The Panel of the Wise is a consultative body of the African Union, composed of five appointed members who each serve three year terms. Its mandate is to provide opinions to the Peace and Security Council on issues relevant to conflict prevention, management, and resolution. Representatives are chosen for the North, East, South, West, and Central regions of the continent.
The first Panel of the Wise was established in December 2007, with a mandate which expired in 2010. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government, meeting in Kampala in 2010, decided to expand the Panel's composition, by appointing a Group of "Friends of the Panel of the Wise" appointed on the same basis as the Panel (one representative for each African sub-region).
the PanAfrican Network of the Wise (PanWise)
PanWise is a Pan-African network, established through a Decision of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in May 2013, and which brings together mediation actors and mechanisms, such as the AU Panel of the Wise, COMESA Committee of Elders, ECOWAS Panel of the Elders, SADC Panel of the Wise, future RECs mechanisms, Insiders’ Mediators, African and international mediators working in Africa, with complementary responsibilities.
The aim of PanWise is to strengthen, coordinate and harmonise prevention, early response and peacemaking efforts carried by various actors in Africa under a single umbrella.
Pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC Protocol); the Protocol on Relations between the African Union and Regional Economic Communities; the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Area of Peace and Security between the AU, the RECs and Stand by Brigades of Eastern Africa and Northern Africa (MoU); the Modalities for the Functioning of the Panel of the Wise (AU); and, finally, the experiences and lessons learned as regards cooperation, collaboration and harmonization between the AU Panel of the Wise and its counterparts at sub-regional and national levels, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government at the 21st ordinary session of the AU Summit, which marked the 50th Golden Jubilee of the OAU on 25 May 2013, adopted a decision to establish the “Pan-African Network of the Wise” (PanWise). PanWise is comprised, as core members, of the AU Panel of the Wise/Friends and its existing and future counterparts at sub-regional level including: the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Council of the Wise; the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Mediation Reference Group and Panel of Elders; the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa’s (COMESA) Committee of Elders; and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development’s (IGAD) Mediation Contact Group, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), East African Community (EAC), Union of Maghreb States (UMA) and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CENSAD). As associate members, PanWise includes the Forum of Former African Heads of State, the Association African Ombudesmen and Mediators (AAOM), national infrastructures for peace, national mediation councils, etc., as well as relevant African mediation associations/ institutions. When appropriate to the agenda of the PanWise, the AU Chairperson as well as African mediators Special Envoys, Special Representatives, Chief Mediators and their Mediation Teams shall be invited to participate in network activities. The establishment of the “Pan African Network of the Wise” is not prejudicial to the independence of each Panel, the confidentiality required of them as they perform their roles within their respective home organisations, as well their latitude in choosing partners, donors and other stakeholders. In conducting its activities, the “Pan African Network of the Wise” is at all times cognizant that its members may be actively engaged in preventive diplomacy, mediation and related activities with parties engaged in a dispute or conflict, and therefore discretion, respect for confidentiality and careful consultation with members on deliberations is observed. The successful establishment of the PanWise is a significant contribution to the Golden Jubilee of the OAU celebrated this year under the theme “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”. Indeed, it emphasizes and puts into practice the ideals of the Forefathers of the OAU, Pan-Africanism, solidarity and unity of purpose.
- Motto: "Leveraging National, Regional and Continental Mediation Experiences to Strengthen Effective Conflict Prevention and Early Response"
- Adherence to the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity, comparative advantage, buttom-up and constructive interaction.
- Engagement in preventive diplomacy, mediation and related activities with parties engaged in a dispute or conflict, and observance of discretion, respect for confidentiality and careful consultation with members on deliberations.
- Awareness raising and guardianship of institutional norms in light of conflict prevention and peacemaking activities on the ground. The “Pan African Network of the Wise” shall support the AUC as well as its equivalents at REC level in awareness raising and monitoring of observance of normative principles agreed to by member states (treaties, protocols and decisions at the AU, RECs, RMs and member states) with relevance to peace and security but also governance, human rights, in light of conflict prevention and peacemaking activities conducted by Special Envoys, Special Representatives and Chief Mediators on the ground
- Regular exchange of information on all pertaining activities; a close partnership and enhanced coordination; development and implementation of joint programmes and activities in the area of peace.
Landmark activities and impact:
- Through conflict prevention or fact finding missions (including good offices, fact-finding, conciliation, confidence-building, mediation, negotiation, etc.), foster policies aimed at promoting democratic principles and practices, good governance, the rule of law and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the sanctity of human life and international humanitarian law.
- Join forces to give their pronouncements on key (often controversial) issues a stronger level of authority, legitimacy and therefore influence
- Collaborative research: undertake collaboration on thematic research and ‘horizon scanning’. Over and above the active participation of REC associated panelists in the AU Panel’s thematic work and related workshops, the network shall aim at systematically developing collaborative thematic research projects and activities.
- Experience sharing, best practices and lessons learned, joint training and capacity-building initiatives.
- Policy Harmonisation and Strategic Orientation on Conflict Prevention and Peacemaking: the “Pan African Network of the Wise” shall reflect on and address some of the more strategic and normative policy harmonization dimensions of conflict prevention and peacemaking within the context of the APSA
- Support RECs/RMs and Member States in establishing formal Panels of the Wise, Peace/Mediation committees.
Members of the Panel of the Wise from June 2017 to May 2019 Southern Africa (Namibia) Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President of Namibia, Current Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise; North Africa (Egypt) Mr. Amr Moussa, former Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; East Africa (Uganda) Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Vice President of Uganda; Central Africa (Gabon) Mrs. Honorine Nzet Biteghe, former Minister for Women and Family; West Africa (Liberia) Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia.
Members of the Panel of the Wise from June 2014 to May 2016
Southern Africa (Mozambique) Dr. Luisa Diogo, former Prime Minister of Mozambique, Current Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise; North Africa (Algeria) Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, former UN Envoy for Syria, among others; East Africa (Uganda) Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Vice President of Uganda; Central Africa (Angola) Mrs. Albina Assis, former Minister of Petroleum; West Africa (Togo) Dr. Edem Kodjo, former Prime Minister of Togo and former OAU Secretary General.
The first members, appointed in 2007, were:
|Region||Member||Country||Description||Role in Panel|
|North||Ahmed Ben Bella||Algeria||former President of Algeria||Member (Chairperson)|
|West||Elisabeth K. Pognon||Benin||President of the Constitutional Court in Benin||Member|
|East||Salim Ahmed Salim||Tanzania||former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity||Member|
|Central||Miguel Trovoada||São Tomé and Príncipe||former President of São Tomé and Príncipe||Member|
|South||Brigalia Bam||South Africa||Head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission||Member|
Current Members of the Friends of the Panel (former Members)
The current members and friends of the Panel of the Wise, who are the outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise serving from 2010 to 2014, are:
|Region||Member||Country||Description||Role in Panel|
|North||Ahmed Ben Bella||Algeria||former President of Algeria||Member (Chairperson; 2nd & last term), (N.B., deceased, April 2012)|
|West||Mary Chinery-Hesse||Ghana||Member (1st term)|
|East||Salim Ahmed Salim||Tanzania||former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity||Member (2nd & last term)|
|Central||Marie-Madeleine Kalala||Democratic Republic of the Congo||Member (1st term)|
|South||Kenneth Kaunda||Zambia||President of Zambia||Member (1st term)|
|West||Elisabeth K. Pognon||Benin||President of the Constitutional Court in Benin||Friend (2nd & last time)|
|Central||Miguel Trovoada||São Tomé and Príncipe||former President of São Tomé and Príncipe||Friend (2nd & last term)|
|South||Brigalia Bam||South Africa||Head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission||Friend (2nd & last term)|
- "AU Launches 'Panel of the Wise'". .voanews.com. Archived from the original on 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2013-09-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- African Union official site