As part of the efforts to further strengthen its global position and relationships with countries and groups in different regions of the world, the European Union (EU) recently initiated major policy thrusts such as the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, and EU Common Security and Defence Policy. These policy initiatives variously present the new direction, vision, interests and priorities of the EU within Europe and vis-à-vis the rest of the world, while also expressing the body’s commitment to engage responsibly and act with other states, regional bodies and international organisations to address the root causes of conflict and poverty, and to promote human rights.
With regards to Africa, the EU has historically maintained different levels of partnerships, collaborations and interventions in diverse areas such as; governance, peace and security, human rights, public health, literacy, infrastructure, trade, agriculture, economic development etc. Recent EU policy statements have acknowledged progress by African countries in different areas, including gradual growth of representative and accountable government, conduct of credible elections and strengthening of public institutions, while stating that the EU continues to see opportunities for better and mutually beneficial cooperation between Europe and Africa across several areas. The forthcoming Africa-EU Summit is thus, intended to further build on the Africa-EU partnership by exploring opportunities for deepening cooperation, setting new targets and identifying ‘flagship’ actions that could be mutually beneficial to both parties.
It is against this background and in line with the goals of the Africa-EU Summit that the EU Delegation in Nigeria, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) and other partners are collaborating to convene the ‘Peace and Security Conference’ to serve as a preparatory platform for eliciting stakeholders’ ideas and inputs in the specific area of peace and security. The conference is expected to review past and ongoing Africa-EU engagements on peace and security as well explore overall strategies and practical experience from peace and security operations with a view to contributing to the deliberations of the forthcoming Africa-EU Summit. The Conference would also seek to generate specific proposals that could be adopted at the summit.
ECDPM’s Volker Hauck made a presentation.