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

2021 Program of Work

Date | 01 September, 2021

During September, Chad will assume chairship of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). Council’s indicative programme for the month envisages seven substantive sessions. Out of these, two are expected to address country/region specific concerns whereas the remaining five will be committed to various thematic topics. All of the planned sessions are expected to be held virtually. Two of the sessions will be open sessions.

The month’s first session is expected to take place on 2 September. The session will be committed to an updated briefing on the situation in Mali and consideration of the report of PSC’s evaluation mission to Mali. The decision to constitute a PSC evaluation mission to Mali was made at Council’s 1001st session, which took place during June. At the session, Council suspended Mali and underscored conditions that shall be met by the current transitional authorities. The upcoming session and the evaluation report may serve to shade light on how far these conditions have been met in addition to providing updates on the general political and security situation in the country.

On 6 September, Council is scheduled to consider and adopt via email exchanges, the draft program of work for October 2021.

The second substantive session of the month scheduled to take place on 8 September will be an open session dedicated to the commemoration of 2021 Africa Amnesty Month. Council has convened annual sessions to commemorate Amnesty Month since 2017, following the AU Assembly’s decision to declare the month of September of each year as amnesty month, until 2020. While 2020 was the last year for the commemoration of amnesty month in line with Assembly/AU/Dec.645(XXIX), the AU Assembly, at its 14th Extra Ordinary Session on Silencing the Guns, extended its commemoration for 10 years, from 2021 to 2030, in line with PSC’s recommendation at its 943rd session that the Assembly extends amnesty month for a further period aligned with the First Ten Year Implementation Plan (FTYIP) of Agenda 2063. The upcoming session hence offers the chance to reflect on how the coming ten years could be best utilised in order to address remaining challenges around surrender and collection of illicit weapons and in curbing the flow of illegal arms.

On 14 September, the PSC will meet to prepare for two of its upcoming joint annual consultative meetings scheduled for October. The first one will be its annual consultative meeting with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which has been taking place since 2007. This year’s meeting will mark the 15th consultative meeting between the two Councils. The other annual consultative meeting of the PSC which is expected to take place during October is its joint consultative meeting with the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee (PSC). This year’s PSC meeting with the EUPSC will be its 13th annual consultative meeting.

On 16 September, Council will convene its third substantive session to receive a briefing on continental and regional activities in the area of mine action in Africa. Council’s 837th session convened in April 2019 highlighted the indiscriminate nature of mines, among other “excessively injurious” weapons and stressed the need for member States to ensure compliance and implementation of relevant instruments such as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), the Maputo Declaration aiming to achieve a mine-free world by 2025 and the Mine Action and Explosive Remnants of War Strategic Framework. The upcoming briefing may provide updates on the status of implementation of these instruments.

The fourth session of the month is scheduled to take place on 21 September which is also the second open session of the month. The open session is dedicated to the commemoration of International Day of Peace, where Council will also receive briefing of the second edition of the Luanda Biennial “Pan African Forum for the Culture of Peace”. A joint initiative of the AU, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Government of Angola, the Pan-African Biennale was held for the first time in September 2019, in Luanda, where it was agreed that the forum would be convened every two years. The first edition of the forum served to highlight the importance of strategic partnerships to scale up projects for sustainable peace in Africa, the value of disseminating good practices for the prevention and resolution of conflicts and the need to showcase cultural diversity in Africa and demonstrate the resilience of the people in the face of conflicts. The second edition is expected to be held under the theme “Strengthening the Pan-African Movement for a Culture of Peace and Non- Violence: Towards a Global Partnership”.

Council’s next session, which is scheduled for 23 September, will consider the mid-year report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on elections in Africa. The report will likely summarise the outcomes of elections in Africa conducted during or scheduled for the first and second quarters of 2021. This session also presents the Council the opportunity to discuss upcoming elections and what the AU can do to help member states prevent violence in contexts of elections.

On 28 September, Council may have, subject to confirmation, a ministerial level session addressing the projected impact of withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya on Sahel region and the rest of the continent. The presence of foreign fighters in Libya has been challenging the implementation of the October 2020 ceasefire agreement and is considered as a threat to the successful conduct of the elections planned for December this year. While the withdrawal of these foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya is critical for the success of the country’s peace process, there is fear that if not properly managed, it will result in the spread of terrorist fighters and arms into the wider Sahel region and the rest of Africa. Council’s session may thus focus on mechanisms that shall be employed for the effective management of the departure of these foreign fighters from Libya.

The last session of the month, which is scheduled to take place on 30 September, will consist of two agenda items. The first one will be consideration of strategic priorities for the utilisation of the AU Peace Fund. It is to be recalled that the PSC Committee of Experts convened during August under Cameroon’s chairship to consider this particular issue. The upcoming session could hence serve to update Council which types of peace and security initiatives the Committee of Experts has identified as priority areas to receive funding through the three thematic windows of the Peace Fund. The second agenda item is dedicated to the consideration of a zero draft African consensus paper on the financing of AU-led peace support operations (PSOs) using UN assessed contributions. The submission of the draft was requested at Council’s 986th session, where the AU Commission was requested to develop a paper presenting common African position for funding of AU PSOs through UN assessed contributions. Both agenda items are expected to be presented by the Chairperson of the PSC Committee of Experts for August 2021, Cameroon.

In addition to its substantive sessions, Council’s provisional programme indicates that the Committee of Experts will be meeting within the month to consider the implementation status of PSC decisions.


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

2021 Program of Work

Date | 02 August, 2021

In August, Cameroon will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). While two of the total sessions will be focusing on country specific issues, the remaining sessions will address various thematic topics. In addition to its substantive sessions, Council will also meet within the month to discuss the 2022 draft budget of the PSC and the department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS).

The first session of the month, scheduled to take place on 3 August, will be a consideration of report on the progress of implementation of the political transition in Chad by the African Union Support Mechanism (AUSM). The report is based on the Council’s request at its last session on Chad for the Chairperson of the Commission to report to it by the end of June on the work of the Support Mechanism and the progress in the implementation of the decisions taken by the Council during its 996th session, as well as developments in the country.

On 5 August, the second session for the month is planned to take place focusing on AU support to countries in transition and post-conflict, an agenda postponed from the previous month. At its 958th session dedicated to PCRD in Africa, Council emphasised the need to consistently identify, initiate and promote PCRD initiatives in order to allow rebuilding of resilience and to consolidate peace in countries emerging from conflict situations. This session will present an opportunity, among others, to follow up on this.

The third session scheduled for 6 August is on the PSC and Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security 2022 final draft budget. This signifies the increasing active role that the PSC has come to assume in the peace and security budget of the AU.

On 9 August PSC Committee of Experts is scheduled to meet to consider the priorities on utilisation of the AU Peace Fund. The last time Council convened a meeting on the AU Peace Fund was in 2018 at its 770th meeting, where it underscored some of the concrete steps that need to be taken in order to fully operationalise the fund. Since then, there was extensive deliberation on the issue of the AU Peace Fund at the 13th PSC retreat held in Mombasa in May 2021, within the context of its utilization for the priority activities of the Council. The main focus of this session is thus likely to follow up on the outcomes of the Conclusions of the Mombasa retreat, particularly the identification of priority activities by the Committee of Experts together with the PAPS Department. It is expected that the Committee of Experts would consider the specific types of peace and security initiatives that are planned to benefit from financing availed through the three thematic windows of the Peace Fund.

The next session of the PSC, planned to take place on 10 August, will be on the annual consultative meeting between the PSC and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). This will be the third consultative meeting between Council and the ACHPR since their inaugural meeting convened in 2019.

PSC’s next session planned to be held on 12 August will be dedicated to consideration of the mid-year report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on elections in Africa. The report will likely summarise the outcomes of elections in Africa conducted during or scheduled for the first and second quarters of 2021. This session also presents the Council the opportunity to discuss upcoming elections and what the AU can do to help member states stave off violence in context where there are already looming signs.

On 13 August, Council is scheduled to consider and adopt via email exchanges, the draft program of work for September 2021.

On 17 August, the PSC will receive a briefing from the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) on its activities in Africa. The session is to be convened within the context of Council’s regular engagement with the ICRC, in line with Art.17 of the PSC Protocol. Such briefing has been taking place almost every year since 2007, the last being at the 904th session of the Council convened on 16 January 2020. The President of ICRC is expected to brief members of the Council on ICRC’s activities in Africa highlighting works undertaken towards humanitarian assistance and the respect and promotion of international humanitarian law, as well as the challenges encountered by ICRC while discharging its tasks.

On 19 August, Council may convene a ministerial level meeting, to consider the activities of the African Union Border Programme (AUBP). This meeting comes at the backdrop of the statutory commemoration of the 11th edition of the African Border Day by the Council on 7 June 2021, which was convened in the context of the implementation of the AUBP. It is expected that the AU Commission will present a progress report on the Implementation of the AUBP since March 2020, highlighting the major developments in the implementation of the Program at the national, regional and continental levels and its contribution towards promoting peace and security on the continent, as well as its role in facilitating regional and continentalintegration. One of the major breakthrough likely to be highlighted in this regard is the launch of a Continental Strategy for Better Integrated Border Governance.

On 24 August, PSC’s session will focus on proposed finalization and operationalization of the AU Humanitarian Agency. It is to be recalled that the Assembly of the AU in its Decision 604 of 30 January 2016 decided to establish an African Humanitarian Agency (AfHA) to ‘streamline humanitarian action on the continent’. With the aim to address the ever-growing humanitarian crisis in the continent, the agency is designed to serve as part and parcel of the new humanitarian architecture adopted by the AU as enshrined in the Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness in January 2016. In addition to the discussion on the finalization of the instruments relating to the Agency and its operationalization, the session is expected to deliberate on ways to ensure complementarity and strong coordination with other mechanisms such as the Africa Risk Capacity, Africa CDC, and Special Emergency Assistance Fund (SEAF). The Council may also reflect on the different options that can be explored to realize the commitment taken by the AU to primarily fund the agency through Africa’s own resources in the spirit of Pan-Africanism.

The second annual consultative meeting between the PSC and the Peace and Security Organs of the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) is planned to take place on 26 August. It is to be recalled that at the inaugural meeting which took place in 2019, Council and Policy Organs of the various RECs/RMs reflected on issues relating to the division of labour on their decision-making processes as well as the need to have strengthened coordination between the regional and continental level in the implementation of the frameworks of African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and African Governance Architecture (AGA). In addition to following up on the implementation of the various decisions taken at the inaugural consultative meeting, members of the Council may also deliberate on some of the critical issues facing the PSC-RECs relations. The recent decision by Southern African heads of state to deploy a Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission to support Mozambique’s fight against violent extremists in its northern province could be among various developments that may be addressed at the upcoming consultative meeting.

On 31 August, Council may convene a ministerial session to celebrate and commemorate African amnesty month. The session is to be an open session convened in a hybrid format – partially virtual and partially physical. The commemoration of amnesty month has been regularised within Council’s thematic agenda items since 2017. While 2020 was the last year for the commemoration of the amnesty month in line with Assembly/AU/Dec.645(XXIX), the AU Assembly, at its 14th Extra Ordinary Session on Silencing the Guns, extended its commemoration for 10 years, from 2021 to 2030, in line with PSC’s recommendation at its 943rd session that the Assembly extends amnesty month for a further period aligned with the First Ten Year Implementation Plan (FTYIP) of Agenda 2063. The upcoming session hence offers the chance to reflect on how the coming ten years could be best utilised in order to address remaining challenges around surrender and collection of illicit weapons and in curbing the flow of illegal arms.

Although the date for the session is yet to be fixed, the PSC is expected to hold a session on the situation in Mali as well. Apart from the security situation in the country, it is expected to receive update on the transitional process since the PSC’s last session and on steps taken towards the restoration of constitutional order within the 18 months transitional period.

Council’s indicative programme of work for the month also indicates in footnote that a session could be convened to continue consideration of the report on the AMISOM Independent Assessment on the Future of AMISOM, at a date and time to be determined.


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

2021 Program of Work

Date | 01 July, 2021

In July, Nigeria will be the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). The PSC’s provisional programme of work for the month envisages eight substantive sessions. As has been the case since April 2020, all the sessions are scheduled to take place virtually. Five of these sessions will be focusing on thematic issues. From the remaining sessions, two relate to peace operations and one relate to region specific situation.

The first session of the month, on 6 July, is scheduled to focus on the renewal of the mandate of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. It is to be recalled that the PSC renewed the mandate of the G5 Sahel Joint Force at its 939th session for one year period starting from 13 July 2020. It is expected that the Council will also review the current situation in Mali and the Sahel. In this session, the Council may also receive update on the status of the 3000 troops deployment, which was decided by the AU Assembly during its 33rd Ordinary Session held in February 2020 in order to degrade the terrorist groups in the Sahel.

On 8 July, the PSC will hold its session on a status report on the full operationalisation of the Africa Standby Force (ASF) and the AU Continental Logistics Base (CLB). It is to be recalled that the AU Assembly, during its 14th Extra Ordinary Session held in December 2020, declared that the ASF is ‘fully operational’ and directed the Council to ‘utilize its framework in mandating and authorizing AU peace support operations’. In addition to following up on the implementation of these decisions, the PSC may reflect on the key challenges and the steps that should be taken towards the full operationalization of the ASF that serves as the ‘framework for the planning and rapid deployment of PSOs to conflicts and crises in Africa’. The Council is further expected to discuss on means of supporting the operational capacity of the AU Continental Logistics Base in Douala, Cameroon, and regional bases.

On 13 July, the PSC is scheduled to have a briefing session on the implementation of the ‘Regional Stabilisation, Recovery and Resilience Strategy for Areas Affected by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin Region.’ It is to be recalled that this was adopted in August 2018, at a Ministerial conference of the member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) with support of the AU, including the PSC. On the same date, Council will consider and adopt the provisional programme of work for August 2021. Apart from reviewing the progress and challenges in the implementation of the strategy, the Council may also emphasise the heightened importance of addressing emerging humanitarian and stabilisation needs in the region and mobilizing the requisite AU support for the implementation of the strategy.

During its session on 15 July, the PSC is set to consider the report on the AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) independent assessment on the future of the mission. As indicated at its 994th session, AU’s engagement in and with Somalia post-2021 is to be guided by the report of the independent assessment team. Although relative stability has been restored in the country following agreement on the resolution of the recent political stalemate over the elections, the intensity of the insecurity exacerbated by the impasses and the immediate clan- based division observed within the Somalia army are reasons to consider an appropriately calibrated AU engagement post-2021.

On 19 July, the PSC is expected to address the state of maritime security in Africa. When the PSC met last time on this theme at its 858th meeting, the session had a central focus on the finalisation, signature and ratification of the draft Annexes to the African Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development in Africa (Lomé Charter). In the session on 19 July, the Council is likely to pay attention to the continued rise of maritime security incidents in Gulf of Guinea (accounting for 43% of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021) and the looming threats in the Mozambique Channel due to Cabo Delgado crisis.

On 22 July, Council’s sixth session is envisaged to focus on the common African position on financing AU-led PSOs through UN assessed contributions. At its 986th session, Council emphasised the importance of burden sharing between the AU and UN including by ensuring UN’s predictable, sustainable and flexible financing of AU-led or authorised PSOs through the UN assessed contributions, and requested the Commission to develop a paper presenting common African position for funding of the AU PSOs and accessing UN assessed contributions. It is also to be recalled that at the celebration of its 1000th session, Council reiterated its request for the Commission to finalise development of the common African position on access and use of UN assessed contributions to AU PSOs, and submit for Council’s consideration. As emphasised by the AU Assembly at is 14th Extraordinary session, the articulation of a common position by the PSC will be important to guide the African Members of the UN Security Council (A3) in promoting support within the UNSC for resuscitating the consideration of a resolution which would endorse AU’s access to UN assessed contribution for AU peace support operations authorized by the UNSC.

On 27 July, Council is set to receive a briefing on “early warning and security outlook”. One of the steps identified by the PSC (during its 360th meeting held in March 2013) to enhance the objectives of conflict prevention on the continent is a periodic review at least biannually of the state of peace and security using horizon-scanning approaches. This session, therefore, offers the Council the opportunity to practically apply the horizon scanning approach as part of the effort to enhance its capacity for operationalizing its conflict prevention role. In addition, the PSC is likely to deliberate on ways of reinvigorating the early warning system and strengthening its linkage with early response.

The last session of the PSC on 29th session will be a briefing on AU support to member States in transition and post-conflict situations. At its 958th session dedicated to PCRD in Africa, Council emphasised the need to consistently identify, initiate and promote PCRD initiatives in order to allow rebuilding of resilience and to consolidate peace in countries emerging from conflict situations. This session will present an opportunity, among others, to follow up on this.

The provisional program for July also mentions in footnote the possibility of a briefing on elections in Africa, which is to take place at a date and time to be determined.


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

2021 Program of Work

Date | 01 June, 2021

In accordance with the monthly rotation of the role of Chairperson of the PSC in the English alphabetical order of members of the PSC, Burundi will assume the role for the month of June 2021. The provisional program of work of the PSC for the month prepared under the leadership of Burundi envisages that there will be five sessions to be held via video teleconference. Two of the sessions deal with country/region specific situations. There will also be one open session focusing on one of the two thematic sessions planned for the month. The program of work also envisages that the PSC will undertake a field mission to the Central African Republic (CAR).

On 1 June, the PSC will hold its first session of the month focusing on the situation in The Comoros. It is to be recalled that the much-contested 2018 referendum in Comoros abolished the system of rotating presidency among the main islands of Grande Comore (Ngazidja), Anjouan, and Mohéli. With the new Constitution allowing two consecutive term of five years each, President Azali Assoumani, who assumed office in 2016, run for the March 2019 presidential election, in which he was re-elected for a second term, despite reports by African observers of major irregularities and rejection by the opposition of the election. In January 2020, President Azali’s party – Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros (CRC) – won the legislative election, which was boycotted by opposition parties. In the context of failed dialogue and lack of consensus on the system of governance, most recently, there is mounting tension with opposition groups calling for a nation-wide protest calling for the resignation of President Azali and a return to the presidential rotation system in adherence to the 2001 constitution. PSC’s session seeks to receive update on the situation and initiate measures for preventing further escalation and searching for resolution of the recurrent political crisis.

On 8 June, the PSC will hold an open session dedicated to the annual theme of the plight of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the phenomenon of forced displacement in Africa. In various parts of the continent, forced displacement continues to uproot large numbers of people from their homes. While much of the displacement on the continent is a result of violent conflicts, natural disasters, such as the recent volcanic eruption in the Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and climate change result in increasing levels of displacement. PSC’s session presents an opportunity for highlighting the nature and trends of the flow of IDPs, refugees and asylum seekers and the various challenges facing IDPs, refugees and asylum seekers on the continent.

The PSC is scheduled to consider and adopt via email exchanges the draft program of work for July on 10 June.

On 15 July, the PSC, at its third session of the month, is expected to receive a briefing on the situation in the Great Lakes Region. As the PSC noted in its 974th session, the peace and security situation in the region remains a concern due to, among others, the presence of numerous non-State armed groups. The armed group, Allied Democratic Forces, continues to orchestrate attacks in Eastern DRC. The spike in violence over recent months involving various armed groups, particularly in Ituri and North Kivu provinces has deepened the humanitarian and displacement crisis in the country, necessitating declaration of emergency by the government. The implementation of the Peace and Security Framework for the region is also expected to be addressed. Other issues that may receive attention include, transnational illegal activities particularly the illegal exploitation of natural resources, which continue to hamper peace and stability of the region.

On 17 June, the PSC will consider and adopt the Conclusions of its recent retreat convened from 27 to 29 May. The Conclusions are expected to formulate updates relating to the working methods of the PSC, priorities for the Peace Fund and the monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the ten-year AU Roadmap on Silencing the Guns.

The monthly program also envisages a consultative meeting between the PSC and the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights (ACtHPR) to be held on 22 June. The last time the PSC held a consultative session with the African Court was at its 540th session held in 2015.

The last activity of the PSC for the month will be its field mission to CAR. This is scheduled to take place from 28 to 30 June. The PSC took a decision to undertake a field mission to the CAR during its last session on the situation in the CAR, at its 979th session held on 16 February 2021. In addition to its substantive sessions on 15 and 22 June, the PSC will also be dedicating time to prepare for this field mission. PSC’s monthly programme also indicates in footnote that Council may receive a briefing on the deployment of the 3000 troops in the Sahel.


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

2021 Program of Work

Date | 01 May, 2021

The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council for May will be Algeria. The program of work of the PSC for the month shows that the PSC is scheduled to have five substantive sessions. Out of three country/region specific sessions planned for the month, two will be convened at the ministerial level. There is one session covering two agenda items, namely mandate renewal and the annual thematic session on protection of children in conflict situations. The fifth session will be at a ministerial level with a focus on access to COVID19 vaccine in Africa. Although no specific date is assigned, PSC may also convene a session on the situation on Chad as a follow up to the decision of its 993rd session.

PSC is also scheduled to have an anniversary session on the occasion of reaching the convening of its 1000th session. The PSC retreat initially proposed for February is now scheduled to take place at the end of the month as the last activity of the PSC for May.

On 6 May, the main agenda item focuses on AU’s role on the fight against terrorism in Mozambique. The recurrence, scale and geographic spread of terrorist attacks have alarmingly expanded in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado. The most dramatic deadly incident took place in late March when armed terrorists attacked the town of Palma, which led to displacement of more than 40,000 people. Civilians bear much of the brunt of the atrocious attacks, with displacement nearing the 1 million mark. In a statement issued on 31 March, the AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressing utmost concern about the situation, called for urgent and coordinated regional and international action. PSC’s session serves as an initiative for enabling the AU to play a more active part. The second agenda item focuses on preparation for the retreat of the PSC planned to take place at the end of the month.

The next session, scheduled to take place on 11 May, has two substantive agenda items. The first one will be on the protection of children in conflict situations in Africa, which is one of the annual standing thematic agenda items of the PSC that is usually convened in May. Among the increasingly concerning trends in the continent, one is the illicit trafficking of children, particularly in post- conflict settings and in countries with fragile and weak security apparatus. Another major concern that may be addressed by the PSC is the continued abduction of children and their use either for fighting or for sexual slavery by extremist groups such as Boko Haram. As repeatedly emphasised by various humanitarian agencies, targeting of schools in armed conflicts in contravention of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) also remains to be a worrying trend in Africa. Another issue expected to receive PSC’s attention during this session is the situation of refugee children and the protection needs of such children.

The second agenda item of the session will be PSC’s consideration of AMISOM’s mandate renewal. During this session, the PSC is expected to discuss the future of AMISOM, including its financing having regard to the political crisis in Somalia and the ensuing heightened threat for Al Shabaab’s expansion. The PSC will also receive update on the revised Concept of Operations and AU’s independent assessment. It is to be recalled that on 12 March 2021, the UNSC reauthorized AMISOM until 31 December 2021, through the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2568 (2021), maintaining AMISOM’s overall 19,626 uniformed personnel level, which is in accord with the PSC’s request at its 978th session for the UNSC not to change the current troop ceiling of the mission. This has become even more important following the current political instability and ensuing insecurity in the country, as well as the continued threat posed by Al- Shabaab.

On 13 May, the PSC will consider and adopt programme of work for June via email exchange.

Although no session is planned to discuss the theme, the PSC is also expected to issue a Press Statement on the commemoration of the “Day of Living Together in Peace”, which is celebrated on 16 May of each year.

On 18 May, Council will convene its second country specific session focusing on Libya, which is envisaged to be the first ministerial level session of the month. While a Permanent Ceasefire Agreement signed on 23 October 2020 between the conflicting parties brought some hope for the resolution of the Libyan conflict, foreign military backing, illicit export of petroleum and the presence of foreign terrorist fighters are still challenging the successful implementation of the agreement and hindering an effective resolution to the conflict. The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has also recently expressed concern over the halt in oil production at the National Oil Corporation’s (NOC) eastern facility, which could further destabilise the country. The PSC may reflect on these major outstanding issues and how the AU could play a more substantive role in supporting the implementation of the peace agreement and the preparation for elections.

On 22 May, the PSC is scheduled to convene a ministerial session on Africa’s access to vaccines against the COVID19 pandemic as a human security issue. Thus far, Africa only accessed 2% of COVID19 vaccine and remains to be the continent least vaccinated. The current approach to the production and distribution of the COVID19 vaccine is one in which a handful of pharmaceutical companies decide the amount of vaccines produced, the countries for which those vaccines are sold and the price at which the vaccines are sold for different countries, leading to what President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa called vaccine apartheid, which entails grave consequences to human security in Africa in particular. It is to be recalled that the AU Assembly adopted a decision during its 34th ordinary session held in February 2021 calling for the temporary waiver of patents relating to COVID19 vaccines to enable the generic production of the vaccine for equitable access by all. PSC’s ministerial session serves as an opportunity for following up on this decision and on other avenues for the manufacturing of COVID19 vaccines on the continent.

PSC’s third ministerial level session of the month is expected to take place on 24 May, focusing on the situation in Mali. Since the formation of the Malian Transitional Government which was welcomed at PSC’s 954th session, some progresses have been noted such as the establishment of the National Transitional Council (which serves as the interim parliament) and the holding of a meeting on 11 February 2021, by the Monitoring Committee of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which brought together Malian ministers, leaders of armed groups signatory to the 2015 Agreement and international mediators. The Transitional Government’s announcement that it will honour its promise to hold the presidential and legislative elections by determining a specific timeline (27 February 2022) has also been a commendable step. Regardless of such progress in the political situation, Mali’s security and stability is still seriously impeded as a result of the continued terrorist attacks, including the recent attack on MINUSMA’s base that killed four peacekeepers.

On 25 May, which marks the 17-year anniversary of the official launch of the PSC, the Council is scheduled to mark the convening of its 1000th meeting. Expected to take place partially in person, the session will discuss the activities of the PSC since its establishment with high- level speakers including from heads of state and government expected to deliver statements. It is an occasion for taking stock of the 17 years journey of the PSC and reflect on progress achieved and challenges facing the PSC.

The retreat planned to take place from 27 to 29 May will be the last activity that Council will undertake during the month. This presents an opportunity for the PSC to, among others, review working methods issues that have emerged during the past year. These include rotation of the monthly chairperson of the PSC as it relates, among others, to implementation of Article 5 of the PSC protocol and the convening of virtual sessions of the PSC.


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

2021 Program of Work

Date | 01 April, 2021

In April, Djibouti will be the interim chair of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). As indicated in the monthly programme of the PSC, four substantive sessions are planned to be convened during the month. Three of these will be country/region specific, whereas one will be a thematic session. One of the sessions will be an open session. As has been the norm since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, all PSC meetings during April will be conducted virtually.

The first session of the month, scheduled to take place on 12 April, is expected to be an open session on the theme “hate crimes and fighting genocide ideology in Africa”. This will be Council’s fourth session on the same theme, the last one having taken place in 2019, at its 836th meeting. It is to be recalled that at its 761st session, Council decided to designate 7 April of each year as the African Union Day of Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 72/550. The coming session represents a follow up to the 678th session of the PSC of April 2017, in which Council decided to convene, annually in April, a PSC open session on the prevention of the ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes in Africa.

The second session is expected to take place on 13 April and will be committed to consideration of reports of PSC’s field missions to South Sudan and Sudan. The PSC conducted its field visit to South Sudan from 24 to 26 March, and to Sudan from 30 March to 1 April. In addition to reflecting on the elements of the reports, Council may also highlight key developments such as the signing of the Declaration of Principles between the Transitional Government of Sudan and SPLM-North, and the increasing reports of attacks in various provinces in South Sudan, particularly Eastern Equatoria where 14 civilians were killed only as of last week.

On 15 April, PSC will consider and adopt its programme of work for May, which will be circulated via email to all members of Council for comments and feedback. The PSC programme of work also envisages that Council members will have a meeting on the 15th of April to prepare for PSC retreat expected to take place in May. It is to be recalled that the PSC planned to conduct its retreat virtually, from 25-26 February which was then postponed.

The next meeting scheduled to take place on 20 April will focus on a preparation for Council’s activities and budget for the year 2022. The meeting is also envisaged to include a discussion on the agreement of strategic priorities on the utilisation of AU Peace Fund. This will be conducted in the context of a follow up to the Joint PSC Board of Trustees Retreat of January 2020.

On 22 April, the PSC is expected to convene its third substantive session which will be consideration of the situation in Abyei and the future of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), in light of UNSC Resolution 2550(2020). Resolution 2550(2020) renewed the mandate of UNISFA until 15 May 2021. At its 966th session where the PSC last considered the situation in Abyei, it underscored the importance of the continued presence of UNISFA, in light of the security fragility and increasing incidents of violence in the area. Having regard to the approaching deadline for UNISFA’s expiry of mandate, the session presents an opportunity for the PSC to provide guidance to the A3 on the consideration by the UNSC of UNISFA’s mandate in May. In addition, the upcoming session may also serve the PSC to follow up on some of the key decisions adopted at its previous session, such as its request for the AU Commission (AUC) Chair to despatch a sensitisation mission comprising representatives from AUC; AU High- Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP); UN & UNISFA to Abyei, in the context of developing modalities for the release of the report on the killing of Chief Koul Deng Koul.

The last session of the month and the fourth substantive session of the PSC is scheduled to take place on 27 April and will be committed to a discussion on the AU Human Rights and Military Observers Mission in Burundi. The last time the PSC addressed the situation in Burundi was in 2018. At its 808th session, Council expressed its plan to maintain the Human Rights and Military Observers Mission in Burundi in order to ensure support to the Government and the people of the country, particularly as the 2020 election approached. Following the 2020 election in Burundi which was concluded peacefully, the UNSC has struck off the country from its political agenda. The session will take stock of the work of the Human Rights and Military Observers Mission in Burundi and decide on next steps.


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

2021 Program of Work

Date | 01 March, 2021

Kenya will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) during the month of March. PSC’s Provisional Programme of Work (PoW) for the month, considered via email exchange, shows that Council is scheduled to consider one country specific situation and four thematic agenda items. All sessions will be conducted virtually. Two sessions will be held at a ministerial level and one at the level of Heads of State and Government. The PoW also envisages that the PSC will conduct a filed visit to South Sudan, from 28 to 30 March and another field visit to Sudan from 30 March to 1 April.

The first session of the month is scheduled to take place on 4 March. This session will be addressing the role of the African three elected members (A3) of in the UN Security Council (UNSC). The last PSC session dedicated to this theme was its 595th meeting which took place in 2016. At that session, Council mainly focused on emphasising the responsibility of A3 States to ensure that PSC’s positions are well reflected in the decision making of UNSC regarding all peace and security concerns related to Africa. To that end, the PSC made a call for African States who assume A3 position to regularly brief the AU Commission on their efforts to promote PSC articulated African common positions at the UNSC. It is worth noting that the PSC holds its high-level seminars focusing on the A3 on an annual basis and the last one took place in Libreville, Gabon in January 2020.

The second session of the month is scheduled to take place on 9 March. This session will be held at the level of Heads of State and Government and will be committed to a discussion on sustainable peace in Africa. The session agenda has two segments. The first focuses on climate change and its impact on peace and security in the continent. The second segment is to follow up on paragraph 15 of the decision on Silencing the Guns of 14th Extraordinary summit held at the level of Heads of State and Government (Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV)), which calls on the PSC to engage the Kingdom of Morocco and Sahrawi Republic to address the escalating military tension.

On 12 March, the PSC will consider and adopt its programme of work for the month of April, which will be circulated via email to all members of Council for comments and feedback.

On 16 March, PSC will convene its country specific session of the month which will be addressing the situation in Sudan. It is to be recalled that at its 952nd meeting, PSC highlighted, among others, the expected establishment of the Transitional Legislative Assembly on 3 December 2020. Its upcoming session presents Council the opportunity to follow up on this and other developments. In addition, Council may also welcome and reflect on the recent cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, adhering to the terms of the 3 October 2020 Peace Agreement signed between the transitional government and some rebel groups. In addition to considering updates on the situation in Sudan, it is envisaged that the session will also serve as a preparation for Council’s upcoming field visit.

The next session scheduled to take place on 18 March aims to address the “emerging challenges and critical lessons for sustainable peacekeeping operations”. This session is envisaged to take place at the level of ministers. Major concerns such as the lack of sustainable and predictable financing of peace and security initiatives in the continent, and recent developments in peace support operations in Africa including the end of UNAMID and the developments relating to AMISOM and MNJTF could be addressed at the meeting.

On 22 March, the PSC is scheduled to convene its second ministerial level meeting on the theme “women, peace and sustainable development in Africa”. While the theme ‘women, peace and security’ (WPS) is a standing agenda item of the PSC, the focus on sustainable development will be a new addition. The session is expected to receive report from the AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security. As can be recalled, WPS was first introduced as a standing agenda item of the PSC in March of 2010, making the upcoming session coincide with the 11th year of Council’s deliberation on the topic.

As mentioned above, Council’s last activity of the month will be its field visit to South Sudan, planned to take place 28 to 30 March and another filed visit to Sudan, scheduled for 30 March to 1 April.


Provisional Program of Work of the PSC for the Month of February 2021

2021 Program of Work

Date | 01 February, 2021

The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of February is taken up by Ghana. The program of work of the PSC, considered via email exchange, for the month shows that the PSC is scheduled to have a few sessions and plans to convene a retreat virtually. Specifically, PSC is expected to convene two substantive sessions. Both these sessions will be conducted through video teleconference (VTC). As the week for the 34th session of the AU Assembly, no session is scheduled for the week of 1 February.

The first session of the month is scheduled to take place on 9 February. The session will consider the situation in Somalia and the activities of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). At its 949th meeting and its last session during 2020 on the situation in Somalia, Council welcomed the review of the Somalia Transitional Plan (STP) and requested the AUC to revise AMISOM’s Concept of Operation (CONOPs) for 2018-2021 to ensure they are aligned with the revised STP. Council may also follow up on the conduct of an independent comprehensive assessment of the security environment. As it may be recalled, this assessment was envisaged to be a joint AUC and UN exercise, but it has been carried out by the UN only. In light of the uncertainties surrounding Somalia’s elections, which were scheduled to take place on 8 February, it is also expected that the PSC will reflect on the mounting tensions in Somalia.

On 12 February, the PSC will consider and adopt its program of work for the month of March, which will be circulated via email to all members of the Council for comments and feedback. This is indicative that the chairperson of the PSC for the month of March has been identified.

The PSC is scheduled to have the next substantive session on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) on 16 February. The political and security situation in CAR has shown significant deterioration since Council’s previous session on CAR at its 972nd meeting. Particularly, the violence which broke out following the 27 December 2020 election, and the nationwide offensive launched by the newly formed coalition of armed groups – ‘Patriots for Change’ – has resulted in mass displacement. The session on CAR presents the PSC the opportunity to follow closely the political and security situation in the country.

Under Article 7(1) (q) of the PSC Protocol, the PSC is required to submit regularly a report on its activities and on the state of peace and security in Africa. It is to be recalled that in January the PSC was meant to consider the report on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa. This has not been carried out in the context of the decision that the 34th ordinary session of the AU Assembly will focus on a limited number of agenda items. It is not envisaged that on 18 February, Council will in pursuit of Article 7(1) (q) of the PSC Protocol consider the report on its activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa.

On 25-26 February, the PSC is scheduled to convene a retreat. This last activity of the month is expected to be held virtually focusing on the working methods of the Council. The experience of the PSC since the onset of the COVID19 pandemic reveal the emergence of some challenges in the working methods of the PSC. These, in the main, relate to the predictability of the rotation of the chairship of the PSC and effective membership in the PSC. Under the PSC Protocol, the Article 8(6) envisages that the holding of the chairship of the PSC ‘shall be in turn by members of the Peace and Security Council in the alphabetical order of their names’. As the Manual on the PSC Working Methods notes, this entails predictability of rotation of the chairperson of the PSC, subject to exceptions. Similarly, within the framework of Article 5 of the PSC Protocol, the conclusions of the PSC retreats in Djibouti and Cairo asserted the need for full and effective participation in the work of the PSC.


Provisional Program of Work for the Month of January 2021

2021 Program of Work

Date | 01 January, 2021

Senegal assumes the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of January. As indicated in the provisional program of work, some three substantive sessions are set to take place in the month including two region specific sessions. The PSC is expected to conduct all of its meetings in January through video teleconference (VTC).

On 12 January, the PSC will consider and adopt the draft PSC program of work for February 2021, which will be circulated to all PSC members via email for their comments.

On 14 January, the PSC will conduct its first substantive meeting of the year to consider the draft report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the activities of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). It is to be recalled that the PSC requested the Commission, in coordination with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) Secretariat, to ‘regularly update Council on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin’ during its previous meeting on MNJTF at its 898th session held on November 28, 2019. The session will take stock of the progresses made by the MNJTF and the member states of the LCBC plus Benin in the fight against Boko Haram since its previous session. As the MNJTF’s mandate expires on January 31, the Council is also expected to renew its mandate in light of the continued security threat that Boko Haram poses despite MNJTF’s contribution to contain thescale of the threat that the terrorist group poses in the region.

On 20 January, the PSC will commence its consideration of the Report of the PSC on its activities and the state of the peace and security in Africa. The report, which covers the activities carried out by the PSC in 2020, will be submitted to the Assembly of the Union in the upcoming summit slated for February 2021, pursuant to article 7(q) of the PSC protocol.

The following day, on 21 January, the PSC will receive briefing on the situation in Great Lakes Region. It has been a while since the PSC convened session on the region though it dedicated one meeting in January 2020. This session is, therefore, expected to afford PSC the opportunity to assess recent political and security developments in the region, most notably- the upsurge of armed conflicts and the national election in CAR held in December; and the persistent attacks in Eastern DRC and the collapse of the coalition of political groups and the resulting political crisis in the DRC.

On January 27, the Council will continue with its consideration of the report of the PSC on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa. This is expected to be the final consideration of the report and the PSC is expected to adopt it.

The last session of the month, scheduled for 28 January is dedicated for the preparation of a PSC retreat. The date of the retreat and specific agenda are yet to be set, although the annual indicative program for 2021 makes reference of convening a retreat in May on working methods and challenges in the discharge of the Council’s mandate. It is to be recalled that the PSC decided to review its working methods regularly during its 85th session held on August 8, 2007. The disruption caused by Covid-19 has prevented the PSC from holding a retreat in 2020.

In addition to these agenda items, the provisional program of work indicates in footnote meetings of the PSC Committee of Experts to consider the PSC report for which the date is yet to be confirmed. The event is likely to happen ahead of the timeline slated for the PSC to consider and adopt its report to the Assembly.