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AU harp on early warning as means of preventing conflict in Africa

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Kemi Busari

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) has received a briefing on early warning and an update on the state of operationalization of the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS).

The briefing is a follow-up to its communique on the ‘Full Use of All Available Tools in Preventive Diplomacy’ adopted at its 360th meeting held in 2013, as well as communique on structural conflict prevention adopted by Council at its 463rd meeting held in 2014.

The council acknowledged that the CEWS is the most important tool to achieve conflict prevention in Africa and reaffirmed its commitment to ensure the effective implementation of its decisions on conflict prevention, including the strengthening of the linkage between early warning and early response.

Stressing that the primary responsibility of ensuring effective conflict prevention lies with the Member States, Council reiterated its appeal to those Member States that have not yet done so to speedily sign, ratify and domesticate the relevant AU instruments, particularly the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, as well as the African Union Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (Niamey Convention).

The Council stressed the need for effective collaboration with respect to information sharing on early warning between the Commission, the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) and the Committee of Intelligence & Security Service of Africa (CISSA), which should provide to the Peace and Security Council(PSC) such information to enable it take the required decisions in a timely manner.

In the same vein, Council called for strengthening coordination and synergy between all AU Commission Departments involved in early warning, with a view to providing timely and comprehensive early warning information to the PSC.

Council encouraged the Commission and the RECs/RMs to accelerate their efforts towards the full operationalization and strengthening of their early warning systems, and urged AU Member States to provide the necessary financial support to enhance the human resource and technical capacity to this effect.

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