Analytical briefing on the Strategic Planning for Post-ATMIS Somalia

Analytical briefing on the Strategic Planning for Post-ATMIS Somalia

Date | 2 April 2024

Tomorrow (03 April), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to have a closed session dedicated to analytical briefing on the strategic planning for post-AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) Somalia.

Following opening remarks by the Permanent Representative of The Gambia and PSC Chairperson for April, Jainaba Jagne, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to deliver a statement. It is expected that the AU Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) will provide the briefing to the PSC.

The last time the PSC held a session on Somalia/ATMIS on 8 March in an informal consultation, the focus of the session was on plans and preparations towards a post-ATMIS engagement. This built on the 1173rd session that requested the Commission to ‘work out a viable ATMIS exit strategy, which should include proposals on AU’s continued engagement with and support to Somalia post 31 December 2024.’

Tomorrow’s briefing comes against the backdrop of Somalia’s submission of its proposal on the strategic planning for post-ATMIS mission, pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 2710 (2023). The resolution requested the Government of Somalia to present a proposal for post-ATMIS security arrangements to the Security Council by 31 March 2024. As a follow-up to this request, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has developed Strategic Planning for Post-ATMIS Proposal, defining the mandate, scope, size, and composition of the post-ATMIS mission in support of Somali state building priorities. It is also to be recalled that in an informal consultation held on 27 March 2024 upon the request of the Government of Somalia, the PSC was briefed by representative of the Government on Somalia’s on the proposal for post-ATMIS security arrangements. After the briefing from Somalia, member states requested that the PAPS Department provides analytical briefing offering insights on the proposal for the post-ATMIS mission.

Tomorrow’s analytical briefing draws on the mission that the AU PAPS undertook to Somalia in February and the proposal that the Government of Somalia presented on strategic planning for post-ATMIS. During the meeting of the AU high-level delegation led by Alhadji Sarjoh Bah, PAPS’ Director for Conflict Management, and Somalia’s authorities at the end of January and early February 2024, Bah noted that the strength, mandate, posture, composition and the overall architecture that will replace ATMIS will be based on ‘a very comprehensive security assessment that focuses on the threats and other variables’. Subsequently, on 13 February, the AU also convened the Core Security Partners Group high-level consultative meeting in Addis Ababa, which brought together key partners, to explore avenues for supporting ‘Somali-led and owned security arrangements post-ATMIS’.

According to the document on Strategic Planning for Post-ATMIS that the FGS submitted, the mandate of the post-ATMIS mission will be of limited scope. It specifically envisages that focus of the mission will be ‘securing identified strategic population centers, key infrastructures in Mogadishu and the FMS capitals (e.g. airports, sea ports); providing air support to the SSF, and permitting SNAF elements to conduct offensive operations.’ Accordingly, one of the request of the FGS proposal is for ‘an AU-led, UN-authorized multilateral mission,’ which is limited in size, scope and timeframe. The mission is intended to assist Somalia in stabilizing and securing the country; enabling state building priorities; and ensuring a coherent and orderly transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali authorities and increasingly capable security forces.

With respect to the size of the mission, the document states that the FGS does not expect the size of the mission to exceed 10,000. This is despite stating that ‘joint strategic assessment will determine the required size of mission based on capability gaps identified by the FGS.’ These personnel are projected to deploy across 14 Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) within four sectors—Sector 1 (Mogadishu City and Banadir Region and Lower Shabelle), Sector 2 (Lower and Middle Juba and Gedo), Sector 3 (Bay and Bakool), and Sector 4 (Middle Shabelle, Hiraan and Galgaduud regions). While no specific timeframe is outlined for the new mission, the Proposal highlights that it should align with the timeframe specified in the Somali Security Development Plan (SSDP), which anticipates achieving sovereign capability for security responsibilities within three to five years.

In considering the proposal from FGS, of interest for PSC members are the composition of the post-ATMIS mission, and whether and how elements of ATMIS would constitute part of this new mission to avoid vacuum that may arise due to complete lack of continuity. In clarifying these issues, as well as how the mission will be organized and how it interfaces with FGS and its security forces, the request Somalia made during the Somalia security conference last December and the lessons from AMISOM and ATMIS provide useful basis. Of not any less significance is the consideration to the contribution that AMISOM and ATMIS troops made and the role that ATMIS troop and police contributing countries will play regarding the post-ATMIS AU-led mission. Somalia’s Proposal does not provide details on this issue. It is anticipated that some contingents currently operating in ATMIS will form the ‘Core Nucleus’ of the new mission to ensure continuity.

There is recognition that whatever form that the post-ATMIS mission takes is expected not only to build on the progress in the drawdown and exit processes of ATMIS but also the overall peace and security conditions in Somalia and institutional readiness of Somalia Security Forces (SSF). In this respect it is worth recalling that even with respect to phase 3 drawdown of ATMIS, UN Security Council Resolution 2710 urged ‘ATMIS and its Troop- and Police-Contributing Countries to work closely with the FGS and Somalia’s Federal Member States (FMS) to ensure that the Phase 3 drawdown is gradual and conducted in line with Somalia’s strategic needs, including progress with force generation, as well as taking into account the situation in Somalia and the importance of maintaining security and stability.’ In the light of this, it is of paramount importance that the determination of the size and composition of the post-ATMIS mission is determined on the basis of the strategic assessment which should provide assessment of the threat that Al Shabaab poses, lessons from phase 3 drawdown expected to lead to the withdrawal of 4000 troops by 30 June 2024, the progress in force generation and in consolidation of national reconciliation and political cohesion between FGS and Federal Member States. The nature of continuing security and institutional challenges that Somalia faces when ATMIS completes exit should not be underestimated. Similarly, the enormity of the responsibility should be fully appreciated.

The other issue worthy of PSC’s attention in tomorrow’s session is the financing dimension. This is a particularly significant issue considering the funding challenges that ATMIS experienced. During the 19 February UN Security Council briefing on Somalia, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Catriona Laing, alluded to the use of UN assessed contribution within the framework of resolution 2719 (2023) on the financing of the AU-led peace support operations as one of the potential funding modalities. Indeed, this presents the first test for the practical application of resolution 2719. The proposal from the FGS is ‘a UN mandated logistical support to the new mission, and the Somali Security Forces (SSF) in joined (sic) and coordinated operations with the new AU-led mission.’ The Strategic Planning for post-ATMIS Proposal emphasizes the imperative of securing reliable and sustainable funding. Two funding modalities are proposed to address this critical issue. The first modality involves accessing the UN assessed contributions within the framework of the landmark UN Security Council resolution 2719 (2023). This resolution determined that AU-led PSOs that are authorized by the Security Council will have access to funding from the UN assessed contributions, on a case-by-case basis. The second modality entails considering other ‘complementary options’, including voluntary contributions from a broader range of donors with ‘multiyear commitments’, in line with the principle of burden-sharing among the various stakeholders.

It remains unclear whether there will be a formal outcome document following tomorrow’s session. However, while welcoming Somalia’s Strategic Planning for post-ATMIS Proposal, PSC may emphasize the need for enhanced engagement between the AU Commission and the FGS, along with other partners to ensure mutual understanding on the key aspects of the proposed mission and to address any outstanding issues. In this respect, the PSC may encourage the AU Commission and Somalia to establish a joint monitoring, assessment, consultation and planning mechanism that will, among others, help clarify critical questions relevant to the development of the concept of operations (CONOPs) for the Post-ATMIS mission. PSC may also specify a timeframe for the next briefing to receive updates on progress made toward the development of the CONOPs for the new mission and preparations for the phase 3 ATMIS troops drawdown.


Provisional Program of Work for the Month of April 2024

Provisional Program of Work for the Month of April 2024*

Date | April 2024

The Gambia will serve as the stand-in-chairperson of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of April 2024. According to the rules on rotation of the monthly chairperson of the PSC in alphabetical order (Article 8(6) of PSC Protocol & Rule 23 of the PSC Rules of Procedure), Nigeria was set to be the chairperson for April. However, due to the absence of ambassadorial representation, the typical alphabetical rotation could not be applied this month. Consequently, The Gambia have stepped in as the stand-in-chairperson, as provided under Paragraph 67 of the Manual on Working Methods of the Council.

The PSC’s Provisional Programme of Work includes five substantive sessions and a ‘field visit’ to Abuja for the Abuja High- Level Meeting on Counterterrorism meeting. Two of the sessions will address region-specific issues, while the remaining three will cover thematic topics. All sessions are scheduled to be held at ambassadorial level.

The first session of the month scheduled to take place on 4 April will focus on hate crimes and fighting genocide ideology in Africa. The session also takes place within the framework of the 30th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. While the session is in line with PSC’s 678th meeting which decided to dedicate an open session to the theme every year in April, the commemoration is in accordance with the AU Assembly Decision [Assembly/ AU / Dec.695] of 2 July 2018 as well as the Communique of the PSC adopted at its 761st session. The forthcoming session, on ‘prevention of the ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes’ that has become a standing agenda item of the PSC may take stock of Rwanda’s transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction journey and discuss the growing relevance of the lessons gleaned from the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. In the light of various large scale atrocities experienced in various conflict settings and the continuing violations to which civilians are subjected in various conflicts such as Sudan, the session is expected to underscore the urgency of maintaining vigilance in implementing the lessons from that unprecedented tragedy as institutionalized in the AU norms and peace and security architecture. It is also anticipated that the session will serve as an occasion for following up on some of the previous decisions of the PSC on this theme including mots notably the call for the appointment of a special envoy on the prevention of genocide in Africa.

The second session of the month and the first region-specific session to be held on 8 April will be dedicated for the briefing on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin with regards to the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) operations. The session is in accordance with the PSC ‘s request for the Commission in coordination with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) Secretariat, to report to Council regularly on the activities of the MNJTF, in line with the relevant provisions contained in the Communique PSC/AHG/ COMM.2(CDLXXXIV) of 29 January 2015. The last time this issue was discussed was during the PSC’s 1197th session held on 30 January 2024. It is recalled that the session decided to renew MNJTF’s mandate for one-year period, effective from 1 February 2024. It is also anticipated that the PSC will be briefed on the request it made during its previous session to the AU Commission and the LCBC to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Support Implementation Agreement (SIA) between AU, LCBC and MNJTF Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs). Furthermore, the session is also anticipated to assess the implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected Areas of the Lake Chad Basin Region (RSS) that was adopted in August 2018 by the LCBC and later endorsed by the PSC. The session is further expected to address Climate Change impacts in the region.

On the same day, the PSC will be briefed on the preparations for the high-level African Counter Terrorism Meeting in Abuja, scheduled for 22-23 April 2024. As part of these arrangements, the PSC has scheduled to participate in the event on 22 – 25 April. The meeting will take place under the theme ‘Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threat of Terrorism in Africa’. During this briefing, it is anticipated that PSC members will receive detailed information regarding the strategic objectives of the meeting, the agendas to be covered and the key stakeholders involved. The briefing may also delve into strategies to boost regional cooperation against the rising threat of terrorism, which could inform discussions of the high-level meeting. In a commendable development that should be replicated and regularized, as part of the ‘field mission’, the PSC is also expected to hold consultation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mediation and Security Council.

On 16 April, the PSC will hold its fourth session of the month, focusing on ‘Unblocking the obstacles to the effective Continental Early Warning System (CEWS)’. This session aligns with the PSC’s decision from its 1014th session held on 26 July 2021, which called for quarterly briefings on emerging threats to peace and security in Africa. This request was directed towards the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services (CISSA), the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL). These entities are expected to provide updates on emerging trends affecting the continent’s peace and security landscape. On a particular note, the briefing is also expected to address the persisting issues of terrorism, with focus on the Sahel region, in accordance with the communique adopted by the PSC during its 1170th session on 22 August 2023.

The PSC will convene its next session on 18 April to explore the security conditions in the Gulf of Guinea and devise the required response to combat maritime insecurity and piracy. The council last addressed this issue during its 1174th session on September 18, 2023. During the session, recognizing a decade of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct’s implementation, the PSC proposed its expansion to encompass the entire Atlantic coast. As such, the upcoming session will provide an opportunity for the PSC to review updated assessments of the Code’s strategies and provisions. The session may receive an update on the progresses towards the operationalizing the Yaoundé Architecture’s structure and the assessment as to whether it is adequately equipped to respond to emerging threats and realities.

The initial programme of work for the PSC is expected to expand with the addition of two more sessions. One of these sessions is expected to focus on the situation in Somalia/ATMIS, a topic last discussed in an informal consultation on 27 March 2024 upon the request of the Government of Somalia. This meeting was also in response to the Council’s request during its 1173rd session in September 2023, to develop a feasible exit strategy for ATMIS, which would include proposals for the AU’s sustained support to Somalia beyond December 31, 2024. During the informal consultations, the PSC received updates on the completion of phase 2 drawdown, preparations for phase 3 and ongoing discussions regarding post-ATMIS security arrangements. Furthermore, it is recalled that, at the Somalia security conference held on 12 December 2023, in New York, Somalia requested a new, limited multilateral mission post-ATMIS, aiming to protect strategic population centers and crucial infrastructure in Mogadishu and Federal Member State. As previously anticipated in our insight for the session on 8 March, detailed information on the proposed mission was expected and the 27 March informal briefing to the PSC provided some clarity on Somalia’s perspective. Furthermore, Somalia’s active involvement in ATMIS’s drawdown and exit and in planning the post-ATMIS mission, were also part of discussion points. However, during the 8 March session the PSC members did not reach a definitive agreement on certain issues. Both the 27 March informal session and the session proposed for this month are based on UN Security Council Resolution 2710. It is recalled that the UNSC, under resolution 2710, requested the FGS and the AU to conduct a joint technical assessment by 31 March 2024 to evaluate phase 2 drawdown, and provide an update by 30 April on their preparations for phase 3 drawdown. Therefore, the upcoming session is expected to continue these discussions, with the goal of reaching consensus on the unresolved matters.

The other session that is expected to be included in the Council’s programme is the situation in Sudan. It is anticipated that the session will review the developments in the war that will mark one year on 15 April since its outbreak in April 2023. The war has continued to rage on with devastating consequences to civilians with nearly 14,000 fatalities, 8.1 million displaced and 24.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, of which significant number facing imminent famine. In its 1185th session convened back in November 2023, the PSC made the decision to establish ‘a High-Level Ad Hoc Panel on Sudan.’ This panel is tasked with collaborating with all Sudanese stakeholders to facilitate a civilian-led political transition. Accordingly, on 3 February 2024, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, announced the formation of this high-level panel. The panel, chaired by Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns, includes Dr. Specioza Wandira-Kazibwe, the former Vice President of Uganda, and Ambassador Fransisco Madeira, the former Special Representative of the Chairperson to Somalia and former Head of ATMIS. Over the past two months, the panel undertook consultation tours which took the members of the Panel to Port Sudan and Cairo. The Panel has engaged with various stakeholders, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Expanded Mechanism for the Resolution of Sudan’s crisis, and most recently, the Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Therefore, the PSC is expected to receive an updated briefing from the high-level panel on its consultations and plans for implementing the AU Roadmap for the Resolution of the Crisis in Sudan.

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*Post-script: The analytical briefing on strategic planning for Post-ATMIS in Somalia, scheduled for April, is now confirmed to occur on 3 April, following the flag ceremony for the newly elected members of the PSC, where they will install their flags at the PSC Chamber. The briefing will be held in a closed session, which will also include a separate session for the engagement between the PSC and the Chairperson of the AU Commission.

 

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council

 


Ministerial High-Level Meeting on Women, Peace and Security in Africa

Ministerial High-Level Meeting on Women, Peace and Security in Africa

Date | 22 March 2024

Tomorrow (23 March), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene a ministerial high-level seminar on women, peace and security (WPS), with a specific focus on women’s participation and leadership in peace processes in Africa.

Peya Mushelega, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of Namibia and Chairperson of the PSC for the month will deliver opening remarks followed by Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS). Bineta Diop, Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on WPS and Hanna Tetteh, UN Secretary General Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa are expected to brief the Council on the progress made in the implementation of WPS Agenda in line with the relevant instruments of the AU and UN. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Representative of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General to the AU and Head of UN Office to AU (UNOAU) and representative of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are expected to make statements on the strategic objectives of the ministerial high-level PSC meeting. Other participants expected to contribute to the discussions include Shirley Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana and PSC member; Liberata Mulamula, Steering Committee of African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) and Member of the FemWise-Africa Network; Effie Owour, Co-Chair of FemWise-Africa and Member of the AU Panel of the Wise; Mpule Kgetsi, African Youth Ambassador for Peace for Southern Africa and Renata Dalaqua, Head of Programme of Gender and Disarmament of UN Institute for Disarmament Research. Of particular significance is also the on the ground experience from women peace builders from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.

Being convened within the framework of international women’s day on the occasion of which the PSC annually convenes a meeting during the month of March, tomorrow’s meeting, organised as a high-level ministerial seminar, is aimed at highlighting the 20th anniversary of the operationalization and official launch of PSC by taking stock of women’s participation and leadership in peace processes in Africa. The last time the PSC discussed the WPS agenda at its 1187th meeting, the AU Special Envoy for WPS was requested to conduct a comprehensive review of the status of women’s involvement in peace processes and to propose recommendations for enhancing women’s engagement in this respect. Tomorrow’s ministerial session accordingly fits into and presents opportunity for discussing the work that the Special Envoy is undertaking in this respect.

As emphasised in the various outcome documents of PSC’s sessions on this topic, women, who continue to be disproportionately impacted by armed conflicts and other forms of threats to peace security in the continent, are yet to be proportionately and meaningfully involved in decision-making and peace processes. This is despite the encouraging policy and normative level work that has been done by the AU, various Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) and member states.

At the continental level for example, the adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and specifically the articulation under Article 10 of the Protocol granting women the ‘right to participate in the promotion and maintenance of peace’ and imposing responsibility on member states to ‘take all appropriate measures to ensure the increased participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding’ has been a critical step. The institutionalisation of WPS as an agenda item of the PSC, the appointment of the AU Special Envoy for WPS, the establishment of FemWise-Africa, and the adoption of the Continental Results Framework (CRF) for tracking implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on WPS by member states constitute key milestones and institutional processes towards ensuring women’s involvement in peace processes.

At the regional level as well, some RECs/RMs have adopted Regional Action Plans (RAPs) for the realisation of WPS agenda and are in engaged in promoting the WPS through the adoption and implementation of National Action Plans (NAPs) by member states across their respective regions. Further to the development of NAPs by 34 countries as of December 2023, a number of member states have also taken the necessary steps for implementing their NAPs through the enactment of relevant policies.

Despite these efforts and achievements, most of the work done for the realisation of WPS agenda in Africa, particularly the meaningful participation of women in peace process remains restricted largely to the adoption of norms and principles. In terms of expanding the representation and participation of women in peace processes at various levels nationally and continentally, the progress remains far from satisfactory. This is not however for lack of women activism and mobilization for peace. Various women-led initiatives, particularly at the grassroots level, play a significant role in advancing conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding through the deployment of community focused dialogues, advocacy, joint calls for ceasefires, identification of women’s priorities and specific experiences in conflict settings and other critical contributions. Yet, the lack of their formal involvement suggests that the formal (track 1 peace processes) and similar platforms lack the flexibility and the tools to tap into and establish close working arrangements that ensure the channelling of the work of women groups at local levels into the formal processes. Indeed, it is not uncommon for local level women groups and movements to accuse such track 1 diplomacy processes for their elitism and hence exclusionary mode of organization and operation. Thus, such women-led peace initiatives in the so-called ‘informal arena’ do not get to have their members and engagements to directly shape policy and decision-making on matters relevant to continental peace and security, in the ‘formal’ settings.

“Despite these efforts and achievements, most of the work done for the realisation of WPS agenda in Africa, particularly the meaningful participation of women in peace process remains restricted largely to the adoption of norms and principles.”

“Yet, the lack of their formal involvement suggests that the formal (track 1 peace processes) and similar platforms lack the flexibility and the tools to tap into and establish close working arrangements that ensure the channelling of the work of women groups at local levels into the formal processes. Indeed, it is not uncommon for local level women groups and movements to accuse such track 1 diplomacy processes for their elitism and hence exclusionary mode of organization and operation.”

In terms of areas of peace processes for women participation, one important aspect of peace processes in which women are glaringly missing is in peace negotiations and mediation. In recent years, various peace talks and negotiations were initiated in a number of countries across the continent including in countries such as South Sudan and Ethiopia, and in the ongoing peace processes for Sudan such as on ceasefire, women’s role and participation was mostly lacking despite the fact that women have faced the brunt of conflicts and instability disproportionally. Regardless of their experience, involvement of women at the formal negotiation tables and in mediation processes in these and other African countries has been largely underwhelming, if not virtually missing.

Another key area within the scope of peace processes with respect to which women continue to be insufficiently engaged and involved in is the deployment of AU-led peace support operations and UN peacekeeping missions. Despite the existing rich normative framework for enhancing women’s increased participation in the deployment of AU-led peace support operations, practice clearly demonstrates that gender is yet to be effectively mainstreamed in the recruitment and employment of female troop members deployed within this framework. Primarily, this is an issue to be tracked to troop contributing countries who need to set up gender quotas and take the necessary measures to increase enrolment of women troop members in various ranks. At the AU level, there is also need for developing specific guidelines to encourage recruitment of women personnel by troop contributing countries.

In UN peacekeeping missions deployed in Africa, some progress has been made in ensuring gender parity in the deployment of troops. While the experiences of women peacekeepers and their unique contributions to bridge cultural barriers in specific settings is a key practice demonstrating the critical nature of women’s engagement in such capacity, UN peacekeeping missions also continue to confront challenges mainly associated with insufficient enrolment of women in national military and police forces, patriarchal perceptions of the roles of women and the absence of family-friendly policies, according to the 2018-2028 UN Peacekeeping Gender Parity Strategy.

Tomorrow’s ministerial high-level PSC meeting offers an opportunity to take stock of the various bottlenecks that continue to hamper representation and effective participation of women and chart avenues for addressing them. As the foregoing discussion illustrate, these challenges canvased during the 4th High-Level Africa Forum on Women, Peace and Security held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa last December include ‘a broader and more deeply ingrained resistance to women’s participation, limitations within the existing framework of peace processes, isolated approaches that primarily focus on women’s security in conflict situations, and a failure to recognize the continuum of violence that women face in both peace and conflict contexts.’

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s meeting is a Communiqué. The PSC is expected to welcome the milestones achieved in the implementation of WPS in Africa since its establishment and most notably since it institutionalized WPS as a standing agenda in 2010. Noting the remaining work that needs to be done for the full realisation of UNSCR 1325 and WPS agenda in the continent, the PSC may underscore the need to enhance at the continental, regional and local levels, the meaningful participation and representation of women throughout all aspects of conflict prevention and resolution as well as peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. To this end, the PSC may call on the AU and its member states to create more flexible and women friendly mode of organization and operation of formal peace/political processes in order to effectively tap into women mobilization and work at the informal or grassroots levels.  The PSC may also call on the AU and its member states to establish systems and incentives that facilitate the recruitment and appointment of women in the political, diplomatic and security fields as the foundation for expanding the pool that would increase women’s representation and participation including in leadership roles in national, regional and continental peace processes. It may call on the AU, through the office of the Special Envoy for WPS and the Fem-Wise, to upscale efforts for enhanced engagement of women in peace processes including in the deployment of preventive diplomacy, mediation and in peacekeeping missions as well as peace support operations.


Briefing by the Panel of the Wise, FemWise and WiseYouth on their activities in Africa

Briefing by the Panel of the Wise, FemWise and WiseYouth on their activities in Africa

Date | 12 March 2024

Tomorrow (13 March) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1204th session to receive a briefing by the Panel of the Wise and its subsidiary bodies, FemWise and WiseYouth, on their activities in Africa.

Following opening remarks by Ambassador Emilia Mkusa, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for March 2024, Bankole Adeoye, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) is expected to make a statement.  Prof. Babacar Kante, Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise is also expected to deliver a briefing to the PSC.

The meeting which was initially planned for 19 March 2024, is being convened in accordance with PSC’s decision during its 665th meeting in March 2017, in which it requested for quarterly briefings from the Panel of the Wise. The last convening of the PSC on the Panel of Wise was in May 2023 at its 1152nd session which focused on the Report of the Panel of the Wise on its mission to the Republic of Chad. Prior to that, PSC convened it’s 1142nd session on 3 March 2023, but no outcome document was released.

Prior to the 1142nd session, there was no session with the Panel for most of the years since 2017. Thus, despite the expectation for this engagement to be regular, the meetings have not been regular and are yet to be fully institutionalised. This has affected the harmonisation and collaboration between the two organs around the role of the Panel on conflict prevention, including preventive diplomacy. Tomorrow’s session accordingly presents the opportunity for discussing on how to maintain the momentum and institutionalize the regularity of engagement.

The session is also expected to discuss on the work of the Panel of the Wise and its subsidiary mechanisms (PanWise, FemWise-Africa and WiseYouth) from the period 1 March 2023 to 1 March 2024. An area that is expected to receive particular attention in the Panel’s briefing is its efforts to assist countries in political transitions. On the situation in Chad, the Panel undertook a fact-finding mission to the country in May 2023 to evaluate Chad’s political and security situation in accordance with a November 2022 decision of the PSC. The Panel also undertook a mission to the Central African Republic. The field mission, in which the outcome was discussed during PSC’s 1157th session, sought to evaluate the political and security situation, assess the progress of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (APPR-CAR) and suggested strategies to support the country in achieving peace, reconciliation and democracy. Regarding South Sudan, the Panel undertook a mission to the country in December 2023 to evaluate the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). The mission also aimed to assess advancements and challenges in the political, security, humanitarian and financial aspects crucial for South Sudan’s peace and stability.

Considering that this year is a critical year in the transition process in Chad, it would be of interest for the PSC to reflect on how the Panel follows up on issues identified from its mission to Chad including on the issue of candidacy of the members of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) of Chad, for elections. It is worth recalling in this respect that AU rules and PSC’s decision itself made it clear that TMC members are barred from standing for elections. Yet, earlier this month the transitional President, despite his earlier assurances, announced that he would run for elections. No doubt coming against the background of the failure of the PSC to sanction Chad for military coup, this development constitutes a test for the PSC’s credibility.

In terms of South Sudan, which finds itself at the most delicate stage of its transitional process, it would also be of interest for the PSC to hear from the Panel on its assessment of the situation and importantly on how the Panel can have sustained role for addressing disagreements that may arise on how to manage this phase of the transition including the lack of progress in key transitional tasks necessary for holding elections.

Another area of the Panel’s work that tomorrow’s session is expected to focus on concerns the Panel’s role in dealing with election related crises including its participation in election observation and electoral preventive diplomacy missions. Through its involvement in crucial Election Observation and electoral Preventive Diplomacy missions, the Panel is expected to brief the PSC on its engagement in recent pre-, during and post-election processes in several member states in 2023. The Panel carried out election observation and preventive diplomacy missions in Nigeria (February 2023), Sierra Leone  (June 2023), Zimbabwe (August 2023), the Liberian presidential election (October 2023), the DRC (December 2023) as well as the 2024 Comoros Presidential elections.

In this context, an issue that may be of interest for PSC members is how these efforts by the Panel will and can contribute to the PSC’s ongoing engagement in these countries and the work of the various mechanisms of the AU dealing with these country situations.

Regarding the subsidiary organs of the Panel of the Wise, these are mechanism that contribute to its mission of conflict prevention, management and resolution. During the 25th Statutory Meeting, held on 12 and 13 May 2023, the Panel members assessed the advancements made by the Subsidiary Mechanisms, the PanWise Network, FemWise-Africa and WiseYouth and underscored the importance of enhancing the efficiency of decision-making and governance structures within these mechanisms. Tomorrow’s meeting is expected to provide the PSC an update on these subsidiary bodies of the Panel, particularly regarding the revitalization of the PanWise Network, which was proposed in 2022, as well as the 8th PanWise Network Retreat which was held from 7 – 8 December 2023 in Kigali, Rwanda, under the theme “Enhancing Electoral Preventive Diplomacy during Elections: Best Practices and Lessons Learnt.”

Furthermore, the PSC is likely to get an update on the operationalization of the FemWise-Africa Network and how members of FemWise are being deployed in various AU peace and security processes. In this context, it is expected that the briefing will highlight, among others, the involvement of the FemWise-Africa Network in AU-led election processes, including through deployments to Election Observation Missions (EOMs) and Preventive Diplomacy Missions (PDMs). In addition, the Panel is expected to brief the Council on the activities of the WiseYouth. As recalled, the establishment of the WiseYouth Network came into being through a decision made during the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in February 2022 (Assembly/AU/Dec.815(XXXV)). The network’s purpose is to strategically engage youth in preventive diplomacy, mediation and dialogue across the African continent. Following the Consultative Meeting with all Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the Regional Mechanisms (RMs), the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the G5-Sahel, held on 31 August to 1 September 2023 in Bujumbura, Burundi, whereby the Operational Modalities and Terms of Reference for Members of the Network were finalized and validated, tomorrow’s meeting is expected to get an update on the process of launching an Open Call for Applications for the 1st Cohort of the WiseYouth Network which is expected to happen in 2024.

Finally, the session is expected to have a discussion on the challenges the Panel faces and propose recommendations. These are expected to include the issues on quick deployment to situations in areas not yet on PSC’s agenda; coordination challenges with RECs and RMs; absence of post-mission follow-up mechanisms and the challenge of political will to systematically and consistently include women and youth as equal stakeholders in all high-level peace processes.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC may commend the Panel of the Wise for the activities that the Panel undertook during the reporting period including the missions to countries in transition and the electoral preventive diplomacy missions. It may welcome the progress made with respect to FemWise and WiseYouth. The PSC may call for enhanced coordination, and joint deployments by the AU-RECs/RMs during elections. It may also take note of the 2nd Joint Annual Retreat of the African Peer Review (APR) Panel of Eminent Persons and the AU Panel of the Wise, held on December 10-11 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa and welcome the adoption of the Framework of Cooperation. It may underline the importance of reinvigorating early warning and conflict prevention by working closely with the Panel. It may further underline the importance of enhancing coordination with the Panel in supporting complex transitions, sustaining peace in fragile contexts and ensuring early action to deescalate looming crises. To this end the PSC may reiterate its previous decision and call for the institutionalization of conflict prevention and preventive deployment briefing by the Panel of the Wise. The PSC may also request that the AU Commission continues its support for the Panel including, in working together with the Panel to address the challenges it faces.


Briefing on the situation in Abyei

Briefing on the situation in Abyei

Date | 11 March 2024

Tomorrow (12 March) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1204th session on the situation in Abyei.

The session commences with an introductory statement from the PSC Chairperson for March 2024, Emilia Mkusa, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the AU. The statement will be followed by a briefing by Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner of Political Affairs and Peace and Security (PAPS). Representative of the Secretariat of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and a representative of the United Nations (UN) are also expected to deliver statements. As a concerned country, South Sudan will also make a statement through its representative. Considering that the other concerned state, Sudan cannot participate in PSC meetings, the PSC envisaged to hold an informal consultation to canvas the views of the representative of Sudan with respect to the situation in Abyei.

During its 1108th session when it last considered the situation in Abyei in 2022, the PSC highlighted the need for the acceleration of the implementation of the Agreement on Temporary Security and Administrative Arrangements for Abyei and the Cooperation Agreement signed in 2012 which includes the actualization of the demarcation of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) and the Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). Additionally, the PSC requested the AU Commission to nominate a facilitator for the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) to support the implementation of the agreements and decided to conduct a field mission to the region. Tomorrow’s session will provide a chance for the PSC to receive an update on the progress of these issues and developments since the last session.

Despite some positive developments concerning the rival communities in Abyei, during the last part of 2023 and in early 2024, Abyei experienced deadly clashes inducing major displacement. Not only that armed clashes between the two adversary communities of Misseriya and Dinka Ngok in Abyei have diminished, the two communities signed a peace deal in December 2023 to prevent tensions during the annual migration through among others, identifying migration corridors.

Unfortunately, during the past few months, Abyei experienced a deterioration of its security situation. Two factors account for this deteriorating security condition. The first relates to the adverse impact of the war that broke out in Sudan in April 2023. In her briefing to the UN Security Council in November, it is to be recalled that Tetteh warned about the likely adverse consequences of the expansion of the war in Sudan into the border areas of South Sudan including on the fragile social cohesion of Abyei. This development has affected the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in various ways. First, as the fighting expanded to Sudan’s West Kordofan state and the Rapid Support Forces (RPF) captured oilfields there and the resultant worsening security situation, UNISFA evacuated all international UN staff from Kadugli to Entebbe and Abyei town. Second, the UN Secretary-General’s report in October also observed that the JBVMM’s implementation of its mandate was affected significantly by the closure of Sudanese airspace in connection with the conflict, making aerial patrols impossible for the JBVMM bases in Sudan.

The other source of the deterioration of the security situation in Abyei is the spike in intercommunal clashes. In November 2023, various incidents of attacks were recorded. An attack on 19 November in three villages claimed the lives of 27 people and injured 14 others. In another incident during the same month, violence in Warrap State, South Sudan and Southern Abyei Administrative Area claimed the lives of 75 people. A similar incident in Abyei in early December led to the killing of 10 people. An ambush in Agok claimed the lives of six people including Abyei Deputy Chief Administrator, Deng Nyok. The various incidents involve clashes between armed Twic Dinka youth (also known as Titweng) and the Ngok Dinka of Abyei. Incidents of attacks and clashes involving these groups persisted into January with at least four such incidents.

In one of these deadliest incidents since 2021 that took place on 27 January 2024, UNISFA reported that 52 civilians lost their lives and 64 others were gravely injured in the incident. In this particular incident, the attack also led to the death of two UNISFA peacekeepers, prompting the Secretary-General to issue a statement expressing deep concern over the incident and UNISFA expressing concern by ‘continuing inter-communal clashes.’  At least two such clashes were reported in February as well. UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix expressed his concern about hate speech and disinformation in Abyei, which according to him, ‘can increase tensions and fuel violence’.

In light of these various concerning developments, tomorrow’s session should even have come earlier. As such it presents an opportunity for the PSC to consider the increasing fragility of the situation in Abyei and how to mitigate and avoid the danger of the region being overwhelmed by the security pressures from the rising intercommunal clashes and the consequences of the Sudan war.

Beyond the security situation, the humanitarian dimension of the situation would also be of interest to the PSC. Due to the recent intercommunal clashes, people were displaced. UNISFA in late January and early February received for providing protection, more than 2000 of those displaced. The inflow of a large number of refugees and returnees from Sudan further exacerbates the existing humanitarian situation in Abyei. According to the UNHCR, as of 7 March 2024, some 20,000 people crossed from Sudan to South Sudan through Abyei fleeing the war in Sudan since its outbreak in April 2023.

In the political front, the war in Sudan has completely changed the process for the resolution of the final status of Abyei. Since the PSC’s last session, there have been positive developments most notably towards the revival and enhancement of the efforts by the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan to identify a long-lasting solution to the issue of Abyei region. The May 2023 report of the UN Security-General on UNISFA observed that there was ‘high-level engagement between the Sudan and South Sudan aimed at enhancing cooperation on Abyei and border issues, and paving the way for discussion on its final status.’ It in particular noted that ‘on 24 October 2022, the chairpersons of the national committees established by both South Sudan and the Sudan – Tut Gatluak Manime, Presidential Adviser on National Security Affairs of South Sudan, and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, Deputy Chairperson of the Sovereign Council of the Sudan and Head of the Rapid Support Forces – met to discuss the final status of Abyei, which resulted in an agreement to enhance cooperation and address outstanding issues.’ They held a second meeting in Khartoum with the presence of UNISFA and representatives of the UN, AU and IGAD on 9 and 10 April, only days before the outbreak of the Sudan war. With the war in Sudan raging, further engagement to take these discussions forward was disrupted. The result is that the process for the final settlement of the status of Abyei is unlikely to be back on the agenda of the talks between Sudan and South Sudan in the near future before any progress is made in containing the war in Sudan itself.

In light of these various developments, the role of UNISFA and the JBVMM has acquired particular significance. Thus PSC’s 1108th session assertion of ‘the need to maintain the presence of UNISFA in order to continue maintaining peace and stability in the Abyei region’ is even more important in the current context than when the PSC held the meeting in September 2022. It is a welcome development in this context that members of the UN Security Council were unanimous in their support of the important role of UNISFA and the JBVMM. On 14 November 2023, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2708, renewing the mandate of UNISFA for another year, until 15 November 2024. The resolution also extended UNISFA’s support for the JBVMM for one year.

Tomorrow’s session also serves for taking stock of the follow up to the decisions of PSC’s 1108th meeting when it last discussed Abyei, in September 2022. Beyond those already highlighted above including the nomination of a facilitator for the AJOC, the PSC in this respect may also consider the role of the AU High-Level Panel on Sudan (AUHIP). It is to be recalled that, following the update by President Thabo Mbeki, Chair of AUHIP during the 1108th session, the PSC expressed its gratitude to AUHIP ‘for the sustained efforts over the years, which contributed to the stabilization of the Abyei Area; in this regard, requests the AU Commission to scale up the mobilization of the requisite resources to ensure the success of this undertaking aimed at negotiating solutions to the challenges in Abyei; and looks forward to receiving the comprehensive report of the activities of the AUHIP.’

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC may condemn the increase in the frequency and impact of intercommunal conflicts in the region and the attack on UNISFA peacekeepers that claimed the lives of two peacekeepers. It may urge South Sudan to enhance its efforts for taking measures that help deescalate the situation, particularly the tension involving the Twic Dinka and Ngok Dinka. Further, the PSC may reaffirm the increasing importance of the role of UNISFA in view of changing dynamics affecting Abyei and welcome the decision by the UN Security Council to extend the mandate of UNISFA and the latter’s support to the JBVMM. The PSC may also highlight the importance of the role of the AU and IGAD including the continuing importance of the role of the AUHIP and in this respect, may express its expectation to receive the report of the AIHIP. It may commend the efforts of UNISFA to protect those affected by recent conflicts including through the provision of shelter to the displaced and encourage the mission to expedite the humanitarian response and call for other humanitarian providers to scale up their contribution for humanitarian assistance to the region. The PSC may welcome a peace deal that the Misseriya and Dinka Ngok signed in December 2023 to prevent tensions during the annual migration and encourage community leaders to sustain such peace efforts. The PSC may call on Sudan and South Sudan to not let the conflict in Sudan waver the commitment of the two parties to the Agreement on Temporary Security and Administrative Arrangements.


Briefing on the situation in Somalia: Post ATMIS

Briefing on the situation in Somalia: Post ATMIS

Date | 7 March 2024

Tomorrow (8 March), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene an informal meeting on the situation in Somalia: post-AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

Following opening remarks by the Permanent Representative of Namibia and PSC Chairperson for March, Emilia Mkusa, Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) is expected to deliver a statement. Souef Mohamed El-Amine, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia and Head of ATMIS may also brief the PSC.

The PSC last discussed the situation in Somalia and ATMIS operations during its 1173rd session on 14 September of the previous year, amidst the approaching deadline for the phase 2 drawdown of ATMIS troops, originally slated for 30 September 2023. While initially opting to proceed with the troop drawdown as per the original plan, Somalia’s subsequent request for a three-month technical pause in the drawdown led the PSC, during its 1177th session, to reverse its earlier decision and postpone the withdrawal until 30 December 2023. Previous sessions of the PSC on ATMIS emphasized the importance of adhering to the agreed timelines for the phased troops drawdown and eventual exit, while also safeguarding against potential security vacuums and reversal of the hard-won gains.

It was in this context that PSC’s 1173rd session requested the Commission to ‘work out a viable ATMIS exit strategy, which should include proposals on AU’s continued engagement with and support to Somalia post 31 December 2024.’ Tomorrow’s meeting is expected to follow up on this request. In this context, the PSC could receive critical updates on recent political, economic, and security developments in Somalia since its last session in September, including updates on the completion of phase 2 drawdown, preparations for phase 3, and ongoing discussions regarding post-ATMIS security arrangements.

On the political and economic front, Somalia has made significant strides in recent months. Notably, it was admitted to the East African Community (EAC) in November 2023 and achieved the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Completion Point in December 2023, providing total debt service savings for Somalia of USD4.5 billion. According to the IMF, following the HIPC Completion Point, Somalia’s external debt has fallen from 64% of GDP in 2018 to less than 6% of GDP by end 2023, which further facilitates access to critical additional financial resources that will help Somalia strengthen its economy.

Recognizing the benchmarks reached on implementing the security transition, the Somalia Transition Plan and the national security architecture, in December 2023, the UN Security Council (UNSC) also unanimously adopted resolution 2714 (2023) lifting the arms embargo on Somalia, which had been in place since January 1992. ATMIS hailed this decision as ‘a key step’ in bolstering the operational capabilities of the Somali Security Forces (SSF). The 44th Ordinary Session of AU’s Executive Council, held in February, also endorsed Somalia as the candidate from East Africa for the non-permanent seat on the UNSC for 2025-2026.

Another significant development on the political front is the initiative to finalize the long-awaited constitutional review process. On January 24, Somalia’s Parliament, comprising both chambers, approved the adoption procedure for constitutional amendments, albeit amid a chaotic session. Earlier, in May 2023, the National Consultative Council (NCC), which brought together leaders from the FGS and Federal Member States (FMS), reached a consensus on the form of government and electoral system.

Another development with potentially adverse implications for the political and security dynamics relate to the tension that erupted between Mogadishu and Addis Ababa following an MoU the latter signed with Somaliland that the PSC addressed during its 1192nd session on 17 January. It is to be recalled that the PSC issued a press statement urging both parties to exercise restraint, de-escalate tensions, and engage in meaningful dialogue to peacefully resolve the matter.

On the security front, the meeting is expected to highlight ongoing operations against Al-Shabaab, and the milestone of completing the phase 2 ATMIS troops drawdown on 2 February, in line with PSC’s 1177th session and UNSC resolution 2710 (2023). This phase witnessed the departure of 3000 troops, the transfer of seven Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), and the closure of two others. With the withdrawal of a total of 5000 troops during phase 1 and 2, ATMIS force strength currently stands at 13,586. Preparatory efforts are underway for phase 3, slated to further reduce troop numbers by 4000 as of 30 June, leading towards a final exit on 31 December 2024. In this respect, PSC Members could be interested to hear more about the implementation of phase 2 drawdown and the lessons identified from it, and emphasize the importance of leveraging these lessons while conducting the upcoming drawdown. Moreover, assessing the prevailing context in the country—taking into account factors such as the security situation, the status of force generation and the overall readiness of the FGS to take on greater security responsibilities—will remain critical in determining the viability of moving forward with phase 3. It is recalled that the UNSC, under resolution 2710, requested the FGS and the AU to conduct a joint technical assessment by 31 March 2024 to evaluate phase 2 drawdown, and provide an update by 30 April on their preparations for phase 3 drawdown.

The other major aspect of tomorrow’s informal meeting will be the post-ATMIS security arrangement. As the December 2024 deadline for final departure of ATMIS troops approaches, discussions are underway regarding the follow-on mission after ATMIS exists.  On 12 December 2023, during the Somalia security conference held in New York, Somalia requested for a post-ATMIS ‘limited and new multilateral mission’ to provide protection of strategic population centres and key Mogadishu and Federal Member State infrastructure. In tomorrow’s briefing, PSC Members may receive detailed information about the proposed mission, informed by engagements between AU high-level delegation led by Alhadji Sarjoh Bah, AUC’s Director for Conflict Management, and Somalia’s authorities during his five-day working visit in Somalia in January/February 2024. During his visit, Sarjoh noted that the strength, mandate, posture, composition and the overall architecture that will replace ATMIS will be based on ‘a very comprehensive security assessment that focuses on the threats and other variables’. Furthermore, on 13 February, the AU convened the Core Security Partners Group high-level consultative meeting in Addis Ababa, which brought together key partners, to explore avenues for supporting ‘Somali-led and owned security arrangements post-ATMIS’.

In this context, it would be of interest for the PSC to learn about whether there is an established arrangement for joint monitoring, assessment and consultation between the AU and Somalia in order to ensure that Somalia plays active and leading role in the drawdown and exit of ATMIS and importantly in planning the post-ATMIS mission. This is critical not only to avoid communication gaps but also to ensure ownership and responsibility by Somalia as the host state. Also of interest for the PSC are the issues that require clarification in terms of planning the post ATMIS mission. These include the scope of the mandate of the mission, the size of the force, its composition, and whether and how elements of ATMIS would constitute part of this new mission to avoid vacuum that may arise due to complete lack of continuity. In clarifying these issues, as well as how the mission will be organized and how it interfaces with FGS and its security forces, the request Somalia made during the Somalia security conference last December and the lessons from AMISOM and ATMIS provide useful basis.

Financing is likely to be the other key aspect to be discussed. This can be approached from two perspectives: the persistent financing challenges confronting ATMIS and funding sources for the post-ATMIS mission. Regarding the former, the AUC may highlight the considerable financial resource required for ATMIS operation until its December exit, surpassing USD 100 million. This estimate assumes no further delays in forthcoming drawdown. Despite this, there are encouraging efforts on the side of the AU to bridge the USD25,895,129 funding gap, disbursing USD3.5 million from the Crisis Reserve Facility (CRF) of the AU Peace Fund and USD 19,068,914 from the AU Members States contributions. In relation to post-ATMIS mission, a critical issue will be how to secure predictable, adequate and sustainable funding for the mission. During the 19 February UNSC briefing on Somalia, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Catriona Laing, alluded to the use of UN assessed contribution within the framework of resolution 2719 (2023) on the financing of the AU-led peace support operations as one of the potential funding modalities. Indeed, this presents the first test for the practical application of resolution 2719.

No formal outcome document is expected to be issued from tomorrow’s informal meeting. The PSC may welcome positive developments that Somalia registered in recent months, including its admission to the East African Community, the lifting of arms embargo, the attainment of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Completion Point, and its candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the UNSC for the 2025-2026 slot. The PSC may also commend the FGS for initiating the constitutional review process, while emphasizing the imperative of inclusive dialogue among Somali stakeholders. Regarding the ATMIS drawdown, the PSC is expected to welcome the completion of phase 2, and urge ATMIS and the FGS to make all necessary preparations for the next phase of the drawdown, involving the withdrawal of 4,000 troops by 30 June, 2024. It may highlight that this withdrawal, as outlined by UNSC resolution 2710, should be based on a comprehensive assessment of the security landscape and Somalia’s readiness to assume increasing security responsibilities to ensure that the preparations as well as the departure of the troops are not exploited by Al-Shabaab. In relation to financing, PSC may commend the AU member states for the efforts to bridge the funding gap in ATMIS operations, and may call upon international partners to scale up their support, given the significant USD100 million required to sustain ATMIS operation until its scheduled exit in December. On the post-ATMIS mission, PSC may welcome and express its support to the outcome of the 12 December 2023 Somalia Security Conference held in New York, notably Somalia’s request for a ‘limited’ and ‘multilateral’ post-ATMIS mission. To ensure a plan that is mutually owned by Somalia and AU and adequately reflects the needs and expectations of Somalia, the PSC may encourage the AU Commission and Somalia to establish a joint monitoring, assessment, consultation and planning mechanism that will, among others, help clarify critical questions relevant to the development of the concept of operations for the Post-ATMIS mission.