Egypt's foreign ministry discloses content of 2nd Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development



Thu, 18 Feb 2021 - 03:17 GMT


Thu, 18 Feb 2021 - 03:17 GMT

Aswan Forum logo – Official website

Aswan Forum logo – Official website

CAIRO – 18 February 2021: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a press conference Thursday to present certain details of the second edition of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development to be held in a hybrid fashion but mainly virtually on March 1-5.


The Plan


Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Hamdy Loza stated that 40 speakers out of 70 have confirmed their attendance clarifying that there is an orientation into having a maximum of four panelists per session in order to make room for interaction with the attendees.


In this edition, strategic partners include Sweden, Japan, and the African Development Bank Group. Other partners include the United Nations, the African Union (AU), and for the first time the United Kingdom. As for the private-sector partners, Hermes is taking part in the forum, and Twitter is also participating for the first time.


Director General of Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA) Ahmed Abdel Latif stated that an invitation was extended to the new U.S. administration. "The forum wants the new U.S. administration to take part and present its vision and priorities on certain matters like terrorism and the U.S. military presence."  


The second Edition of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development will be inaugurated by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry. The opening session will be followed by a presidential session whereas President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and other African leaders will display their views on the topics included in the agenda.


African Affairs


The theme of this edition is "Shaping Africa's New Normal: Recovering Stronger, Rebuilding Better." It will discuss post COVID-19 recovery; terrorism; role of women in establishing peace and security; sustaining peace through reconstruction and development; arts and culture; trade; forced displacement; cooperation for development in the Red Sea; and Sahel crises.


As for youth, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Hafez highlighted, "We want the voice of youth in various topics and not just discussing youth-related topics."


For the impact of climate change in Africa, the deputy minister of foreign affairs pointed out that it is most evident in Lake Chad and that it has security repercussions.


In that context, the diplomat disclosed that Egypt wants to host the 27th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC).  


Speaking of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which has gone into force in January, Loza underlined that achieving the maximum benefit of such status quo mandates the existence of a good transportation network, which will be discussed during the forum.


Answering a question raised by Egypt Today on whether uprooting ethnic conflicts and promoting peaceful co-existence will be discussed or not, the deputy minister of foreign affairs said that no specific ethnic conflicts will be discussed in the forum, and that the matter in general will not be discussed broadly in this edition.


The diplomat showcased that ethnic conflicts have political and economic aspects either. For instance, certain groups leave their territories to others due to climate change, which can spark conflicts, Loza told Egypt Today.


The most African countries suffering from ethnic conflicts are Sahel states, and Mali in specific. Hence, a major solution is devising a system that allows the representation of all segments, the deputy foreign minister elaborated.


As a number of African countries have been hosting migrants from neighboring states, the CCCPA director general pointed out that "migrants should be part of development programs like what Egypt did by adding migrants to the universal health insurance system…those are long-term solutions."


In a different context, Abdel Latif asserted that the private sector is a partner in sustainable development, particularly by creating jobs during the recovery from COVID-19,  revealing that the third edition will have more room for the private sector.


The Essence of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development


"We’re eager to maintain strong relations with fellow African states. Our care about African matters wasn’t just restricted to the duration we chaired the AU [in 2019]… Egypt still plays an effective role in peace in Africa, although it is no longer the chair of AU," Abdel Latif asserted.


The ambassador highlighted that Egypt chaired the AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC) in October, and that the roadmap put forward by Egypt on Peacebuilding was adopted by the union. The diplomat added that earlier this month Egypt was elected to chair the fifth session of the UN Peacebuilding Commission.


Abdel Latif noted that the messages of the first and second editions revolve around the concept of "there is no sustainable development without peace." The diplomat noted to Egypt Today that "building the state and state institutions is crucial given that strong states are able to handle different crises, which used to be stressed by the president"


The CCCPA director general asserted that the forum is a platform for African voice on certain matters, and that it focuses on the roots of conflicts in general.


The deputy minister of foreign affairs clarified that the follow up on the recommendations of the first edition of Aswan Forum has been carried out by many international agencies, including the AU and the African Development Bank Group.


Loza added that most of such recommendations are relevant to the states of Sahel, Horn of Africa, and African Great Lakes.


In brief remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry asserted the president’s eagerness to continue backing the African continent.


Given that terrorism has been a pressing issue, the minister underlined, "terror groups’ ability to move from one place to another requires security coordination, information exchange on bilateral and multilateral levels, and capacity-building."



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