The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra and the Kofi Annan Foundation in Geneva will jointly host the second edition of the Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum (KAPS Forum) on December 8 and 9, 2021.
The two institutions are coming together based on their shared commitment to the values of the late Mr. Kofi Annan, whose understanding of peace was founded on a holistic vision of societies based on good governance, democracy, and human rights, especially in Africa.
This was disclosed by the Commandant of the KAIPTC, Major General Francis Ofori at a press conference on Thursday.
He said the Forum is supported by the German Government implemented by GIZ, and the Governments of Norway, Sweden and Ghana.
It will bring together over two hundred delegates including former African Heads of State and high-level diplomats from governmental and intergovernmental organizations, including Kofi Annan Foundation Chair of the Board Elhajd As Sy.
He noted that engagements during the programme will be both virtual and in-person due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The 2021 KAPS Forum is on the theme: “Democracy in the Context of Complex Crises in West Africa.”
According to Major General Francis Ofori, the Forum is also being dedicated to the 20th Anniversary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
Against the backdrop of the 20th Anniversary of the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and Ghana being the current Chair of ECOWAS, the 2021 KAPS Forum will aim at building political will to reaffirm the avowed commitment to democracy and credible elections.
The Forum will cover the following topics:
Ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections;
The challenge of balancing democracy with countering violent extremism;
The challenge of balancing democracy with pandemic management (e.g. Covid-19);
Protecting electoral integrity in the digital age;
The role and responsibilities of the international community.
The Forum will contribute to the ongoing discussion on how to strengthen the role of democratic institutions in their function as gatekeepers in promoting and maintaining peace and stability.
It will provide a platform for participants to explore multi-pronged approaches to address the erosion of democratic values and good governance in the region.
Key outcomes of the conference will be shared in addition to a conference report reflecting new ideas and knowledge as well as policy-relevant recommendations.
On his part, the Programmes Manager for GIZ, Hannes Lambrecht emphasised the need to avert the threats to democracy in West Africa.
He noted that the German government has provided both technical and financial support since the inception of the KAPS Forum and will continue to lend its support to this cause.
To this end, he said the 2021 KAPS Forum was carefully curated to address emerging threats to democracy and good governance in West Africa.
“The KAPS Forum has been launched to become a critical regional platform that enables African stakeholders to explore long-term solutions to emerging security threats on the continent,” Mr. Lambrecht said.
The GIZ Programme Manager further cited the positives chalked in the democratic practices in West Africa in recent years.
This, he said, can be seen in the peaceful transition of power, political stability, and economic growth in the sub-region.
Mr. Lambrecht was, however, quick to add that the three Coups recorded in West Africa in the last two years means there’s more work to be done to safeguard the region’s blossoming democratic gains.
“These new realities require concerted efforts to safeguard the blossoming democratic gains in the West African region.
“Specifically, there is a need to strengthen the progress made in areas such as elections, constitutional processes, and day-to-day governing practices. Most importantly, we need to continually reflect on the dividend of democratic practices to ordinary citizens.
“The upcoming KAPS Forum will provide the platform to reflect on critical questions and eventually explore solutions for further uptake in national and regional policies,” he added.
Meanwhile, speaking via video, Sebastien Brack, who’s the head of Elections and Democracy at the Kofi Annan Foundation based in Geneva, said West Africa has played a key role in democratic trends for decades and lauded the decision to hold this year’s forum in Ghana.
He underscored the need to maintain peace and stability across the continent, adding that when democracy is breached, there are usually far-reaching consequences.
The 2021 KAPS Forum will be jointly hosted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra and the Kofi Annan Foundation in Geneva.
The two institutions are coming together based on their shared commitment to the values of the late Mr Kofi Annan, whose understanding of peace was founded on a holistic vision of societies based on good governance, democracy, and human rights, especially in Africa.
About the Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum
The Kofi Annan Peace and Security (KAPS) Forum was initiated in 2019 as an annual event to bring together political leaders, diplomats, scholars and experts to dialogue and take steps to address contemporary peace and security issues on the African continent.
The KAPS Forum was established in honour of the memory of Kofi Annan for dedicating his working life to the cause of global peace and security