High-level panels as diplomatic instruments: the African Union panel of the wise and the emergence of an African Peace Diplomacy Architecture
Jo-Ansie, Van Wyk
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High-level panels are institutionalized diplomatic instruments comprising high-profile and respected individuals to address a particular issue. Building on traditional and contemporary institutions in recognizing the Wise or Elderly as diplomats, the African Union Panel of the Wise is one of the five pillars of the African Peace and Security Architecture – and thus peace diplomacy – in terms of Article 11 of the African Union (AU) Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council. This research analyses the Panel’s contribution to African diplomacy by focusing on the Panel’s knowledge production; its normative and operational impact; raising awareness and agenda setting; the Panel’s innovation in respect of conflict resolution and governance; and the prevention and reduction of conflict in Africa. The research concludes that, despite some contribution to African diplomacy, efforts to prevent and reduce African conflicts have been influenced by the Panel’s mandate, processes, and contextual factors. This notwithstanding, the Panel’s contribution to an emergent African Peace Diplomacy Architecture is recognised.