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The UN and Africa: Progress towards achieving the SDGs
Author: Prof Francois Vrey
Published: 14/02/2019

Wednesday to Friday, June 19-21, 2019 

Stellenbosch University | South Africa

In 2017, UNSG Antonio Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat signed a Joint UN-AU framework for Enhancing Partnership in Peace and Security. Both leaders, however made clear that peace and security is just one of many fields in which the two organizations intend to cooperate more closely. The relationship between the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the AU’s 2063 was mentioned, as was migration, climate change, terrorism, human rights, good governance and the rule of law. The Summit not only marked a new beginning in the relationship between the UN and the AU, but also signalled a new understanding of the relationship between the UN and Africa, and its nations and people. UNSG Antonio Guterres made that univocally clear at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, in January of this year. Africa faces many interrelated challenges such as keeping the peace, developing its economies, managing migration, and countering terrorism and crime: 7 out of 14 peacekeeping operations in the world are deployed in Africa; 33 African countries are classified as least developed (out of 47); 30% of Africa’s population is internally displaced, and transnational organized crime and terrorism are on the rise on the African continent. Within the new partnership between the UN and the AU; between the world and Africa, possibilities may arise for new approaches to development, new roles for African states and organisations , new socio-economic and political solutions. Whatever these solutions are, they must be – to use the words of UNSG Guterres: “Africa owned, Africa-driven and Africa-led.”

We welcome proposals for individual workshop papers and full workshop panels addressing the following themes related to the relationship between the UN and Africa and the cooperation between the UN and African nations in addressing global and African issues:

>How is the partnership between the UN and the African Union to be operationalized in such policy areas as peace and security, SDGs and human rights?
>What is the role of other regional organizations like ECOWAS, SADC, EAC, IGAD and ECCAS?
>How can the UN and Africa work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals?
>How are the most pressing humanitarian issues in Africa to be addressed and tackled?
>What is the role of African states in global governance beyond the African continent?
>What is the role of civil society and the private sector in the sustainable development of Africa? 
>What is the role of women and youth in achieving the SDGs? 

Special attention will be given to proposals related to the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) thematic areas.

>Climate Change
>Poverty and Inequality
>Food Security
>Unemployment and Skills Development
>Non-Communicable Diseases
>Notions of Identity
>Materials Development and Nanotechnology
>Good Governance
>Water Conservation
>Post-Conflict Societies
>Urbanisation and Habitable Cities
>Mobility and Migration

Call for Papers - Workshop Panels and Posters

The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) now is accepting workshop papers, panel proposals, and posters for presentation at its thirty-second Annual Meeting, to be held Wednesday to Friday, June 19 – 21, 2019 at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Proposals on the Annual Meeting theme – “The UN and Africa: Progress Towards Achieving the SDGs” – and on the subthemes and issues raised in the introductory note, in addition to other topics relating to the UN system and the broader mandate of the Council, will be considered.

Current ACUNS members in good standing (including new or newly-renewed members) will be given priority consideration for their proposals, but non-members are welcome to submit proposals.

Applicants from African countries outside South Africa are invited to inquire about partial funding that may be available.


>To register, and to submit proposals for presentation, visit:>Deadline: The deadline for uploading your proposals at is Monday, February 25, 2019.>Submissions: To submit an individual proposal, full panel proposal, or poster proposal you will be required to upload full contact information, the paper/presentation/panel title(s), abstract(s) of no more than 200 words, and biographical note(s) of no more than 200 words.>Registration: Once your proposal is accepted you are required to register for the 2019 Annual Meeting at Fees:

ACUNS Member $150 US ACUNS Student Member $75 US

Non-Member $225 US Student Non-Member $125 US

Event location:

Stellenbsoch University, visit
Questions about submissions: contact the ACUNS Secretariat

For general questions about the Council and its activities, please contact: 

Prof. Math Noortmann,
Executive Director, ACUNS,