URI-Africa Participated in Meeting on the Promotion of a Peaceful Africa
Greetings of peace and blessing from URI-Africa. This is to inform you that URI-Africa participated at the consultation meeting on the “Promotion of Peaceful Africa” organized by All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in partnership with the African Union (AU) at Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya from 29 - 30 November, 2016. I delivered the opening remarks of the meeting and co-chaired the session on the working partnership between faith based organizations and policy makers in Africa.
This meeting was set in the framework of contributing to the 2063 African Agenda, a vision initiated by the African Union for the promotion of a united, prosperous and peaceful Africa which URI-Africa fully endorsed and working in popularizing it.
The meeting was organized with the objectives:
- To analyze and map contemporary peace and security situations in Africa,
- To share experiences and successful methodologies for sustainable peace and conflict resolution in Africa,
- To identify joint efforts to address key threats against the life and wellbeing of people and communities,
- To enhance the partnership at national, regional, and continental levels in promoting sustainable peace in the continent in close collaboration with the African Union.
Here I am sharing with you the statement issued by the participants at the end of the conference:
STATEMENT ON PROMOTION OF A PEACEFUL AFRICA
We, the participants from different parts of Africa of the consultation on the Promotion of a Peaceful Africa (Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want) of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in partnership with the African Union (AU), held at Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya from 29 - 30 November, 2016; after the two-day discussion, deep reflection, sharing and informed by the deliberations of the AACC Advisory Committee on Peace:
Following the consultation meeting of African faith based organization on Agenda 2063 organized by African Union Commission and AACC at Desmond Tutu Conference Centre on November 5 - 6, 2014;
Affirming that God created all human beings in His own image and likeness without partiality;
Recognizing that the mission of faith communities is to promote peace, reconciliation, healing, forgiveness and to stand by the side of the vulnerable, marginalized and the unheard voices in our society;
Notwithstanding the challenges facing Africa, we are encouraged at the various positive indicators in the continent– economic, social, political, and spiritual, among others – that Africa is a continent on the path to great achievements. These include the prediction that Africa is the new frontier for economic growth, the bulge in the youth population and the important role of Faith Based Organizations in promoting a culture of peace;
Encouraged by the progress of Member States in the Domestication of Agenda 2063, a vision for the next step in the continent’s growth;
Noticing that Agenda 2063 is an important milestone by Africans for African solutions towards sustainable peace, security, development and regional integration toward the Africa we want;
Recognizing the need to make the compassionate voice of Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) and of all morality sing out loud and clear to challenge the voices of hatred, exclusion, chauvinism and violent extremism;
Recognizing the need for promoting equality amongst genders, youth and the welfare of children at all levels;
Taking into consideration that the Golden Rule which states, “treat others the way you want to be treated” helps to enhance peaceful coexistence, build trust, respect and human dignity;
Bearing in mind the need for harnessing the potential of the African youth in a manner that promotes their dignity and the future of the continent;
Being aware that the challenges of HIV/AIDS continue to be one of the most serious threats to peace, security and development in Africa;
Being cognizant that the proliferation and accessibility of Small Arms and Light Weapons devastating lives, communities, as well as exacerbating the tensions and conflicts across the continent;
Welcoming the initiative of the African Union interfaith dialogue forum;
Recognizing Africa as one continent of multiple diversities – religious, ethnic, historical – which all together give us the African identity.
We hereby call:
- African governments, regional economic communities, civil society, the Church, Faith Based Organizations, the African Union and United Nations agencies to work in partnership towards ensuring that the dividends of economic growth are shared more equitably, especially towards giving the youth of Africa self-esteem, hope, and the opportunity of a future within our beloved continent;
- Africans in the continent and in the diaspora to work in partnership towards the achievement of Agenda 2063;
- All the people of religious faith to work towards inclusivity in the political, economic and spiritual well-being of the society, nation and Africa as a whole;
- The Church, National Councils of Churches, and other FBOs, to develop a Plan of Action for the promotion and implementation of Agenda 2063 & Sustainable Development Goals and share it with their followers and networks;
- FBOs and governments (in partnership with organizations such as UNAIDS and other Partners) commit to strengthening efforts and strategies to achieve the goal of preventing HIV and ending AIDS as a public threat in Africa;
- All to heed the call of the World Council of Churches (WCC) June 2016 call to action, to step up efforts in Prevention and treatment of new infections, as well as to intensify value-based Family Life and Health education;
- AU Member States to ratify protocols and strengthen operating procedures related to the control and management of Small Arms and Light Weapons, within the nations and along the borders in Africa;
- Media agencies and journalists not to entertain hate speech;
- Religious Leaders and media operators in Africa to offer support in training ethical and moral journalism;
- We also call journalists to place more emphasis on reporting on matters within the continent;
- African governments to introduce peace, ethical & moral values and good governance education in school curricula;
- Peace education programs to be strengthened by all religious faith traditions.
As God’s servants for peace we:
- Commit to promote a culture of justice and peace in order to increase our engagement in enhancing democracy at the national, regional and continental levels;
- Commit efforts towards a holistic and just society – free of corruption, conflict and disease;
- Commit to support the effort of the African Union and our member states in silencing guns by 2020;
- Affirm and commit to actively understand, engage and popularize Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals;
- Encourage and support the translation of the Agenda 2063 in the respective local languages so as to understand ordinary people well;
- Commit to place renewed and continuous emphasis in our churches on the challenge of HIV/AIDS and the need for acceptance – not stigmatization – emphasizing leadership by example, dialogue, love, compassion, and intensification of advocacy for strengthening HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, treatment and care services;
- Affirm to commit resources and institutional support for youth and women to take their vital role in the realization of Agenda 2063;
- Commit to working in partnership with Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) in creating awareness on the impact of small arms and light weapons (SALW) for peace and security;
- Pledge to join hands with RECSA in the implementation of the Nairobi Protocol as a response to solve the problem of the proliferation of SALW in Africa;
- Commit to be stewards of the environment and address the issue of climate change. Commit to supporting the efforts of safeguarding wildlife;
- Dedicate our efforts to working in close partnership with others within and outside the continent to achieve a united, peaceful and prosperous Africa;
- Dedicate our efforts and are committed to undertaking deliberate actions for the protection and promotion ofchildren'ss’ well-being in Africa;
- Strongly commit to respect the dignity and God’s image in every human being.
Done in Nairobi, November 30, 2016.
May God of Life Lead Africa and the rest of the world to Peace, Justice and Dignity.
MAY PEACE PREVAIL IN AFRICA AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.