General debate of the PSC and A3+1 on African matters in the UNSC Agenda

Amani Africa

Date | 17 January, 2022

Tomorrow (17 January), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its first ministerial session of the year, which will be its 1058th session, to hold a general debate of the PSC and the A3+1 on African matters in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) agenda.

Ghana, which joined this year the UNSC as the non-permanent member representing Africa, will preside over the session as the chair of the PSC for the month. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, is expected to deliver an opening statement. AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye, is scheduled to make a presentation that would facilitate the discussion. All the three elected African members of the UNSC (A3), namely, Gabon, Ghana, and Kenya, are envisaged to participate.

The PSC last convened a session on the role of the A3 at its 983rd meeting that took place on 4 March 2021. In that session, the Council, among others, stressed the importance of providing ‘strategic guidance’ to the A3 on peace and security issues ahead of the UNSC meetings to enable them effectively discharge their role of articulating, defending and promoting common African positions on issues of interest within the UNSC. Tomorrow’s session is aimed at providing the PSC and A3 members a platform to deliberate and exchange views on matters of strategic importance to Africa that are on the agenda of the UNSC. The deliberation is expected to help the A3 better amplify African positions and interests within the UNSC as it would facilitate common understanding on African matters.

The concept note prepared for the session outlines four agenda items for the discussion. The first agenda item is on the funding of AU-led PSOs. Members of the PSC and the A3 will receive update on the progress made towards the development of the draft Consensus Paper on the Financing of AU-led Peace Support Operations through the UN Assessed Contributions. It is to be recalled that the PSC considered the draft zero consensus paper as well as the strategic priorities for the utilization of the AU Peace Fund during its 1036th session, held on 5 October 2021. This was a follow up session to the 21 July 2021 Bankole’s brief to the Council on the steps taken towards the elaboration of the common position on financing of AU-led PSOs. If finalized, the consensus paper is expected to be submitted to the upcoming AU Assembly this February for endorsement.

In 2021, the two counterparts in Addis and New York showed interest to revive discussions around financing AU-led PSOs through UN assessed contributions after efforts to adopt a resolution reached deadlock in 2018 and then in 2019. The issue was high on the agenda of AU-UN Consultative meetings held at different levels in November and December of last year. On 28 October 2021, the UNSC also issued a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/21) on cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security. After recognizing the potential impact of ‘ad hoc and unpredictable financing arraignments’ for AU-led PSOs on the effectiveness of the PSOs, the presidential statement ‘encouraged further dialogue on options for addressing this issue’.

The development of a consensus paper is indeed a critical step in facilitating a clear decision by the AU, which in turn pave the way for the A3 to resuscitate the file in the UNSC. The outcome of the discussion will be shaped by two factors. The first is whether the AU is able to take a clear position on the sticking points in the negotiation with UNSC, notably 75/25 funding formula, compliance with human right and humanitarian standards, financial accountability and transparency, and command and control over the troops. The second is while there is a favorable dynamic in the UNSC which was also demonstrated in the recently concluded 15th annual consultative meeting, high-level diplomatic engagement with the US remains critical.

In relation to the second agenda item, the discussion is expected to center around ways of ensuring a predictable and sustainable financial and logistical support to the G5 Joint Task Force. Secretary General’s report on the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) (document S/2021/940) highlights the risk of reversal of gains made by the Joint Task Force as it relies on ‘unpredictable donor financing, which cannot entirely meet the Joint Force’s needs’. The UN Secretary-General has been advocating for the establishment of UN Support Office to AMISOM-like separate office to avail logistical support to the Task Force through assessed contribution. During MINUSMA’s mandate renewal in June 2021, A3+1 members at the time (Niger, Tunisia, Kenya, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), along with France, was even mulling over tabling a resolution to establish the office. However, the UK and US opposed the idea of a separate office and the use of assessed contribution for non-UN missions. The PSC, on its part, urged the UNSC to ‘take necessary steps that will guarantee sustainable and predictable funding for the G5 Sahel Force from the UN assessed contribution’, at its 939th session convened on 30 July 2021. However, the PSC omitted the same call for UN funding in its last session (1006th) on the G5 Sahel, held on 6 July 2021.

Against this context, tomorrow’s deliberation would help both the PSC and the A3 to strategize on how to get buy-in from UNSC members, particularly UK and US. Two issues will remain to be addressed in this respect. The first issue stems from the very nature of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, which is ‘a coalition of the willing’ that undertake counter terrorism operations within their territories. UN is reluctant to use its assessed contribution for counter terrorism operations as it would not be in line with its peacekeeping doctrine. The second issue is that the Joint Force is not AU-led PSO nor UN-authorized mission, but an AU-mandated force. As this raises the question of compliance and accountability, it would be challenging to get UN backing without making some sort of changes on the modality of the Task Force.

The third agenda item will focus on support for strengthening the security capabilities of African regional institutions. The discussion on this item is likely to happen within the context of a progress made towards the operationalization of the African Standby Force and growing interest of regional blocs to use this framework while addressing security situations/crisis arising in their jurisdiction. A case in point is the deployment of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) in mid-July of 2021 to combat of terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado. Most recently, ECOWAS, at its 4th extraordinary summit convened on 9 January 2022, decided to ‘activate immediately the ECOWAS Standby Force, to enhance its preparedness, should the need arise’ in the context of the difficult political transition in Mali.

The ability and will of some of the RECs/RMs for the deployment of PSOs requires more clarity between AU, RECs/RMs and Member States on some of the strategic and political issues such as decision making, mandating deployment and command and control of the forces. In this connection, participants may hear from Bankole about the status of the drafting of the AU-RECs/RMs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the deployment and employment of the ASF. As highlighted by the PSC at its 1007th session (8 July 2021) on the operationalization of ASF, ‘lack of resource including predictable and sustainable funding’ will remain major impediment to the effectiveness as well as sustainability of such deployments. Members of PSC and the A3 may reflect on ways and means of addressing this challenge. Of interest to the participants is also the status of the establishment of a counter-terrorism unit within the ASF as decided by the PSC during its 960th session (28 October 2020).

The last agenda item is on common African position for UN Security Council on climate induced insecurity. As noted in the concept note, ‘AU has demonstrated continental leadership in recognizing and acting on the nexus between climate, peace and security’. In 2021 alone, the PSC convened three sessions (984th, 1043rd, and 1051st) on climate change, natural disasters, and peace and security. Two of these sessions were convened at the summit level, showing the political weight attached to the issue. While the UNSC has failed to adopt a resolution on climate change and security, the PSC issued several communiques that clearly recognizes the risk of climate change to the peace and security landscape in Africa. It is to be recalled that the outgoing A3 member (Niger) and Ireland tabled a resolution on climate security in last December. Though the draft resolution was not adopted as Russia vetoed it. Climate security is high on the agenda of Africa as the continent only contributes four percent of carbon emission but bears the brunt of its consequences.

Beyond tabling a resolution, there are other avenues that A3 could navigate to get Africa’s voice on climate security across. One notable avenue in this regard is the Informal Expert Group on Climate Security in the UN Security Council in which Kenya co-chairs alongside Norway.

Developing African Common Position on Climate Change will go a long way in clarifying Africa’s position and providing strategic guidance to the A3 in their engagement within the UNSC to advance Africa’s interest. The idea of having such a common position was first raised during the summit level meeting of the PSC at its 984th session in March of last year. In its latest session on climate change and security (1051st), the PSC also reaffirmed the importance of ‘adhering to the common African position on climate change, in particular on Climate Finance and operationalization of the Global Goal on Adaptation’ in the context of the upcoming COP27. As indicated in the concept note, tomorrow’s session therefore presents both the PSC and A3 members the opportunity for consultation on the development of the common position, and explore ‘main action points and instruments needed for the AU’ to advance climate-security nexus.

The expected outcome is a communique. The outcome may stress on the need to regularize and institutionalize interaction between the PSC and A3 to collectively advance African position and interest in the UNSC. They may further emphasize the importance of broadening alliance and constructively engage with UNSC members to get a greater buy-in of African positions on African files and other issues of mutual interest. The participants may specifically highlight the issue of ensuring predictable, sustainable and sufficient financing to peace support operations in Africa as a critical factor for the success of such operations, and in this regard, may urge member states, AU, RECs/RMs, international partners and the UN to avail all the required supports. Given the important role they play in building consensus within the AU, participants may urge the Commission to expedite the development and finalization of African common positions on financing AU-led PSOs as well as climate change and security. On support to counter terrorism operations, the participants may emphasize on the need to have further clarity on UN’s peacekeeping engagement and the use of its assessed contribution in light of the changing global security landscape as marked by the rise of terrorism and violent extremism.

Update on the Situation in Mali

Amani Africa

Date | 14 January, 2022

Tomorrow (14 January), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is set to receive updates on the situation in Mali as one of the agenda items of its 1057th session, which was added to the monthly program after the adoption of the program.

Following the opening remarks of the PSC Chairperson of the month and Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU, Amma A. Twum-Amoah, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to make a presentation. The AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, Maman Sambo Sidikou is also expected to make remarks. Statements are also expected from representatives of Algeria, Mauritania, Ghana (as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Chair), and United Nations Office to the AU (UNOAU). Mali as a country concerned may provide a statement. It is expected that one of the issues that will be highlighted is the need for ensuring that measures taken against Mali will not interfere with the 2015 peace agreement and further aggravate the security challenges of Mali.

The session comes following the fourth Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government convened on 9 January 2022 where in addition to deciding to uphold the previous sanctions, the regional bloc imposed additional sanctions against Mali and the transition authorities, including closure of land and air borders between Mali and other ECOWAS countries. ECOWAS’s decision was based on the inability of Mali’s transition authorities to adhere to the 2020 Transitional Charter which limits the transition period to 18 months. Ahead of the summit, Mali presented a proposal to ECOWAS, which the ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan indicated would not be endorsed by ECOWAS.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to consider the latest developments in Mali in the context of the decision of the Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS. It is to be recalled that the PSC at its 1001st session endorsed the decision of ECOWAS on Mali and called upon the transitional authorities to respect the initially set 18 months transition period. The PSC has further called for the immediate return of the military to the barracks, for a swift civilian led transition, for the unconditional respect of the transitional charter and to ensure that the current leadership of the transition does not participate in the planned election.

Despite the repeated calls by ECOWAS, the PSC and other international partners to adhere to the 2020 Transitional Charter and despite earlier promises by Mali’s transition authority to conduct elections by February 2022, a new transition calendar was adopted by the end of December 2021, scheduling the elections for December 2026 and extending the transition period for additional five years.

As highlighted in the report of PSC’s Evaluation Mission to Mali conducted in July 2021, there was already lack of concreate agreement on the establishment of an independent election management body or maintaining the prevailing system of having three institutions to manage the elections. According to the draft electoral law adopted by the Council of Ministers on 24 November 2021, a single election management body is to be established although the process for establishing this organ may be lengthy, a concern already stressed by various Malian stakeholders earlier on as captured in the report of PSC’s Evaluation mission.

Moreover, despite repeated calls from ECOWAS and PSC, Mali’s current transition authorities have refrained from declaring that they will not be taking part in elections at the end of the transition period. The transition process has also been criticised for lack of inclusivity. For instance, reports indicate that despite the participation of substantial number of citizens at the national dialogue – the “National Refoundation Conference” – conducted from 11 to 30 December 2021 which ended with the recommendation to extend Mali’s transition period anywhere from six months to five years, some key regions were not represented, notably Kidal and Ménaka. Moreover, the Cadre d’échange (“Exchange Framework”), a political coalition involving allies of the former presidential majority, not only boycotted the national dialogue claiming “erosion of trust between the transitional government and political parties”, but also voiced clear opposition against the new transition calendar and the extension of the transition period implied therein.

Both ECOWAS and the PSC – notably the PSC at its 1001st session – have underscored the need for holding a national dialogue and urged the transition authorities to coordinate an inclusive national reconciliation and dialogue process. The December 2021 “National Refoundation Conference” was conducted after two postponements. Nonetheless, the dialogue came up with some solid positive outcomes, including recommendations for the creation of a Senate, the acceleration of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process and a constitutional review.

Malian authorities rejected the decision of ECOWAS and have called upon people in the country and diaspora to participate in protests on Friday 14 January, alongside calls for prayer sessions in places of worship, declaring their decision to ‘safeguard our sovereignty’. A key development in the region that followed ECOWAS’s additional sanctions against Mali was Guinea’s announcement that it is in no way associated with the decision and that it will keep its borders with Mali open, going against ECOWAS’s decision. Guinea, having undergone a coup of its own on 5 September 2021, is currently undergoing a transition period marred with its own challenges and as a member of ECOWAS, is under sanctions imposed by the regional bloc. On the other hand, in the Communiqué of its 4th Extraordinary Session, ECOWAS has called for non-ECOWAS member States neighbouring Mali, particularly Algeria and Mauritania to support the implementation of its decisions. Algeria and Mauritania, both expected to be represented at tomorrow’s PSC session may therefore express their positions in that regard.

The UN Security Council on its part considered the situation in Mali and a draft statement on Mali initiated by France on 11 January 2022. Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN stated that the A3+1 firmly backed the tough ECOWAS decision on Mali, while welcoming the assurance the sanctions imposed will not impede the import of humanitarian air, essential consumer goods, medicines, medical equipment and the operations of UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Despite the support by the A3 and other members of the Council including UK and US for the draft statement initiated by France, the adoption of the draft statement was blocked by Russia and China. Russia underscored at the meeting that it recognises and understands the challenges faced by Malian authorities in organising the general elections as explanation for its position against endorsing ECOWAS’s sanctions. It is known that the involvement of the Russian private military company, the Wagner Group in Mali has been causing tension between Russia on the one hand and other members of the UN Security Council, notably France, UK and US.

On the security front, insurgency and intercommunal violence continue to destabilise the country, with an increasing trend in the usage of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Militant attacks targeted against civilians and MINUSMA forces have continued to claim the lives of many. At its 1027th session where it considered the report of the PSC evaluation mission to Mali, Council encouraged the transition authorities to accelerate implementation of the 2015 Algiers Agreement, particularly the deployment of the Reconstituted Army Battalions (BATFAR) which could contribute in filling some security vacuum that could result from the withdrawal of France’s forces. To evaluate the threat on the ground, the AU Commission was also requested to conduct an assessment at Council’s 1027th session. Tomorrow’s session therefore presents the opportunity for Council to follow up on the progress of the assessment.

The humanitarian situation in Mali also continues to deteriorate. According to the UN, “more than 1.8 million people are expected to need food assistance in 2022 compared to 1.3 million in 2021, the highest level of food insecurity recorded since 2014”. The UN has also recorded a considerable increase in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mali, from 216,000 to over 400,000 in just one year. Despite the worsening circumstances, there hasn’t been sufficient humanitarian assistance in Mali, with a very limited amount of funding received in the past year as emphasised by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the country.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a Communiqué. Council is expected to express grave concern over the prolonged extension of the transition period, going against the terms of the PSC communique of its 1001st session. The PSC may reiterate its earlier calls for the need for upholding constitutional rule and respecting the terms of the transitional charter that sets the parameters for return to constitutional order. It may also endorse the decision of the 4th Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and may appeal to the transitional authorities to work with ECOWAS to address the outstanding areas of difference with a view for facilitating the return of Mali to constitutional order within a short period of time. The PSC may also call on its member States to support the efforts of ECOWAS and the ECOWAS mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan. Council may also appeal to the international community to provide assistance to respond to the grave humanitarian situation in Mali. Welcoming the convening of the national dialogue, the Council may also urge Mali’s transition authorities to take forward and ensure implementation of outcomes such as the recommendation for accelerating DDR processes while complying with the transitional charter and the various communiques of the PSC. It may also reiterate the importance of the 2015 peace agreement and the need to ensure and provide full support for its implementation.

Consideration of the Renewal of the Mandate of MNJTF

Amani Africa

Date | 14 January, 2022

Tomorrow (14 January), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1057th session to consider the renewal of the mandate of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Permanent Representative of Ghana, Amma A. Twum-Amoah, is expected to make opening statement as the Chair of the PSC for the month of January. The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to introduce the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against the Boko Haram terrorist group. The new Force Commander of the MNJTF, Maj.-Gen. Abdul-Khalifah Ibrahim, who assumed the position in August 2021 is scheduled to deliver a presentation. The representatives of Ghana and Gabon are also expected to make statements as the chair of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), respectively.

This session is convened in light of the impending expiry of MNJTF’s mandate at the end of January—PSC last renewed MNJTF’s mandate on January 2021 during its 973rd session. Apart from mandate renewal, this session affords the Council the opportunity to receive update on the activities of the MNJTF pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Communiqué PSC/AHG/ COMM.2 (CDLXXXIV) of 29 January 2015. Among others, the update is expected to highlight the achievements and challenges of MNJTF since its last mandate renewal.

On the achievements, the MNJTF has made progress in discharging its mandate against Boko Haram and its offshoot, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). One notable success over the last one year is the ‘spate of insurgents surrender’ as a result of MNJTF’s kinetic and non-kinetic measures. Some 3,600 militants reportedly surrendered between August and October of last year. Military operations by the Taskforce also eliminated several jihadist militants and seized weapons and equipment. In the recent operation code-named ‘Sharan Fague’, which was carried out last December in Malam Fatori of Borno State of Nigeria, around 22 Boko Haram terrorists were neutralized, according to a statement by the Spokesperson of the Task force. According to the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on MNJTF, ‘over 160 Boko Haram terrorist fighters were neutralized while about 130 others were arrested’. Another notable success highlighted by the report is MNJTF’s success in dislodging the terrorist group from all population centers, which are now contained in their enclaves within the Lake Chad Islands (Tumbuns).

MNJTF’s military operations have improved security situation in some of the affected areas in the Lake Chad Basin, paving the way for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to return home. This was the case in the town of Baroua, Diffa region of Southeast Niger, where close to 6,000 IDPs who fled Boko Haram violence years ago reportedly returned home last June. In August 2021, same number of IDPs of Cross kauwa, Baga and Doron Baga of Borno State, Nigeria, also returned to their homes.

A bitter infight between Boko Haram and ISWAP inflicted considerable loss to both of them in 2021. Boko Haram’s longtime leader, Abubakar Shekau, was reported dead in May 2021 after his base in Sambisa forest was overrun by its splinter group, ISWAP. This triggered defections to the government forces and in some cases to the ISWAP faction. In October of the same year, Nigerian army also announced the death of ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi. It is believed that the deadly rivalry between the two factions creates window of opportunity for the Taskforce to intensify its military engagement against the terrorist groups and degrade their operational capacity.

Despite MNJTF’s success, both Boko Haram and ISWAP are still potent threat that showed resilience despite the setback they sustained. According to the latest report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on ‘continental efforts in the prevention and combating of terrorism in Africa’, Boko Haram staged 33 attacks leading to 175 deaths during the first half of 2021. Though this marks a reduction as compared to 2020 (59 attacks and 375 deaths), Boko Haram remained the most lethal terrorist group in Africa with an average of 5.3 deaths per attack.

Tomorrow’s session is also expected to discuss some of the challenges that the MNJTF is currently facing. One major challenge likely to be highlighted in this regard is the increasing use of technologies such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) by Boko Haram (PSC flagged this particular concern during its 816th and 973rd sessions). The use of drone by the terrorist group was first reported in November 2018 when Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari announced the development during a meeting of troop contributing countries to the MNJTF. The influx of affiliated foreign terrorist fighters who bring with them technical skills in customizing the widely available commercial drones (hobby drones) helped Boko Haram and other non-state actors in Africa to include drones in their repertoires. Currently, Boko Haram’ use of this technology is limited to surveillance and reconnaissance operations. But, as the Chairperson of the Commission cautioned in his latest report on terrorism in Africa, ‘it is only a question of time before these [terrorist] groups adopt weaponized-drones into their Modus Operandi’. Against this context, it is imperative that the MNJTF and countries in the Lake Chad Basin have a strategy to counter the emerging threat.

The other challenge is the capability gaps within the MNJTF. In the previous session on the MNJTF, the Council requested the AU Commission to mobilise support, particularly through the provision for ‘Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) equipment, Amphibious Equipment, counter drone equipment, force protection vehicles, surveillance equipment, and Intelligence, Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) services’. The presentations from Bankole and the force commander Ibrahim may highlight developments in this regard including the provision of Air Mobility assets, Command-Control-Communication and Information System (C3IS), and boats to enhance amphibious capability. Bankole may also speak about the financial support provided by the European Union (EU) to the Task force through the AU. The report of the Chairperson indicates that EU availed 18.9 million Euros for 2021. The EU increased the amount for this year to 20 million Euros. In light of the growing number of terrorist surrenders, Bankole may also highlight the Commission’s support to the MNJTF in ensuring compliance to regional and international human rights and humanitarian law.

Member states of the Lake Chad Basin are also facing mounting security challenges other than from Boko Haram/ISWAP. The rising herder-farmer conflict and armed bandit attacks (the latest attack this month claimed over 200 lives) in Nigeria; growing jihadist insurgency in Niger along its borders with Mali and Burkina Faso; the incursion of mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya into Chad are cases in point. Unless more resource is channeled to support the MNJTF’s counter terrorism operations, national governments of the region may have to shift attention towards addressing other security threats.

Lack of coordination in the area of joint planning and information sharing between different sectors of the MNJTF, limited LCBC’s political control over the Force, as well as lack of sustainable funding remain the other challenges affecting the effectiveness of the MNJTF.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. The PSC is expected to commend the gains made by the MNJTF over Boko Haram. However, the Council may express its concern over the continued security threat posed by the terrorist groups and some of the worrying trends such as Boko Haram’s use of drones for surveillance and reconnaissance operations. The Council is also expected to take note of the challenges that the MNJTF is currently facing. In this regard, it may urge member states of the LCBC plus Benin and international partners to redouble efforts in addressing capability gaps and funding constraint, as well as issues related to effective coordination in the areas of operation planning and information sharing. The Council may follow up on its previous request of the Commission to renew the ‘Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Support Implementation Agreement (SIA) between AU, LCBC and MNJTF TCCs in support of MNJTF operations’. Furthermore, on account of the transboundary nature of Boko Haram’s threat, the Council may call on the two regional blocs ECOWAS and ECCAS to enhance horizontal cooperation and coordination. In light of the prevailing security situation in the Lake Chad Basin, the Council is expected to renew MNJTF’s mandate for another one year effective 1 February 2022.

Monthly Digest on the AUPSC - October, 2021

Amani Africa

Date | October, 2021

In October, Mozambique chaired the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). In total, nine sessions were convened during the month. While the initial programme of work for the month envisaged seven substantive sessions, there were changes introduced in the course of the month.

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Provisional Program of Work for the Month of January 2022

Amani Africa

Date | 30 December, 2021

Ghana assumes the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of January. In January, Ghana also starts its two-year term on the UN Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member representing Africa. The provisional program of work for the month includes five substantive sessions—two country/region specific and three thematic sessions.

On 5 January, the Committee of Experts is expected to meet to consider the report on the activities of the Peace and Security Council and the state of peace and security in Africa. On 11 and 13 January, the PSC will convene at Ambassadorial level to consider and adopt the same report, which will be submitted to the Assembly in February.

The first substantive session of the year is scheduled to happen on 14 January to consider the renewal of the mandate of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF). The PSC last renewed MNJTF’s mandate at its 973rd session held on 18 January 2021, for a period of twelve months, effective from 31 January 2021. Apart from mandate renewal, the Council may receive update on the activities of the MNJTF in line with the relevant provisions contained in the Communiqué PSC/AHG/ COMM.2 (CDLXXXIV) of 29 January 2015. The continued use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) by Boko Haram for reconnaissance operations and capability gaps within the MNJTF were areas of concern to the Council during its previous sessions. In light of this, members of the PSC are likely to hear from the AU Commission about efforts to engage with partners and other stakeholders to mobilize support for the taskforce and mitigate its capability gaps.

On 17 January, the PSC will convene at a ministerial level to hold a general debate of the PSC and the A3+1 on African matters in the UNSC agenda. This session comes not long after the conclusion of the eighth high level seminar on peace and security in Africa that took place in Oran, Algeria, in early December 2021. The high-level seminar serves as a platform to facilitate close interaction and enhance coordination between the PSC and the A3 (the three African non-permanent members of the UNSC). It is to be recalled that the PSC, at its last session on the A3 (983rd meeting convened on 4 March 2021), stressed the importance of providing ‘strategic guidance’ to the A3 on peace and security issues ahead of the UNSC meetings to support their role in advancing a unified African voice at the UNSC. In this context, the upcoming general debate is pivotal to exchange views and forge a common understanding among members of the PSC and A3+1 on African files in the UNSC. Furthermore, the session offers good opportunity to further consolidate coordination between PSC and the A3.

On the following day, 18 January, PSC will consider and adopt its provisional program of work for February through email exchange.

On 25 January, the PSC is expected to receive a briefing on South Sudan. It is to be recalled that the PSC undertook a three-day field mission to South Sudan in March 2021. The report of the field mission was considered during PSC’s 990th session held on 13 April. In that session, while the Council noted the ‘steady progress’ in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), it also urged the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) to work on all outstanding provisions of the R-ARCSS notably Chapter II (transitional security arrangements) and Chapter V (Transitional justice). As the deadline for the transitional period fast approaches—scheduled to end in February 2023—the briefing would allow members of the PSC to take stock of the progresses and challenges in the implementation of the revitalized agreement and discuss the way forward.

On 27 January, there will be an open session on ‘promoting constitutionalism, democracy and inclusive governance to strengthen peace, security and stability in Africa’. At the Council’s 791st session convened in August 2018, it was agreed to dedicate an annual session on the implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, though not followed up. The upsurge of unconstitutional change of government in 2021 and its destabilizing effect however makes this session very timely. The session is expected to highlight the need to deepen democratic culture, constitutionalism and political governance for a peaceful and stable continent. To that end, the contribution of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the twin architectures of AGA (African Governance Architecture) and APSA (African Peace and Security Architecture) could also be explored.

The last session of the month is scheduled to happen on 31 January to receive a briefing on elections in Africa. The last briefing was held during the Council’s 1034th meeting in September 2021 where the Council considered the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on elections in Africa held between January and June 2021. This briefing therefore follows the previous one, which is expected to cover elections in Africa held during the period from July to December 2021. Like in the previous sessions, the briefing will be based on the report of the Chairperson of the Commission that provides an overview of elections in the continent, in addition to highlighting key trends in governance, emerging patterns in the conduct of elections, AU’s electoral support and interventions as well as policy recommendations.

In addition to the above agenda items, the provisional program of work also indicates in footnote on the possibility of convening a session on the status of AMISOM post-2021 without setting a specific date. This session is likely to happen soon given the most recent milestone reached with the signing of an agreement between the AU and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) on 29 December 2021, outlining principles and modalities for ‘reconfigured’ AMISOM. The session may also consider the latest dispute between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’ and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and its implication on the long overdue presidential election and the overall peace and stability of Somalia.


Amani Africa

January, 2021


Senegal was the chair of the African Union (AU) Peace and security Council (PSC) in January. A total of four substantive sessions were convened during the month. While two of these sessions were country/region specific, the remaining two were thematic. Although Council’s initial programme of work anticipated a session on South Sudan to take place within the month, the session was postponed to later months.1 In terms of regional coverage, west and central Africa were the two regions that featured in PSC’s agenda during January.

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Annual Informal Joint Seminar and Annual Joint Consultative Meeting of the PSC and the UNSC

Amani Africa

Date | 16 December, 2021

On 16 and 17 December, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the United Nations (UN) Security Council (UNSC) will convene their 6th annual informal joint seminar and 15th annual joint consultative meeting, respectively. Both meetings are expected to take place virtually.

While the idea of convening an informal joint seminar is relatively new and was first introduced in 2016, the two Councils have been convening a yearly joint consultative meeting since 2007. The informal joint seminar is held ahead of the joint consultative meeting and mainly serves to address issues of partnership between the two Councils. The consultative meeting on the other hand is dedicated to discussing country/region specific peace and security concerns in Africa. As per previous practice, technical experts of the two Councils held informal consultations in New York, during the week of 22 November, ahead of the upcoming informal seminar and consultative meeting. In addition to these consultations, the PSC has also conducted various preparatory meetings.

6th Annual Informal Joint Seminar

The 6th annual informal seminar is expected to start by the opening statement of the PSC Chairperson, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia and UNSC President, Permanent Representative of Niger. It is also expected that Bankole Adeoye AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security and Representative of the UN will deliver introductory remarks.

It is to be recalled that the main agenda items addressed at the 5th annual informal joint seminar included reflection on progress made in the implementation of AU’s Master Roadmap for Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 and UNSC Resolution 2457 as well as the continued implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda in Africa, in line with UNSC Resolution 1325. The focus on WPS was also in light of commemoration of the 20th anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325.

This year’s informal joint seminar will focus on two agenda items. The first one will be predictable and sustainable financing for AU-led Peace Support Operations (PSOs). From the PSC side the lead speaker is expected to be Nigeria. The effectiveness of AU-led PSOs faces serious challenges due to the lack of sustainable and predictable funding. This has been an issue addressed by the PSC at various occasions including a number of its sessions. The AUPSC and UNSC have also deliberated on this topic at previous joint consultative meetings, most recently at the 12th annual joint consultative meeting convened in 2018. At that meeting, the importance of UNSC Resolutions 2320(2016) and 2378(2017) which emphasise the need of enhancing flexibility, predictability and sustainability of AU-led PSOs authorised by the UNSC in line with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter was underscored. Particularly in terms of flexibility of these funds, the need to consider and accommodate fitting responses to the changing nature of security threats in the continent may be highlighted.

The development of a zero draft AU consensus paper on financing of AU-led PSOs using UN assessed contributions may also be welcomed by the two Councils. It is to be recalled that the issue of financing AU-led PSOs was on the draft agenda of the 4th joint informal seminar but removed at the proposal of the AUPSC which opted for the agenda to be considered after the development of an African common position on financing. In line with this decision the PSC has considered the consensus paper on financing of AU-ed peace support operations using UN assessed contributions in October 2021, although no outcome document was adopted after the session.

The second topic to be discussed at the informal joint seminar is enhancing cooperation between the AUPSC and the UNSC, with a focus on working methods of the two Councils. The lead speakers from the PSC side may be Kenya and Egypt. One of the issues that may be noted in this regard is the importance of synchronising the monthly programmes of work of the AUPSC and UNSC on agenda items of common interest. The role of the African members of the UNSC (A3) is particularly important in enhancing coordination between the two Councils and in informing UNSC deliberation on African files.

Another issue that may feature is the need to reach agreement on modalities for joint-field missions of the Councils. This is an issue that has been addressed at previous consultative meetings although agreement is yet to be reached on the formulation of a workable mechanism for the two Councils to conduct joint visits. Doctrinal differences between the two Councils and the inability to agree on a joint approach has affected the conduct of joint filed missions. More particularly the difference that seems to be delaying agreement in this regard is the preference of UNSC member States to engage in such visits as members of the UNSC as opposed to engaging as a unit. The PSC on the other hand prefers engagement of both itself and the UNSC in their capacities as Councils.

15th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting

The 15th annual consultative meeting is expected to start by the opening statement of the PSC Chairperson, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia and UNSC President, Permanent Representative of Niger. It is also expected that Bankole Adeoye AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security and Representative of the UN will deliver introductory remarks.

Last year’s joint consultative meeting focused on two country/region specific security situations in Africa. These were the situations in Somalia and the Sahel region. This year’s meeting will also address these two situations in addition to two other agenda items – one being combating terrorism and violent extremism in Africa and the other one focusing on support to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission to Mozambique (SAMIM).

The first agenda item to be discussed is AMISOM post-2021. From the PSC side Kenya is expected to be lead speaker. Egypt and Ethiopia are also expected to speak on this specific agenda item. The two Councils are expected to deliberate on the nature of AMISOM after the expiry of the current mandate. There has been a continuous consultation and negotiation between the two Councils on the outcome of the meeting and one of the points of disagreement is around language related to Somalia and the issue of predictable and sustainable financing of AMISOM.

It is to be recalled that the UN Independent Assessment team recommended a reconfigured AMISOM. On the other hand, the AU Independent Assessment team recommended the establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Somalia. Although this recommended option was rejected by the Government of Somalia over concerns that it lacked adequate consultation with the government and that it deviates from the terms of the Somalia Transitional Plan (STP), it was however endorsed by the PSC at its 1037th session. Moreover, the PSC, during its 1042nd session has reiterated its previous call for consultation on modalities for transitioning to an AU-UN joint mission and it mandated the AUC to ‘elaborate the framework of the AU understanding of the Concept of the Hybrid Mission and submit to Council’.

During PSC’s field visit in November, representatives of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and other international partners have expressed their disagreement to the establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Somalia. In order to address the stalemate and towards building consensus there was a proposal of holding technical discussions to identify possible alternative options. The field mission report was considered by the PSC at its 1053rd meeting where the PSC while underscoring that Option 1 previously endorsed at its 1037th session remains the best option to ensure predictable and sustainable financing for the mission, it however recognized the preference of FGS, the UN as well as international partners. To this end, it required AUC’s continued consultations with the UN on the Joint Report and Concept of Operations for AMISOM post-2021 follow on mission. This decision is expected to inform and guide the consultative meeting.

As these differences persist, the deadline for AMISOM’s mandate is fast approaching. In line with that, the PSC has requested at its 1037th for the UNSC to consider a technical roll-over of the mission’s mandate, while consultations between the AU, the FGS and other relevant actors to reach mutually agreeable position on the future of AMISOM continue.

In addition to AMISOM’s future, the continued deterioration of the country’s security with upsurge in Al-Shabaab insurgency and the fragility of the political situation are also expected to feature as points of discussion.

On the Sahel region, from the PSC members Algeria is expected to be the lead speaker and Kenya is also expected to speak. The Councils are expected to deliberate on the concerning continuity of instability in the region. As Chad and Niger continue to deal with Boko Haram threats, the border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger also remains the focal area of terrorist activities. Over the past few months, Burkina Faso has been experiencing the deadliest jihadist attacks in the country’s six years long fight against extremist militants. The attacks have so far claimed the lives of civilians and members of the country’s security forces. In addition to insecurity brought by terrorism and violent extremism, political instabilities have also had serious implications against the security of particular States in the region as well as the Sahel at large. Mali and Chad, both currently undergoing political transitions, have recently experienced coups which have raised serious condemnation from the international community.

France’s announced drawdown of Operation Barkhane from 5,100 troops to about 2,500 troops following Mali’s coup – a second one in less than a year after the August 2020 coup – and its potential implication to the security and stability of the region has in particular been cause for concern. Chad has also recalled 600 of the 1,200 forces it contributed to the G5 Sahel Joint Force earlier in the year, intensifying these concerns. Having regard to the dire security situation in the region, the two Councils may call on the international community to redouble its support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). They may also draw attention to the insecurity-induced humanitarian situation in the region and urge the international community to strengthen its support to affected communities.

The third agenda item will be focusing on combatting terrorism and violent extremism. From PSC members Egypt is expected to be the lead speaker. Algeria and Cameroon are also expected to speak. The thematic agenda on terrorism has received increased attention of the PSC over recent years. So far, the theme has been addressed at the summit level three times (at PSC’s 455th, 571st, and 749th meetings), making it a theme most addressed at summit level. In 2021, the PSC has convened two sessions on the topic, both of which were convened at the ministerial level. As the findings of the AU Commission Chairperson’s report on ‘Continental Efforts in Preventing and Combating of Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa’ presented at PSC’s 1040th session demonstrate, there is a concerning spread in terrorism as well as extremist ideologies in the continent, warranting the increased attention by the PSC. The two Councils will thus likely emphasise the importance of addressing underlying root-causes of extremism which is conducive for terrorism. They may also address factors facilitating terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, including terrorism financing and the link between terrorism and transnational organised crimes, as well as the spill over effect of terrorism in the middle-east and its contribution to the prevalence of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) in Africa, particularly Libya. As the deadline for withdrawal of foreign fighters from Libya in line with the October 2020 Ceasefire Agreement approached, the impact of such withdrawal on the rest of the continent, mainly the Sahel region imposed a serious concern leading to discussions both by the PSC and UNSC.

While the PSC committed its 1035th ministerial session to address this concern, the UNSC also convened an Arria-formula meeting on 18 June on the same topic. In that regard, the Councils may welcome the signing of a Plan of Action on 08 October 2021 to ensure a “gradual, balanced, and sequenced” withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya and urge all relevant actors to ensure its timely and proper implementation. With regards to terrorism financing in Africa, the two Councils may discuss ways of stemming financial sources of terrorists, including transnational criminal organisations, through coordination and collaboration among organs such as AFRIPOL and INTERPOL. Measures highlighted in the Communiqué of PSC’s 1040th session including the expedited development of African list of persons and entities associated with terrorism and the development of an African Arrest warrant are also crucial measures that will require the collaboration of the international community, including the UNSC.

The last agenda item will focus on SAMIM and Lesotho is expected to be the lead speaker from the PSC members. The Councils are likely to focus on identifying areas of support and engagement with the mission. Since its mandating and deployment by SADC in mid-July 2021, SAMIM has been able to register important milestones in its fight against terrorists in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique, including the recapture of key villages and dislodging of terrorist bases. Nonetheless, studies indicate that the force faces various complex challenges ranging from limited understanding of the landscape, to major intelligence deficits.

The most pressing challenge however relates to limitations in funding. The mission’s deployment was financed through SADC contingency funds and member States’ contributions for the initial three months period of its mandate. Following SADC’s renewal of the mission’s mandate for another three months as of early October, there have been concerns that external funding will be required for its continued operation provided that the funds availed for the initial three months were already insufficient. In light of that, the Councils may explore ways of collaborating with SADC in proving technical and financial support to SAMIM and also call on the international community and SADC partners to provide assistance in this regard, particularly in the area of SAMIM’s mandate to collaborate with humanitarian organisations in the provision of humanitarian relief to populations affected by terrorist activities.

Based on previous practice, it is expected that the Councils will issue a joint-communiqué highlighting the main points of their deliberation. The draft communiqué has been under negotiation and it is expected to be adopted at the end of the annual consultative meeting. It is however worth noting that last year’s joint-communiqué has been rather brief as compared to those issued in previous years, which provided more details of issues discussed. Negotiations regarding the contents of the joint-communiqués have also at times been challenging, resulting in considerable delays including the ones for the annual consultation in 2016 and 2017. In other instances, the two Councils were not able to adopt the communiqué in 2019.

Ministerial session on the interdependence between peace, security and development

Amani Africa

Date | 14 December, 2021

Tomorrow (14 December), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1055th session at a ministerial level to address the issue of the interdependence between peace, security and development.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to proceed in open and closed segments. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, is expected to preside over the meeting as the Chairperson of the PSC for the month. In the open session, following opening remark by Demeke Mekonnen, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to make presentation. The representatives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Development Bank, as well as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to the AU and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), Hanna Tetteh are also scheduled to present.

The Council’s first dedicated session on the theme was held at a ministerial level on 27 September 2019, at its 883rd meeting. In that session, the Council requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to submit annual report on the measures taken towards enhancing collaboration and coordination between departments within the AU Commission and AU Specialized Agencies on account of its recognition of the interdependent nature of peace, security and development.

The second session on the theme was convened at a summit level during its 975th meeting that took place on 27 January this year. The session addressed issues on how best to finance peace, security and development in the continent and ways to factor in security challenges in development financing. The deliberations during the session reflected on trends in which funds originally committed to financing development efforts are at the risk of being diverted to address security challenges in the context of growing threats of terrorism and violent extremism. Among other, the PSC called on the international community for ‘debt relief, cancellation and restructuring’ in light of the financial burdens resulting from the multi-dimensional threats imposed by terrorism, violent extremism, climate change and the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. As noted in the concept note, tomorrow’s session presents the Council the opportunity to ‘continue with the discourse on the inextricable link between peace, security and development from a policy perspective and advance its messaging on current efforts in the Continent and what needs to be done further in this regard’.

A major concern in the conceptualization of the security-development nexus is the risk of shifting the focus from addressing the structural underlying causes of insecurity (such as poverty, unequal distribution of wealth, marginalization, human right abuses, and governance deficits) towards strengthening the security apparatus of member states. While addressing the Council during its last session on the theme, Comfort Ero, Crisis Group Africa Program Director, noted this concern stating that ‘the full spectrum of insecurities leading to violence is often overlooked’ though states often ‘give a nod to addressing the root causes of conflict’. As security sector assistance will not resolve the broader sources of insecurity, it is worth heeding to Comfort Ero’s call for the AU to focus on ‘overall “sustainable security” strategy that links hard security to broader development and human security concerns’. The presentations from the representatives of NEPAD and African Development Bank may particularly highlight the role these institutions play in addressing the deeper socio-economic challenges and set the continent on the path of sustainable development.

Furthermore, the idea of prioritizing and sequencing security and development in the sense that security issues need to be first addressed to pursue development goals has its own limits at least in three respects. First, it may divert meagre national resources towards maintaining stability as opposed to national development. Second, it raises the question of ‘securitization of aids’, having implication on the type of programmes funded by donors and prioritization of ‘fragile states’ in aid flows. Third, it may also encourage military approach over political solution in response to conflicts arising in the continent though holistic approach has been promoted on paper. The last concern, for instance, has been flagged up by the Council during its 975th session when it urges for capacitating national armies as a quick fix to address security threats while emphasizing the need to ‘supplementing’ military approach with preventive diplomacy and political solutions to promote and sustain peace.

Evidences also show the close link between peace, security and development. According to World Bank, a civil conflict costs the average developing country roughly 30 years of GDP growth, and countries in protracted crisis can fall over 20 percentage points behind in overcoming poverty. It further estimates that by 2030, up to two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor may live in fragile and violent conflict settings. It is against such link between security and development that the Constitutive Act of the AU maintains security as a ‘prerequisite’ for the implementation of the development and integration agenda. The concept of security-development nexus is also rooted in the understanding of security as a precondition for development. As violent conflict is often associated with weak and fragile state institutions, it is argued that efforts should be geared towards building or rebuilding the capacity of state institutions (particularly the security sector) to address security concerns, which in turn create a conductive environment for development.

Given the cyclical nature and mutually reinforcing relations between peace, security and development, tomorrow’s session may stress the need for a balanced and simultaneous security and development responses instead of a siloed or sequenced approach towards achieving sustainable peace and development. As highlighted in the PSC’s 883rd session, the interdependent nature of peace, security and development requires not only the cooperation and coordination of different departments within the AU Commission but also developing mechanisms that underpin ‘integrated, inclusive, holistic and multidimensional’ approach with the view to achieving sustainable peace and development in the continent. One of the available mechanisms likely to receive attention in tomorrow’s discussion within this framework is AU’s Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) framework. The latter plays pivotal role in contributing towards strengthening the capacity and resilience of state institutions as well as addressing underlying root causes of violent conflicts. While AU’s PCRD initiative gets impetus with the establishment of PCRD Centre in Cairo, it remains critical to avail the necessary resources for the Centre to effectively discharge the envisaged role. The full implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) are also worth mentioning as important step in addressing the imperatives of peace, security and development in an integrated and holistic manner.

Over the last decade, not only violent conflicts have spiked but also their nature have changed fundamentally with conflicts becoming increasingly internal, intense and protracted. In its most recent session (1014th) on early warning and Africa’s security outlook, the PSC has expressed its concern over the continental security landscape dominated by the growing influence of armed groups and non-state actors, the expansion of terrorists’ territory and theatre of operation, increasing convergence of terrorism and transnational organized crimes, as well as increasing political and social tension with the rising incidence of violent inter-communal conflicts. Foundational instruments including the AU Constitutive Act, the protocol establishing the PSC and the Common African Defence and Security Policy clearly recognize instability due to these multi-dimensional threats to peace and security as the major impediment to the realization of development aspirations of the continent.

The outcome of tomorrow’s session is expected to be a communique. Among others, the Council may reiterate its 883rd session in emphasizing that AU’s efforts towards conflict prevention, peacekeeping and the consolidation of peace are informed by the link between peace, security and development. While acknowledging the importance of strengthening the security sector, the Council is expected to stress on the need for addressing the structural root causes of violent conflicts in order to transform exiting conflicts, avoid relapses, and consolidate durable peace. The Council is likely to highlight the imperative of an integrated and holistic approach while tackling the interlinked challenges of security and development in the continent. In this respect, the Council may further reiterate its 883rd session that urged the Commission to enhance ‘the collaboration and coordination between the different departments within the AU Commission and AU Specialized Agencies’. Given the unique role that AU’s PCRD initiative plays in tackling the underlying fundamental root causes and drivers of violent conflicts in an integrated and holistic manner, the Council is likely to urge the Commission to support the PCRD Centre in undertaking its mandate.

Briefing on the situation in Somalia and the status of AMISOM Post 2021

Amani Africa

Date | 07 December, 2021

Tomorrow (7 December), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to consider the situation in Somalia and receive updates on the status of the discussion on the future of AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) post 2021.

Following the opening remark by Tesfaye Yilma, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia and the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of December, Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), is expected to make statement. Mohamed Omar Gad, PSC Chair for the month of November is expected to present the report of the PSC Field Mission to Somalia conducted last month. Francisco Caetano Madeira, Special Representatives of the Chair of the Commission for Somalia and Head of AMISOM will also make a presentation. The Representative of the Federal Government of Somalia is also expected to make a statement.

This meeting comes after the field mission by members of the AUPSC to Somalia, which took place from 8-10 November 2021. The mission was undertaken in the context of the ongoing discussion between Somalia and the AU on the future of AMISOM and the impending mandate renewal of the mission in December. Members of the AUPSC took the opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with Somalia as it continues to hold its electoral process and strives to consolidate its peace, security and stability.

The last time the Council met in October, the Somali political scene was dominated by a public row between the President and the Prime Minister in relation to a controversy surrounding the disappearance of a Somali cyber security expert who used to work for the Somalia National Intelligence and Security Agency. The tension has now been somewhat eased and the two leaders have reached a compromise on the appointment of senior security officials. However, the country continues to face so many challenges and the disagreements between the president and the prime minister and the federal government and the federal member states continue to stir political tension in the country, as members of the AUPSC observed during their recent visit.

Regarding the delayed Somali electoral process, some progress has been made recently in completing the election of members of the upper house of the Somali federal parliament. Election of members of the lower house, the House of Peoples, has also started and the process is expected to be concluded before the end of the year. This will then pave the way for the holding of the presidential elections. In a statement issued on 26 November, “International partners urge[d] the completion of inclusive and credible House of the People elections acceptable by all electoral stakeholders and the Somali people according to a published timetable, by 24 December 2021”. However, Somali opposition groups who organized themselves under the Union of Presidential Candidates are reportedly saying that they will not accept results of the ongoing parliamentary elections citing lack of transparency and widespread irregularities. The Spokesperson of the group was quoted by the media as having said on 1 December that “The Union of Presidential Candidates declare[d] that it does not condone, accept, and will not be part of the ongoing looting that destroys peace and the state-building process”. During its visit in Somalia, the Council underscored the need for the effective, comprehensive and expedited implementation of the September 2020 and May 2021 agreements concerning elections’ modalities”.

Recently, there have been series of engagements on the future of AMISOM post-2021. It is to be recalled that, through its Communique adopted at its 1042th meeting on 28 October, the AUPSC had requested the AU Commission to immediately resume consultations with the Somali government and the relevant international partners with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable and workable agreement on the nature, strategic objectives, mandate, size, composition and financing of the AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Somalia, which should include transition benchmarks for the handing over of responsibility for security to the Somali Security Forces.

During the field mission to Somalia, members of the AUPSC engaged with the representatives of the Somali federal government and other international partners. What came out clearly during these discussions was their disagreement with Option 1 of the AU Independent Assessment Report—endorsed by the AUPSC in October—that proposed the establishment of an AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Somalia. International partners underscored the need to take into account the views of the Somali government which they believe is critical in garnering the necessary support from the UN and the EU. In this regard, they have proposed the holding of technical discussions to identify possible alternative options that would help in building consensus and eventually guarantee the support of all key stakeholders, including in the Security Council.

The issue was discussed during the 12th consultative meeting of the UN-AU Joint Task Force held virtually on 5 November involving senior officials of the relevant departments of the UN Secretariat and the AU Commission. Subsequently, it was also discussed at the Fifth UN-AU annual conference between the leadership of the two institutions held on 1 December. Divergence of views were said to have been reflected by the two organizations during the discussion on the issue but agreement was reached to establish a joint technical team to engage with key stakeholders on the Somalia Transition Plan and to develop a joint proposal to be submitted to the Security Council in line with resolution 2568 (2021). Furthermore, the issue is on the agenda of the upcoming joint annual consultative meeting between the UNSC and AUPSC scheduled to take place on 17 December 2021. The experts of the two Councils have been negotiating on the outcome of the meeting and one of the points of disagreement in this negotiation appears to be a language related to Somalia and the issue of predictable and sustainable financing of AMISOM.

The mandate of AMISOM is due to expire this month but these discussions apparently require sometime to allow the host country, the AU, the European Union and the United Nations to agree on a common way forward on the future of AMISOM. The Secretary-General had already written a letter on 29 September to the President of the Security Council explaining the ongoing consultations among the key stakeholders pursuant to resolution 2568 (2021) and requested additional time to finalize these consultations and submit an agreed proposal by the end of the year. Through its Communique adopted at its 1037th meeting on 7 October, the AUPSC also requested the Security Council to consider a technical roll-over of the AMISOM mandate, while discussions continue on the details and modalities for transition towards the post-2021 arrangement. Therefore, there seems to be a possibility for the UNSC to agree on a short extension of the mission’s mandate to allow these discussions to be finalized.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC based on the recommendations of its field mission report may reiterate its previous decision particularly as relates to the establishment of AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Somalia while considering the position of the Federal Government of Somalia and international partners. It may call on the AU Commission to continue discussion with the Federal Government of Somalia on Concept of Operations for a follow-on mission to AMISOM. The PSC may also underline the importance of continuing consultation between the AU, Federal Government of Somalia, the UN and partners to have a common understanding of AMISOM post 2021. To this end, it may request the UNSC for a technical rollover of AMISOM’s mandate to allow more time to reach consensus on the way forward. It may urge Somali political actors to address their differences and ensure that free and fair elections are conduced within the set timeframe.

Provisional Programme of Work of the PSC for the Month of December 2021

Amani Africa

Date | 30 November, 2021

In December, Ethiopia will be the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). The PSC’s provisional programme of work for the month envisages two country specific sessions, one thematic session and the 15th annual joint consultative meeting between the PSC and United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which is expected to be preceded by the informal joint seminar. A joint retreat of the PSC and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is also scheduled to take place in Durban during the course of the month.

The first session of the month is expected to take place on 7 December and will assess the situation in Somalia and the status of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) post-2021. At its 1037th and 1042nd sessions convened in October, Council endorsed option one of the Report of the AU Independent Assessment Team on AU’s Engagement in and with Somalia Post-2021. Option one of the report envisages the transitioning of AMISOM into AU-UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Somalia. While AMISOM’s transitioning into such mission is favoured for providing predictability in terms of financing, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has voiced complete rejection of this option, stressing that it does not conform to the original plan envisaged under the Somalia Transitional Plan (STP). Following that, a delegation of the PSC visited Somalia on 9 November to consult with the FGS, representatives of AMISOM and other relevant stakeholders and determine ways for Council’s next steps in its support to Somalia. The upcoming session is hence expected to provide updates on the progress obtained in reaching an agreement between the AU and FGS on the nature and mandates of AMISOM post-2021, among other issues.

On 9 and 10 December, the PSC will consider the annual indicative programme for 2022, through email exchanges. The PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) will also be convening on 9 December to review the implementation of PSC decisions for the second half of 2021.

On 13 December, the PSC CoE will meet to consider the report on activities of the PSC and the state of peace and security in Africa, which is to be submitted to the AU Assembly at the upcoming AU Summit on January/February 2022.

The second substantive session of the month is scheduled to take place on 14 December. The session will be convened at the ministerial level and will address the interdependence between peace and security and development. In 2019, PSC had its first meeting on the same theme, at its 883rd ministerial session. It is to be recalled that at that session Council emphasised the intrinsic link between peace and security and development and called for the coordinated implementation of relevant AU frameworks, particularly the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and African Governance Architecture (AGA). In light of that, Council requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to submit annually a report on measures taken to enhance the collaboration and coordination between different departments of the AU Commission and AU Specialized Agencies to support the PSC. Council may follow up on this request at the upcoming session. It may also reiterate the concerns expressed at its 975th session over the growing peace and security threats to development in Africa, including the diversion of development financing to address security threats.

On 16 December, the PSC and UNSC will have their 6th informal joint seminar, ahead of the 15th annual consultative meeting scheduled to take place on 17 December. It is to be recalled that the 5th informal joint seminar took place on 29 September 2020, during which the two Councils discussed strengthening cooperation with a focus on improving working methods as well as Silencing the Guns in Africa. At the 14th annual consultative meeting convened on 30 September 2020 the two Councils considered country/region specific issues including Mali, the Sahel region and Somalia. In addition to following up on developments in these country and region specific situations, the upcoming joint consultative meeting may also consider other emerging peace and security situations.

Between 19 and 21 December the PSC will have a joint retreat with the APRM in Durban. This is in line with previous PSC decision of its 914th and 962nd sessions, which requested the AUC in close collaboration with the APRM secretariat to organize a joint retreat for the two organs.

The last session of the month is scheduled to take place on 28 December. The session will be a briefing on the relationship between South Sudan and Sudan, including the status of Abyei. Since Council’s last meeting on the status of Abyei, which took place on 24 November 2020, some positive developments have been observed in the relationship between the two Sudans. Regarding the contested status of the oil-rich region of Abyei, a significant progress has been the establishment of high-level committees on both sides to review past agreements and pave the way for negotiations aimed at settling the final status of Abyei. Council may take note of this progress at the upcoming session and encourage both sides to continue working towards negotiations. It may also follow up on the decisions of its previous (966th) session, including its request for the AU Commission to develop modalities for releasing the report on the killing of Chief Koul Deng Koul of the Ngok Dinka and to dispatch a sensitisation mission to Abyei to engage the local community on the report, with the aim of facilitating reconciliation.

Council’s provisional program of work for the month also indicates in footnotes the possibility of convening sessions on Chad, Guinea, Mali, and/or Sudan depending on the development of situations in one or more of these States.