Authorizing use of UN assessed contributions for AU PSOs is about fulfilling UN Charter's most fundamental pledge, Amani Africa tells the UN Security

Authorizing use of UN assessed contributions for AU PSOs is about fulfilling UN Charter's most fundamental pledge, Amani Africa tells the UN Security

Date | 25 May 2023

Amani Africa Statement delivered to the United Nations Security Council

Thank you, Madame President.

I would like to thank the Swiss Presidency for this invitation to address the Council on my behalf and on behalf of my organization Amani Africa Media and Research Services (Amani Africa).

Amani Africa is a pan-African policy research, training and consulting think-tank that works on multilateral processes on peace and security and democratic and constitutional rule in Africa with a focus on the role of the African Union (AU) and its Peace and Security Council (PSC). 1 It is an honor for me to draw on and use the rich research work of my organization in addressing you today. 2

Madame President, distinguished members of the Council

We would like to propose that at its core the subject of this session is not about money. Rather, it is first and foremost about the kind of arrangement that can best deliver on the pledge of the UN Charter of ‘saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ at a time when existing arrangements and tools for delivering on this promise have been found wanting.

At various junctures in its 78 years history, this Security Council had to make bold decisions for adapting the arrangements and tools for the maintenance of international peace and security to the challenges of each era. Although not always successful, there is no doubt that they give the UN the fighting chance for doing better in its efforts towards ‘saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war.’

Considering the nature of the peace and security challenges facing Africa, which account for 60 % of the decisions of this Council, it is the moment to make the necessary decision for adapting the arrangement and the tools for the realization of the Charter’s most fundamental pledge.

This the Council can achieve by heeding the UN Secretary-General’s call in the report presented today for the ‘Security Council to signal its clear support for providing African Union peace support operations with access to the United Nations assessed contributions.’

As discussed in some detail in Amani Africa’s special research report 3, the question of financing of AU PSOs has been an important part of the policy discourse on international peace and security in Africa for nearly fifteen years. At the turn of the century, the Protocol Establishing the Peace and Security Council was cognizant of the necessity for resort to the use of UN assessed contributions. This was premised on the fundamental recognition that when the AU deploys peace support operations with UNSC Chapter VII authorization, it does so as part of the arrangement deemed necessary and in pursuit of the global public good for the maintenance of international peace and security.

The experiences witnessed in the use of AU PSOs under this Council’s authorization have made it clear that the full potential of this arrangement (AU led UN authorized PSOs) can only be realized if AU PSOs are provided with sustainable, predictable and flexible funding. This Council has on many occasions affirmed the imperative for such funding. 4

This Council has actually deployed assessed contributions for funding AU peace support operations, 5 although in each instance as an exception. Following Resolution 2320 (2016) and Resolution 2378 (2017) as well as Presidential Statement of 31 August 2022 that requested the preparation of the Secretary-General’s Report presented today, I wish to indicate that the Secretary-General is spot on in stating that this is ‘an opportune, timely moment for the United Nations Security Council to rise to the challenge of laying the foundation for a new generation of African Union-led, United Nations-supported peace support operations on the African continent.’

On whether the institutional and technical work accomplished is good enough for such action, solid enough progress has been made albeit with some areas requiring further consolidation.

There is significant progress with respect to compliance framework for AUs peace support operations pursuant to UNSC Resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017). 6

The AU has also established a unit dedicated to compliance. 7 This can be strengthened further.  The implementation of the compliance standards can also be enhanced with further support.

With respect to burden sharing, institutionally the most critical development is the revitalization of the AU Peace Fund dedicated to mobilizing funds from within the continent for financing AU’s peace and security work. 8

Although the question is framed narrowly in monetary terms, there are questions about giving considerations to the enormous price that AU personnel pay with their lives and limbs and the resultant financial, social and other costs that result from such loss to the families, communities and institutions that these personnel are part of.

The use of UN assessed contribution is the avenue for crafting, along the lines outlined in the Secretary-General’s report and the AU Consensus Paper, that arrangement and the accompanying combination of tools required for this era to give the UN, working in concert with the AU, the fighting chance to make meaningful effort towards the promise of the Charter to save ‘succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ in Africa.

The conflict situations in various parts of the continent, including those in which the major UN peacekeeping operations are currently engaged, require the use of the combination of peace enforcement, stabilization and peacebuilding instruments. Lacking the combination of these tools and the doctrinal space for using some of these tools, UN missions in the CAR, DRC and Mali have come to face enormous challenges.

As the progress made in Somalia, under AU’s mission there, clearly attests, AU PSOs are willing, and when properly resourced, able to use peace enforcement for creating conditions for peace. In similar conflict situations, AU PSOs financed through UN assessed contribution can be the necessary alternative to UN peacekeeping.

Madame President,

At a time when there is apathy to using UN peacekeeping, using AU PSOs offers this Council the avenue for preventing the emergence of such a dangerous vacuum for security arrangements that don’t operate on the basis of multilateral principles.

The future of multilateralism lies in Africa. The interest of the peoples of the African continent is best served under a multilateral system even when it is imperfect. As Nkrumah said 60 years ago ‘although confidence in the United Nations has suffered several shocks since its foundation, …, it remains the only world organization in which the many problems of the world have a chance of finding reasonable solution.’ His endorsement of multilateralism within the framework of the UN is so absolute that he was emphatic that the UN ‘must, therefore, be supported by all interested in the preservation of peace and the progress of human civilization.’ 9

Madame President, excellencies members of the Council

The adoption of the framework resolution on the use of UN assessed contributions for AU PSOs will contribute materially to restoring Africa’s faith in the multilateral system as forcefully put by Nkrumah and facilitate the harnessing of the enormous reservoir of support for multilateralism in Africa.

Moreover, the use of UN assessed contributions within agreed institutional arrangement jointly worked out by the AU and the UN offers the best framework for AU’s role in the maintenance of international peace and security to be one that meets the expectations of the UN Charter. All indications are AU-led PSOs financed by UN assessed contributions are cost effective.

This is not about writing a blank cheque nor is it a matter of charity. Doing this is rather about this Council crafting the framework for shouldering its part of the responsibility in the shared global public good of maintaining peace and security in Africa.

Africa is looking up to this Council. It is our firm believe that this Council will rise to the occasion and muster the will for demonstrating, as the Secretary-General puts it, its ‘readiness to address a critical gap in the international peace and security architecture as well as strong reaffirmation of the willingness of this council to stem the scourge of armed conflict on the African continent.’

I thank you for your kind attention!


We are the leading source of information and analysis on matters the Peace and Security Council, including its role in projecting Africa’s voice, in concert with the three African members, in this august body. Some examples of Amani Africa’s products in this area include: ‘Financing Peace and Security in Africa: Breakthrough in Increased African Ownership?’ (July 2017); ‘The Internal Institutional Setup and Working Processes Shaping the Relationship between the AUPSC and the UNSC’ (December 2019); ‘Making Africa’s Voice Matter in the UN Security Council: Bridging the Gap Between Ambition and Reality in the Role of the African Three Members of the UNSC’ (March 2021); and ‘Seizing the New Momentum for UNSC Resolution on UN funding of AU Peace Operations’ (May 2023).

2 I will particularly draw on the report we launched the week before last titled ‘Seizing the new momentum for the adoption of UNSC Resolution on UN funding of AU PSOs’. As you can see from the sources cited in this latest special research report, Amani Africa closely followed the policy discussion on this file since the very first special research report it produced on this file in mid 2017.

3 Amani Africa, ‘Seizing the New Momentum for UNSC Resolution on UN funding of AU Peace Operations’ (May 2023), available on:

4 Various expert bodies established under the authority of this Council have also on several occasions indicated that one most viable, if not exclusive, option in this respect is the use of UN assessed contributions.  United Nations, “Note to the Secretary General: Follow up to the AU-UN Panel (Prodi Report)”, 5 May 2009 and Report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations on uniting our strengths for peace: politics, partnership and people (17 June 2015).

5 It did so for the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) as part of the plan to facilitate its transition to the joint UN-AU mission. It has done so and still does for the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM/ATMIS).

6 First, in addition to broad normative commitments, the AU adopted specific policy instruments including the AU Policy on Conduct and Discipline for PSOs and the AU Policy on Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) for PSOs. Second, through the AU-UN-EU tripartite project, the AU has also developed its strategic framework for compliance and accountability, which was adopted earlier this month at a ministerial meeting, where the AU policy on selection and screening of PSO personnel was also adopted. There has also been deliberate integration of IHL in the various mission documents prepared by the AU Commission including Concepts of Operations (CONOPs), Rules of Engagement (ROE), Force commanders’ directives and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Police/Troop Contributing Countries (P/TCCs). At mission level, the AU developed the Indirect Fire Policy of AMISOM, which has contributed to the reduction of civilian harm, and through the establishment of no fire zones and setting up restrictions on the modalities of use of specific weapons. The Board of Inquiry and the Civilian Casualty Tracking Analysis and Response Cell (CCTARC) are the other tools critical to giving effect to the compliance policy of the AU. There are also instructive experiences of convening marshal courts for holding non-complying personnel accountable.

7 At a time when our founding director led an assessment of AU’s experience with compliance through field mission including to AMISOM and MNJTF in 2018, one of the gaps identified was the absence of such a dedicated capacity.  See report submitted by Solomon A. Dersso to AU PSOD on ‘Comprehensive Assessment of AU Mandated and Authorized Peace Support Operations (PSOs) Approaches to Compliance with Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and Conduct and Discipline Standards: Towards a System Wide AU PSOs Compliance Framework’.

8 Three major developments are worth noting in this respect. First, unlike in the past, the scale of assessment of member states serves as a dedicated mechanism to resource the Fund. Second, significant progress has been made towards the operationalization of the Fund through instituting the governance and management structures of the Fund. With the recent appointment of the head of the PF Secretariat, the full operationalization of the Peace Fund is at its final stages. Third, the AU adopted the Consensus Paper on financing of PSOs presenting Africa’s position and the progress made in meeting Resolution 2320 (2016) and Resolution 2378 (2017).

9 Africa Must Unite.

Monthly Digest on The African Union Peace And Security Council - April 2023

Monthly Digest on The African Union Peace And Security Council - April 2023

Date | April 2023

Tunisia assumed the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) in April. Six meetings were held during the month. One of these was an emergency session not envisaged within the programme of work and one session scheduled for the month was postponed. The initial programme of work for the month also envisaged convening of PSC’s 15th Retreat on its Working Methods but the activity was removed from the revised programme of work.

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Briefing on the situation in Sudan

Briefing on the situation in Sudan

Date | 27 May 2023

Tomorrow (27 May), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1156th session at the level of Heads of State and Government to consider the situation in Sudan.

Uganda’s President and chairperson of the PSC for the month of May, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, will preside over the session. President of the Union of the Comoros and Chairperson of the AU, Azali Assoumani, is expected to make remarks while the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will brief the PSC. Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Workneh Gebeyehu; Executive Secretary of the League of Arab States, Ahmen Aboul Gheit; Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres; as well as the representative of Egypt are also expected to deliver statements.

The PSC is convening on Sudan for the second time in less than two weeks, constituting the third session of the PSC since the outbreak of the conflict on 15 April 2023. The last time the PSC met on Sudan was on 16 May, at its 1154th session, with a press statement released as the product of the session. In the press statement, the PSC, apart from condemning the ongoing fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), warned that ‘all perpetrators of criminal actions will be held accountable.’ This warning came against the backdrop of the widespread looting and destruction of civilian infrastructure, as well as diplomatic missions in violation of international law.

As the fighting continued, new dynamics are emerging in the conflict while exacerbating the existing ones. On 22 May, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sudan and Head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, in his briefing to the UN Security Council, raised alarm over the ‘growing ethnicization’ of the ongoing fighting and its risk of ‘engulfing the country in a prolonged conflict, with implication for the region.’ This was particularly manifested in West Darfur’s El Geneina where the fighting between SAF and RSF morphed into ethnic violence on 24 April while ethnic mobilization is simmering in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region.

As the belligerents opted for urban warfare with sheer disregard for international humanitarian law and international human rights, the humanitarian consequence of the conflict in Sudan has become devastating. Sources indicate that more than 850 civilians have been killed and over 5,000 injured since the fighting began. The number of displaced people due to the conflict has now topped the 1 million mark, fleeing to safer locations inside and outside the country. Despite the pressing need for humanitarian aid, the revised Humanitarian Response Plan launched by OCHA was able to secure 12.4% of the required $2.6 billion funds to reach 18 million people in need.

Looting has become rampant in Khartoum and elsewhere and key civilian infrastructures have been targeted, severely restricting the accessibility of essential goods and services to those who are caught in the crossfire. During the 22 May briefing to the UN Security Council, SRSG Perthes highlighted the collapse of the health sector with more than two-thirds of hospitals being closed. International organizations such as the UN, humanitarian actors and diplomatic missions are not spared from the attacks and the widespread looting.

As documented by Amani Africa, ten declarations for ceasefire have been announced with many of which represent the parties’ expression of readiness to observe the declared ceasefire. However, almost all of the ceasefires did not hold. The latest of these is the Short-Term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangements signed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 20 May. Envisaged to become effective on 22 May, this latest ceasefire seeks to facilitate the delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance and the restoration of essential services. Unlike the previous ones, the ceasefire agreement is the first with a monitoring mechanism comprising the representatives of Saudi Arabia and the US, albeit it lacks effectiveness in the absence of presence on the ground or the involvement of Sudanese on the ground. It is hoped to provide a brief respite for the civilians from the enormous suffering, but the fighting has not meaningfully stopped as in the previous ceasefires.

Tomorrow’s session will present PSC members with the opportunity to take stock of the ongoing diplomatic efforts and discuss the next steps to end the conflict. Given that the session is convened at the highest (summit) level, the PSC is expected to take strategic decisions based on the De-Escalation Plan, which is expected to guide tomorrow’s discussion on Sudan. It is to be recalled that the 20 April Ministerial Special Session on Sudan requested the development of an urgent plan for de-escalation. In his briefing to the UN Security Council on 22 May, Bankole outlined the six pillars of the Plan that need to be addressed for a sustainable resolution of the conflict in Sudan. These pillars are:

  1. Co-ordinated international action to avoid a proliferation and duplication of mediation initiatives;
  2. Immediate, comprehensive and unconditional ceasefire;
  3. Urgent humanitarian action to relive the suffering of the Sudanese people;
  4. Protection of civilians, state infrastructure and ensuring accountability;
  5. Firm support to neighboring countries of the region impacted by the crisis; and
  6. Resumption of inclusive and fully representative political process towards a democratic, civilian-led government.

Indeed, one of the concerns emerging out of the ongoing diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict is the proliferation of actors and mediation initiatives. Despite that the key actors who participated during the 20 Ministerial Special Session agreed to ‘coordinate, collaborate, and harmonize their respective initiatives to resolve the conflict’, the initiatives are not only uncoordinated but also at times competing.

The 16 April emergency session of the PSC as well as the Ministerial Special Session envisaged the Chairperson of the AU Commission to take the leadership in coordinating international responses to the crisis within the framework of the Trilateral Mechanism (AU-IGAD-UN). On the other hand, IGAD’s 16 April extraordinary summit formed a high-level delegation led by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit. The 7 May emergency ministerial level meeting of the League of Arab States (LAS) established a contact group on Sudan composed of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the LAS Secretary-General to find a peaceful settlement for the conflict. It was in addition to these diplomatic initiatives that Saudi Arabia and the US created a separate mediation track that culminated in the signing of two important agreements: the Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan and the 20 May Short-Term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangements.

Regional actors such as the AU and IGAD may appreciate the outcomes of the Jeddah mediation process, but are likely to remain unhappy with a process that has sidelined them. The need for the involvement of regional actors has been a major issue emphasized by the different speakers during the 22 May UN Security Council briefing. For instance, IGAD’s Executive Secretary stressed the importance of involving Sudan’s neighbors, while the African Members in the UN Security Council (A3) reaffirmed ‘the central role of the AU, IGAD and the Trilateral Mechanism in stabilizing Sudan’.

The other key concern is that ongoing diplomatic efforts have failed to include one of the key stakeholders in Sudan’s peace process – the civilians. This is a major omission considering that civilian actors in their various formations continue to play, as they did during and since the 2019 Sudan revolution, a vital role towards the achievement of democratic transition. Since the outbreak of the war, civilians continue to display their organizational ingenuity in identifying safe corridors for civilians to escape the sights of fighting to safer areas, in organizing humanitarian help of various kinds including medical assistance in their neighborhoods and in signing local peace agreements. In light of the nature of the conflict, it is a missed opportunity that international diplomatic efforts are not leveraging these various local initiatives for enhancing the space for civilian protection, ceasefire monitoring, local level peace building and humanitarian protection. Tomorrow’s session is an opportunity for the PSC to call on the representation of civilians in all diplomatic efforts.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. It is expected that the PSC will endorse the De-escalation Plan developed by the AU Commission pursuant to the 20 April Ministerial Special Session. PSC may welcome the signing of a Seven-day Agreement on a Short-Term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangements in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 20 May, while expressing its deep concern over the reported violations of the Agreement by both sides. It may remind the parties of their obligations under international law and urge them to fully uphold their commitments under the Agreement. As the duration of the ceasefire agreement expires early next week, the PSC may urge the parties to extend the agreement for additional periods so that it paves the way for talks towards a more comprehensive ceasefire agreement. The PSC may commend various civilian actors in Sudan for their efforts in lessening the impact of the war on civilians through local humanitarian action, peace agreements and identification of safe corridors. It may emphasize the need for international diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to leverage and support these local civilian initiatives and ensure that civilians are represented in negotiations. Against the widespread looting and violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights by the parties, the PSC may call for the documentation and reporting of the various acts of violations as the key measure for ensuring the protection of civilians. While noting Saudi Arabia/US facilitated talks in Jeddah, the PSC may stress not only the imperative of a coordinated and consolidated diplomatic effort to resolve the conflict but also the centrality of the region (AU, IGAD, the Trilateral Mechanism, and the neighboring countries) in this process. In this respect, the PSC may call for the establishment of an international contact group on Sudan co-chaired by the AU and the UN and represented by all regional and international actors including the sponsors of the recent ceasefire.

Open Session on Humanitarian Action in Africa

Open Session on Humanitarian Action in Africa

Date | 18 May 2023

Tomorrow (18 May), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to convene its 1155th meeting which will be committed to its annual open session on humanitarian action in Africa.

Following opening remarks by Rebecca Amuge Otengo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of May, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to make a statement. Representative of the AU Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development may deliver a statement. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are also expected to participate in the session.

Being convened within the framework of the decision of PSC’s 469th press statement to dedicate an annual session to humanitarian action in Africa, tomorrow’s meeting is expected to offer updates on the humanitarian situation in the continent, with a specific focus on the issue of food insecurity and prospects to enhance Africa’s self-reliance in food production. Having regard to the growing prevalence of the issue, it is to be recalled that the PSC committed its 1083rd session to ‘food security and conflict in Africa’. In the Communiqué of that session, the impact of conflicts on food production and the role they play in the disruption of agricultural yields and value chains was emphasised. The coming session serves to highlight the continuing increase in food insecurity in the continent and opportunities for Africa to enhance agricultural production to promote food security.

Driven by multiple man-made and natural causes, the current food security crisis experienced across the various regions and countries in Africa has reached unprecedented levels over the past couple of years. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact, the war in Ukraine and resulting disruption to food and energy supply chains as well as cropping seasons characterised by poor rains and even drought in some regions, compounded by ongoing conflicts and unstable security settings, have resulted in acute food insecurity in many parts of the continent. According to the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a total of 20.2 percent of the African population was facing hunger in 2021 alone. Last year, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war and the geostrategic confrontation it triggered, African countries that depend on Russia and Ukraine for at least half percentage of their cereal import experienced over 70 percent raise in cereal prices. Not only has this put a major strain on the availability of and access to basic food items, it has also elevated hunger levels as the portion of population that cannot cope with the rise in food prices increased.

Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the food and energy crisis that the Russian invasion and the ensuing geopolitical confrontation triggered have underscored the imperative for Africa to severe its dependence on global supply chains for its food. The corollary to this imperative is the need for Africa to harness its enormous agricultural potential for achieving food security. Additionally, AU member states need to use this crisis for leveraging the African Common Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for enhancing intra-Africa trade in agricultural products by prioritizing and fast tracking the processes for trading in agricultural products.

The East and Horn of Africa constitutes one of the regions, not only in Africa but also globally, most affected by food insecurity. As of December 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 37 million people in the region to be faced with acute food insecurity. Aside from being faced with the worst droughts experienced in decades, the region is home to some of the worst conflict situations in the continent. The devastating combined effect of insecurity, drought and other impacts of climate change such as floods have led to the displacement of over 13 million people in the east and horn region, as of June last year. South Sudan, which faces severe challenges in agricultural production due to the highest level of flooding the country has gone through in over 60 years, has 8.3 million people who face critical level of food insecurity as well as famine reported in multiple areas of the country. In Ethiopia, where over 22 million people are reportedly facing severe food shortages, over 8 million people are affected by prolonged drought experienced in the country’s south and south-east parts while the conflict in Tigray and affected neighbouring regions has left 83 percent of the population food insecure. In Somalia, 6.5 million people are reportedly facing acute food insecurity due to multiyear drought that the country continues to suffer from. Despite earlier predictions of improved cereal production in Sudan due to projected favourable weather conditions, the situation in the country is not looking good either, due to the difficult economic conditions and the political instability, which are now compounded by the outbreak of the raging war.

West Africa and the Sahel are faring no better than the east and horn region. Estimates indicate that over 18 million people in the Sahel region experience severe food insecurity. Nigeria hosts 13 million people living under grave level of acute food insecurity. A significant amount of these are located in Boko Haram affected regions. Erratic rainy season, insecurity and rise in food price with reduced supply of food items leaves 1.2 million people in Mali requiring urgent food assistance. Substantial portion of these people are populations displaced due to terrorism related conflict and intercommunal violence. Burkina Faso which now hosts the highest number of IDPs in the Sahel region – 1.9 million Burkinabe citizens displaced internally – is projected to have 3.5 million people facing acute food insecurity in the coming agricultural season of 2023.

In CAR, reduced access to basic materials required for agricultural production has been a principal factor behind the increase in the price of local foodstuff while the cost of imported goods has gone even higher due to rise in fuel and transportation prices. In the coming months of 2023, estimates point that about 3 million people are likely to be in crisis and emergency phases of food insecurity, particularly in violence affected and displaced community hosting regions. One of the world’s largest hunger crisis currently, DRC is home to 26.4 million food insecure people, a number topping the total for some of the entire sub-regions of the continent. As the current conflict in the eastern part of the country fuels the growing displacement rate, factors related to climatic shocks and poor agricultural yields drive the increasing degree of food insecurity.

Although to a much lesser extent, countries in the north and southern Africa regions have also felt the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war. In countries like Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia inflation rates have gone up considerable percentages leading to increase in food prices while people’s purchasing power decreases. In the southern Africa region, in addition to the spike in cost-of-living, Malawi and Zimbabwe are susceptible to raising degrees of food crisis due to likelihood of droughts and cyclones while violent conflict is the main driver of food insecurity in Mozambique.

Although all of these data project a grim image, it also offers the opportunity to re-examine Africa’s approach in responding to food insecurity, in order to identify gaps and find solutions. In this respect, one important aspect the PSC may reflect on is the significance of responding to Africa’s food security crisis in a comprehensive manner that takes account of humanitarian, developmental and peace and security factors into consideration. While partnerships for humanitarian aid are pertinent and in fact indispensable to respond to immediate needs of affected populations, it is essential to ensure sustainability of humanitarian assistance, specifically by linking such efforts with development programmes that aim to boost food production at the national level. This opens up the potential for local communities to be assisted in a manner that would not only enable their eventual self-reliance, but also their contribution to nation-wide food production.

Further to tailoring humanitarian assistance towards building durable and sustainable food production along with addressing urgent needs, it is also critical for African member states to make all the necessary efforts to ‘build sustainable and resilient agri-food system to ensure food sovereignty’ as articulated in the Declaration of the 15th Extraordinary AU Humanitarian Summit [Ext/Assembly/AU/Decl.(XV)]. In most of the highly affected African countries, absence of agricultural modernisation and weak institutional capacity to provide research supported farming practices are among the factors which facilitate food insecurity. This requires that AU member states invest more on the agricultural sector.

Having regard to the role conflict and political instability play in inflaming food insecurity, the imperative for practical steps for silencing the guns cannot be overemphasized. For this, the AU, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UN and others together with CSOs need to work on preventing new conflicts from erupting and in mobilizing all their efforts for resolving existing conflicts.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a Communiqué. Expressing grave concern over the increasing rate of food insecurity faced in multiple parts of the continent, the PSC may recall the ‘African Common Position to accelerate the implementation of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030’, which articulates Africa’s collective resolve to strengthen the resilience of its food systems with the aim to meet the goals of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It may urge member states, in close collaboration with the AU Commission, to strengthen efforts towards realising the Common African Position as well as the outcomes of the 15th Extraordinary AU Humanitarian Summit relating to ‘food security and nutrition in humanitarian situations in Africa’. Noting AU’s theme for the year 2023 ‘Acceleration of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation’, the PSC may underscore the importance of AfCFTA for boosting intra-African trade in agricultural products and creating affordable food supply chains that can offer alternatives to increasing price of imports from outside of Africa. In this regard, the PSC may call on the AfCFTA Secretariat and states parties to the AfCFTA to prioritize and fast-track the adoption and operationalisation of the necessary institutional and legal arrangements for intra-African trade in agricultural products. PSC may encourage member states to invest more on services and raw materials relevant for advancing agricultural production and the sourcing of agricultural products used for humanitarian assistance from within the continent. The PSC may reiterate the request of its 1083rd session for the AU Commission to ‘undertake a study and propose to Member States recommendation on the strategies to boost food production in Africa’. It may further restate the need to ‘strengthen the linkage between humanitarian assistance, development and peacebuilding, with a view to enhance greater cooperation and coordination between actors in humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and peacebuilding’ to leverage the role of each for enhancing food security.

Update on the situation in Sudan

Update on the situation in Sudan

Date | 16 May 2023

Today (16 May), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1154th session to receive update on the situation in Sudan as one of the two agenda items tabled for consideration.

Opening remarks are expected by Rebecca Amuge Otengo, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the AU and PSC Chairperson for the month of May while Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) is expected to brief members of the PSC.

Today’s session will be the second time that the PSC has met to discuss the situation in Sudan since the outbreak of fighting on 15 April between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. On 16 April, the PSC convened emergency session, which condemned the armed confrontation and called for an immediate ceasefire by the two parties. While the communique tasked the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, to undertake peacemaking initiatives, it also requested the Chairperson to continue engagement, within the framework of the Trilateral Mechanism (AU-IGAD-UN), with the UN Secretary-General and IGAD Executive Secretary towards a consolidated response by the international community.

It was in that context that Faki convened on 20 April an urgent special ministerial meeting with bilateral, regional, and international actors, including UN Secretary-General, IGAD Executive Secretary, neighboring countries, Gulf countries, and some members of UN Security Council. The ministerial meeting asked the Trilateral Mechanism – under the leadership of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and in coordination with the League of Arab States, the European Union, the Troika and bilateral actors – to ‘immediately engage the leadership of SAF and the RSF’ for de-escalation and securing permanent ceasefire arrangements. In his briefing, Bankole is expected to update members of the PSC on the evolving situation in Sudan and the various diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

Fighting has continued between the SAF and RSF mainly in the capital Khartoum as the conflict marked one month since its eruption on 15 April. The ongoing conflict not only raises the specter of full-blown civil war in the country but also its implication could go far and wide with the possibility of spilling into neighboring countries that are grappling with their own crisis.

Civilians are bearing the devastating brunt of the conflict as densely populated urban areas are turned into battlefield. Although accurate figures are hard to come by, Sudan’s Ministry of Health data indicates that the conflict killed at least 676 people and injured 5,576 between 15 April and 11 May. According to OCHA’s 14 May update, more than 936,000 people have been newly displaced by the conflict, with around 736,200 people displaced internally and about 200,000 people crossing into neighboring countries. The exodus from Sudan into the neighboring countries prompted the Chairperson of the AU Commission to issue a statement on 27 April, appealing to these countries and the international community to ‘speedily extend humanitarian support to civilians fleeing the conflict’ and ‘facilitate the transit and safety of civilians crossing their borders without impediment’. Millions are still stranded in Khartoum and elsewhere in the country, facing severe shortages of basic necessities such as water and electricity. The World Food Programme (WFP) warned that ‘the crisis in Sudan is likely to plunge millions more into hunger in the coming days and repercussions will be felt across the region’. WFP further expects that some 19 million people are bound to face acute food insecurity in the next three to six months if the fighting continues.

The other aspect of Bankole’s briefing is expected to be on the various diplomatic efforts that seek to broker cessation of hostilities and where such initiatives currently stand. There have been many attempts to secure humanitarian ceasefire, including the initiatives of AU Commission’s ministerial session and IGAD’s lead mediator, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit. The warring parties have reportedly failed to observe the ceasefire in almost each case despite expressing their intention to abide by the commitment for temporary pause in fighting. (For details on the various initiatives for cessation of hostilities, see Amani Africa’s recently launched tracker of diplomatic efforts on Sudan conflict).

The pre-negotiation talks between the representatives of SAF and RSF, which was facilitated by Saudi Arabia and US, culminated in the singing of the ‘Declaration of Commitment to Protect Civilians of Sudan’ on 11 May, in which the parties affirmed their commitment to ensure protection of civilians, respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, facilitate the rapid and unimpeded humanitarian relief, and that these commitments are fully disseminated within their ranks. The Trilateral Mechanism, in a statement issued on 11 May, welcomed the signing of the Declaration as an ‘important first step toward alleviating human suffering and protecting the lives and dignity of civilians in Sudan’, further urging the two parties to translate the commitments to meaningful action on the ground. However, it has not changed neither the course of the conflict nor the behavior of the actors.

Perhaps, one of the issues worth discussing in the session is how best the AU could maintain the leadership role in finding peaceful solutions to the conflict as the PSC envisages in its last meeting on Sudan. Experiences so far suggest not only the presence of plethora of diplomatic initiatives by various actors but also lack of coordination among these initiatives. Despite the already existing mechanism to coordinate efforts among AU, IGAD, and UN (the Trilateral Mechanism), these regional and international actors do not appear to fully utilize the Mechanism. This was evident for instance when IGAD’s 16 April extraordinary summit formed a high-level delegation under the leadership of President Salva Kiir while the PSC tasked the Chairperson of the AU Commission to lead peacemaking initiatives. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and US initiated a ‘pre-negotiation talks’ in Jeddah at a time when IGAD’s lead mediator has been requesting the warring parties to send their representatives to an ‘agreed venue’ to start the peace talks. Indeed, South Africa, in a statement issued on 8 May to welcome the start of Saudi Arabia/US facilitated talks, stressed the imperative of the ‘centrality of the African Union and IGAD in the pre-negotiation and subsequent talks.’ The uncoordinated and parallel diplomatic efforts could create the risk of forum shopping, not to mention the possibility of compromising actors’ leverage over the warrying parties.

The other important issue is the importance of not losing sight on the disrupted political negotiations towards the formation of a civilian government. While the conflict has shifted the focus towards bringing the warring parties to a negotiating table, there is a high need not only to engage the civilian actors in Sudan but also the talks to secure ceasefire should be conceived within the broader picture of establishing a civilian government in Sudan.

Today’s session is also likely to deliberate on how the AU could maintain its leadership role in Sudan’s peace talks. In that regard, Amani Africa’s recent opinion piece ‘Ideas Indaba’ on Sudan conflict suggested various measures, including for the AU, along with other relevant actors (notably IGAD and UN), to extensively engage various Sudanese stakeholders such as civilian actors; initiate humanitarian diplomacy; put in place interdisciplinary emergency taskforce on Sudan that tracks the fighting as well as violations; hold regular press conference and briefings on developments in Sudan; engage neighboring and other countries not only to refrain from being drawn into the conflict but also contribute to end the fighting.

The expected outcome of today’s session is a communique. Echoing the statement of the Trilateral Mechanism, the PSC may welcome the signing of the Declaration of Commitment to Protect Civilians of Sudan as a step in the right direction to alleviate the human suffering in the country. Despite the signing of the Declaration, the PSC is expected to express its concern over the ongoing conflict and in that regard, it may urge the two parties to use the singing of the Declaration as a steppingstone into a comprehensive ceasefire talks. In light of the unfolding humanitarian crisis, the PSC may reiterate the call of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for neighboring countries to facilitate the transit and safety of civilians crossing their borders and the international community to step up the delivery of humanitarian assistance. PSC may stress the importance of coordinating diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Sudan, and in that connection, it may request the Chairperson of the AU Commission to replicate the experience of his convening of a special ministerial meeting on the situation in Sudan. Given the gravity of the crisis and its potential implication on the peace and stability of the broader region and the continent, the PSC may highlight the need for more frequent engagement on the situation in Sudan.

Briefing on the activities of the African First Ladies Peace Mission

Briefing on the activities of the African First Ladies Peace Mission

Date | 16 May 2023

Tomorrow (16 May), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1154th session to receive a briefing on the activities of the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM). The session aims to contribute towards mobilisation of African stakeholders for effective mediation and preventive diplomacy.

Following opening remarks by Rebecca Amuge Otengo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of May, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to make a statement. Aisha M. Buhari, First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairperson of the AFLPM will present tomorrow’s briefing to the PSC. Benita Diop, AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security (WPS) may also deliver a statement.

The AFLPM was formally inaugurated in 1997, as an outcome of the commitment made by the First Ladies of Benin, Burundi, Gambia, Lesotho, Nigeria and Uganda at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing Conference), to undertake peace missions throughout Africa. The mission’s central objective is focused around promotion of women’s inclusion and active engagement in mediation and preventive diplomacy efforts, with the aim of contributing to the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in the continent. Despite the complementarity of the mission’s mandate to that of the PSC’s, tomorrow’s session constitutes the first time for the PSC to be briefed on the activities of the AFLPM. It is however to be recalled that at its 987th session committed to the WPS theme, the PSC underscored the necessity for revitalising the AFLPM ‘for the promotion of peace and harmony, as well as their advocacy for advancing women and girls’ interests, provision of support to the victims of armed conflict, refugees and displaced people’.

Theoretically, the AFLPM is an initiative that could contribute significantly to the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts through an effective deployment of humanitarian and diplomatic actions. A Plan of Action adopted at the 7th Summit of the AFLPM in 2012 underscores some critical strategies and activities to enable the mission realise its goal in this respect. Centred on the core objective of capacity building of women groups in conflict resolution and peace building, the Plan of Action elucidates the various roles that can be played by African First Ladies in key areas such as promotion of the culture of peace, protection of women and girls in conflict zones and facilitating humanitarian assistance for communities affected by armed conflicts. Within this context, the AFLPM has recorded notable progress, some of which include the provision of relief materials to refugee and IDP communities in Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

In practice, beyond such ad hoc solidarity activities the AFLPM has very little, if any, visibility nor is it known for engaging in championing peace or resolution of conflicts in relation to specific conflict situations. This session and the apparent effort to bring the AFLPM to the limelight may inject some much-needed energy for it to take active role in peace efforts in relation to specific conflict situations. Having been established as an initiative of First Ladies of few countries, it has been elusive to some whether the mission operates as a continental non-governmental organisation (NGO) or a project of involved First Ladies. This lack of clarity has barred the mission from attaining the necessary level of support and visibility to realise its goals. By creating better clarity on its legal status and methods of operation as well as by clearly placing itself within the existing continental architecture for the maintenance of peace and security, the AFLPM could work better for advancing peace.

Additionally, despite its establishment in 1997, little is known about its works over the years or its engagement with key AU organs that play a lead role in securing peace and in promoting women’s involvement in decision-making processes related to peace and security.

One positive development towards the institutionalization of the AFLPM has been the inauguration of the mission headquarter, in Abuja, Nigeria, alongside the convening of the 10th AFLPM General Assembly held from 8 to 9 May 2023. Another notable development is the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the AFLPM and the AU at the 10th AFLPM General Assembly, which marks an important stride.

While these developments including the establishment of the headquarters constitutes significant progress, the effective functioning of the AFLPM takes more than having headquarters. It requires among others clarifying its working methods.

Although it is not clear why the PSC has to convene a session on this body that has been dormant and has no specific history of engaging in peace processes, tomorrow’s session beyond affording visibility for AFLPM will also be used for ensuring that it also serves the purposes of the mandate of the PSC with members of the PSC calling on the AFLPM to fully operationalize its role, in coordination with the relevant AU structures, namely Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (FemWise) and the AU Special Envoy on WPS.

If it lives up to its mission, the AFLPM operating with clear working methods can contribute meaningfully to peace and security including by leveraging and working with relevant AU structures. For this it is also critical to address other issues affecting the functioning of the AFLPM. The potential political proximity to power and associated sensitivities and issues related to technical and financial sources of support are among the other issues that may also warrant attention. It is not also farfetched that, despite the (potential) huge influence the members of the AFLPM wield, they face the impacts of deeply entrenched patriarchal norms. Such perceptions inevitably shape national policies and inform decision-making, including on matters related to peace and security, in a non-inclusive manner that fails to take account of women’s perspectives and contributions. While a more comprehensive approach is necessary to combat the impacts of patriarchy in Africa, the AFLPM needs to strengthen its lobbying strategies to attain full support of relevant national actors.

It may also interest the PSC to reflect on the opportunities the AFLPM presents in terms of supplementing its works. One example of such opportunities is advancing the WPS agenda and promoting its enhanced implementation at the national level, including through sustained advocacy for the adoption of national action plans (NAPs). Through close collaboration with the Office of the AU Special Envoy for WPS, the AFLPM could make considerable contributions, such as sensitisation of relevant policy actors at the national level, on the significance of WPS for the success of peace processes as well as realisation of development agendas.

Mobilisation of the AFLPM in mediation and preventive diplomacy forms another key area in which the mission could contribute. Lending support to existing AU mechanisms such as the Panel of the Wise, FemWise and Network of African Youth on Conflict Prevention and Mediation (WiseYouth), the AFLPM could be deployed strategically not only to assist in the conduct of mediation and preventive diplomacy missions, but also through raising necessary funds for the successful undertaking of such operations.

The expected outcome of the session was unknown at the time of developing this insight. The PSC may welcome the objectives for which the AFLPM is established and take note of its potential to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security in Africa. It may take note of the signing of an MoU between the AFLPM and the AU, represented by PAPS Commissioner Bankole Adeoye, and encourage it to take advantage of the opportunities this presents for AFLPM to work with and avail its influence for the effective functioning of relevant AU structures working on conflict prevention, management and resolution, including the Panel of the Wise, FemWise and Special Envoy for WPS. The PSC may also welcome the appointment of the First Lady of Burundi, Angelina Ndayishimiye as the incoming president of the AFLPM and commend the outgoing president, first lady of Nigeria, Aisha Muhammmadu Buhari for her role during her presidency of the mission. It may call on all relevant AU actors to work towards strengthening engagement and co-operation with the mission.

Discussion on Financing AU Peace Support Operations in Africa

Discussion on Financing AU Peace Support Operations in Africa

Date | 12 May 2023

Tomorrow (12 May), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1153rd session at a ministerial level to discuss the issue of financing AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs) in Africa.

Uganda’s minister of Foreign Affairs, Odongo Jeje Abubakhar, Chairperson of the PSC for the month of May, is expected to open the session followed by remarks from Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), as well as remarks from Mohammed El-Amine Souef, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for Somalia and Head of AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of UN Office to the AU (UNOAU) is expected to address the PSC and provide overview of the Secretary-General’s report released early this month. The representative of the European Union (EU) could be also among the speakers.

The session on financing AU PSOs comes in the context of a new momentum for the resumption of negotiation on a framework UNSC resolution on financing of AU-led PSOs that has stalled since 2019. In February of this year, the 36th ordinary session of the AU Assembly adopted what the AU referred to as ‘African consensus paper on predictable, adequate, and sustainable financing for African Union peace and security activities.’ On 1 May, the UN Secretary-General officially released the report on the Implementation of UNSC resolutions 2320(2016) and 2378(2017), which is scheduled to be considered by the UNSC on 25 May. These two documents set the stage for starting the negotiation on a UNSC framework resolution that secures concrete commitment from the Council on the use of UN assessed contributions for AU-led PSOs.

Happening at the ministerial level, tomorrow’s session presents the PSC the opportunity to provide strategic guidance on how to take forward the agenda of financing within the UNSC and the respective roles and responsibilities of the various AU actors in that regard. It could also serve as a platform for the PSC to create awareness and shared understanding on some of the key issues highlighted in the two documents and those areas that may require further engagement and negotiated compromise.

There are around four issues, which all received attention in the two documents and are expected to required further engagement. The first of this has to do with burden sharing. This relates to the percentage of the budget of AU-led PSO supported by UN funding that the AU contributes to. One of the issues in this regard was the clarification needed on contribution of 25 % of PSOs budget. The Consensus Paper stated that the 25% of AU’s budget would be dedicated to supporting ‘priority initiatives of the AU in support of peace and security efforts on the continent.’ From the 25% of the Union’s annual budget that is committed to the overall peace and security work of the AU, the budget for PSOs is expected to cover the preparation stage of AU led PSOs.

During the session, member states may also raise the question of various unaccounted costs that they absorb when deploying for PSOs. As highlighted in Amani Africa’s latest report, there may also be a need for the AU to commit to a percentage of the financial burden of the PSOs that will be supported by UN assessed contributions. The PSC may thus need to consider how to provide further clarification that specifies the percentage of the cost of the peace operations that AU’s contribution constitutes even if this would be a percentage that is symbolic of AU’s willingness for burden sharing.

On the financing model, the Consensus Paper proposed three financing options. The first model is the establishment of AU-UN Hybrid mission based on the UNAMID experience. The second model is what the Consensus Paper described as an ‘Enhanced UN Logistics Support Package (LSP)’ – a financing option that has been tested in Somalia since 2009 to support AMISOM/ATMIS but with the support additionally covering monthly stipends to the police and military components as well as death and disability compensation (AMISOM/ATMIS plus model). While these two converge with the two financing options supported by the Secretary-General’s report, the Consensus Paper additionally envisaged that sub-regional peace support operations also benefit from UN assessed contributions. The Secretary-General’s report does not close the door for such operations but requires that such operations are brought under AU decision-making and financial management frameworks.

The other area is the question of decision-making, oversight and command and control, which does not seem to be sufficiently reflected in the consensus paper. Previous negotiations on the matter highlighted the disagreement between AU and UN over who provides the strategic and political guidance to the AU-led PSOs that are primarily funded through UN assessed contributions. The view on the part of the AU is that its deployment of PSOs using UN assessed contributions should not be seen as just a sub-contracting by the UN of its peace operations responsibility to the AU. As such it expects to exercise a level of control over the PSOs it deploys under UNSC authorization and UN assessed contributions support. The Secretary-General’s paper provides a diagram of the decision-making process and acknowledges the authority of the AU. What the scope of this control by AU would be clear when negotiating the language in the draft resolution.

The other issue related to the strengthening of human rights compliance and financial transparency and accountability mechanisms. Both the Consensus Paper and the Secretary-General’s repot provide updates on the progress made in this respect by the AU meeting the expectations set in the two UNSC 2016 and 2017 resolutions. It is expected that the PSC will welcome the Secretary-General’s report and call on the UNSC to heed the call of the Secretary-General and adopt the resolution on financing of AU-led PSOs through UN assessed contributions.

In terms of next steps, it would also be of interest for PSC on the process and arrangements that should be put in place for sustained consultation and close coordination. The various consultations would understandably need to be organized in a way that addresses the specific areas of concern of various role players. The PSC may in this respect welcome the roadmap that the A3 have prepared. It may also call for creating a dedicated standing coordination arrangement to ensure close coordination of the AU Commission, the PSC, the A3, the AU Permanent Observer Mission to UN and the wider Africa Group in New York throughout the negotiation process for having a UNSC resolution that adequately reflects AU’s position.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. The PSC is expected to reiterate the key aspects of the consensus paper, including AU’s understanding of the 25% commitment, the different financing options outlined; progress made in addressing some of the concerns raised in previous negotiation on the matter. PSC may welcome the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of UNSC resolutions 2320 and 2378 and may endorse the strong call of the Secretary-General for the UNSC to adopt a resolution on use of assessed contributions for AU-led peace support operations authorized by the UNSC. The PSC may also authorize the A3 to resuscitate the negotiations on the resolution on the basis of the Consensus Paper and the Secretary-General’s report, which was developed in close coordination with the AU Commission. For ensuring close & sustained consultation and ensure that the various AU actors speak with one voice, the PSC may call for the establishment of a standing consultation and coordination arrangement dedicated to this file and for the duration of the negotiations. At the level of the PSC, it may decide to have this agenda to be a regular item of the monthly program of work of the PSC every month until the conclusion of the negotiations on the draft resolution and establish a committee made up of three to five members involving Ghana as a state with membership in both the PSC and the UNSC. Considering that the negotiation over the resolution is also political as the Secretary-General’s report underscored and the strategic significance of this file, the PSC may call for the AU Commission and member states to be seized of, provide leadership and take active part throughout the negotiation process at the highest levels.