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Opinion - Let us eradicate the scourge of fake medicines

"Let us eradicate the scourge of fake medicines" 

 Opinion by JEAN-YVES OLLIVIER, CHairman of the Brazzaville Foundation in LE JOURNAL DU DIMANCHE 


 WEDNESDAY 20 DECEMBER 2017

Each year substandard and falsified medicines kill 800,000 people around the world. Africa is one of the regions most affected.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 30-60% of essential medicines in circulation in Africa (eg anti-malarial, anti-tuberculosis) are falsified or substandard. Often these fake tablets and syrups contain no active ingredients or in quantities which are insufficient. Worse, they can even contain toxic substances like paint, anti-freeze or arsenic.

 

Can we continue to accept that the health of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children is being sacrificed to enrich criminal networks? Because this business is doing very well: with an estimated worth of some 200 billion dollars a year, it constitutes the second largest source of criminal revenue ahead of drug trafficking.

 

Despite its profitability, little is being done to suppress it. In the absence of legislation specifically targeting falsified medicines, coordinated enforcement, and effective international cooperation, the perpetrators are usually pursued under anti-counterfeiting laws where the penalties are often minimal: between 15 days and a few months imprisonment.  Such impunity is unacceptable in view of the threat to health and wider security.

 

No country can deal with this threat on its own. Let us recognise the courage and determination of African states like Rwanda, Togo and Guinea who, often with limited means, have put in place public health policies and mounted operations to dismantle the networks supplying falsified medicines.   This is a threat which concerns China, India or Europe just as much as it does Africa. Only a few weeks ago, the President of the Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou N’guesso, addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations to underline this message: the fight against falsified medicine must become a major international priority.

 

The Brazzaville Foundation, which works for peace and the protection of the environment in Africa, is determined to ensure that access to decent medicines is a fundamental right for all. Working with other concerned organisations and actors, we want to draw up a road map covering three priority areas. The first is new, internationally agreed legislation to tackle the purveyors of fake medicines and ensure that the penalties are proportionate to the seriousness of the crime. 

 

The second is better traceability of medicines and the dismantlement of the manufacturing and distribution networks. This requires the involvement of international actors like the WHO, Interpol, the World Customs Organisation as well as the pharmaceutical industry. In 2013, 29 pharmaceutical companies joined Interpol and the WHO to dismantle networks involved in trafficking falsified medicines. This led to operations to seize falsified medicines around the world. Last September 25 million falsified medicines were thus intercepted in 123 countries.

 

Finally, because information and education have a crucial role in the fight against falsified medicines, it is essential to run, with international support, popular awareness campaigns to teach people how to detect these fake products and inform them of the risks of non-official distributors. An alliance with the pharmaceutical industry is indispensable to ensure that the poorest are not the most vulnerable.

 

Delay can only reinforce this criminal industry. In the face of this scourge, international organisations and institutions have the means to achieve lasting solutions and make the right to health a reality for all.

 

Jean-Yves Ollivier

La tribune de Sir David Richmond dans la Tribune Afrique - Coopération Sud-Sud : Mettons la société civile à la table des négociations !

 

Coopération Sud-Sud : Mettons la société civile à la table des négociations !

 tribune de Sir David Richmond, Directeur général de la Fondation brazzaville publiee dans LA TRIBUNE AFRIQUE 


 

 

En annonçant cet été le retrait des Etats-Unis de l'accord de Paris sur le climat, Donald Trump avançait notamment comme argument le fait que les pays en développement ne contribueraient pas, d'un point de vue financier, à leur juste part dans la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique.

 

La question de la répartition du fardeau entre les pays du Nord et du Sud a toujours été le point de crispation dans les négociations internationales. Pourtant, de nombreux pays du Sud n'ont tout simplement pas le temps pour ce genre de querelles d'égos et s'engagent de leur côté. Au lieu d'attendre que les pays développés finissent de se disputer au sujet de ce qui est équitable ou non, les leaders de ces pays émergents et la société civile joignent en effet leurs forces pour protéger l'environnement et améliorer les conditions de vie de leurs citoyens.

De plus en plus, les nations africaines, asiatiques et latinoaméricaines travaillent ensemble, en partenariat avec des organisations non-gouvernementales, afin d'inventer de nouvelles façons de promouvoir le développement durable et de protéger leurs écosystèmes.

Le Fonds Bleu pour le bassin du Congo fait partie de ces initiatives. Lancé l'année dernière, lors du Sommet Africain de l'Action sous l'égide de Sa Majesté le Roi Mohammed VI en marge de la COP 22 à Marrakech, par huit pays d'Afrique centrale, ainsi que la Fondation Brazzaville, ce fonds vise à redéfinir les bases de l'économie de la région du bassin du Congo, en passant de l'exploitation des forêts à un développement durable et innovant autour des eaux du fleuve Congo et de ses affluents. Préserver la forêt du bassin du Congo, le deuxième poumon de la planète après l'Amazonie, est une nécessité dans la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique.

À la tribune de l'Assemblée Générale des Nations-Unies en septembre, le Président de la République du Congo, Denis Sassou N'Guesso, en renouvelant son engagement envers le Fonds Bleu et en enjoignant les autres nations à participer à cette initiative, a montré que l'Afrique est prête à devenir le chef de file du développement durable. Et l'impulsion de nouveaux modèles de coopération prend de la vitesse.

En effet, il est opportun de rappeler dans ce cadre, que les 11 et 13 septembre, des milliers d'acteurs non-étatiques - représentants d'ONG, autorités locales et régionales, entreprises etc- se sont réunies pour le Sommet Climate Chance à Agadir au Maroc. Tous ont pu échanger sur les volets de la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique, depuis le financement d'actions concrètes jusqu'à l'harmonisation des différents agendas. Ces acteurs ont également appelé à l'accélération de la transition vers une économie plus durable, et ont insisté sur la nécessité d'avoir des moyens conséquents pour réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre.

La déclaration d'Agadir, nouvel élan pour la société civile

 

Ils ont également reconnu que la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique est intrinsèquement liée aux principaux défis mondiaux, comme la fin de la grande pauvreté, l'accès aux énergies renouvelables et à de meilleurs soins, et enfin la protection de la biodiversité. Ainsi, la Déclaration d'Agadir témoigne de la détermination des acteurs non-étatiques et de la société civile à coopérer avec les gouvernements pour répondre aux enjeux du réchauffement climatique et promouvoir un développement durable dans les pays du Sud en général, et en Afrique particulièrement.

Parmi les exemples d'initiatives de ce type, des ONG et différents mouvements sociaux au Brésil, au Mozambique et en Afrique du Sud se sont unis entre 2011 et 2014 autour d'un projet de banque communautaires de semences agricoles. Ce programme permettait à des fermiers, des chefs ruraux et des ONG originaires de ces trois pays de partager des techniques agricoles adaptées à leurs communautés. Le soutien de chaque Etat était crucial pour permettre la mise en place du programme et le bon déroulé des négociations, bien que le manque de confiance des pays envers les ONG a entravé par la suite certains projets individuels.

Le lancement dudit Fonds Bleu pour le bassin du Congo est un autre exemple de l'efficacité du travail et des réflexions menées par la société civile. En tant que fédérateur et mobilisateur du projet, la Fondation Brazzaville a ainsi permis aux pays d'Afrique centrale de mettre en place une feuille de route impliquant une coopération « Sud-sud » pour préserver la richesse du bassin du Congo, que ce soit en termes humains mais aussi financiers, venant ainsi contredire les déclarations de M. Trump..

Néanmoins, répliquer les bénéfices de ce type de modèle dans d'autres pays du Sud dépendra de la capacité des Etats et des acteurs non-étatiques à se faire confiance, ainsi qu'à une véritable reconnaissance du fort potentiel d'action de ces acteurs et de leurs expertises parfois plus précises des thématiques, de par leur présence sur le terrain.

La société civile est dynamique et agile dans des domaines dans lesquels la bureaucratie alanguit la réactivité des Etats. Pour agir de façon intelligente et efficiente, les gouvernements doivent se saisir des compétences, des ressources et de toute la bonne volonté que la société civile peut offrir. Le moment est venu de redéfinir notre modèle pour que les lignes entre les pays, entre le secteur public et privé, entre les Etats et les acteurs non-gouvernementaux ne soient plus des obstacles à la coopération mais autant d'opportunités de connaissances et d'efforts qu'il faut partager !

SIR DAVID RICHMOND

 TRIBUNE PUBLIEE DANS LA TRIBUNE AFRIQUE

La tribune de Jean Yves Ollivier dans le Monde Afrique: l'Union Africaine peut faire renaitre la Libye

 

Seule l'Union africaine est capable de faire renaitre la Libye de ses cendres

 

 tribune de jean-yves ollivier, president de la Fondation brazzaville publiee dans LE MONDE AFRIQUE 

 

 

  Président de la Fondation Brazzaville, Jean-Yves Ollivier plaide pour un plan de paix de l'organisation panafricaine prônant la mise en place de nouveaux organes de transition. 

Sous le pays plongé dans le chaos, l’ex-Jamahiriya de Kadhafi, ces anciennes provinces ottomanes – la Tripolitaine, la Cyrénaïque et le Fezzan – que seule la tutelle étrangère unifiait, perce enfin une Libye nouvelle. Elle sera unie, démocratique et prospère à condition d’être la Libye des Libyens. Elle verra le jour dans les semaines à venir si la feuille de route proposée par l’Union africaine (UA) parvient à relayer des initiatives jusqu’ici éparpillées et parfois rivales et, surtout, si elle répond à la profonde aspiration à la paix d’une population qui a trop souffert. Les Libyens n’en peuvent plus du règne de l’arbitraire et des pénuries.

J’entends bien le chœur des incrédules, le faux rire des désabusés. N’y a-t-il pas trop en jeu pour qu’on laisse « 6 millions de Bédouins sans expérience de gouvernance » décider de leur sort ? D’autant que leur sort est lié à notre lutte contre le terrorisme islamiste, à la menace qu’un grand nombre de migrants en attente en Libye fait peser sur la rive nord de la Méditerranée, sans parler des richesses convoitées que sont le pétrole et le gaz libyens. Justement !

Je renverse le raisonnement : pour ne pas dégénérer en problèmes insolubles, ces enjeux de première importance requièrent, en face, un partenaire fiable. Par exemple, l’accord que l’UE a signé avec Tripoli, le 3 février, pour co-gérer les flux migratoires reste lettre morte, faute d’emprise sur le terrain du gouvernement reconnu par la communauté internationale. Bien pire, il place l’Europe devant le dilemme d’être soit submergée soit moralement responsable des noyés du désespoir et des migrants « bouclés » en Libye, souvent dans des conditions inacceptables.

Un banc d’essai régional

Aussi, dans la liste des enjeux internationaux, manque l’avenir du monde arabe. Il faut avoir la mémoire bien courte pour oublier que la Libye s’inscrit dans ce contexte. La chute du colonel Kadhafi a fait partie du « printemps arabe » et la lutte entre les forces de démocratisation et les partisans d’une restauration autoritaire se poursuit plus âprement que jamais, même si ce n’est plus dans la « rue arabe ».

La Libye, malgré ses particularités, a toujours été un banc d’essai régional. Le Kadhafi de la fin éclipse le fringant officier de 27 ans qui prit le pouvoir en 1969 à la tête d’un Conseil révolutionnaire calqué sur le modèle nassérien. Puis, quand le rêve panarabe était épuisé, la Libye s’est transformée en laboratoire panafricain. L’acte de naissance de l’UA a été signé en 1999 à Syrte.

L’Afrique, notamment sahélienne, a autant souffert des convulsions libyennes que les Libyens eux-mêmes. Il suffit de penser au Mali, la principale victime collatérale mais loin d’être la seule.

Mais l’on aurait tort d’en tirer argument pour sanctifiera posteriori, « l’Etat des masses ». Il était à bout de souffle en 2011. Le présent n’avait plus d’avenir en Libye. Pour autant, nul besoin de diaboliser en bloc les quarante-deux années du pouvoir de Mouammar Kadhafi. S’il n’y avait qu’un acquis à en retenir, ce serait le sentiment d’unité nationale que, malgré tout, ce long règne a permis de faire éclore. Là encore, pas de fausse naïveté : le pétrole, qui coule à flot depuis les années 1970, a subventionné le sentiment d’appartenance des rentiers de l’or noir.

Consensus en huit points

Alors, quel est le plan que je soutiens de toutes mes forces ? Il part d’un consensus en huit points, qui engage la vaste majorité des Libyens : une Libye unitaire, un seul gouvernement, une armée nationale soumise à l’autorité civile, le désarmement des milices, une justice indépendante, une amnistie générale, le retour des exilés, des élections libres dans les meilleurs délais.

Si besoin, une force de paix de l’UA pourra sécuriser, dans un premier temps, ces piliers d’une stabilité retrouvée. Dans l’immédiat, un « comité des sages » – une quarantaine de personnalités respectées, de tous horizons – devra accréditer les 400 à 500 délégués d’une conférence nationale qui pourra se réunir à Dakar, au Sénégal, pour mettre en place les organes de transition, notamment un gouvernement d’union nationale. Ces instances prendront la relève de celles issues de l’accord de Skhirat conclu, en décembre 2015, sous l’égide de l’ONU. Il expire à la fin de l’année.

Depuis de longs mois, j’œuvre en coulisses pour cette feuille de route. Elle traduit dans les faits le plan de paix de l’UA, placé sous l’autorité de son président en exercice, le Guinéen Alpha Condé, et piloté par un comité de dix chefs d’Etat que préside le Congolais Denis Sassou-Nguesso.

J’ai rencontré de nombreux acteurs libyens, sans exclusive, « l’islamiste nationaliste » Abdelhakim Belhadj aussi bien que « le kadhafiste » Bachir Saleh. Mieux, ceux-ci se sont rencontrés pour confirmerleur adhésion à ce plan de paix. Samedi 9 septembre, le président Sassou-Nguesso a réuni, à Brazzaville, le chef du Conseil présidentiel, Fayez Al-Sarraj, le commandant de l’armée nationale et d’autres acteurs de la crise libyenne. Tout est fin prêt pour que l’UA officialise sa démarche, idéalement en marge de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies qui se tient cette semaine à New York. Un mouvement d’opinion, confiant en l’avenir de la Libye, lui faciliterait grandement la tâche.

JEAN-YVES OLLIVIER

 TRIBUNE PUBLIEE DANS LE MONDE AFRIQUE 

Changement climatique : la Fondation Brazzaville participe au sommet mondial « Climate Chance 2017

 

Changement climatique : La Fondation Brazzaville participe au sommet mondial " Climate Chance 2017" 


 ARTICLE de la redaction DE L'ADIAC-CONGO

 

 

 La ville d'Agadir, au Maroc, abrite du 11 au 13 Septembre un sommet international sur le climat, dénommé " Climate Chance 2017 ", auquel la Fondation Brazzaville qui oeuvre dans ce domaine y prend activement part dans le but d'apporter son soutien dans la lutte contre le changement climatique.

Sa participation au sommet du Maroc s’inscrit dans la poursuite de l’esprit de l’accord de Paris sur le climat, signé en 2015. Au cours de ces assises, la Fondation Brazzaville a joué pleinement sa partition aux côtés d’autres fondations et Organisations non gouvernementales qui luttent contre le changement climatique et la dégradation de l’environnement.

À l’occasion, elle a animé un panel consacré essentiellement à la mise en œuvre des stratégies de renforcement des capacités de la coopération sud-sud.

 

 

Climate Chance 

Side event : Focus 4C Maroc : « Renforcer les capacités pour accélérer l’implémentation des CDN»

Panel de discussion - Catalyser la coopération Sud-Sud pour accélérer la mise en œuvre des CDN

« La Fondation Brazzaville poursuit le dialogue avec l’ensemble des acteurs engagés dans la préservation de l’environnement et la lutte contre le changement climatique. Nous sommes fiers de participer au sommet mondial « Climate Chance 2017 », à l’initiative du royaume du Maroc. « Nous espérons que la concrétisation de l’initiative Fonds Bleu pour le Bassin du Congo inspire de nombreux projets », a déclaré Sir David Richmond, directeur de cette Fondation, dans un communiqué de presse publié le 11 septembre.

Génitrice de l’idée de création du Fonds Bleu pour le Bassin du Congo, la Fondation Brazzaville se dit honorée de ce que le président de la République, Denis Sassou N’Guesso, ait accepté de présenter ce projet lors de la COP22, organisée à Marrakech au Maroc.

À la faveur de ce sommet qui avait réuni neuf pays de la sous-région, ainsi que le Maroc, un mémorandum d’entente marquant officiellement la naissance du Fonds Bleu pour le Bassin du Congo sera signé. L’objectif est, précise le communiqué, de protéger les forêts en vue de lutter contre les effets néfastes du réchauffement climatique, mais aussi d’améliorer le cadre de vie des populations habitant le long de cette zone géographique.

Rappelons que la Fondation Brazzaville est une organisation à but non lucratif dédiée à la résolution des conflits, à la préservation de la nature. Elle agit aussi comme facilitateur indépendant et neutre entre les parties belligérantes en Afrique et de par le monde.

 

VOIR L'ARTICLE DANS L'ADIAC-CONGO

Opinion - Water as a weapon of war and a force for peace

Water as a weapon of war and a force for peace 


Opinion of DE SUNDEEP WASLEKAR  in EURONEWS

Wednesday 11 JANuary 2017

 

MUMBAI – The changing of the guard on the 38th floor of the United Nations building in New York, with António Guterres taking over for Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary-General, has taken place at a time when notions about peace and conflict are undergoing a subtle change. In particular, the role of resources – and especially water – is getting the recognition it deserves. 

This has been a long time coming. Both Ban and his predecessor, Kofi Annan, have argued for some two decades that protecting and sharing natural resources, particularly water, is critical to peace and security. But it was not until last November that the issue gained widespread acknowledgement, with Senegal – that month’s UN Security Council president – holding the UN’s first-ever official debate on water, peace, and security. 

Open to all UN member states, the debate brought together representatives of 69 governments, which together called for water to be transformed from a potential source of crisis into an instrument of peace and cooperation. A few weeks later, Guterres appointed Amina Mohammed, a former Nigerian environment minister, as his deputy secretary-general. 

The growing recognition of water’s strategic relevance reflects global developments. In the last three years, the Islamic State (ISIS) captured the Tabqa, Tishrin, Mosul, and Fallujah dams on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. ISIS subsequently lost control of all of them, but not before using them to flood or starve downstream populations, to pressure them to surrender. 

Many analysts hope that ISIS will finally be eliminated from Iraq and Syria in the next few months. But that does not mean that the group will disband; on the contrary, it may well relocate to the border areas between Libya and Chad, putting West African cities and water installations at risk. 

This tactic is not exclusive to ISIS. Extremist groups in South Asia have also threatened to attack water infrastructure. And of course state actors, too, can use water resources to gain a strategic advantage. 

The importance of water in the twenty-first century – comparable to that of oil in the twentieth – can hardly be overstated. Yet some strategic experts continue to underestimate it. The reality is that oil has alternatives like natural gas, wind, solar, and nuclear energy. By contrast, for industry and agriculture as much as for drinking and sanitation, the only alternative to water, as former Slovenian President Danilo Türk once put it, is water. 

The same is true for trade. Consider the Rio Chagres. While it may not be widely known, it is vitally important, as it feeds the Panama Canal, through which 50% of trade between Asia and the Americas flows. There is no risk of the natural depletion of the river flow for the next hundred years, but, in the event of a security crisis in Central America, it could be taken over by rogue forces. The impact on the global economy would be enormous. 

The consensus on the need to protect water resources and installations in conflict zones is clear. What is less clear is how to do it. Unlike medicines and food packets, water cannot be airdropped into conflict zones. And UN Peacekeeping Forces are badly overstretched. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross does negotiate safe passage for technicians to inspect and repair damage to water pipes and storage systems in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine; but each passage needs to be negotiated with governments in conflict and rebel commanders – a long and cumbersome process. A better approach would be for great powers, with their considerable influence, to negotiate short-term ceasefires in areas experiencing protracted conflict, specifically to repair and restore water systems. 

To pave the way for such an approach, however, the UN Security Council will have to declare water a “strategic resource of humanity” and adopt a resolution to protect water resources and installations, similar to Resolution 2286, adopted last May to protect medical facilities in armed conflicts. 

In the longer term, countries that share riparian systems will need to establish regional security arrangements to preserve and protect their resources. With collaborative management underpinning collective protection, water, often a source of competition and conflict, could become a facilitator of peace and cooperation. 

Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, is at the forefront of this movement, by leading a group of eight governments toward the establishment of the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin. If successful, the Fund will help to mitigate climate change, create new avenues of river-based employment, and promote collective security in an unstable region. The Africa Action Summit in Marrakesh two months ago described the Fund as one of the four key ideas that can transform the continent. 

Last March, on World Water Day, Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal and I called for the establishment of a Marshall Fund for the world’s shared river basins. The Blue Fund for the Congo Basin is a step in that direction. Now, we need similar funds to emerge to protect all of the world’s 263 shared river basins and lakes. It is a huge challenge; but, given the power of water to sow conflict and support peace, we must confront it head-on. 

Copyright: Project Syndicate 2017

Focus on ‘glamorous’ farming to combat migrant flight from Africa

INTERVIEW – Focus on ‘glamorous’ farming to combat migrant flight from Africa – former Nigerian president

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation News, 07/15/16. Reporting by Matthew Ponsford, Editing by Ros Russell.

Giving land to young people and investing in a modern agricultural industry will lessen the lure of migration and help safeguard against radicalisation, says former Nigerian president Obasanjo.

LONDON, July 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The image of African farming as a route only to dead-end poverty must be challenged to stem the exodus of migrants to Europe, a former Nigerian president said.

“What does a young man want? He wants the ‘bright lights’. And why can’t he have those bright lights and be a farmer?” Olusegun Obasanjo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“We have to make farming attractive. We have to make it glamorous.”

Obasanjo, a two-time Nigerian leader, said giving land to young people and investing in a modern agricultural industry will lessen the lure of migration and help safeguard against radicalisation by militant groups such as Boko Haram.

Governments must change perceptions of farming as “condemnation to poverty”, and promote farming idols to rival celebrity rappers, said the 79-year-old, who helped smooth Nigeria’s transition from military dictatorship to democracy.
“People see role models in rapping or singing or entertainment,” he said. “And we have to make them also say: ‘Yes, I can be a farmer, and I can have the ‘glitz’.”

Obasanjo, a regional political heavyweight, said by redistributing land, governments can provide an asset that allows young people to raise finance to invest in the tools required by modern agribusiness, including machinery, high-yielding seeds and fertilizers.
Speaking on a recent trip to London, he said European leaders should question why young Africans would want to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, and should help African governments offer alternatives at home.

“Trying to deal with migration in Europe is curing the symptom rather than curing the disease,” he said in an interview. “The disease is either the result the conflict in Africa or the result of poverty and unemployment for the youth.”

WANTED: “NEW TALENT”

Obasanjo said he has himself returned to farming, which he left as a young man to join the army, and later embark on a career in politics.
The son of a farmer from Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun State, he casts himself now an advocate for farming as a reliable economic motor for Africa.

Obasanjo is the current chair of the Africa Food Prize, an award recognising innovations in the continent’s agriculture sector.

He said he believes agriculture can become a less volatile alternative to oil revenues which account for about 70 percent of Nigeria’s national income.
Africa’s most populous nation is faced with the continent’s fastest population growth and official statistics which claim one in two 15 to 24-year-olds is out of work – while experts say real numbers could be much higher.

The next UN Secretary General should know how this bureaucracy works bySir David Richmond on EurActiv.com, 06/05/16

Understanding how the UN bureaucracy works, and experience working with the five permanent members of the Security Council, should be the key criteria for choosing the next UN Secretary-General, writes Sir David Richmond.

Sir David Richmond KBE, CMG is the Chief Executive of the Brazzaville Foundation for Peace and Conservation. He is a former British diplomat with more than 30 years’ experience in international affairs, including postings to the Middle East, New York for the UN, and Brussels for the EU, as well as senior positions at the Foreign Office in London.

With the spotlight on the colourful and dramatic presidential campaign in the US, the process of selecting the world’s top diplomat may seem dull and opaque by comparison.

In the 71 years since the United Nations was formed, eight people have held what is possibly the world’s toughest job: the Secretary-General of the UN. The task of this individual is to head an unwieldy and sometimes dysfunctional bureaucracy while key decision-making powers are in the hands of the Security Council and the P5 whose rivalries often make rapid and effective action impossible.

Problems begin with the mechanism for choosing a new Secretary-General which encapsulates the UN’s own version of a catch-22. On the one hand, no Secretary-General can be effective if he or she (and so far, it has always been “he”) does not have the confidence of the P5 [the Five permanent members of the Security Council]. On the other hand, the appointment of a Secretary-General acceptable to the P5, each of whom wields vetoing power, often means finding a candidate that no member of the P5 thinks will rock the boat or damage their interests rather than choosing someone with the ability and courage to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. Almost inevitably, the key decisions are made behind closed doors.
Now, for the first time, some daylight is being shone on the process of choosing the Secretary -General. The UN General Assembly held three days of public sessions with the candidates in New York in April, and these were supplemented by a special candidates’ debate also held in New York – the first steps towards lifting the veil of secrecy.

Welcome though this is, there is still a long way to go. Another debate is being organised in London in June, but the private P5 discussions will resume thereafter.

Encouraging more public debate is a step forward, but other conventions also need to be challenged. Foremost among these is the unwritten rule that the Secretary-General is chosen from one of the UN’s regional groupings in strict rotation. The East Europeans (who point out that there has never been a Secretary-General from their region) believe it is their turn, although members of the Western European and Others Group are pressing their own claims. Given the importance of the job, the field of candidates should no longer be geographically limited. It is time to end regional rotation and open up the competition to the best candidates wherever they come from.
Nor should this any longer be an exclusively male club. There is growing pressure from inside and outside the UN system for a woman to be the next Secretary-General. Choosing the best candidate for the job, regardless of gender, has to be the goal. Happily, some strong female candidates have emerged this time, even if it is far from a foregone conclusion that one of them will be selected.
As such, what qualities should we be looking for in the new Secretary-General? Most obviously the job requires leadership skills of the highest order, and for this reason the post has tended to go to politicians and senior government figures.

In this context, leadership has many facets. The new Secretary-General needs to be able not just to manage but also to reform the UN bureaucracy in New York. He or she also needs to try to make the various UN organisations, most of which are largely independent fiefdoms, work together more closely. This individual also needs to be able to work with and, where necessary, apply discreet pressure to the P5 to ensure that he or she can take initiative and have the necessary mandate to operate effectively. Finally, the new Secretary-General needs to recognise that the world that created the UN has changed and that the UN needs to change with it.

During my time as a British diplomat at the UN, I was involved in the discussions which led to the appointment of Kofi Annan as Secretary-General. For the first time, the choice of Secretary-General had fallen not on a former political leader but on someone from within the ranks of the UN Secretariat itself. It was seen as a surprising and possibly risky development. However, Kofi Annan proved an effective Secretary-General not only, in my view, because of his personal qualities, but also because of his understanding of how the UN bureaucracy worked and his experience in dealing with the P5. This time, four of the nine declared candidates have held leading positions within UN institutions [Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova, Portugal’s António Guterres, Slovenia’s Danilo Türk, Macedonia’s Srgjan Kerim}.
The greatest test facing the new Secretary-General is ensuring that the UN maintains its relevance in today’s world. Intra-state conflict and the rise of non-state actors like ISIS have largely replaced the conflicts between states that the UN was originally designed to resolve. Libya, Syria and Yemen have all shown how hard it is for the UN to perform its traditional mediating role. The UN will need to find new tools and techniques – though, as Syria has reminded us, P5 agreement continues to be an essential, although not always sufficient, condition for the UN to operate effectively.

Global threats such as climate change, terrorism and the spread of viruses like Zika and Ebola require solutions that cut across traditional state borders; the UN remains the one organisation that has the potential to deliver such solutions. However, it will not be able to do so unless it adapts. It needs to find ways for its various institutions to work together more efficiently, and to harness and engage with not just its member states, but an increasingly active and vocal civil society.

There is no alternative to the UN if we are to meet the challenges of the 21st century. However, the institution must begin to change and adapt. No Secretary-General can transform the UN overnight, but it is time for the crucial first step: choosing the right Secretary-General.

Brazzaville Foundation: Details following the publication of an article in L’Obs

The Brazzaville Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering peace and preserving the environment wherever its services are requested.

The Foundation was created by Jean-Yves Ollivier after the 25th anniversary of the historic Brazzaville Agreement that secured a peaceful settlement of the conflicts in Southern Africa and paved the way for an end to apartheid. During the ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary, the President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou N’Guesso, who had played a key part in the negotiations of the agreement, urged leaders to recreate the spirit of the Brazzaville Accord in contemporary peace negotiations. This inspired Jean-Yves Ollivier, who himself had had an important behind-the-scenes role, to establish the Brazzaville Foundation for Peace and Conservation to keep the “the spirit of Brazzaville” alive. The Foundation is completely independent. President Sassou N’Guesso has no involvement in the Foundation and has no say in what the Foundation does or how it is run.

The Brazzaville Foundation brings together internationally recognized actors specialized in peaceful conflict resolution, such as Doctor José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1996, Mr. Kabiné Komara, former prime minister of Guinea and Mr. Pär Stenbäck.

The main goal of the Brazzaville Foundation is to establish dialogue between parties to a conflict. It acts at the request of the parties or at the invitation of regional or multilateral organizations. It is not intended to be a substitute for official diplomatic channels, but seeks to facilitate dialogue and achieve a better understanding between conflicting parties wherever parallel diplomacy, informal bridge-building and discreet, pragmatic engagement offer an alternative way forward.

Drawing on the experience of its distinguished members and advisers, the Foundation is able to operate at the highest levels and to guarantee confidentiality. It has the twin aims of conflict resolution and conservation because conflicts are among the greatest threats to the natural environment. Only by achieving peace and stability can nations thrive, people prosper and the environment be safeguarded. Although relatively new, the Foundation played a major role in the release of Father Mateusz Dziedzic and the 25 hostages held in the Central African Republic in November 2014, took part in the 200th anniversary of the Congress of Vienna in 2015, and will join the forthcoming Baku Forum organized by Alliance of Civilizations under the auspices of UN.

Partnerships help create dialogue. Common ground can be found in almost every sphere. Music is a good example. In 2015 the Brazzaville Foundation offered its support to the Alma Chamber Orchestra, which has a clear remit and track record of using music to engage and build dialogue in the pursuit of peace. Our partnership is based on shared goals and ideas and has not involved any financial assistance. The Brazzaville Foundation is registered as a Charity in London, a centre of best practice in governance and regulated by the Charities Commission.

Jean-Yves Ollivier, the Chairman of the Brazzaville Foundation, was appointed Grand Officer of the Order of Good Hope by Nelson Mandela for his contribution to the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa and, in particular, for his contribution to the “Brazzaville Accord” signed on 13th December 1988. In 1987 he organized, in difficult and dangerous circumstances, the exchange of almost 200 prisoners between several countries that were at war in southern Africa at that time. This operation led the South African state to the recognition of the ANC and prepared the ground for the Brazzaville Accord.

Mr Kabiné Komara in the 100 people who got Africa moving in 2015

The Brazzaville Foundation is delighted to announce that Mr Kabiné Komara, one of its Advisory Board members, has been nominated by Financial Afrik magazine as one of the 100 people who got Africa moving in 2015. He appears in the annual ranking in the Strategists section. He had already been mentioned in the 2014 ranking.

Mr Kabiné Komara is mentioned for his major role in several regional integration projects, including large electricity interconnection between 4 countries of the area on which the OMVS operates.

French version and full ranking is available here.

Mr Kabiné Komara expressed his gratitude to his entourage. “I owe this to the support and friendship of people like you. Thank you again. I wish you a happy 2016. May God help us.”

Kabine Komara

Syria: the South African hope

A never ending conflict at unacceptable human cost, which perpetually doubles the stakes like a winning formula for suffering; an incomprehensible crisis with so much overlaying of national, regional and geopolitical stakes, upon deep religious and ethnic divisions, confusing analysis; a bone of contention between traditionally friendly powers and a common ground of unholy alliances; finally, a graveyard of good intentions. Of course, everyone has recognized, it is Syria. But who remembers that, yesterday, it was South Africa?

For Syria, we know. Day after day, its citizens are unfolding on our screens in their frantic flight to Europe, never mind what country, as long as it is not their own. In five years, what began as an emancipating revolt in the context of the “Arab Spring” has deteriorated into a mayhem of causes none of which seems good. A “dictator”, Bashir al-Assad, defends with his back to the wall, beleaguered by a “moderate” opposition, supposedly democratic and, increasingly, by jihadists, the Islamic State in the lead. Syria has become the battlefield of regional powers who hold each other in check.

Since Russia decided to provide a counterbalance to the United States, air campaign against air campaign, even the idea of a victory, of whatever camp, faded like a mirage. Hence the exodus of civilians caught between all the fires and, now, without hope of survival.

Our first duty is to give them this hope. And it is possible. Let us recall the South Africa of the apartheid era. There too, like today with the Assad clan heading up the Alawi community, some 12 percent of the Syrian population, there was a minority – white – monopolizing the political and economic power. The neighbouring states called “the front-line countries” were interwoven in the anti-apartheid struggle and, in retaliation, exposed to destabilization by proxy rebel movements. Finally, in the logic of the cold war, the United States and their allies, on the one hand, and, on the other, the Soviet Union and Cuba had taken the cause for “the bastion of the free world” to the tip of Africa or against “the racist South African regime”. During this time, black townships were burning, a whole generation was not going to school, and Angola as well as Mozambique were devastated by proxy wars. The future was apprehensively viewed as a broad regional conflagration, the exodus of Whites or a blood bath, if not all this at once.

We know the result. The belligerents, at all levels, spoke with each other, without exclusivity or preconditions. The Americans sat at the same table as the Cubans, at a time when the Castro regime was demonised by Washington; the front-line countries concluded a truce with the regional white supremacy power; the ANC activists began discussion with their oppressors, this power which had practically denied their humanity.

The “South African miracle”, this was first and foremost a reversal of perspectives: eyes were no longer fixed on the balance of the past, meaning old scores to settle, but on the promise of a future in which all could live. This solution was not in itself a miracle- South Africa today is evidence – but profoundly human. By small steps, they moved away from the open grave.

In order for Syria to do the same, two lessons must be learned from the example of South Africa. On the one hand, the logic according to which “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” greases an infernal spiral. Thus, Iran and its local militia, Hezbollah, defends a regime that they rely on in the Shiite camp while Saudi Arabia, normally hardly a proselyte relating to freedom, supports a democratic opposition because it is Sunni. However, such mechanical alliances seal the martyrdom of Syria, the chessboard of causes that are not their own. The forces there must now be disentangled. Once again, this is possible. I was myself involved in the negotiations that led to this result in southern Africa where the regional peace was concluded in December 1988 – eleven months before the end of the cold war.

On the other hand, the search for peace is not a ballroom of propriety to which only favoured people are invited. The former Finnish president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martti Ahtisaari, revealed, on September 15th in The Guardian, that the western powers in the Security Council had rejected, in 2012, the Russian offer of a negotiated departure of Bashir al-Assad. At the time, the latter had already been written off by gains and losses.
Since then, more by self esteem than out of solidarity with the victims of his regime, the West wants to decapitate the Alawi dynasty before admitting it to the negotiating table. We think that by cutting off the head the body will survive. Whatever one may think of the Syrian leader, this stubbornness amounts to a crime against peace.
France is particularly poorly placed to perpetrate it. When it governed Syria, as the mandated power after the First World War, was it not France who created “the country of the Alawis” thus giving birth to a uniqueness that it now seeks to negate?

[L’Obs] La fin du putsch au Burkina Faso ? L’échec d’un modèle de transition démocratique

Moins d’un an après le soulèvement populaire qui chassa Blaise Compaoré du pouvoir, l’accord de sortie de crise entre le gouvernement intérimaire et les putschistes du Régiment de sécurité présidentielle (RSP) démontre l’échec tragique du « modèle burkinabè » de transition démocratique.

Suite à l’accord négocié par les leaders ouest-africains, de nouvelles élections sont prévues pour la fin du mois de novembre. Cependant, la participation des proches de l’ancien président Blaise Compaoré à ces nouvelles élections demeure incertaine. Et ce, alors même que la décision du gouvernement intérimaire d’introduire un nouveau code électoral – qui interdisait aux proches de l’ancien président de se présenter aux élections initialement prévues le 11 octobre 2015 – a précipité le coup d’État du Général Gilbert Diendéré.

« Le poison de l’exclusion politique »

Remontons le temps pour comprendre comment nous en sommes arrivés là. Au mois de juin, l’International Crisis Group (ICG) avait déjà signalé les risques pesant sur les futures élections qui devaient faire advenir un véritable régime démocratique. « Le Code électoral, très controversé, risque d’injecter le poison de l’exclusion politique dans un pays attaché au multipartisme », estimait l’ONG.

Alors que cette modification du Code électoral était dénoncée par la cour de justice de la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO), les chancelleries occidentales n’ont pas semblé être gênées par cette nouvelle confiscation du libre arbitre du peuple burkinabè. Mais à force d’être « démocrate à la carte », on finit par récolter des coups de force…

Les évènements de ces derniers jours viennent malheureusement confirmer une analyse que j’avais faite en novembre dernier au lendemain de l’insurrection populaire. À cette date, je considérais qu’il fallait bien peu faire cas du citoyen ordinaire burkinabé pour descendre en flammes les pseudo-révolutionnaires après trois décennies de vie quotidienne tranquille, pour ne pas dire « normale ».

Cesser de plaquer un introuvable « modèle démocratique »

Trois décennies de gens qui partaient tous les matins au travail, d’enfants qui allaient à l’école, trois décennies d’un développement économique et d’une croissance réels. Car, même si la démocratie burkinabè n’avait pas encore passé l’épreuve de l’alternance du pouvoir, faut-il rappeler que notre Ve République n’a réussi ce test qu’en 1981, avec l’élection de François Mitterrand ?

Mon deuxième argument était que l’explosion démographique engendrerait nécessairement une forte instabilité politique ; instabilité qu’il appartenait aux puissances étrangères de ne pas encourager.

Quand bien même une démocratie parfaite verrait le jour au Burkina Faso, la masse des jeunes chômeurs dans la bande sahélienne ne trouvera pas de travail rémunérateur dans un avenir prévisible – d’où de possibles coups de force, l’exode massif vers l’Europe et la prolifération des mouvements djihadistes dans la région, entre autres.
Pour finir, j’avais souligné qu’il n’y avait plus de modèle unique en Afrique puisque le continent – affranchi de la chape de plomb de la Guerre froide et désormais ouvert à de nouvelles puissances – était plus que jamais pluriel. Autrement dit, l’Afrique n’était plus « un pays » mais une mosaïque de plus d’1,1 milliard d’habitants et de 54 États aux trajectoires singulières, impossibles à réduire à un raccourci.

Voilà pourquoi il est urgent de cesser de plaquer un introuvable « modèle démocratique » sur la deuxième plus grande étendue de terres au monde. Urgent de cesser de nous ériger en donneurs de leçons. Enfin, tout aussi urgente est notre mission de veiller à prévenir l’émergence de ces « contre-modèles », qui naissent en réaction à notre indifférence.

La Lettre de l’Expansion. Brazzaville Foundation’s first board meeting in London

The Brazzaville Foundation, chaired by Jean-Yves Ollivier and dedicated to resolution conflict and environment conservation, gathers its very first Board meeting until tomorrow night in London. Among the founding members are present the Nobel Peace Prize winner and ex-President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste José Ramos-Horta, Mathews Phosa, a key character of Nelson Mandela’s liberation and the end of apartheid in South Africa, as well as Prince Michael of Kent. This foundation, created in 2014, was notably involved in the liberation of the Polish priest Mateusz Dziedzic and of 25 African hostages in October 2014.

Le Figaro. Jean-Yves Ollivier : « Je sais amener des gens à la raison »

Figaro Jean-Yves Ollivier

La Croix. Afrique : la souveraineté ne se découpe pas en mandats

Croix Afrique

Le Figaro. A “shadow diplomat” awarded by Manuel Valls

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls personally presented Jean-Yves Ollivier, chairman of the Brazzaville Foundation, with the Légion d’Honneur officer insignia this Wednesday, June 17, 2015 during a ceremony attended by numerous African, European and Asian ambassadors, as well as the private secretary of HRH Prince Michael of Kent, royal patron of the foundation. Jean-Yves Ollivier strongly emphasized on Brazzaville Foundation’s vocation and the actions it has initiated, including its involvement in the release of hostages held in CAR until last November.

Figaro Valls

ADIAC. Plot for Peace screening in Brazzaville

Jean Yves Ollivier came from France on the 3rd of June to present Plot for peace at the French Institute of Congo, in Brazzaville Source : Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale.

Click here to read the full article.

Le Point. Jean-Yves Ollivier receives the insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honour

Point Jean-Yves Ollivier

AllAfrica. Nobel Peace Prize Martti Ahtisaari underlines the effects of the Brazzaville Agreement

Martti Ahtisaari, Nobel Peace Prize, underlined in an interview given to New Era that the protocol that led to the Brazzaville Agreement had been of major importance in the restoration of peace and access to the independence of Namibia, and, subsequently, the democratization and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Source : AllAfrica / New Era Namibia.

Click here to read the full article.