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 UN Correspondent Society & Diplomatic Review and  UNNGO PeaceeverTV edited and reported according to the email sent by the Office of the Special Adviser to Africa: May 26-28 The three-day Public Policy Forum will begin with a High-level Opening Segment, featuring welcoming remarks from Ms. Cristina Duarte, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa; opening remarks by H.E. Mr. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; and remarks by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the UN General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; and H.E. Mr. Issa Konfourou, Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations, on the ADS 2021 theme, “Cultural Identity and Ownership: Reshaping Mindsets.”

The 2021 edition of the Africa Dialogue Series (ADS), the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA)’s flagship event, will take place throughout May, which is also Africa month, and will be a celebration of the continent’s identity, culture, history and achievements. It will also bring together key stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities for Africa. 

This year’s ADS theme is “Cultural identity and ownership: reshaping mindsets.” 

It is anchored in the African Union’s theme for the year: “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.” 

The 2021 edition of the Africa Dialogue Series (ADS), the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA)’s flagship event, will take place throughout May, which is also Africa month, and will be a celebration of the continent’s identity, culture, history and achievements. It will also bring together key stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities for Africa. 

This year’s ADS theme is “Cultural identity and ownership: reshaping mindsets.” 

It is anchored in the African Union’s theme for the year: “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.” 

OSAA, as part of its mandate to coordinate global advocacy in support of Africa’s development, is approaching the theme primarily from a sustainable development perspective. To this end, an exciting line up of activities has been prepared for May culminating in a three-day public policy forum focused on discussions among policy makers, researchers, civil society representatives, academics, representatives from the AU and UN entities and other stakeholders.

In view of the broad theme, ADS discussions and activities have been organized around three sub-themes, namely: 1. Sustainable peace for development: factoring in history; 2. Harnessing Culture and Heritage for economic transformation; and 3. Human Capital: culture and heritage unleashing the potential.

Showcasing innovations that emanated from Africa in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, documentary films about the continent’s rich history and cultural heritage, virtual art exhibitions, and engaging conversations with African academics, artists and film makers are among some of the exciting activities in store for the first three weeks of the month. The programme will also include twitter chats with youth influencers and music from across the continent. 

All the conversations and exchanges scheduled for the first three weeks of May will feed into the three-day public policy forum during the last week of the month, which will be organized around plenary meetings at a political level thereby contributing towards influencing policy. The forum will allow for in-depth exchanges and debates aimed at producing forward looking and implementable ideas and recommendations that will contribute towards the continent’s development. 

The ADS and AU themes are anchored in Aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063, which envisions an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics. 

Launched in 2018, the ADS is an interactive platform for policy and decision makers, civil society, experts and academics to discuss and debate about challenges and opportunities for Africa. Over time, the ADS has become an important instrument for implementing OSAA’s advocacy mandate. To ensure that the event echoes the priorities of the African Union and African Member States, each year’s edition of the ADS focuses on the theme that the African Union adopts for the year. This way, it contributes to and enhances the visibility of the AU’s efforts and provides a platform to promote innovative ideas and recommendations related to each year’s theme.

This year’s broad and inclusive ADS activities provide an opportunity to increase the participation of a cross-section of people in discussions about the continent. 

I. HIGH-LEVEL OPENING SEGMENT – 26 MAY, 9:00AM – 10:00AM

The three-day Public Policy Forum will begin with a High-level Opening Segment, featuring welcoming remarks from Ms. Cristina Duarte, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa; opening remarks by H.E. Mr. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; and remarks by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the UN General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; and H.E. Mr. Issa Konfourou, Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations, on the ADS 2021 theme, “Cultural Identity and Ownership: Reshaping Mindsets.”


II. ROUNDTABLE ON SUSTAINABLE PEACE FOR DEVELOPMENT: FACTORING IN HISTORY – 26 MAY, 10:00AM – 12:00PM

The first of three thematic roundtable discussions during the Public Policy Forum will address the importance of African history and oral traditions, as well as the strengthening of African cultural institutions, in fostering enduring peace. Can the permeation of a renewed sense of Africa’s common cross-border culture and heritage ensure sustained peace, development and prosperity?

Moderator: Ms. Anne Lemaistre, Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Office in Abidjan

Panelists:

  • Mr. Olasupo Shasore, Legal Practitioner and Founding Partner of Africa Law Practice NG & Co
  • Mr. Charles Akibode, Expert on Cultural Heritage, formerly head of the Cultural Heritage Institute of Cabo Verde, member of the International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route Project
  • Ms. Fatma Mostafa, Consultant, Heritage Education for Youth and Museum Education Management
  • Ambassador Osman Keh Kamara, Special Advisor on Silencing the Guns to the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security
  • Mr. Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Officer-in-Charge, Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs-Department of Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO)
  • Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, East and Southern Africa Regional Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

III. GEOPOLITICAL SESSION FOR MEMBER STATES (PART 1) – 26 MAY, 3:00PM – 5:00PM

The Geopolitical Sessions provide a platform to enable a debate on global issues with a focus on their impact on Africa's development. Each of the Geopolitical Sessions will start with a keynote speech to frame the issue, after which a high-level panel will delve into three selected areas. After the panel’s intervention, the floor will be then open for Permanent Representatives and UN entities to deliver remarks on one or several of the selected areas, reflecting on the ideas that the keynote speaker and the panel have presented. The moderator will facilitate the interaction between the panel members and the participants from the floor. This first Geopolitical Session will focus on the following areas: Financing for development: IFFs and international tax cooperation; Sustaining peace for sustainable development; and Human capital and building forward better after the COVID-19.

A keynote address by H.E. Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, will open the first Geopolitical Session.


IV. ROUNDTABLE ON HARNESSING CULTURE AND HERITAGE FOR ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION – 27 MAY, 10:00AM – 12:00PM

This thematic roundtable discussion will explore the potential of Africa’s culture and heritage for sustainable economic transformation. In adopting 2021 as its year of “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”, the African Union has acknowledged the role of Africa’s cultural workers in building stronger and more resilient social, education and health sectors, as well as higher rates of equality, inclusion, social cohesion and solidarity. From visual arts, film and music to fashion, design and cuisine, countries across the continent have shown potential to capitalize on the development benefits of their cultural enterprises, but there is still much to be gained.

Moderator: Mr. Muhammad Juma, Chief of Africa Unit, World Heritage Centre, UNESCO

Panelists:

  • Mr. Patrick Kabanda, Author on Arts and Culture, Africa, Intellectual Property, International Trade and Development
  • Prof. George Okello Abungu, CEO/Lead Consultant, Okello Abungu Heritage Consultants, Fellow, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies and Special Adviser to Director General, ICCROM
  • Dr. Harriet Deacon, Expert on Intangible Cultural Heritage and Intellectual Property Law, Visiting Research Fellow, Coventry University, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Ismail Ali El Fihail, Director General of the House of Heritage, Sudan
  • H.E. Ms. Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, African Union Commission
  • Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Ms. Marisa Henderson, Chief, Creative Economy Programme, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

V. GEOPOLITICAL SESSION FOR MEMBER STATES (PART 2) – 27 MAY, 3:00PM – 5:00PM

The Geopolitical Sessions provide a platform to enable a debate on global issues with a focus on their impact on Africa's development. Each of the Geopolitical Sessions will start with a keynote speech to frame the issue, after which a high-level panel will delve into three selected areas. After the panel’s intervention, the floor will be then open for Permanent Representatives and UN entities to deliver remarks on one or several of the selected areas, reflecting on the ideas that the keynote speaker and the panel have presented. The moderator will facilitate the interaction between the panel members and the participants from the floor. This second Geopolitical Session will focus on the following areas: Climate action and energy mix: Africa's leadership role in a mutual accountability framework; Africa’s industrialization opportunity; and Science, technology, and innovation: the key to economic transformation.

A keynote address by H.E. Prof. Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency - New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD), will open the second Geopolitical Session.


VI. ROUNDTABLE ON HUMAN CAPITAL: CULTURE AND HERITAGE, UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL – 28 MAY, 10:00AM – 12:00PM

The final thematic roundtable discussion aims to examine the role that culture and heritage play in contributing towards unlocking the potential of African people and the development of a strong African cultural identity, ownership, innovation and creativity. The transformative power of culture, tradition and customs for human capital development – either in education, health, social protection and inclusion or job creation – has been increasingly recognized as a critical enabler for sustainable development. What enabling role will they continue to play going forward?

Moderator: Mr. Dodé Houehounha, Expert in Natural Heritage, Associate Programme Officer, UNESCO

Panelists:

  • Mr. Joachim Emmanuel Goma-Thethet, Full Professor at the Universities of the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAMES)
  • Prof. Ola Uduku, Acting Joint Head of Architecture, Manchester University
  • Prof. Charles Binam Bikoi, Research Director and Executive Secretary, International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages (CERDOTOLA), Cameroon
  • Prof. Shadreck Chirikure, Head of the Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town
  • Ms. Emily Drani, Co-founder and former Executive Director of the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda
  • Dr. Ishanlosen Odiaua, Senior Social Development Specialist, Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice, World Bank
  • Prof. Hamady Bocoum, Director, Museum of Black Civilizations, Senegal
  • Ms. Erinna Dia, Principal Adviser on Early Childhood Development, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • Mr. Stanlake Samkange, Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships, World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

VII. CLOSING OF ADS 2021 – 28 MAY, 12:00PM – 12:30PM

A ceremony to close the three-day Public Policy Forum – and the monthlong Africa Dialogue Series 2021 – will feature remarks from Prof. Eddy Maloka, Chief Executive Officer of the African Peer Review Mechanism; and closing remarks from H.E. Ms. Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations.