Countries: Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Topic A: Countering the desertification and deforestation in the Sahel region
The Sahel is a biome located in northern Africa, serving as a transition zone between the Sahara desert to the North and the savannas in the South. Recently, the Sahel has been experiencing a process of desertification, which has a drastic social and environmental impact on the region. This desertification is rooted in and caused by over-farming, overgrazing, overpopulation and over-logging of trees. As a consequence of this, dust storms have been becoming more frequent and have significantly grown in size, ravaging the region and local populations who are particularly susceptible to such phenomena.
In 2007 the African Union endorsed an initiative named Great Green Wall (GGW) from the Community of Sahel-Saharan States to create a line of trees, which would act as a countermeasure for the desertification of the Sahel. The idea has developed considerably to include environmental as well as social and economic factors, now to be hailed as Africa’s flagship initiative. However, there has been some criticism regarding its high water demand for the planting, and the impacts on local biodiversity. Hence, delegates of the council of the African Union should look specifically at ways to improve the current GGW initiative through regional and continental collaboration, as well as joint efforts in countering desertification and deforestation as a whole.
Topic B: Justice and the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers
In 2006 the UN introduced the Integrated Disarmament Demobilisation and Rehabilitation Standards, which have been crucial in facilitating and providing a framework for the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers. Child soldiers often present complex cases for reintegration due to community recovery, and local stigmas regarding child soldiers, as well as the trauma, drugs, STD’s, sexual abuse and violence that the child may have been exposed to. Furthermore, the proper reintegration of these child soldiers is also crucial for the future security of the region, as successful Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation is a key part of a population’s healing process following a conflict. Many of the most recent and devastating conflicts on the African continent have involved armies of child soldiers, and so this is of particular interest to the AU. Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Congo should be considered as past conflicts of particular interest; Sudan, Nigeria and the Central African Republic should be taken as crucial current conflicts to which this work will need to be applied to.