General Conference

Thematic Forums

4 Thematic Forums to inspire the implementation of emblematic programs for Africa

These forums brought together best practices and partners interested in peace and sustainable development in order to develop, on a larger scale, projects and initiatives that have proven to be successful on the African continent, at the local, national or sub-regional level.

Their aim was to stimulate the implementation of Flagship Initiatives for Africa and they culminated on the last day with the Launch of the Alliance of Partners for the Culture of Peace in Africa. 

Art Lab
1. The Contribution of Arts, Culture and Heritage to Sustainable Peace
Industry Creative

This theme echoed, celebrated, and accompanied the theme of the African Union Year 2021: "Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want". It resonated with Aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063 and with 2021 International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. It explored recent understandings on how the arts, culture and heritage interplay with conflict, reconciliation, and efforts to build more peaceful societies in Africa. It also highlighted ways in which artists, creatives and heritage practitioners are contributing to prevent, mitigate and support the recovery from the effects of conflict, inequality and the COVID-19 pandemic and thus are contributing to peace.

This forum was developed around the following sub-themes:

  • Supporting African artists, cultural and creative Industries for an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.
  • Preventing conflict, reducing risks and building peace through African Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • Reengaging with history, arts and cultural values in education to promote a new narrative for Africa.
  • Protecting and promoting African cultural and natural heritage.
2. Youth Empowerment and Participation in Peace and Sustainable Development
Young Leaders

Africa is the continent that has experienced the strongest demographic growth in recent decades, with a trend that should lead it to reach 2.5 billion people in 2050 and 4.3 billion in 2100. This strong demographic growth makes it the youngest continent. Already, in 2020, out of a population of 1.3 billion, the proportion of young people on the continent was 60%. While the rest of the world will gradually age, Africa will continue to get younger.

This theme means to be embedded in the implementation of UNESCO's Operational Strategy on Youth (2014-2021) as well as the African Youth Charter, the AU Roadmap on Reaping the Full Benefit of the Demographic Dividend by Investing in Youth, and Agenda 2063, particularly Aspiration 4 of the said Agenda relating to "a peaceful and secure Africa."

This theme was developed around the following sub-themes:

  • Promoting and encouraging youth civic engagement: education for peace, global citizenship and sustainable development.
  • Youth employability, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, including cultural/creative industries and green/blue economies.
  • Introduction to youth foresight and social innovation for sustainable development and social cohesion.
  • Youth and the role of sport for social cohesion and peace.
3. Africa and its Diasporas in the Face of Conflicts, Crises and Inequality
Young Leaders

Africa is experiencing higher economic growth levels and well-being over the years, but insecurity, growing inequalities in different aspects of life, natural and human-made disasters persist in many parts of the continent. As many countries on the continent take an active part in and benefit from the globalization of the economies, the modernization of the societies and norms, as well as the development and dissemination of the news ICTs, poverty and social injustice continue to affect societies. This in turn fuels discontent among the populations, especially the marginalized groups, distrust between the people and their governance systems, thus causing significant obstacles for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the multifaceted impacts of climate change have also deepened social divides. 

This theme was developed around the following sub-themes:

  • Contribution of African Women to Peace and Security.
  • Fight against social inequalities, xenophobia, stigmatization and discrimination.
  • Science, technology and Innovation to fight against crises and pandemics.
  • African Descents, Diasporas and the future of peace in Africa.
4. Harnessing the Potential of Oceans for Sustainable Development and Peace
Young Leaders

Oceans present a huge opportunity for (Blue) economic growth and employment for the region, if properly tapped into (maximizing benefits), and if properly managed (minimizing the challenges). Theme 4 connects with the ongoing global United Nation Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which was kicked off on 1st January 2021. The Decade provides an opportunity to mobilize ocean stakeholders in the region to ensure that Africa harnesses ocean science and research to optimally utilize their substantial blue economy potential, which is the new frontier for development.

Theme 4 was developed around the following sub-themes:

  • Oceans of Peace and Opportunity: resources, demographic dividend, gender parity, blue economy, scientific cooperation and diplomacy, South-South cooperation.
  • New experiences towards sustainable development: coastal tourism and underwater heritage, Waste management.
  • The Ocean, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and challenges for adaptation to climate change.
Thematic Forums
General Conference