Category Archives: Africa

Gabon: Project to support the civic and political participation of young people

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

An article by Jerry Bibang, special to CPNN

The Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, Gabon section (PAYNCoP Gabon) organized last weekend in Oyem, “A consultative workshop on the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon”. The activity took place on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Democracy, celebrated on September 15 each year.

After Franceville in the province of Haut-Ogooué (East Gabon), Oyem in the province of Woleu-Ntem (North Gabon) was the second city to host these consultative workshops which are part of the initiative entitled “Project to support the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon.”

The activity was supported by the presence of the Provincial Governor, Mr. Jules NDJEKI, who officially launched the work, in the presence of about fifty participants, from civil society organizations and political parties, both majority and opposition.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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The initiative, supported by the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in partnership with UNESCO, aims to encourage the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon, especially before, during and after the elections.

“Initially this workshop will make a diagnosis of the civic and political participation of young people in order to identify the challenges and obstacles relating to their participation. Then, it will be up to the participants to find possible solutions by making recommendations in order to improve the participation of young people in politics and also in civil society organizations. The objective is to place young people as ACTOR and not SPECTATOR in the life of their community and our country,” explained Jerry Bibang, project coordinator.

For Rachel Oyane, President of the Provincial Youth Council, “Holding this workshop coinciding with the celebration of the International Day of Democracy. It challenges us to see that democracy is not a completed process, but rather an evolving work. which involves all actors in society. In particular civil society organizations have an increasingly important role to play. It is in this sense that we welcome, once again, this project which gives voice to young people in order to reflect on the mechanisms and measures that can improve our civic and political participation”

After these consultation workshops, PAYNCoP is planning an advocacy campaign with public authorities as well as raising awareness on violence and hate speech during the election period. Training and capacity building are also planned for young people engaged in political life and in associations.

After this stage, Port-Gentil and Libreville are the next cities that will host these workshops.

The “Fihavanana” of Madagascar: corruption or culture of peace?

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

Translated and edited for CPNN from a post of July 30, 2022 on Blogger.com.

We will not stop repeating it, we must fight against corruption before corruption fights against us. Because not to act is to approve and to approve it amounts to showing non-assistance to a country in danger. And as corruption becomes a way of life on the Big Island, more and more people are pointing the finger at Fihavanana.

In its traditional use Fihavanana is a Malagasy cultural concept based on mutual aid that maintains a culture of peace and harmony by avoiding or resolving family disagreements, in the neighborhood or across the country.


Photo from the article The Fihavanana: Myths and Realities of a Value that Guarantees Social Peace

(click here for the original french version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Opposing tax havens and corruption: part of the culture of peace?

It’s a big problem that this collective way of thinking is now in the service of corruption. It threatens to lobotomize the Malagasy at the cost of a common value.

Mutual aid is being diverted towards bribes; officials in charge receive compensation to make procedures more flexible or to make requests favorable. The bribes are justified by the desire to maintain the “Fihavanana”. It is no longer even a question of avoiding disagreements, they will rather use it to make favoritism, priority to acquaintances in the neighborhood. Who care about skill and effort! Positions and places will go first to family members. It is nepotistic “Fihavanana”.

Some go so far as to falsify data to favor their relatives, risk their work for corruption. But ironically, is it really better to lose money than to lose family as the Malagasy proverb says?

The blame should not be on the “Fihavanana” but in the use that one makes of it. A culture of peace cannot be harmful. But a fight against corruption is necessary so that the “Fihavanana” regains its traditional meaning instead of corrupting a national value, a culture that characterizes Madagascar. And even if the country has made some progress by going from 149th in 2020 to 147th in 2021 on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the fight is even becoming cultural.

(Thank you to Jay Ralitera for sending this article to CPNN)

Madagascar: The Massive Awakening of the Youth of Toamasina

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article by Violette Ralalatiana (with two additions in italic by the CPNN editor for clarity)

The young people of Toamasina have taken their responsibility in the face of the unrest that threatens security.

Toamasina is one of the cities with the most insecurity, including burglaries and armed attacks. Many neighborhoods have suffered from these troubles, including Ambalakisoa, Verrerie, Tanambao V, etc. The inhabitants of the city of Tamatave thus live day and night in anxiety.


Young people of Ambalakisoa gathered during the curfew

The governor with the chief of the police and the gendarmerie then appealed to the chiefs of the Fonkontany (basic administrative subdivision in Madagascar) to confer on the establishment of a curfew or “andrimaso-pokonolona” in each district in order to ensure the peace. After that, the presidents of Fokontany brought together residents under their jurisdiction to discuss the feasibility of this curfew. It is really important to establish peace for the well-being of all and to have the assurance of sustainable development. There is a famous saying that says “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development”.

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(Click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

Is there a renewed movement of solidarity by the new generation?

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Young people are the most active participants in the curfews. It is clear that they are aware of the seriousness of the situations. This motivates them to get involved in restoring humanitarian security. This is a good thing for the nation, because the Malagasy population is overwhelmingly young, 62%. They are the lever of development of our country. As these young people have done let us now stop complaining and take action. Let us take our share of responsibility for our future so that the development of our country is truly sustainable and that effective peace finally reigns.

Young people in the face of election-related unrest

For a very long time, young people have often been used by politicians or other people who want to sow conflict (such as the general strike after the 2002 elections). As young people, instead of being tools of conflict, let us try to be vectors of peace. Youth participation in peacebuilding brings us conservation, peacebuilding and national security.

There are many things that can happen before, during and after the election. And young people are in high demand. According to the testimonies collected, there are more and more young people aware of the conflicts that can arise during these periods. So they avoid arguments although they support different political parties. For them, it is the ideas that must fight and not the people.

Other young people decide not to support any political party but prefer to join an organization that works for the election like the KMF/CNOE. They integrate into this organization so that they can make their contributions to the election by raising awareness among Malagasy citizens to vote, because it is a right and an obligation too. And they take part as observers to see if fraud has been committed and to ensure that the election is going as it should.

All of this is really important, because it would be unfortunate if an electoral conflict like the general strike of January 2002 should happened again. Despite our diversity, let us always keep the peace.

(Thank you to Jay Ralitera for sending this article to CPNN)

Albinos: “Human rights apply to them too!!! “

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Rijanirina J. Randrianandrasana

A 6-year-old child, his lifeless and mutilated body, was found in the town of Berano in Amboasary on March 4, 2022. Another 4-year-old (See minutes 11-13 of the report), but with a less tragic outcome, kidnapped in Ambilobe, is located and found by the police in Tuléar with his kidnappers on July 21. What these two children have in common is that… they are people in Madagascar with albinism.

Albinism is a congenital, rare and non-contagious hereditary disease, caused by the absence of a pigment, affecting both men and women, regardless of their origin. Under international human rights law, people living with albinism are considered persons with disabilities.

However, these people are ostracized. They are often subject to direct and indirect discrimination, particularly in the areas of health, education and work. Attacks on people with albinism can vary from verbal aggression to physical aggression.. Wrong beliefs and superstitions endanger their lives and safety.

The attitude of society towards them has not changed and these people and their families are still at risk of being attacked. This is contradicted by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified in 1976, that stipulates that every human has the right to life and that this right is protected by law (Part III, art. 6.1) and that everyone has the right to freedom and security (art. 9.1).

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(click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

How can we protect the human rights of persons with disabilities?

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But the worst part is that we are all responsible for these atrocities. We, their classmates, harass them with our words and gestures. We, co-workers, devalue them given their handicap situations even if this hardly defines their aptitudes. We, their own family, are ashamed of the appearance of one of our own. We, members of society, remain silent in the face of these insults and violence. We, the decision-makers, do nothing to improve their living conditions by establishing adequate supports. We are all guilty because we do not act properly.

But, fortunately, all is not lost. We can fight against forms of violence, discrimination and stigmatization towards people with albinism. Due to their alarming situation, it is essential to make certain changes so that they can enjoy the same rights as others. The right to equality and non-discrimination does not mean that everyone must always be treated the same; sometimes distinctions have to be made. Thus, we have a duty to sensitize society on the rights of these people and to abolish discrimination and violence against them.

It is not too late for us, discriminating, ignorant people, profiteers, traffickers, to become agents of change and to organize ourselves to protect people with albinism; The fight has only just begun!!! With that, we’ll end this article with the quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “We can never know what the results of our actions will be.” But if we do nothing, we will get no results. »

Bibliography

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL & OSISA. (2021). Promoting & Protecting the Human Rights of Persons with Albinism: A Handbook for National Human Rights Institutions. Amnesty International Ltd.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. (2016, March 8). Urgent action: Malawi, danger for people with albinism.

DIDR-OFPRA. (2018, May 14). People living with albinism. Democratic Republic of Congo.

(Thank you to Jay Ralitera for sending this article to CPNN)

Nigeria: Reps Push For ‘Silence The Guns’ Implementation

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Philip Nyam in New Telegraph

The House of Representatives recently passed a resolution calling on the executive to immediately implement the “silence the guns” peace policy of the African Union (AU). PHILIP NYAM reviews the roadmap

Worried by growing conflicts and widespread insecurity across the continent, the African Union met in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016 and drew a master roadmap of practical steps to silence guns in Africa by the year 2020. Six years after, the implementation of the roadmap titled “Lusaka Master Roadmap 2016” has been beset by challenges and Nigeria, the biggest black nation on earth is yet to fully integrate the policy.

It was in view of this that the House of Representatives last month passed a resolution to impress on the government to speed up the process of its implementation. The House resolution came barely after the meeting of the African Union Commission in Lusaka, Zambia, between June 6 and 8 brought together participants from the relevant departments of the AU Commission, Divisions within the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, representatives from RECS/RMs, representatives of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and representatives of AUC partners supporting silencing the guns project such as the UN Department of Political and Peace-building Affairs.

The meeting finalised an implementation plan that will guide the operationalisation of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework of the AU Master Roadmap Silencing the Guns AU and Regional Economic Communities converge to finalise the implementation plan and road map on practical steps to silence the guns in Africa. This is in addition to adopting the terms of reference of an AURECs/ RMs Steering Committee on Silencing the Guns. The meeting also agreed on the establishment of the Steering Committee including the relevant departments of the AUC and focal points/officers in each REC/RM to follow up and coordinate activities related to the STG Initiative.

It also served as a collaborative platform to facilitate regular exchanges between the AU, RECs/RMs, Civil Society Organisations, academia, the private sector and other stakeholders that have a role to play in the implementation of the Silencing the Guns Master Roadmap. Explaining why the implementation had to be postponed from 2020 to 2030, the Coordinator of Silencing the Guns under the Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the African Union Commission, Mr. Advelkader Araoua, said that “the extension of the life span of the AU master roadmap on practical steps to silence the guns in Africa to the year 2030, is a test of our ability to deliver on our commitments to free the African continent from wars, civil conflicts, humanitarian crises, human rights violations, gender-based violence, and genocide.” Also, the Head of Governance, Peace and Security at the COMESA Secretariat, Ms. Elizabeth Mutunga stressed the need to continuously assess the external environment in developing an implementation plan for the monitoring and evaluation.

“Emerging and unpredictable factors, that have not necessarily originated from our region are having a very big impact on the peace, conflict and security dynamics of our region,” she noted. The motion It was after the meeting that the House of Representatives passed a resolution pushing for the implementation of the roadmap. In a motion titled “Need to adopt and implement the “Silencing the Guns” Road Map, Hon. Ahmed Munir noted that “Silencing the Guns 2030” is a flagship roadmap project adopted in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016 by the African Union with the aim of realising a Conflict-Free Africa by the year 2030. He said that the concept of silencing the guns was borne out of the observation that the African Continent is the scene of numerous violent conflicts that make the desired economic and political integration of the continent difficult. As part of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the AU sought to ensure that Africa is characterised by peace, political tolerance and good governance.

Hon. Munir expressed concerns that initially, the roadmap was to be achieved by 2020 of which the continent fell short and the goal was further extended to 2030 “cognisant that peace and security matters across Africa are interwoven and the continent cannot afford to further miss the 2030 set target.” In adopting the motion, which was unanimously endorsed, the House urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fully embrace the report and ensure relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) key into the roadmap. The lawmakers also urged the office of the National Security Adviser to fully adopt the report and cascade it down to other relevant security agencies.

Synopsis of the roadmap

The African Union Master Roadmap of practical steps to silence guns in Africa by the year 2020 better known as the Lusaka Master Roadmap 2016 entails the following. The continuing insecurity, instability, disruption of political harmony, erosion of social cohesion, destruction of the economic fabric and public despondency in various parts of Africa call on the Peace and Security Council (PSC) to play a locomotive role in spearheading strategic interventions to put this sad situation to an end.

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Question related to this article:

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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Most crises and violent conflicts in Africa are being driven by poverty, economic hardships, violation or manipulation of constitutions, violation of human rights, exclusion, inequalities, marginalisation and mismanagement of Africa’s rich ethnic diversity, as well as relapses into the cycle of violence in some post-conflict settings and external interference in African affairs. Undoubtedly, these challenges can be overcome, as long as the correct remedies are idenpletified and applied.

It is in this context that the PSC convened a Retreat that was dedicated to the theme: Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020, from 7 to 9 November 2016, in Lusaka, Zambia. The Retreat regrouped the PSC Member States, representatives of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), the AU Commission, Regional Economic Communities/ Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA).

This was all the more urgent given the central thrust of Agenda 2063 and the overall AU Vision of building a peaceful, stable, secure, integrated and prosperous Africa, and the essence of Agenda 2030 on sustainable development goals. Notably, the 4th aspiration of Agenda 2063, which is the African Union’s strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next five decades, highlights the need for dialoguecentred conflict prevention, as well as the management and resolution of existing conflicts, with a view to silencing the guns in our Continent by the Year 2020. Agenda 2063 provides that in order to achieve sustainable conflict prevention and resolution, a culture of peace and tolerance must be cultivated and nurtured in our children and youth, among others, through peace education.

Furthermore, in its first 10 years implementation plan, Agenda 2063 stresses the imperative of ending all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence and violent conflicts and prevent genocide, as part of Africa’s collective efforts to silence the guns in the continent by the year 2020. In organising the retreat, the PSC was inspired and guided by the clarion call in the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration adopted by the AU Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa on 26 May 2013, in which they, among other aspects, expressed their “determination to achieve the goal of a conflict-free Africa, to make peace a reality for all our people and to rid the continent of wars, civil conflicts, human rights violations, humanitarian disasters and violent conflicts, and to prevent genocide.”

The PSC’s resolutions further read: “We pledge not to bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars in Africa by 2020. In this regard, we undertake to address the root causes of conflicts, including economic and social disparities; put an end to impunity by strengthening national and continental judicial institutions, and ensure accountability in line with our collective responsibility to the principle of non-indifference.

“We undertake to eradicate recurrent and address emerging sources of conflict including piracy, trafficking in narcotics and humans, all forms of extremism, armed rebellions, terrorism, transnational organized crime and new crimes such as cybercrime; push forward the agenda of conflict prevention, peace-making, peace support, national reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction and development through the African Peace and Security Architecture; as well as, ensure enforcement of and compliance with peace agreements and build Africa’s peacekeeping and enforcement capacities through the African Standby Force.

“We will maintain a nuclear-free Africa and call for global nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy; ensure the effective implementation of agreements on landmines and the non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons; address the plight of internally displaced persons and refugees and eliminate the root causes of this phenomenon by fully implementing continental and universal frameworks.”

In conceiving practical steps to silence the guns in Africa by the year 2020, the PSC took into consideration the political history of the African continent, which has been marred particularly by three major tragedies, namely, slavery, colonization and the unpaid extraction/ exploitation of natural resources, which have created a huge burden for Africa and its people. The end of slavery at the end of the 19th century and the fall of colonialism under the weight of protracted nationalist and liberation struggles across the continent ushered in a new era in Africa.

However, the new era is faced with a myriad of challenges that the continent has not yet been able to successfully overcome. The cycle of violent conflicts and disruptive crises persist on the continent, so do situations of relapses back into the cycle of violence and destruction for some countries that were perceived to have already emerged from conflicts. It is therefore critically important for Africa and its people to put in place strategic guidelines for addressing these challenges.

In some instances, the African continent has also not been able to foster and manage effective political transitions, partly due to the fact that the erstwhile liberation movements have taken too long to transform themselves into dynamic governing political parties, which could more successfully adapt to operating in pluralistic democratic societies as agents of political discourse and crucial facilitators rather than act as a stumbling block to any democratic dispensation.

Similarly, failures to transform some of the military wings of some of the liberation movements into professional and disciplined national armies, which pledge loyalty to civilian government regardless of the political party in power, have brought problems to some parts of Africa. All of these facts have stifled serious attempts to silence the guns in Africa.

Yet, peace, security and socio-economic development should be pursued simultaneously. Equally challenging is the task of sustaining transitions from war to peace and to prevent relapses. This is why the AU PSC developed a Master Roadmap of realistic, practical, time-bound implementable steps to silence the guns in Africa by 2020.

The master Roadmap is premised on the principle that Africa should take, assume total responsibility for its destiny. Assuming such responsibility should also take into account the fact that, while appropriate decisions and programmes have been adopted with a view to resolving some of the challenges Africa is faced with, there has been encroachment on some of those decisions by the implementation deficit.

Gabon: Women’s Commitment to Health and Sanitation in the Province Woleu-Ntem

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article for CPNN by Jerry Bibang (translation by CPNN)

The Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, Gabon section (PAYNCoP Gabon) launched, on Wednesday August 03, in Oyem, in the north of Gabon, the project “Women’s Commitment to Health and Sanitation in the Province Woleu-Ntem”.

The initiative supported by the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports of the Francophonie (CONFEJES) and the Town Hall of the municipality of Oyem is part of a vast program of CONFEJES entitled Woman – Sport – Health .

Its general objective is to encourage women to practice physical and sports activities as well as environmental protection, according to Rachel Oyane, member of the project team.

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(Click here for the original French version.)

Questions for this article

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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The initiative, which targets 200 women in the province of Woleu-Ntem, is based on three main activities, in particular an awareness campaign on the benefits of sport for women, a walk with the collection of plastic waste, a fitness session and a provincial women’s football tournament which will engage women from Woleu-Ntem province in northern Gabon, said Jerry Bibang, the project coordinator.

After the launch in Oyem, our team will crisscross the municipalities of Mitzic, Minvoul and Bitam for the implementation of these various activities which primarily concern women who do not have regular physical and sports activity, explained Jimmy Thalès ONDO, also a member of the project team.

The objective is to get them to understand the benefits of sport, in particular the fight against certain diseases, but also the need to keep their environment clean, hence the activity of walking and collecting plastic waste.

For the Town Hall of Oyem, represented by the 4th deputy mayor, Mrs. Angue Owono Françoise, the initiative is in line with the vision of the municipal council of the town of Oyem which is to make the provincial capital of Woleu-Ntem a beautiful town. and clean, in accordance with the will of the highest authorities of the country. This project is a real opportunity to encourage women to get involved in the fight for healthy lifestyles and for the practice of physical and sports activities. The town hall, under the leadership of Mayor Christian Abessolo Menguey, will reflect on how to continue these activities even beyond the project, she said.

The implementation of this project follows a call for applications, launched by CONFEJES to public organizations and civil society at the pan-African level. Out of 79 applications, only 14 were selected. The PAYNCoP Gabon project was ranked 4th best project by an international jury.

Pretoria, South Africa : Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2022

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

Excerpts from the website of Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress

The Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress (SRI) unites more than 2000 global sustainability research leaders, government and civil society experts, funders and innovators to inspire action and promote a sustainability transformation.

A joint initiative of Future Earth and the Belmont Forum, this truly global, annual event sparks meaningful conversations, provides a platform to share innovative ideas, and creates an inspiring and inclusive space for collaboration and action.

This year, hosted by the Future Africa Institute in Pretoria, South Africa, and online, the second edition of SRI offered a program of over 200 interactive sessions, workshops, trainings, networking events, innovation demonstrations, satellite events, and much more. 

Highlights from Day One – June 21

Transdisciplinary research in Africa could be the turnkey that unlocks progress in the research and scientific innovations that address climate change, gender-based violence and achieving net zero targets – but collaboration is pivotal.

This was the consensus among speakers at the opening plenary session on the first day of the Sustainability, Research and Innovation (SRI) Congress in Pretoria.

Highlights from Day Two – June 22

The second day of the SRI Congress saw many diverse topics take center stage as a series of transdisciplinary hybrid content sessions showcased sustainability’s impact on culture, art, and finance.

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Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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In a special session held in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) titled The role of Biodiversity Finance in a changing world post the pandemic, key stakeholders and leaders in the biodiversity finance space participated in a lively discussion on government initiatives across Southern Africa to improve investment into biodiversity, and also showcased innovative approaches to Biodiversity Finance globally.

Highlights from Day Three – June 23

The ethical concerns around the development and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI), harnessing Africa’s natural capital, and taking healthcare solutions to where they are needed most, local communities, were just some of the insightful discussions held on the third day of the Sustainability, Research and Innovation Congress (SRI) 2022.

Highlights from Day Four – June 24

As extreme weather events continue to have an increasing and intense impact across Africa and the world, governments along with the private sector will have to join hands in planning for the “cities of tomorrow” that allow for healthy environments with access to clean power, air and water.

The fourth day of the Sustainability, Research and Innovation Congress (SRI) 2022, saw engaging sessions that addressed these broad yet interconnected issues and crucially, what sustainable strategies and solutions could be implemented.

Highlights from Day Five – June 25

Predicting the future is hard. Scientists and foresight experts work with data and stakeholders to build scenarios, historians lean on their knowledge of the past to peek into the present and beyond, investors read weak signals – yet more often than not, we are surprised by life.

At the Sustainability, Research and Innovation (SRI) Congress’s closing plenary session, a group of leading professionals actively engaging with the future, scientists and science fiction writers, as well as foresight analysts, convened to give a taste of the future – or at least their makings of it.

SRI2023 to be held in Panama

The National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (Senacyt) will host the congress in collaboration with its co-host, the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI).

(Note: Thank you to Uzma Alam for calling this event to the attention of CPNN.)

Africa confronts linguistic imperialism with Kiswahili

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article from the Monitor

The move by the African Union — the apex organisation for African states — to adopt Kiswahili as one of its official working languages, is not only culturally and political significant, but a shot in the arm in its global spread.

This comes just three months after the United Nations on November 23, 2021 designated July 7 as the World Kiswahili Language Day.

It becomes the first African language, which is spoken by more than 200 million people, to be honoured by UNESCO.

Kiswahili, mainly spoken in the East African region, is a fusion of the dialect born of Bantu and Arabic languages, has earned its place of pride as one of the world’s top 10 most spoken languages and Africa’s most widely used native lingua. It enjoys official status national in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It is also widely spoken in parts of DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

Officially, it was being used in the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional blocs before AU’s adoption.

Over the years, Kiswahili has spread south of the continent, to parts of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, while Burundi, Madagascar and the Comoros islands have also adopted it.

In June 2020, South Africa introduced Kiswahili as an optional subject in the hope that the language could become a tool to foster cohesion among Africans.

And it’s in this light that the AU move to adopt Kiswahili is a milestone in mainstreaming it– and eventual launch globally.

Proponents of a single language for Africa are hoping that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTFA) will be the catalyst required to launch Kiswahili as Africa’s language of trade and continent-wide communication.

“Aside from fostering shared identity, Kiswahili as a language is a very important tool in the geopolitics of things. It will unite Africa just as other languages like French, Spanish or English have united those who speak them,” said Prof Macharia Munene, a history lecturer at the Nairobi-based United States International University Africa.

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Question related to this article:

Is language a human right?

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“Although it will take a few decades before Kiswahili gains a foothold in every African state, the recent developments are important catalysts.”

An expression of culture 

According to him, language is intrinsic to the expression of culture, arguing that’s why American culture is quite dominant in the world.

It is on that premise that he argues China is doing everything to promote mandarin, hoping it will use it to stamp its cultural influence in the world.

Kenya, Uganda and South Africa are some of the states where China has made initiatives to popularise mandarin.

But China and France –– which also announced plans to make French the language of Africa –– encounter a continent increasingly conscious about its identity.

The diplomatic use of Kiswahili in Africa, and its subsequent introduction into schools’ curricula across the continent is expected to help forge friendships, cultural and economic relationships.

According to Global Voices—an international multi-lingual organisation of writers, translators, academics and digital rights activists—currently, there are more than 7,100 languages spoken around the world, 28 per cent of which are spoken on the African continent.

Despite the existence of some 2,140 local languages in Africa, English, French and Arabic reign supreme.

English on the other hand dominates online spaces in the region.

But this has shrunk to between 51-55 per cent as opposed to 80 per cent on online dominance two decades ago. Projections indicate that Kiswahili, which is now online, will become an increasingly important instrument of trade.

Renowned author Stanley Gazemba asserts that the language has the potential to forge strong trading ties between the people of eastern, central and southern Africa and to promote cultural cohesion.

“If widely promoted in these regions, the language can single-handedly remove the artificial barriers and boundaries imposed by imperial powers,” he wrote in The Elephant.

“There are an estimated 2,000 languages spoken on the continent. Colourful as this may appear, it also poses a challenge in marshalling all these diverse cultures into thinking and working towards a collective goal, which necessitates the creation and promotion of a lingua franca that can be used seamlessly across political and administrative borders, and which can ultimately allow the African people to speak in a single voice.”

“Kiswahili has proved to be a useful tool in unlocking the potential of this sleeping giant in the regions south of the Sahara.”

Kiswahili is taught in universities around the world, including in China, while in the USA, an estimated 100

Algeria: 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from L’Expression (translation by CPNN)

“the 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games will highlight the role of sport in promoting human rights and the culture of peace”

The National Council for Human Rights and the Center for Anthropological, Social and Cultural Research have just ratified a memorandum of understanding, the content of which concerns partnership, the exchange of activities and cooperation in the field of research scientific. This memorandum is the culmination of the meeting which brought together on Tuesday the participants in a study day centered on “the strengthening of human rights through sport and the Olympic ideals, in the service of development and peace”. 

Simultaneously, the National Human Rights Council and the Mediterranean Games Commission held a meeting whose work focused on “the importance of sport in popularizing peace and human rights”.

The speakers were unanimous in emphasizing that “the 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games will highlight the role of sport in promoting human rights and the culture of peace”.

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Question for this article:

How can sports promote peace?

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In her speech at this meeting organized by the National Human Rights Council and the Mediterranean Games Commissioner, the Secretary General of the Organizing Committee for this event, Nawel Benghaffour, indicated that “the 19th of Oran will particularly highlight the use of sport as a tool for the promotion of human rights and the consecration of the culture of peace, dialogue, reconciliation and sustainable development”, emphasizing that “in addition of the sports program, the edition of Oran, which will begin on June 25, includes other activities with economic, environmental, recreational and cultural dimensions”. “They highlight the cultural heritage of Oran in particular and Algeria in general,” explained the speaker.

The President of the National Human Rights Council, Abdelmadjid Zaâlani, for his part underlined that “sport brings people together, creates friendships and knowledge and makes it possible to reduce conflicts throughout the world.” He emphasized the importance of the edition of Oran and its role in achieving these objectives.

Also speaking at the opening of the meeting, the commissioner of the Mediterranean Games of Oran, Mohamed Aziz Derouaz, focused “on the relationship between sport and human rights”, citing ” the role of sport in the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, where athletes around the world boycotted participation in sporting activities initiated by that regime”. He also stressed that “sport is a human right”, noting that “in Algeria sport is practiced at all ages, by men and women without distinction and in all disciplines”.

This meeting served as a forum to honor former athletes, such as fencing champion Zahra Kamir and Mustapha Doubala, the former player of the national handball team, as well as the amateur sports club “El-Hikma” of volleyball for people with special needs.

The work of this study day, which took place at the Center for Research in Social and Cultural Anthropology of Oran (Crasc), was enhanced by the presence of university students and athletes.

Lectures were given on the role of the Olympic values ​​in promoting human rights, peace and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Gabon: Training to Prepare Project of Youth as Weavers of Peace

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

Special for CPNN from Jerry Bibang (translation by CPNN)

(Editor’s note: Two months ago, CPNN carried an article on the launch of the project Youth as Weavers of Peace in Gabon, as part of a project in the cross border regions with Cameroon and Chad, implemented by Unesco, in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This article updates the initiative.)

The Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, Gabon Section (PAYNCoP Gabon) recently took part in the training of trainers workshop as part of the project young people, weavers of peace. It was the town of Oyem, in the province of Woleu-Ntem, in the north of the country, which hosted this training of trainers workshop from May 30 to June 04, 2022.

The meeting brought together ten participants from the public administration, civil society organizations and United Nations experts, making it possible to build the capacities of the target actors on the related themes of culture of peace, social inclusion, human rights, gender-based violence (GBV), the fight against radicalization and violent extremism, human trafficking and migrant smuggling…

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Question related to this article:

Solidarity across national borders, What are some good examples?

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Beyond theoretical knowledge, the training was an opportunity for participants to better equip themselves with the skills and competencies necessary for adult training.

“At the end of these six days of intense work, we are resolutely ready to deploy ourselves for the training of future weavers of peace”, declared Jerry Bibang, on behalf of the participants in the training.

“The Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP) as an implementing partner of this initiative is satisfied with the effective start of these trainings in Gabon and remains completely optimistic for the continuation of the activities,” he added.

The project Youth as weavers of peace in the cross-border regions of Gabon, Cameroon and Chad essentially aims to train and deploy 1,800 young people for the promotion of the culture of peace in the three countries concerned, in particular in the border towns of these three country.

In Gabon, 250 young people are concerned in the province of Woleu-Ntem, particularly in Oyem, Bitam, Meyo-Kye and Minvoul.

Alongside the deployment of young people to promote the culture of peace, the project also provides for the creation and support of a dozen community-based social enterprises to help young people become financially independent and combat unemployment, which constitutes a real threat to peace.