The Panel of the Wise is a consultative body of the African Union, composed of five appointed members who each serve three year terms. Its mandate is to provide opinions to the Peace and Security Council on issues relevant to conflict prevention, management, and resolution. Representatives are chosen for the North, East, South, West, and Central regions of the continent.
The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa, with exception of various territories of European possessions located in Africa. The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa. The intention of the AU is to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments. The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU's secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa.
The Peace and Security Council is the organ of the African Union in charge of enforcing union decisions. It is patterned somewhat after the United Nations Security Council.
North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to the North West African countries of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb. The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.
The first Panel of the Wise was established in December 2007, with a mandate which expired in 2010. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government, meeting in Kampala in 2010, decided to expand the Panel's composition, by appointing a Group of "Friends of the Panel of the Wise" appointed on the same basis as the Panel (one representative for each African sub-region).
The Assembly of the African Union, which is formally known as the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government (AU-AHSG), is one of several decision-making bodies within the African Union. The other bodies are the Pan-African Parliament; the Executive Council, consisting of foreign ministers of the AU members states; and the African Union Commission. The Chairperson of the Assembly has few formal functions, the most important of which is to preside at the Pan-African Parliament during the election and swearing in of the President of the Pan-African Parliament.
Kampala is the capital and largest city of Uganda. The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning: Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division, and Rubaga Division. Surrounding Kampala is the rapidly growing Wakiso District, whose population more than doubled between 2002 and 2014 and as of 2014 Wakiso was reported to stand at over 2 million.
PanWise is a Pan-African network, established through a Decision of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in May 2013, and which brings together mediation actors and mechanisms, such as the AU Panel of the Wise, COMESA Committee of Elders, ECOWAS Panel of the Elders, SADC Panel of the Wise, future RECs mechanisms, Insiders’ Mediators, African and international mediators working in Africa, with complementary responsibilities.
The aim of PanWise is to strengthen, coordinate and harmonise prevention, early response and peacemaking efforts carried by various actors in Africa under a single umbrella.
Pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC Protocol); the Protocol on Relations between the African Union and Regional Economic Communities; the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Area of Peace and Security between the AU, the RECs and Stand by Brigades of Eastern Africa and Northern Africa (MoU); the Modalities for the Functioning of the Panel of the Wise (AU); and, finally, the experiences and lessons learned as regards cooperation, collaboration and harmonization between the AU Panel of the Wise and its counterparts at sub-regional and national levels, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government at the 21st ordinary session of the AU Summit, which marked the 50th Golden Jubilee of the OAU on 25 May 2013, adopted a decision to establish the “Pan-African Network of the Wise” (PanWise). PanWise is comprised, as core members, of the AU Panel of the Wise/Friends and its existing and future counterparts at sub-regional level including: the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Council of the Wise; the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Mediation Reference Group and Panel of Elders; the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa’s (COMESA) Committee of Elders; and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development’s (IGAD) Mediation Contact Group, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), East African Community (EAC), Union of Maghreb States (UMA) and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CENSAD). As associate members, PanWise includes the Forum of Former African Heads of State, the Association African Ombudesmen and Mediators (AAOM), national infrastructures for peace, national mediation councils, etc., as well as relevant African mediation associations/ institutions. When appropriate to the agenda of the PanWise, the AU Chairperson as well as African mediators Special Envoys, Special Representatives, Chief Mediators and their Mediation Teams shall be invited to participate in network activities. The establishment of the “Pan African Network of the Wise” is not prejudicial to the independence of each Panel, the confidentiality required of them as they perform their roles within their respective home organisations, as well their latitude in choosing partners, donors and other stakeholders. In conducting its activities, the “Pan African Network of the Wise” is at all times cognizant that its members may be actively engaged in preventive diplomacy, mediation and related activities with parties engaged in a dispute or conflict, and therefore discretion, respect for confidentiality and careful consultation with members on deliberations is observed. The successful establishment of the PanWise is a significant contribution to the Golden Jubilee of the OAU celebrated this year under the theme “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”. Indeed, it emphasizes and puts into practice the ideals of the Forefathers of the OAU, Pan-Africanism, solidarity and unity of purpose.
The Economic Community of West African States, also known as ECOWAS, is a regional economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa. Collectively, these countries comprise an area of 5,114,162 km2 (1,974,589 sq mi), and in 2015 had an estimated population of over 349 million.
Landmark activities and impact:
Members of the Panel of the Wise from June 2017 to May 2019 Southern Africa (Namibia) Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President of Namibia, Current Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise; North Africa (Egypt) Mr. Amr Moussa, former Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; East Africa (Uganda) Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Vice President of Uganda; Central Africa (Gabon) Mrs. Honorine Nzet Biteghe, former Minister for Women and Family; West Africa (Liberia) Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia.
The Vice President of Uganda is the second-highest executive official in the Ugandan government. Vice President is appointed by the President.
Southern Africa (Mozambique) Dr. Luisa Diogo, former Prime Minister of Mozambique, Current Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise; North Africa (Algeria) Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, former UN Envoy for Syria, among others; East Africa (Uganda) Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Vice President of Uganda; Central Africa (Angola) Mrs. Albina Assis, former Minister of Petroleum; West Africa (Togo) Dr. Edem Kodjo, former Prime Minister of Togo and former OAU Secretary General.
Lakhdar Brahimi is an Algerian United Nations diplomat who served as the United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria until 14 May 2014. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria from 1991 to 1993.
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.
Édouard Kodjovi Kodjo, better known as Edem Kodjo, is a Togolese politician and diplomat. He was Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity from 1978 to 1983; later, in Togo, he was a prominent opposition leader after the introduction of multi-party politics. He served as Prime Minister from 1994 to 1996 and again from 2005 to 2006. Kodjo is currently the President of the Patriotic Pan-African Convergence (CPP).
The first members, appointed in 2007, were:
|Region||Member||Country||Description||Role in Panel|
|North||Ahmed Ben Bella||Algeria||former President of Algeria||Member (Chairperson)|
|West||Elisabeth K. Pognon||Benin||President of the Constitutional Court in Benin||Member|
|East||Salim Ahmed Salim||Tanzania||former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity||Member|
|Central||Miguel Trovoada||São Tomé and Príncipe||former President of São Tomé and Príncipe||Member|
|South||Brigalia Bam||South Africa||Head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission||Member|
The current members and friends of the Panel of the Wise, who are the outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise serving from 2010 to 2014, are:
|Region||Member||Country||Description||Role in Panel|
|North||Ahmed Ben Bella||Algeria||former President of Algeria||Member (Chairperson; 2nd & last term), (N.B., deceased, April 2012)|
|West||Mary Chinery-Hesse||Ghana||Member (1st term)|
|East||Salim Ahmed Salim||Tanzania||former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity||Member (2nd & last term)|
|Central||Marie-Madeleine Kalala||Democratic Republic of the Congo||Member (1st term)|
|South||Kenneth Kaunda||Zambia||President of Zambia||Member (1st term)|
|West||Elisabeth K. Pognon||Benin||President of the Constitutional Court in Benin||Friend (2nd & last time)|
|Central||Miguel Trovoada||São Tomé and Príncipe||former President of São Tomé and Príncipe||Friend (2nd & last term)|
|South||Brigalia Bam||South Africa||Head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission||Friend (2nd & last term)|
The Organisation of African Unity was established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with 32 signatory governments. One of the main heads for OAU's establishment was Kwame Nkrumah. It was disbanded on 9 July 2002 by its last chairperson, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and replaced by the African Union (AU). Some of the key aims of the OAU were to encourage political and economic integration among member states, and to eradicate colonialism and neo-colonialism from the African continent. Although it achieved some success, there were also differences of opinion as to how that was going to be achieved.
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is an economic development program of the African Union. NEPAD was adopted at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia. NEPAD aims to provide an overarching vision and policy framework for accelerating economic co-operation and integration among African countries.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP), also known as the African Parliament, is the legislative body of the African Union and held its inaugural session in March 2004. The PAP exercises oversight, and has advisory and consultative powers, lasting for the first five years. Initially the seat of the Pan-African Parliament was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but it was later moved to Midrand, South Africa.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective (peoples') rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and considering individual complaints of violations of the Charter. This includes investigating human rights violations, creating and approving programs of action towards encouraging human rights, and set up effect communication between them and states to get first hand information on violations of human rights. Although the ACHPR is under a regional government facility, they don't have any actual power and enforcement over laws. This ends up in them drafting up proposals to send up the chain of command to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government and they will act accordingly.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is an eight-country trade bloc in Africa. It includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes. Its headquarters are in Djibouti City.
Said Djinnit is an Algerian diplomat who has been Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region in Africa since 2014. Previously he served as the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).
Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe, is a Ugandan surgeon and politician. She is also referred to as "Nnalongo", because of her twin daughters. She was Vice President of Uganda from 1994 to 2003. She was the first woman in Africa to hold the position of vice-president of a sovereign nation. In August 2013, she was appointed by the United Nations's Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon as United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.
The African Economic Community (AEC) is an organization of African Union states establishing grounds for mutual economic development among the majority of African states. The stated goals of the organization include the creation of free trade areas, customs unions, a single market, a central bank, and a common currency thus establishing an economic and monetary union.
The Economic Community of Central African States is an Economic Community of the African Union for promotion of regional economic co-operation in Central Africa. It "aims to achieve collective autonomy, raise the standard of living of its populations and maintain economic stability through harmonious cooperation".
The African Standby Force (ASF) is an international, continental African, and multidisciplinary peacekeeping force with military, police and civilian contingents that acts under the direction of the African Union. The ASF is to be deployed in times of crisis in Africa. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, serves as the Force's Headquarters. Douala, Cameroon, was selected in 2011 as the site of the AU's Continental Logistics Base (LOGBASE).
The Casablanca Group, sometimes known as the 'Casablanca bloc', was a short-lived, informal association of African states with a shared vision of the future of Africa and of Pan-Africanism in the early 1960s. The group was composed of seven states led by radical, left-wing leaders largely from North Africa - Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Mali, and Morocco. The conflict and eventual compromise between the Casablanca Group and the Monrovia Group lead to the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity.
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The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol, guarantees comprehensive rights to women including the right to take part in the political process, to social and political equality with men, improved autonomy in their reproductive health decisions, and an end to female genital mutilation. As the name suggests, it was adopted by the African Union in the form of a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in Maputo, Mozambique.
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