Introduction: Concept and origin
With the aim of playing a crucial role in bringing about sustainable peace and contributing to the implementation of the African Union Tripoli Declaration of August 2009, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University convenes an annual flagship security conference called the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, now popularly known as the Tana Forum. This initiative is a response to the Tripoli Declaration’s appeal for “African-centred solutions” and the treatment of peace and security as a collective “intellectual challenge.”
Since it was first initiated in collaboration with eminent African personalities, including Meles Zenawi, the late Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Tana Forum has emerged as an independent and informal gathering of African decision-makers, leaders of thought, stakeholder groups and their larger constituencies for an open discussion on the pressing peace and security issues and challenges facing the continent.
Overall and specific objectives
The overall objective of the Tana Forum is to serve as a platform where African peace and security issues are discussed in order to allow high-level decision-makers within and outside the continent develop new and innovative solutions to the myriad peace and security situations confronting the continent.
Specifically, the Forum aims at:
- Providing opportunities to decision-making leaders and institutions to exchange experiences and insights on peace and security issues among themselves with a view to gaining new perspectives required to resolve critical peace and security problems;
- Giving opportunities to political decision-makers to interact and consult with a critical mass of African constituency and key global actors in the peace, security and development sectors;
- Contributing to an open and substantive debate on peace and security issues of strategic importance to the continent vis-à-vis the rest of the world;
- Communicating with and listening to “profound African voices on the ground” on various dimensions and components of peace and security concerns across the continent, thus facilitating the much-desired inclusive dialogue among governments and other African security stakeholders;
- Sensitizing and mobilizing a broad spectrum of actors and stakeholders to promote awareness of, and the imperative for, African ownership of peace and security solutions.