AU summit grapples with coups, food crisis, terrorism, climate change | News | DW

African Union leaders gathered for the second and final day of an extraordinary summit in Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo, to discuss challenges ranging from terrorism to democratic governance and climate change.

Saturday’s session focused on the terror threat and aimed to evaluate existing response mechanisms.

The President of Equatorial Guinea has listed several terrorist groups active on the African continent

“The African continent is the victim of ruthless terrorist attacks carried out by groups such as Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Ansar al-Sunna, Islamic State (IS) and others,” said Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. on Saturday, in a statement during the summit.

The meeting parties are set to decide on the necessary measures and measures to strengthen the security of African countries facing terrorism and violent extremism.

Unconstitutional changes to the government

The AU Assembly also looked at recommendations put forward during the March AU Reflection Forum on “unconstitutional changes of government” in Africa.

Four members – Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Sudan – are all currently suspended from the AU following the coup. Three of these government changes occurred last year, Burkina Faso in January.

African Union leaders will be asked to approve a document called the Accra Declaration, drawn up at a previous meeting in March. The declaration says that to “prevent and end all forms of unconstitutional change of government on the Continent of Europe, is an interesting and shared task for all stakeholders.”

The declaration lists some 28 steps to be taken to achieve this goal, although some of them are somewhat vague. From better addressing social media disinformation, to developing a “comprehensive framework that establishes different categories of sanctions that can be applied incrementally” to the countries where the coup took place, to simply setting “clear and precise standards that allow for substantive assessments of the member states.’ constitutional order.”

Climate problems challenge Africa

African leaders also discussed the continent’s humanitarian crisis, which is being exacerbated by climate change.

UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Raouf Mazou said in a speech during the summit that climate-related disasters in recent years have added to existing population displacement caused by violence and conflict.

A 2021 report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) released this month showed that 23.7 million people were displaced by climate-related disasters worldwide, and 14.4 million people displaced by fighting.

Countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan have experienced stronger and more frequent floods and droughts in recent years. Climate-related shortages and other tensions are also feared to exacerbate existing tensions.

One striking example is Cameroon, where scarce water resources in the country’s northernmost region have pit fishermen and farmers against each other, prompting the displacement of at least 100,000 individuals, within Cameroon and beyond.

War in Ukraine looms over Africa

The summit also discussed the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine on the already vulnerable continent. A decline in food aid and a sharp rise in food prices have an impact on African refugees and forcibly displaced persons, threatening to further fuel inter-communal tensions.

The UN humanitarian office OCHA estimates that some 18 million Africans could face severe food insecurity in the next three months, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.

In a virtual address to the summit on Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union would commit “further financial support to our African partners.” He said it would have a “direct focus” on food security and a “long-term” focus on “root causes of insecurity.”

After the locust invasion, the economic fallout from the COVID pandemic, and the ongoing drought, the Ukraine war may be the final blow to the critical situation in East Africa.

The war in Ukraine exacerbates an already existing food crisis in parts of Africa

“Ukraine is the granary of the world. It alone exports half the world’s sunflower oil. And provides more than half of the World Food Program grain supply,” von der Leyen said at the meeting, adding that the EU was also trying not to influence Russia’s diet. business with sanctions.

Global wheat prices have increased by about a third in 2022 alone.

“The speed at which we act now will determine the scale of the problem in a few months,” von der Leyen said.

rmt/msh (AP, AFP)

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