on the continent, with a view to strengthening them and, where appropriate, to launching new initiatives for peace and security. The campaign will culminate on one day, the International Day of Peace on the 21st September which will be the principle focus for all activities of the Year of Peace and Security in Africa. During that day, there should be no violence, no conflict, no fighting – all Africans should experience peace simultaneously for the first time ever."

"Peace Day aims at putting peace in practice, through a collective cooperative moment of unity. The goal is to demystify peace-building, and to portray it as the responsibility of all communities and all individuals. While Africa will make history by staging the FIFA World Cup in 2010 here in South Africa, let our continent write another chapter of history too, by making peace happen at every level of society for at least a day: 1 billion people, working together to make peace happen" he continued.

The Year of Peace and Security in Africa is not just about one day. It is about mobilising all stakeholders to commit to action that makes peace possible on at least one day. After Peace Day a programme of education and awareness-raising and empowerment will continue beyond 2010 to enable Africans to continue to Make Peace Happen in all their communities and nations.

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