Our press articles

Libyan leaders of all stripes to meet in Dakar for peace talks

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

"Libyan leaders of all stripes to meet in Dakar for peace talks"

ARTICLE  published by  The Times
Anthony Loyd







Scores of Libyan militia commanders and tribal and political leaders are planning to meet in the next six weeks to try to breathe life into an independent peace initiative.

The meeting, in the Senegalese capital Dakar, is the latest tentative step in a peace plan that aims to put Libyans in the driving seat, rather than the United Nations or European governments.

“Only Libyans can solve this problem,” said Jean-Yves Ollivier, 73, the French chairman of the Brazzaville Foundation, which specialises in peace initiatives in Africa and which has organised the Dakar meeting. “It is not my role to tell them how to do so, nor do I seek to undermine anyone else’s efforts. I am here as a facilitator, to allow Libyans from all sides to meet and decide how best to solve their future. We have to get away from the western appreciations of what political system should be established in Libya.”


Read the full article on the Times website  or see below the screenshot of the article: 


Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 17.54.17.pngScreen Shot 2018-10-01 at 18.00.31.pngScreen Shot 2018-10-01 at 18.01.01.pngScreen Shot 2018-10-01 at 18.01.19.pngScreen Shot 2018-10-01 at 18.01.56.png

Can Libya’s warring factions ever be reconciled?

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

"Can Libya’s warring factions ever be reconciled?"

ARTICLE  published by The Times


methode-times-prod-web-bin-b42165c8-b68d-11e8-9605-b6ff09b482a1.jpgJOHN MOORE/GETTY


When gunmen stormed the headquarters of Libya’s National Oil Corporation on Monday, working out who the culprits were could have been a whodunnit detective story.

Such is the chaotic state of the country that there are any number of suspects. In a separate incident this month, Tripoli was torn apart by fighting, with three militias, two notionally loyal to what passes for a government, attacked by a third from the south. Scores were killed.

The “Government of National Accord” or GNA has a separate enemy which runs the east of the country, the anti-Islamist General Khalifa Haftar and his “Libyan National Army”. The two sides have agreed a ceasefire but have been arguing all year over who benefits from the oil corporation’s revenue.

Then there are a variety of al-Qaeda offshoots, particularly in Libya’s lawless desert south, which could have wanted to make a statement by attacking the oil company’s headquarters in Tripoli this week.

In the end, the classic Islamic State modus operandi — a small number of gunmen trying to cause maximum damage before being killed, with no attempt to escape — was too clear to miss. And last night the group did indeed claim responsibility.

It is hardly a surprise that Isis should be active in a country as weak and divided as Libya, even though an attempt to build its own regional wilayat there — a province of the Raqqa-based caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — was defeated with American air support.

What is more of a surprise is the absence of any believable plan by the outside world to put the country back together again, given the role outsiders played in removing the government of Colonel Gaddafi seven years ago.

There is a formal solution, involving United Nations backing for the GNA, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections, to which both it and General Haftar have signed up. But few of the western and Gulf powers involved in Libya believe either that the GNA is a real government or that the elections have much chance of working.

Separately, a charity called the Brazzaville Foundation, headed by an experienced peace negotiator called Jean Yves Ollivier, is hosting a second round of peace talks with a view to allowing Libyans to come up with their own plan given the absence of credible foreign commitment.

But western and Gulf leaders can’t even agree among themselves. For the Gulf monarchies, Libya is just another of the stages on which they can take out their grievances with each other, and their dispute over the role of Islam in politics, with the United Arab Emirates backing one side — General Haftar — and Qatar supporting Tripoli.


Read the full article on their website


Jean-Yves Ollivier: "Peace must be made by the Libyans themselves”

Jean-Yves Ollivier: "Peace must be made by the Libyans themselves”

Interview by François Soudan and Jihâd Gillon


What is your precise role in the Libyan dossier?

The Brazzaville Foundation, which I established, brings together a range of eminent personalities who work for peace. As its Chairman, I am assisted by the members of our Advisory Board. We are not there to make peace but rather to facilitate and create the conditions for making a Iasting peace.

You are a businessman. Are you interested in the Libyan market?

I contributed to the ending of apartheid but I never had business dealings in South Africa from the day Mandela was freed. My motivation is simple: I love what I do. If I can create the conditions which enable peace to be achieved, I feel an obligation to act. And doing so gives me great satisfaction. That is enough for me. However, if at some point in the future opportunities were to present themselves in Libya, why should I not pursue them?

The first stage of your initiative took place in Dakar in May with the organisation of a meeting involving various Libyan parties. What was the aim?

First, the meeting's agenda was determined by those who took part. Our goal is to try to achieve Libyan reconciliation based on certain fundamental principles which all those who took part in Dakar had already agreed including a single, unified State, a civilian government, an army answerable to the civilian government, an independent judiciary, elections. Reconciliation requires an inter-Libyan dialogue which is open and without  bitterness and hatred. The past has to be put to one side in order to look to the future.

When you organised a meeting in Turkey between Abdelhakim Belhaj and Bechir Saleh, the opposite ends of the Libyan ideological spectrum, what did you hope to achieve?

In this type of meeting the aim is to define points of convergence and leave to one side all the differences. This meeting was heavily criticised by the supporters of each man but it enabled agreement to be reached on the principles which served as a basis for Dakar 1. I then asked them to help me arrange the inter-Libyan meeting in Dakar. Belhaj and Saleh have been the two driving forces behind the Dakar meeting.

Is Marshal Haftar an indispensable element in the peace process?

The Marshal is one of those on whom peace depends, that is evident. But our Foundation cannot determine whether one Libyan is more representative than another - it is not for us to judge. Marshall Haftar is Libyan, represents a segment of Libyan opinion and has the right to take part in the Dakar meeting (to which he was invited) but neither more, nor less, than Belhaj, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi or other Libyans.

You have called Saif al-Isalm Gadhafi "a symbol of reconciliation".  That sounds like backing for including Gadhafi supporters in the Libyan game?

I am not a Gadhafi supporter, I simply consider that one cannot leave those who are called Gadhafi supporters out of the Libyan equation. All have the right to have their voices heard, even those who were Gadhafi supporters. They should not be reduced to silence as at Skhirat. That Saif al-Islam should regain his ability to act, which is what I wish, would be a good symbol of reconciliation.

How important is Gadhafi-ism in the Libyan political landscape?

It is most significant among exiled Libyans, those who have fled the country for fear of repression. Estimates suggest that they number several hundred thousands. But there are also internal exiles, those who have sought refuge among sympathetic tribes. It is also a factor among those nostalgic for the past in a country which currently suffers shortages of water and electricity and where insecurity reigns. Even among those who have always opposed Gadhafi, there is a recognition that, despite everything, he left an inheritance which has a part to play in Libya's future. There is not an absolute rejection.

What are your hopes for Dakar 2?

Dakar 1 demonstrated that Libyans from all sides can sit down around the same table. There were important absentees, it's true. But Marshall Haftar nevertheless sent two delegates, although they did not take part because they did not wish to sit down with certain other individuals.  Today there are signs that make me optimistic regarding participation at Dakar 2. Dakar 1 was a success, a step towards Dakar 2, which will itself be another step in the right direction. There is no expectation that Dakar 2 will definitively resolve the Libyan problem. But we are moving forward.

How should crimes committed during the war be judged and how to resolve the thorny question of the "blood price" sought by different protagonists?

In my view the most responsible methodology would involve a moratorium, as in Spain and Chile: judgement on crimes committed by one or other party would be postponed for 20 years. That would have the advantage of calming the situation down. In the Libyan tradition the notion of a moratorium has tribal sanction so why not make use of it? I think it is an interesting possibility. But the South African model of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission would not work in Libya.

What is the difference between your initiative and the French one?

All efforts to achieve peace are praiseworthy. President Macron is working at the institutional level. But for me peace has to be made by the Libyans themselves on the ground and not only through the bodies created by international agreements.

Why has the government of national accord faced so many problems?

Did those who helped Fayez al-Sarraj become head of government taken into account all parts of the Libyan political landscape? Why should Libyans who were not given the chance to express their opinion, support someone about whom they have not been consulted? We should never forget that Libya means all its different towns and tribes. To ignore these factors and seek to impose a government that does not take account of basic data of this kind is to invite failure.

How do you stand in relation to the African Union mediation led by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo?

President Sassou Nguesso was the chairman of the AU group which negotiated with Gadhafi in 2011. But it was too late. Africa's error was to be complicit via its vote in the Security Council in authorising a foreign military intervention in an African country. Our initiative can make up for this mistake which has been recognised as such. The AU feels itself responsible and wants to help achieve peace in Libya. My work is going to help and support the AU in advance of the peace conference that the AU intends to organise.

The multiplicity of actors on the ground complicates you work....?

The Libyan problem is compounded by the interests of certain states. They are not necessarily seeking to place their own candidates in power but rather to prevent others from doing so. There are two opposing tendencies: some want the establishment of a military dictatorship on the Egyptian model; others, on the contrary, envisage a civilian government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile the problems of migration and terrorism  concern all countries in the region. Italy and France want to defend their potential economic interests: the task of reconstructing Libya will probably be the most important in the world, without mentioning the energy sector. With such a multitude of outside interests the six million Libyans have been forgotten, their voices unheard. 

There are two deadlines for Libya: the referendum on the constitution on 17 September and a Presidential election on 10 December. Are these dates realistic?

What I understand from all sides is that they are not realistic. But it is not for me to say.  My task is to take the steps needed to bring Libyans together for a second time. My initiative is not in opposition to other initiatives; on the contrary it will help facilitate and underpin a peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis. 

Jean-Yves Ollivier shares his insights of Libya political future and next-elections in the Times

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

"Gaddafi set to take key role in Libya peace talks"


Link to the article

The son of Colonel Gaddafi has risen to prominence under efforts to reunite Libya and will probably run for president in the next elections, an independent French negotiator has told The Times.

Against the odds, Saif al-Islam, 46, is alive and at liberty seven years after a Nato air campaign helped to overthrow his father. Since his release last year by a militia in Zintan he has been in internal “asylum” in the northwest of the country and remains a powerful influence on Libya’s future.

“Saif is a symbol to reconciliation,” said Jean-Yves Ollivier, the French negotiator at the centre of efforts for Libyan peace. “We don’t discuss politics but he passes me messages. He wants elections and he is convinced that if he goes to elections there will be two million Gaddafists behind him, so he will win.”

The apparent move to rehabilitate Colonel Gaddafi’s favoured political heir raises questions about the decision by western powers, including France and the UK, to back rebels against the regime in 2012. Saif al-Islam is still wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged atrocities during the revolution, including crimes against humanity, murder and persecution.

Colonel Gaddafi’s second son was a one-time darling of the West and regarded as a reformist capable of leading Libya away from dictatorship. Hosted by the royal family at Buckingham Palace, he was a habitué of an elite international social scene, attending parties with Lord Mandelson and the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. In 2008 he gained a PhD from the London School of Economics.

The Libyan revolution threw his fortunes into reverse. He was caught trying to flee the country in November 2011 and was injured in a Nato air attack on his convoy, losing the fingers of his right hand. He was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2015 but the sentence was not carried out as Libya descended into chaos. Efforts to rehabilitate Saif al-Islam — the “sword of Islam” in Arabic — and return the Gaddafi family to the political arena have included requests for the ICC to reconsider its outstanding arrest warrant against him and a legal challenge on the admissibility of the ICC indictment. It will deliver a ruling by September 28.

Behind-the-scenes efforts to bring all of Libya’s factions together at a single table have involved a complex process of concessions. Central to the reconciliation initiative lies the awareness that no lasting peace is possible without the reintegration of Gaddafi loyalists into the political arena. Libya’s 6.2 million citizens are believed to include up to 500,000 Gaddafists living in exile abroad, and about 1.5 million displaced from their homes inside Libya. “Add to these the ‘nostalgia Gaddafists’, who say that when Gaddafi was in power the country had security,” said Mr Ollivier, chairman of the Brazzaville Foundation, which is at the centre of reconciliation efforts. “You cannot ignore these people. The voice of all Libyans needs to be heard.”

Mr Ollivier, 73, first met Colonel Gaddafi in 1969 and has long had business and diplomatic links with Libya. His foundation took its name from the 1988 Brazzaville Protocol in which he was heavily involved, which ended South Africa’s border war and played a part in the end of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela.

A UN-backed initiative led to the leaders of four Libyan factions meeting in Paris in May, where they agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in December. However, representatives from key cities including Misrata and Zintan, as well as Gaddafi loyalists, were absent. A parallel process of reconciliation is being channelled by the Brazzaville Foundation.

“Peace is the most courageous action a man can do,” said Mr Ollivier, whose experience as a French pied noir forced to flee Algeria in 1962 provided the motivation for his later involvement in peace negotiation. “To declare a war is nothing.


FORBES - Meet Jean Yves Ollivier

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

Meet Jean Yves Ollivier, The French Entrepreneur Working Hard To Bring Peace To Libya

article published by Mfonobong Nsehe - Forbes

French entrepreneur and philanthropist Jean Yves Ollivier is the founder of the Brazzaville Foundation, an organization that seeks to facilitate dialogue and achieve a better understanding between conflicting parties wherever informal diplomacy, bridge-building and discreet, pragmatic engagement offer an alternative way forward. He was a key profile depicted within the globally acclaimed 'Plot for Peace' documentary, and has a lot of experience in facilitating international agreements with both private and public actors.

I recently caught up with Jean Yves Ollivier and he spoke about his Foundation's latest mission to bring about lasting change in Libya.

What does your Foundation hope to accomplish to bring about Libyan reconciliation?

Libya is a magnificent nation, blessed by location, rich in history, abundant with resources and capable of charting a new pathway towards lasting prosperity. But the fact that it has proved so difficult to resolve the crisis in Libya shows that the building blocks for achieving political settlement are still not in place.

Our aim is to help break down the barriers of mistrust which currently divide Libyans and which continue to be the biggest obstacles to peace and reconciliation. We want to bring all sides to the table and establish a dialogue which enables different voices to be heard. These are not negotiating meetings, but we hope they will create a process of rapprochement and foster a shared vision of Libya’s future which will underpin negotiations on an eventual political settlement. They are thus complimentary to, and supportive of, the efforts of the UN, the African Union and others to bring peace and stability to the country.

What were the challenges involved in hosting these talks in Dakar?

The divisions in Libya run deep. They existed before 2011 and the overthrow of Qadhafi and have grown deeper since. Convincing Libyans who are so divided to sit down together in Dakar and, once there, to agree not to dwell on the past but to look to the future and try to find common ground has been a huge challenge. But the success of Dakar 1, and the willingness to hold Dakar 2, has shown that it can be done.

Despite their doubts and misgivings, we persuaded Libyans from across the political spectrum, including long-standing opponents, to meet in Dakar, many for the first time, and to talk freely to each other without intermediaries or outside interference. They have continued to do so since. This dialogue is the start of a journey towards the reinvigoration of true nationhood.

I would particularly like to thank President Macky Sall of Senegal for his help and support in organizing the meeting in Dakar and to the Foundation’s Honorary Member, Moustapha Niasse, Chairman of the National Assembly of Senegal, who agreed to act as Facilitator.

What were your motivations in launching the Brazzaville Foundation and how is the Foundation and its interventions unique?

We are an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to peace, prosperity and conservation. The Foundation's name was inspired by the 1988 Brazzaville Agreement which led to a peaceful resolution of conflicts in southern Africa and paved the way for the ending of Apartheid. At the time, I had a behind-the-scenes role in getting some of the key players to agree to meet in Brazzaville.

One of my aims in setting up the Brazzaville Foundation was to promote peace and reconciliation through independent, impartial and discreet efforts to build dialogue and understanding because my own experience, and that of many of our very distinguished Board of Advisers, has shown that such efforts are vital in achieving peaceful solutions to potential conflicts in Africa and further afield. The Foundation acts as an honest broker, helping protagonists to find ways to talk to each other and arrive at common ground for a peaceful future.

In addition to our dialogue-building and conflict prevention work, the Foundation’s goal is to meet some of the key challenges facing the African continent by developing economic, environmental and conservation driven initiatives that support the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) and bring countries and peoples together in peaceful cooperation.

The Foundation’s proposal to establish a Congo Basin Blue Fund, which was launched at the COP 22 climate change summit in Marrakesh in 2016, now has the support of all of the countries of the Congo Basin and is endorsed by the African Union. This is a major sustainable development initiative designed to reduce pressure to exploit the forests of the Congo Basin and thus reduce the impact of global warming by promoting alternative economic development using the resources of the Congo River and its tributaries.

We have also partnered with the NGO 'Stop Ivory' to promote the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI). This initiative, launched by Botswana, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon and Tanzania, brings together African states, intergovernmental organizations, the NGO community and the private sector to protect African elephants by putting an end to the illegal ivory trade.

The Foundation is also currently exploring the possibility of a major cross-border conservation project in Central Africa.
We aim to practice what we preach and not merely sit on the sidelines of history.

What can the public and private sectors do, if anything, to get involved?

There are many issues today – economic, social, environmental and increasingly political – whose complexities require new models of cooperation that can forge partnerships between states, civil society, including NGOs, and the private sector in order to find the right solutions. We are keen to encourage these new models of cooperation. One example is the Congo Basin Blue Fund, an idea first proposed by the Foundation, but whose success will depend on the public and private sectors working together to supply the necessary finance and identify and implement suitable projects.

Another example is the fight against the growing traffic in substandard and falsified medicines. This is problem which is particularly acute in Africa where the WHO has reported that between 30 - 60% of pharmaceuticals are substandard or fake. The Foundation has been working with the Harvard Global Health Institute to highlight this problem and we recently organized a conference which brought together academics, researchers and representatives from the WHO, governments, NGOs and the pharmaceutical industry to examine how best to tackle this dangerous and often deadly scenario.

Where do you envision the Brazzaville Foundation in future and what do you see as the end result to the Dakar 1 and Dakar 2 Talks?

The Brazzaville Foundation has organized and supported these talks out of the conviction that only by agreeing to talk to each other can Libyans rebuild trust, reconcile their differences and thus ensure a peaceful and prosperous future. If we can create a dialogue and a shared vision that underpins and facilitates successful negotiations on a political settlement then we will have achieved our goal.

The Foundation continues to set for itself an ambitious agenda but I believe that we can make a real contribution to helping Africa meet some of the many challenges it faces and help it to achieve a more peaceful and prosperous tomorrow.


"Hope Through Reconciliation: The Brazzaville Foundation ‘Plots for Peace"

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

"Hope Through Reconciliation: The Brazzaville Foundation ‘Plots for Peace"


Link to the article

Libya is a nation with tremendous potential. Yet over the course of the last near-decade, it has been a nation perpetually mired in chaos.

Following the war of attrition that former President Muammar Qaddafi waged on his own people during the Arab Spring, to the total breakdown of authority which led to an outbreak of violence and unrest, festering unabated graft and corruption and the spoils of civil war falling into the hands of deadly militant groups, there is today an outcry from the Libyan citizenry and the international community to pursue all options for reconciliation and lasting stability.

Airstrikes executed by a number of foreign countries and local groups, spurred by the rise of militant organizations in the country as well as the ongoing civil war have destroyed countless lives. Only true reconciliation can bring about peace and that is exactly the mission of the Brazzaville Foundation. Ambitious, yes, but according to its Chairman, Jean-Yves Ollivier, not impossible.

“Inclusion is essential in hosting our Dakar 1 and Dakar 2 talks in Senegal, bringing together a myriad of Libyan representatives,” stated Mr. Ollivier.

The Brazzaville Foundation is an independent nonprofit dedicated to peace and conservation through conflict resolution and prevention. Its name was inspired by the 1988 Brazzaville Agreement which paved the way for a peaceful settlement in South Africa and the ending of Apartheid.

Through a rare combination of discreet, behind-the-scenes diplomatic initiatives as well as more public endeavors, the Brazzaville Foundation’s ‘plot for peace’ (referencing the Chairman’s role in an enthralling, award-winning documentary) has, according to a recent Press Release, seconded by AllAfrica.com, “….won the hearts of key partners like the Senegal President, Macky Sall, and the Republic of Congo Leader, Denis Sassou N’guess,” dignitaries who are playing a forward-facing role in this sensitive Libyan process.

We’ve seen ‘Dialogues’ falter as in the case of Bahrain during the Arab Spring, where parties expressed discontent for not being given a seat at the table. Whether the fault of outside interference or the fault of the powers that be, lessons have been learned “…create a conducive, welcome and comfortable environment. These talks [in Dakar] will help break down any former walls of mistrust, those that have in years past stifled relationships between our brothers and sisters in Libya,” noted Mr. Ollivier.

There is also a diplomatic tightrope to walk. While the Brazzaville Foundation encourages greater community involvement from bodies such as the African Union and United Nations, “…it’s important that the Dakar 1 and Dakar 2 participants meet and dialogue without intermediaries or outside interference; we must all support this process,” continued Mr. Ollivier.

With unbridled economic potential and a pathway to prosperity by way of inclusion, equality and accountability, the interventions held in Senegal are drawing more and more voices to the table, with little scrutiny. All acknowledge the impetus to stop the bloodshed and foster strategic alliances that will re-shape the country, the region and perhaps even the continent for generations to come.


Impactful Interventions – Brazzaville Foundation Plans To Bring Renewed Hope To Libya

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

"Impactful Interventions – Brazzaville Foundation Plans To Bring Renewed Hope To Libya" 

ARTICLE  published by Chris Phiry - ZAMBIA REPORTS

The Brazzaville Foundation aims to bring renewed hope to one of Africa’s largest oil producers, with efforts for peace serving as a precedent in positive interventions for the rest of the continent.

Since the fall of Muammar Ghadaffi in 2011, Libya, similarly to much of North Africa, is a nation unstable, one which has not known lasting peace since this undeniable regime change.

It is the Brazzaville Foundation (http://brazzavillefoundation.org/en), among others, that has sought to achieve some semblance of stability by bringing nearly 21 formerly and staunchly opposing groups together.

After the first meeting concerning efforts to stabilize Libya, held in Dakar, Senegal and dubbed ‘Dakar 1’, the Brazzaville Foundation has emboldened confidence behind its future success. Brazzaville Foundation Chairman Jean-Yves Ollivier tells us that he believes its subsequent convention, ‘Dakar 2’, will bring value in the tangible application of the previous Summit’s commitments.

“It’s important that as we work towards establishing peace in Libya and we continue to openly engage with all parties involved in the process of its renewed struggle for prosperity, that the group formed look to equally exchange information and ideas in the hopes of playing a respective, prominent role in the process taking place in Senegal,” he stated.

An independent, non-profit organization working to meet the key challenges facing the African continent by developing cross-border economic, environmental and conflict prevention initiatives, the Brazzaville Foundation has won the hearts of key partners such as Senegal President Macky Sall and Republic of Congo leader Denis Sassou N’guess.

“We are very excited to have leaders of the African continent on board. Senegal, for instance, shares a lot in common geo-commercially with Libya and is therefore a strategic partner to this dialogue,” continued Mr. Ollivier.

The fact that the first attempt under the Brazzaville Foundation was successful to bring parties in Libya to the roundtable fortifies Mr. Ollivier’s future promise that Dakar 2 will record great success, further highlighted in that the number of participants will have increased from 17 to 21.

“It’s very important that these parties meet and continue to dialogue without intermediaries or outside interference; key for us to create a conducive, welcome and comfortable environment. These talks help break down any former walls of mistrust, those that have in years past stifled relationships between our brothers and sisters in Libya. By meeting to dialogue in this controlled format, we believe we bring a valuable restart to the process of rapprochement which is ultimately essential to creating lasting change,” Mr. Ollivier adds.

He noted that efforts to bring the United Nations, the African Union and others to the foray are at an advanced stage, because these international bodies were also key in ensuring the ‘Dakar 1’ dialogue succeeded.

Mr. Ollivier remains confident that the approach being taken by his organization is singularly a critical intervention, one needed to help restore stability not only in Libya, but perhaps beyond.

Medicines that lie - News Article

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.


"Leading the charge against fake medicine, Africa’s silent killer" 

 Article  publiee dans Benjamin FOX - EURACTIV

Preparing medicine for distribution. [Partnership for Transition in Côte d’Ivoire / Flickr]


Low quality and fake medicines kill tens of thousands of people each year, most of them in developing countries. Yet data and political action to address the enormous human and economic cost is distinctly thin on the ground.

“Something between 30-70% of the medicines circulating in Africa are substandard or falsified. it’s a huge figure in some of these countries and a huge problem,” David Richmond, chief executive of the Brazzaville Foundation, told EURACTIV.

Richmond, a former diplomat in the UK’s Foreign Office, was talking ahead of a conference in London on Wednesday (28 March) focusing on the proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines, which the Brazzaville Foundation is hosting with the Harvard Global Health Institute and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“The more we looked at it, we felt that this is an issue that simply wasn’t getting the attention it deserved and needed, given the huge human and other consequences that arise from it.”

“It’s on the world health assembly agenda but quite low down,” he said.

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last November found that a WHO-pooled analysis of 100 studies from 2007 to 2016, covering more than 48,000 samples, showed 10.5% of drugs in low and middle-income countries to be fake or substandard.

The WHO estimated that up to 72,000 deaths from childhood pneumonia could be attributed to the use of substandard or fake antibiotics,

Since 2013, the WHO has received 1,500 reports of fake and low-quality products, with antimalarials and antibiotics the most commonly reported categories. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 42% of all the reports, followed by Latin America.

Poor quality drugs also add to the danger of antibiotic resistance, threatening to undermine the power of life-saving medicines in future.  For its part, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has estimated that 116,000 additional deaths from malaria could be caused each year by bad antimalarials in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Substandard and falsified are different things, even if they have the same effect,” Richmond told EURACTIV.

“You have the direct consequences that people get killed. But if it (substandard medicine) makes you more ill, then it increases the cost and the resistance of the diseases.”

Part of the long-term challenge will be to develop regional and domestic pharmaceutical markets. The regional blocs of countries in East and West Africa have put the issue on their agendas.

In November 2016, the six countries of the East African Community agreed to offer domestic drug manufacturers a preferential margin of up to 30% as part of a programme to beef up domestic production of essential medicines and health technologies.

“There are people in Africa buying fake medicines because they can’t afford the real ones. Part of the answer undoubtedly is being able to buy generics at a reasonable price,” Richmond said but conceded that there is still “a certain amount of ambivalence from the pharmaceutical industries” on the issue.

On the agenda of delegates on Wednesday will be assessing what legislation is needed, as well as domestic and international enforcement mechanisms and sanctions, and new methods to trace and monitor the origin and quality of drugs.

Twenty-one EU countries have made falsifying medicines a criminal offence under an EU directive adopted in 2011. However, international law and stiff sanctions for fake and substandard drugs are otherwise largely absent.

“We want to push it up the global agenda. But it’s not enough to just thump the table, you’ve got to develop a strategy to deal with the problem,” said Richmond.

He hopes that the gathering will plug into the next World Health Assembly meeting in May.

“Personally, I also see a case for trying to get it on the agenda of the next UN general assembly,” he said.

“We want to get a number of African countries to come together to put this on the UN agenda.”

Trade in fake medicines is thought to be worth around $30 billion per year, but data on the wider human and economic cost remains patchy.

“There is clearly a big economic cost but I’ve not seen it quantified and this is one of the problems. There’s not much in the way of statistics,” said Richmond.

“There are quite a lot of estimates, and a lot of it out of date. And that’s symptomatic of the problem that this has not been given the attention that it requires.”


Benjamin Fox

Article published in Euractiv

Medicines that lie - symposium à Londres

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.


"Lutte contre les médicaments falsifiés : des experts mondiaux réunis dans la capitale anglaise" 

 Article  publiee dans L'ADIAC

A l’initiative du Harvard Global Health Institute, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine et la Fondation Brazzaville, basée au Royaume-Uni, une rencontre se tient les 27 et 28 mars, à Londres, à la faveur d’une conférence pour débattre de la problématique sur les faux médicaments.

Selon des statistiques, chaque année, plus de cinq millions de personnes meurent dans le monde à cause du VIH/sida, la tuberculose (TB) et le paludisme, considérés comme trois principaux problème de santé publique. En effet, cette rencontre des experts mondiaux de premier plan en matière de santé, de droit et de sécurité ainsi que des décideurs, régulateurs et représentants de l'industrie pharmaceutique du monde entier, permettra d’évaluer l'état actuel du problème et discuter de la voie à suivre. Ainsi, les participants s’interrogeront sur le nombre de décès dus à l'utilisation de médicaments de qualité inférieure ou falsifiée ; la responsabilité des médicaments falsifiés dans l'augmentation de la résistance aux antimicrobiens.

« La prolifération de médicaments de qualité inférieure ou falsifiée est une cause majeure de l'augmentation de la résistance aux antimicrobiens, ce qui rend les infections dangereuses comme le VIH, la tuberculose et le paludisme plus difficiles à traiter et responsables de graves pertes économiques. La RAM devrait devenir la principale cause de décès d'ici 2050, tuant plus de personnes que le cancer », alertent les organisateurs.

En 2013, l'Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) a estimé que plus de 120 000 enfants africains avaient perdu la vie à cause de faux antipaludéens et d'autres médicaments. L'énorme profitabilité du commerce de faux médicaments a créé une industrie qui, dès 2010, devait valoir plus de 75 milliards de dollars par an en ayant augmenté de 90% en cinq ans.

L'Assemblée mondiale de la santé appelée à passer à l’action 

Dans la perspective de la prochaine Assemblée mondiale de la santé prévue en mai, le Harvard Global Health Institute et la Fondation Brazzaville soulignent la nécessité de considérer les médicaments de qualité inférieure et falsifiés comme une menace majeure pour la santé mondiale, nécessitant des actions concrètes. Ces deux organisations, reconnaissant toutefois les recherches et les initiatives précieuses en cours dans le monde, pensent qu’il est temps pour la communauté internationale de se doter d’une stratégie coordonnée et globale qui aborde tous les aspects du problème. Elles estiment que cette stratégie devrait inclure des campagnes de sensibilisation des consommateurs aux dangers ; des cadres juridiques renforcés ; des sanctions pénales plus sévères ; et un meilleur accès à des médicaments génériques bon marché. Le but étant d’aider les pays en voie de développement qui sont contraints d'acheter de faux médicaments puisque ne disposant pas des moyens pour s'offrir des médicaments authentiques.

« Avec une meilleure coordination aux niveaux national, régional et international, nous sommes convaincus que les bonnes solutions politiques sont disponibles. Dans notre appel à l'action, nous voulons exhorter la communauté internationale, en commençant par l'Assemblée mondiale de la santé, à faire de cette question une véritable priorité dans le programme mondial de santé et à lui accorder l'attention et l'engagement qu'elle mérite », soulignent le Pr Ashish Jha, directeur du Harvard Global Health Institute, et Sir David Richmond, président directeur général de la Fondation Brazzaville.

Soucieux du fait que des malades font des voyages chaque jour dans le monde, pour se faire soigner en investissant énormément, ces deux personnalités notent une autre barrière les empêchant souvent de se faire guérir : la qualité des médicaments utilisés. « Chaque fois que des personnes recevront des antibiotiques à base d'amidon de maïs ou de médicaments antirétroviraux pour le VIH dépourvus des principes actifs adéquats, leurs voyages auront été vains. Et le coût de cet échec est énorme : l'enfant de 6 ans qui manque des mois d'école en raison d'un rétablissement inutilement long du paludisme, ou un homme qui propage par inadvertance le VIH résistant aux médicaments dans sa communauté, ou la mère qui meurt pendant l'accouchement (l'antibiotique était faux) », ont-ils poursuivi.

Parfait Wilfried Douniama


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 


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

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

Water as a weapon of war and a force for peace 


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.”


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

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

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 »

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

Figaro Jean-Yves Ollivier

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

There is no translation available in your language.
Here is its original version.
Ce contenu n'est pas disponible dans votre langue.
Celui-ci vous est donc présenté dans sa version originale.
هذا المحتوى غير متوفر بلغتك.
هنا هو النسخة الأصلية.

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.