A More Secure Continent: African Perspectives on the High Level Panel Report, a More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) in Cape Town, South Africa, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) cohosted a policy advisory group meeting of about 40 policymakers, academics and civil society activists at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, Cape Town, on 23 and 24 April 2005. The objective of the meeting was to consider African perspectives on the United Nations’ (UN) High-Level Panel report on Threats, Challenges and Change, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, which was submitted to the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, in December 2004. This meeting sought critically to examine the report’s recommendations, to devise strategies for disseminating African perspectives and recommendations to the UN community, and to consider how best to raise awareness of the report on the continent. Prompted by the political divisions created as a result of the 2003 United States-led invasion of Iraq which was launched without UN authorisation, the UN Secretary-General announced plans to establish a High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. This High-Level Panel was inaugurated in November 2003. At the time, the Secretary-General noted that “the events of the past year have exposed deep divisions among members of the UN on fundamental questions of policy and principle”. It was stated that the 16-member High-Level Panel was created to ensure that the UN remains capable of fulfilling its primary purpose as enshrined in Article I of its Charter, “to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace”. Forty-three High-Level Panel meetings and regional consultations were held globally and the final report was submitted to the UN Secretary-General in December 2004. The main focus of the High-Level Panel was the assessment of present and future security threats with the intention of developing collective strategies to confront them.