African Union 8th Annual Humanitarian Symposium

8th Annual Humanitarian Symposium

Theme: Humanitarian Action within the context of COVID-19 and AU Theme of the Year 2020 Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development

When: 11th – 13th November 2020,
Time: 3:00pm – 6:00pm EAT daily

Where: the event will be held via zoom virtual platform: 

To register: Registration in advance is required for this meeting:


  • 11th November 2020 – Impact of COVID-19 on Humanitarian Situation
  • 12th November 2020 – Implementing AU theme of the Year 2020 Silencing the Guns: Creating conducive conditions for Africa’s Development within Humanitarian context.
  • 13th November 2020 - Implementing the outcomes of the AU 2019 theme, Year of Refugees, Returnees and IDPs, towards durable solutions to forced displacements

More information:

The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging African economies and stretching the health systems beyond their limits with enormous social, economic, political and humanitarian implications. It has further compounded the humanitarian and displacement situations in the continent which is already dire. Africa is home to a third of global forcibly displaced persons including,
19.2 million IDPs, 7.8 million refugees and asylum seekers and 172,000 stateless persons. Moreover, there are many who are trapped in protracted conflict situations.

While the pandemic poses serious threats to all persons, evidence shows that the most marginalized social groups are at greater risk. These include refugees and asylum seekers, IDPs, returnees, migrants and stateless persons. Forced displacement in Africa is largely a result of protracted violent conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, governance failures, including human rights violations, natural disasters and climate change, among others.

The African Union declared 2020 as the year of silencing the guns, its efforts at preventing, managing and resolving conflicts have been compounded by onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has presented the continent with a double-jeopardy:
(a) Protracted violent intra-state conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, inter-communal violence and
(b) Raging health, humanitarian and development crisis occasioned by COVID-19.
The African Union, Regional Economic Communities and Member States should make concerted efforts to ensure that policy responses to COVID-19 should consider the special needs of displaced persons, host communities and migrants.

It is recalled that the AU theme focused on addressing root causes and finding solutions for forced displacement in the continent. Within this overarching objective it has successfully implemented a range of activities in collaboration with its Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and partners. The AU also marked the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa as well as the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the 2009 AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa in 2019. Thanks to a robust international collective advocacy, five countries namely Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Somalia and South Sudan ratified the Kampala Convention. Many countries in Africa have also made important pledges in relation to the Global Compact on Refugees which aim to strengthen protection and solutions for refugees. The Commission also successfully organized a series of Continental Consultative Meetings (CCMs) which brought together member states, RECs, international partners, academia and research institutions, representatives of displaced persons and AU’s development partners. Some of the topics on which these important consultative meetings were organized include the implementation and supervision of the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, implementation of the Kampala Convention and international and global solidarity and burden sharing. The AU also organized, in partnership with UNHCR, a dialogue on refugees, returnees and displaced women were organized whose outcome helped mainstream and integrated the rights and interests of women across various AU 2019 theme activities.


Event Date: 
Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - 15:00 to Friday, November 13, 2020 - 18:00
Organiser or Host: 
African Union