The African Union, having deliberated at length on the Report of the Highlevel Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, adopted a Common African Position, known as “The Ezulwini Consensus”, which contains the following elements:
COLLECTIVE SECURITY AND THE CHALLENGE OF PREVENTION
i) Poverty, infectious diseases and environmental degradation
- The recommendations of the High-level Panel should be consistent with the Declarations and Decisions of the African Union on the matter. The AU supports their implementation within the framework of multilateralism, as a tool for eradicating poverty, boosting economic growth, promoting sustainable development, alleviating the debt problem, enhancing Africa’s participation in WTO negotiations and combating HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
- It is important to underscore that HIV/AIDS is not only a security threat but has far reaching economic and social consequences that are of primary concern to Africa. Further, affordable access to treatment is fundamental to the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is equally important that more resources are provided for prevention, research and medication that would combat and eradicate HIV/AIDS. The relevant scientific knowledge must be supported to ensure vaccine development and medicine that can alleviate the disease.
- Building national and regional health systems is vital. The fight against disease in Africa has to be broadened to cover an integrated health system for each country. Accessibility to urgent care and community services is vital in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
- Since the resources required in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS are grossly inadequate, it is important that the international conference scheduled for Stockholm in March 2005 aimed at addressing additional funding to alleviate the constraints on national budget, should be supported by African countries.
Africa is of the view that the Report did not sufficiently stress the critical linkage between development and poverty as root causes of insecurity. Indeed, focus on poverty alleviation is the most effective tool for conflict prevention.
- It is important that a balance is maintained between the consideration of security and evelopment issues at all levels. The special needs of Africa, as recognized in the Millennium Declaration, also ought to be taken into account in this context. In addressing poverty, it is important to welcome the innovative idea of a timetable for fulfilling the commitment of 0.7% of GDP as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) and to take into consideration the recommendations on ODA within the larger framework of the Millennium Declaration’s focus on Africa’s Special Needs.
- In addressing this issue, the Secretary-General, in the preparation of is report, should take into account the recommendations of the Report by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, entitled: “A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All”, as it provides a crucial base for addressing poverty and other systemic issues that impede Africa’s development.
- It is important to raise the serious issue of debt and request the United Nations to support the present efforts made by the Commission of the African Union for its thorough review. In this regard, it is appropriate to ask for the debt cancellation of the highly indebted poor countries as well as the debt reduction and cancellation for middle income indebted countries, where appropriate.
- It is important to stress that environmental protection would be difficult to achieve without concrete steps to address poverty. Desertification, land degradation, biodiversity and deforestation are critical issues for African countries and constitute major threats to security and stability in Africa.
- Developed countries should take urgent actions to address this problem, including ratifying or acceding to the Kyoto Protocol, in view of the fact that they are still responsible for global warming.
WTO NEGOTIATIONS PROCESS
- Enhance Africa’s effective participation in the WTO trade negotiations and in the world trading system as a whole.
- In this regard, the capacity of delegations from developing countries to participate meaningfully in WTO processes must be strengthened through capacity-building and technical cooperation programmes. The WTO Secretariat should increase funding for such programmes and to implement the relevant programmes agreed on in Doha.
ii) Inter-State and Internal Conflicts
- The UN should set up a Commission to study the recommendation on developing norms governing management of natural resources for countries emerging from or at risk of conflict.
- The UN and it Member States should also give particular consideration to all the other recommendations, especially recommendation 14 regarding development of frameworks for minority rights and the protection of democratically elected governments from unconstitutional changes. Member States should also undertake to negotiate an international instrument on this subject. The African Union and the United Nations should collaborate closely to implement the Lomé and Algiers Declarations on Unconstitutional Changes of Governments.
- Africa accepts recommendation 20 on the preventive deployment of peacekeepers and strongly urges that regional organizations apply the same strategy in their respective regions. However, the UN should not abdicate its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
iii) Conventional Weapons
- The illicit transfer, manufacture and circulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread as well as the utilization of child soldiers in many regions of the world, particularly Africa, should be prohibited. Africa will collaborate with other regions for the negotiation of an international instrument on the identification and tracing of small arms and light weapons. The prohibition of anti-personnel land mines should also be stressed.
iv) Nuclear, radio-active, chemical and biological weapons
- The recommendations of the Panel in this area do not fully address the concerns of the African Union. The notion of “proliferation” should be defined in the context of the “horizontal” and vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons. Further, the development of new types of nuclear weapons is in contravention of the assurances provided by the Nuclear-Weapon-States at the conclusion of negotiation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
- There is need for an international conference, at the earliest possible date, with the objective of reaching an agreement on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified timeframe to eliminate all nuclear weapons, to prohibit theirdevelopment, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction.
- Africa will collaborate with other regions, within the framework of multilateralism, to address the problem of disarmament and the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, provided for under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), including the implementation of the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (The Treaty of Pelindaba).
- There is need to respect the inalienable rights of developing countries, including African countries, to engage in research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination in conformity with the provisions of NPT. Further, the choices and decisions of each country in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be respected without jeopardizing its policies or international cooperation agreements and arrangements for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In this context, Africa commits itself to expedite the process of ensuring early entry into force of the Treaty of Pelindaba which contains very useful provisions for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
- There is need to ensure that any action by the Security Council does not undermine existing international treaty regimes on weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons and of international organizations established in this regard, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), as well as the role of the United Nations General Assembly.
- There is need to maintain the important role of the First Committee as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly and other multilateral disarmament machinery, in particular, the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD), in dealing with questions of disarmament and other related international security questions.
- It is important for all Member States to sign, ratify or accede to the various international and regional instruments relating to the prevention and combating of terrorism. Member States that have not yet done so should be encouraged to sign, ratify or accede to, these instruments as the case may be.
- It is also important that Member States of the United Nations enhance their cooperation in the prevention and combating of terrorism, and to implement scrupulously continental and international instruments.
- Terrorism, in line with the Algiers Convention on Terrorism, cannot be justified under any circumstances. Political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other motives cannot be a justifiable defence against a terrorist act. However, there is a difference between terrorism and legitimate struggle waged by peoples for their liberation or self-determination in accordance with the principles of international law.
- The recommendation pertaining to the establishment of “A Special Capacity-Building Trust Fund” is pertinent and should be supported, as it will enhance the capacity of the United Nations to provide technical assistance to Member States in their national efforts to prevent and combat terrorism. It should be stressed that the rules governing the fund should be democratic enough to help strengthen the regional counter-terrorism mechanisms, especially the operationalization of the AU Convention on Terrorism and the Algiersbased African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism.
- There is particular value in achieving a consensus definition of terrorism within the General Assembly, given its unique legitimacy in normative terms. The Assembly should rapidly complete negotiation on a comprehensive convention on terrorism. The legal definition of terrorism should be the subject of a treaty concluded by the General Assembly and is not a matter to be determined and imposed by the other organs of the United Nations. The appropriate definition must also address the root causes and conditions that impel people towards terrorist acts.
vi) Trans-National Organized Crime
- The recommendation aimed at preventing, suppressing and punishing human trafficking, especially regarding women and children, is pertinent. Member States should ratify or accede to the related Protocol to ensure its effective implementation.
- It is necessary for African countries to ensure that measures be taken to combat the use of mercenaries to overthrow democratically elected legitimate African governments.
- Special attention should be given to issues such as Money-laundering, and fiscal paradises, as well as modern slavery and all forms of human exploitation.
The Role of Sanctions
- The recommendations on sanctions and related provisions are pertinent and it is necessary to appoint a Senior Official on the matter.
- The power of the Security Council to impose sanctions should be exercised in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law. Sanctions should be considered only after all means of peaceful settlement of disputes under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter have been exhausted and a thorough consideration undertaken of the short-term and long-term effects of such sanctions. Further, sanctions should be imposed for a specified time-frame and be based on tenable legal grounds and should be lifted as soon as the objectives are achieved. Sanctions should also be smart and targeted to mitigate their humanitarian effects. In this regard, there is need for the UN to define the objectives and guidelines for the imposition of sanctions.