20 September 2003, conference report (0.5 MB)
African Students' Conference 2003
The ISS hosted the ASC 2003, which was organised by UNOY Peacebuilders and The African Committee. There were about 250 participants from 32 different countries present at the conference. The main outcome of the day was the existing desire among Africans to turn words into action and commit themselves to a pro-active attitude towards problems that Africa is facing. The vision of NePAD was welcomed as an African initiative to accelerate the development of the African continent, but was also critically screened on its origin and practical commitment to attain its goals. A vision can be a motivation to work on the development of the continent, but it is not enough to change the status quo.
Eleven thematic workshops were facilitated by experts within the particular theme. The discussions were presented to the whole conference. The main recommendations that came out of the working groups were:
Her Excellency Ambassador Priscilla Jana, South African
Ambassador to The Netherlands addressed the keynote speech focusing on an Introduction to NePAD and the challenges for
peacebuilding in Africa and how the framework will go a long way in meeting the challenges.
Mr George Wachira, Executive Director of NPI-Africa presented an introduction in building peace in Africa focusing on the achievements and trends over the last 10 years with a focus on the key challenges and dilemmas. Building Peace in Africa: Progress and Challenges.
Professor Salih, Professor of Politics of Development of the University of Leiden presented an interesting view on NePAD and the Urgency for Changing the War Economy. He believed that NePAD has good intentions but will never succeed without investing on human security. His main point was that NePAD is linked to the Millennium Goals.
Professor Pronk, former Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation and the Environment and Special Advisor to the UN, spoke about Africa after the Johannesburg summit. He focused on the international situation and NePAD in that framework. Due to events after September 11th 2001 it dwarfed the importance of NePAD.
Dr O’Laughlin, Senior lecturer in Population and Development of the ISS, presentation was on NePAD, Rural and Livelihood based Strategies. She believed that NePAD is a very conventional picture which does not correspond to rural livelihood issues in Africa that is the diversification, differentiation, intra-household differences and multi-dimensionality. The main problem being that there is nothing particularly new in the NePAD package.
Mr Eze Onyekpere, Executive Director of the Socio-Economic Rights Initiative, Nigeria, spoke on the Mechanism of NePAD and the Challenge of Peace and Security. He stated that though NePAD looks good on paper, implementation is proving difficult. Popular participation should be extended to include the right and power to participate in economic and social decision-making, which is central in protecting livelihoods.
Mr Grayson Koyi, Director of Research and Information at the Civil Servants Union of Zambia. His presentation was on NePADs Role in Building Civil Society and Peace in Africa. There is a need for networking, involving CSOs in the APRM develop a community of values, harness the academic wealth of the scholarly community and strengthening civil societys capacity in the provision of Early Warning regarding impending conflicts and advocating traditional African values.
Jan Ruyssenaars, Senior Adviser Policy Department for N(o)vib, presented a donors view on NePAD and Perspectives for a Peaceful Future for Africa: A Northern Donors Perspective. He focused on the unfair start that Africa inherited and then the problems of today. He then listed 12 challenges for the future of Africa including control on legal and illegal investments and exploitations of oil, diamonds, and gold. Control on the flow of weapons and ammunition.
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