African Union: AU, ICRC, and WFP Join Forces in Exhibition Highlighting Humanitarian Action in Africa

African Union: AU, ICRC, and WFP Join Forces in Exhibition Highlighting Humanitarian Action in Africa

The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC), in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Food Programme (WFP), held an exhibition showcasing humanitarian action in Africa. The event coincided with the 20th anniversary of the PSC and was held at the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Building, African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Article 05 June 2024

The exhibition served as a platform to share the ICRC's extensive work in providing humanitarian protection and assistance to victims of war and armed violence across Africa. Attendees included AU Member States, PSC members, representatives from Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), the diplomatic community, and other international humanitarian organizations.

The event also emphasized the longstanding partnership between the ICRC and the AU, particularly the PSC. This collaboration includes regular briefings by the ICRC to the PSC, drawing on the experience of working throughout Africa. Additionally, the ICRC maintains ongoing engagement with the Council's rotating chairs.

During the event, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, urged member states and partners to intensify efforts in addressing humanitarian situations across Africa. He reaffirmed the AU's commitment to peacebuilding and alleviating the suffering of vulnerable populations caught in conflicts.

Speaking at the launch, Bruce Mokaya Orina, Head of Delegation for the ICRC to the AU and International Organizations, commended the PSC's unwavering dedication to maintaining peace and security in Africa. He particularly highlighted their focus on humanitarian issues and upholding International Humanitarian Law (IHL). He emphasized the ICRC's extensive collaboration with the PSC over the past two decades, bringing critical humanitarian issues to better attention. He expressed appreciation for the PSC's consideration of "contexts as well as thematic topics such as arms issues, health security, PoC, displacement, child protection, WPS among others."

While acknowledging the PSC's achievements, Bruce also addressed ongoing humanitarian challenges. He pointed to the critical situations caused by conflicts, climate change, displacement, and food insecurity. He further highlighted the emerging challenges of contemporary conflicts, including cyber operations, autonomous weapons systems, and the role of social media in spreading misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech. He emphasized the need for continued collaboration to ensure access for humanitarian organizations and protect civilians.

Representatives from the AU and other partners including WFP echoed these concerns, highlighting the intensified conflicts in Africa coupled with climate change and economic shocks. The emphasis was on prioritizing efforts to address humanitarian challenges across the continent.
The exhibition served as a crucial platform for key players in Africa to refocus their efforts on tackling humanitarian issues, promoting peace, and strengthening security across the continent.