On December 21, 2021, the African Union (AU) officially launched the African Union Centre for Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) in Cairo, Egypt. The Centre was launched in the presence of Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security and H.E Ambassador Soha Gendi, Assistant Foreign Minister of Egypt for African Organizations and Communities. Also present at the launch were the African Diplomatic Corps based in Cairo and relevant line Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Egyptian Government.
According to an official statement by the AU, the mandate of the Centre focuses on providing technical support towards the implementation of the AU PCRD Policy Framework. The Centre will serve as the African Union’s specialized technical agency for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of PCRD programmes and projects in countries emerging from conflicts. It will work closely with the AU Commission and other stakeholders to mobilize resources and follow up the implementation of the six pillars included in the PCRD Policy Framework.
The PCRD policy of the AU has been defined as a comprehensive set of measures that seek to: address the needs of countries emerging from conflict, including the needs of affected populations; prevent escalation of disputes; avoid a relapse into violence; address the root causes of conflict; and consolidate sustainable peace. PCRD is conceived within the African vision of renewal and sustainable development and while its activities are integrated, and many must be pursued simultaneously, they are envisaged in the emergency (short-term), transition (medium-term) and development (long-term) phases.
The PCRD is underpinned by five core principles: 1) African Leadership: This principle is critical to ensure that the priorities, implementation and oversight remain the responsibility of African governments and that partners in reconstruction undertake to respect this leadership; 2) National and Local Ownership: This principle is critical to ensure that PCRD activities are aligned to local needs and aspirations, enhance a common understanding of a shared vision, maximise support for PCRD through the engagement/re-engagement of the population in their governance and guarantee sustainability of recovery efforts; 3) Inclusiveness, Equity and Non-Discrimination: This principle is fundamental in addressing exclusion and inequitable distribution of power and wealth, which have traditionally been amongst the root causes of conflict; 4) Cooperation and Coherence: The complex challenges of PCRD, the pressure to deliver peace dividends, and the presence of a myriad of actors require cooperation and coherence to ensure that actors and activities respond to the needs and priorities of the affected country and peoples; and 5) Capacity Building for Sustainability: All PCRD efforts have as their goal the attainment of sustainable peace and should, as a matter of priority, build and/or strengthen national and local capacities.
The PCRD also has six indicative elements that are both self-standing and cross-cutting and that represent the pillars upon which all PCRD efforts should be developed and sustained across the different phases of action, taking into account that the basic objective is to address and resolve the root causes of conflict. The six pillars are: 1) Security: The objective of the security element of PCRD is to create a secure and safe environment for the affected state and its population, through the re-establishment of the architecture of the state, including the elements of juridical statehood, defined as accountable state control over territory and the means of coercion, and to guarantee the safety of the population; 2) Humanitarian/Emergency assistance: These entail a set of integrated and coordinated measures that seek to save and sustain lives, maintain basic human dignity, ensure the protection of civilians, support the return and reintegration of displaced populations and help resuscitate socio-economic activity, particularly in the immediate post-war situation; 3) Socio-economic development: These included multidimensional process that contributes to improved living conditions, improved ability to meet basic needs, such as health, education, and food, and the reduction of poverty and inequality; 4) Political Governance and Transition: It involves the exercise of power and its devolution from the national to the local level and encompasses the promotion of good democratic governance and its core values. 5) Human Rights, Justice and Reconciliation: This indicative element encompasses the protection of human and peoples’ rights and the respect for their dignity, as defined in the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant international instruments; the achievement of justice, in terms of the fair application of the law and its accessibility to all; and reconciliation, understood as the healing of divided societies at the individual, community and national levels and 6) Women and Gender: This entails that PCRD activities should be gender-sensitive and based on informed gender analysis as well as provide for the needs of vulnerable groups.
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