Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of June 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of June 2023

Date | 1 June 2023

Zimbabwe will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of June 2023. The PSC’s Provisional Programme of Work includes six substantive sessions. Two of the sessions will address country/region-specific issues, while the remaining four will cover thematic topics. All sessions except one, which will be held at the ministerial level, are scheduled to be held at ambassadorial level.

On 13 June, the first session of the month is scheduled to provide the PSC with an update on the current situation in Central Africa Republic (CAR). During PSC’s 1093rd session, major decisions were made regarding the drawdown and closure of the AU Military Observer Mission to the Central African Republic (MOUACA). The upcoming session on the 13th could serve to follow up on the status of implementation of the peace agreement, including developments regarding integration of MOUACA’s mandate into the AU Mission in CAR and the capacity of the AU Mission in CAR to follow up on those tasks. In addition, it is anticipated that the PSC will receive a briefing on the necessary arrangements for CAR’s local and regional election, which is planned for July 2023.

On the same day – 13 June – the PSC will also consider and adopt the programme of work for the month of July.

The second item on the agenda for the month is an update on the situation in the Horn of Africa, planned to take place on 15 June. It is expected that the central focus of the session will be the situation in Sudan and the regional impact of the conflict. Since the outbreak of the conflict, the PSC convened four sessions on Sudan including the recent session at the level of Heads of States and Government. It is therefore expected that the PSC will follow up on the decisions made during its previous sessions and specifically consider the regional implications of the conflict.

On 20 June, for its third session and the first thematic topic of the month, the PSC is set to conduct a review to evaluate the progress made towards achieving one of AU’s flagship projects, Silencing the Guns in Africa. This review is in line with the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2030. The Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism for the AU Master Roadmap was adopted in Nairobi in May 2021, in line with the decision of the 14th Extra-Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV)], and endorsed by the Assembly in February 2022. It is expected that the PSC will receive a briefing from the newly appointed AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns, Mohammed Ibn Chambas. It is expected that the PSC will hear from Chambas on his plans on how best to pursue the agenda of silencing the guns. This is particularly pressing considering the setback that Africa continues to face in the effort for preventing and resolving conflicts in recent years. Furthermore, the upcoming session is expected to review the efforts made by member states, Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), and relevant stakeholders towards silencing the guns in Africa using the existing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms outlined in the roadmap.

The fourth session of the month scheduled to take place on 22 June will be held at ministerial level. The session will focus on the progress made in implementing the Common African Defence and Security Policy, along with other relevant Instruments on Defence and Security on the Continent. The session will primarily update the PSC on developments regarding the full operationalisation of the Africa Standby Force (ASF) since PSC’s last briefing on the topic, at its 1069th session. This session is expected to give particular focus on steps taken by the various RECs in operationalising the ASF. Coming after the recent conclusion of the 15th Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security (STCDSS), the upcoming session is also expected to provide updates regarding the status of the draft 2021-2025 strategic work plan for the enhancement of ASF and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AU and RECs/RMs on the Deployment and Employment of ASF, issues that were tabled for discussion at the 15th Ordinary Session of the STCDSS. The PSC may also receive updates on force/capability generation and rapid recruitment and deployment processes, as well as the status of the Continental Logistics Base (CLB) and the Regional Logistics Depots (RLD).

On 27 June, the fifth substantive session will be committed to a briefing on the continental early warning and security outlook (CEWS). This session will be held in line with the decision of PSC’s 360th session of March 2013 to review the state of peace and security on the continent through horizon scanning, biannually. At the 1138th session which was the last time the PSC received a briefing on CEWS, it also underscored the need for regular briefing on the topic. During the coming session, it is expected that the PSC will be briefed by the Committee of Intelligence Services of Africa (CISSA), the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) and African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT). It should also be noted that at its 1073rd session, the PSC emphasized the need for Member States and RECs/RMs to address the persistent denial of credible early warning reports of potential crisis and conflict situations on the continent. To address this issue, the PSC, among other key asks, requested the Commission to elaborate a trigger mechanism and indicators to facilitate the role of the PSC in responding to early warning information on potential conflict or crisis situations, and urgently submit both for its consideration. Apart from follow up on these decisions, this session may also serve as an opportunity for reviewing developments relating to the last briefing on the security outlook of the continent and since that briefing.

The last session of the month, scheduled for 29 June, will be dedicated to the annual consultative meeting with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The consultative meeting is in line with Article 18 of the PSC Protocol which envisages maintaining close working relations between the PSC and the PAP in furtherance of peace, security and stability in Africa and emphasizes the importance of cooperation between the two bodies.

In addition to the activities of the PSC, the program of work also lists activities of the PSC subsidiary bodies, namely Military Staff Committee (MSC) and the Committee of Experts (CoE).  In addition to the sessions of the PSC, the MSC will undertake a technical field mission to Somalia from 5 to 7 June.  On 19 June, the report of the MSC’s technical field mission to Somali will be considered. It is anticipated that the report will include major implementation component as well as challenges of the ATMIS mandate to implement the Somali Transition Plan (STP), detailing the handover of security responsibilities from ATMIS to the Federal Government of Somalia by December, 2024. Particularly, the report is expected to provide key findings on the preparations for the drawdown of 2000 soldiers by 30 June 2023.

On 16 June, the PSC CoE will convene a briefing session on the outcomes of three key items discussed during its retreat held from 18 – 22 May 2023. As such, the briefing will cover status of finalization of the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Sanctions Committee and finalization of ToR for the AU Ministerial Committee on Counter-Terrorism, both to be established in line with the decision of the May 2022 Malabo Declaration on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government (UCG). Moreover, the CoE will reflect on the working methods and modalities for the engagement between the PSC and the African three-members of the UN Security Council (A3).


Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of May 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of May 2023

Date | 1 May 2023

Uganda will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) in May. The provisional programme of work for the month envisages five thematic and two country specific sessions as well as the 6th Annual Informal Retreat and 14th Annual Consultative Meeting of the AU PSC and the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee (EUPSC). In addition to substantive sessions, a field mission to Sudan and Abyei is also envisaged in the program of work, to be conducted if conditions improve and allow such visit.

On 02 May and 03 May consecutively, the PSC will have its 6th annual informal retreat and 14th annual consultative meeting, respectively, with the EUPSC. In accordance with the annual rotation of the venue of the consultative meeting between Addis Abeba and Brussels, this year’s annual retreat and consultative meeting will be taking place in Brussels, Belgium. As is the norm, the informal retreat is expected to serve as a platform for the two counterparts to discuss thematic issues relevant to the EU-AU partnership and the full realisation of the MoU between the two for advancing joint strategies in addressing conflicts and crises through an integrated approach. The state of multilateralism is expected to take centre stage. This year’s consultative meeting is set to focus on situations in three regions in Africa: the Great Lakes, the Horn and Sahel. The ongoing conflict in the DRC, the fight against the Al-Shabaab insurgency in Somalia and complex political transitions as well as the fight against terrorism in countries in the Sahel region are expected to feature as the main agenda items.

On 10 May, the PSC will consider and adopt the provisional programme of work for the month of June 2023.

The next substantive meeting of the PSC is set to take place on 11 May. The session is expected to present a briefing by the Panel of the Wise on its mission to Chad, conducted in line with the request of the PSC’s Press Statement of its 1121st session held on 11 November 2022. Delayed by over a month from the required timeline, the coming briefing is expected to highlight the Panel’s findings with respect to the outcomes of Chad’s national dialogue, particularly the two contested issues of in/eligibility of the members of the Military Council to run for elections and the duration of the transition.

The following day, on 12 May, the PSC will have its third session of the month which will be a virtual ministerial meeting committed to a discussion on financing of AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs). Taking place two weeks after the anticipated release of the UN Secretary General’s April 2023 Report on progress attained by UN and AU towards realising commitments made in Resolution 2320(2016) on UN’s cooperation with regional organisations and Resolution 2378(2017) on peacekeeping reform, PSC’s ministerial session provides members the opportunity to reflect on the findings of the report and how to build on and take forward the AU’s consensus paper on financing peace and security activities in Africa, adopted by the 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly [Assembly/AU/Dec.842(XXXVI)].

On 16 May, the PSC will convene its fourth session taking the form of a briefing on the activities of the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM). The AFLPM is an initiative that emerged as an outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women, which served as an opportunity for African wives of Heads of States to come together as ambassadors of peace. As little is known about what the AFLPM has in concrete terms contributed to any peace process thus far, the session serves as an opportunity for discussing the state of operationalization of the mechanism and the ways for harnessing its potentials including most notably around lending much needed additional leverage for advancing the Children Affected by Conflict and Women, Peace and Security agenda.

The fifth session of the month is scheduled for 17 May. This will be an open session committed to the PSC’s annual meeting on humanitarian action in Africa. It was in line with its 469th meeting that the PSC decided to dedicate an annual meeting to assess humanitarian situations in the continent. Within this framework, the coming session is expected to have a focused discussion on the growing concern over food insecurity and the resultant humanitarian crisis in Africa and reflect on opportunities to boost Africa’s food production, in order to address the continent’s food crisis in a more sustainable manner.

From 18 to 22 May, the PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) will be conducting a retreat to discuss around three major issues: first, finalisation of the ToR of the Sanctions Committee to be established in line with the May 2022 Malabo Declaration on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government (UCG); second, finalisation of ToR for the Ministerial Committee on Counter Terrorism, also to be established in line with the decision of the May 2022 Malabo Declaration on Terrorism and UCG; and finally third, codification of working methods/modalities for engagement between the PSC and the African three member of the UN Security Council (A3).

The sixth session is set to take place on 23 May and will be committed to a briefing on the outcomes of the Heads of State meeting of Troop Contribution Countries (TCCs) to the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The Heads of State Summit took place on 27 April, in Kampala, Uganda, as part of a four-day meeting of ATMIS TCCs which mainly aimed to evaluate the achievements made in the implementation of ATMIS’s mandate and to review the ATMIS drawdown plan in compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions 2670(2022) and 2628(2022) as well as the Communiqué of PSC’s 1068th session (PSC/PR/COMM.1068(2022)). Among other key points, the briefing could provide updates regarding concreate plans around facilitating drawdown of troops for phase one, which was postponed from December 2022 to June 2023, as well as the coming additional three phases of drawdown.

From 24 to 26 May, a field mission to Sudan and Abyei is envisaged in the provisional program of work. With the latest worrying developments unfolding in Sudan, the conduct of the field mission highly depends on whether the security situation on the ground will allow the PSC to travel to the area.

On 29 May, the PSC will convene its seventh session which will be committed to a review of the AU Country Structural Vulnerability and Resilience Assessment (CSVRA). In March 2023, it is to be recalled that the PSC was scheduled to consider the status report on the implementation of the Continental Structural Conflict Prevention Framework (CSCPF), including the CSVRA and Country Structural Vulnerability Mitigation Strategies (CSVMS). This session could not take place in March as per the plan and was postponed to coming months. In that context, the coming meeting sets the stage to reflect on structural issues and challenges which trigger conflicts and instability in the continent and to provide some highlights on how best to identify member states’ vulnerabilities to conflict at an early stage in order to enable timely intervention and response.

On 30 May, the PSC Military Staff Committee (MSC) will conduct a meeting to consider the current support models for the AU PSOs. The meeting aims to reflect on lessons learnt and the way forward for AU PSOs in this respect.

The last PSC session envisaged in the programme of work for May is consideration of the report of the PSC Field Mission to Sudan and Abyei.

The programme of work also envisages in footnote, a press release to be issued by the Chair of the PSC on 16 May, in commemoration of the International Day of Living Together in Peace. It is to be recalled that at its 891st meeting held in November 2019, the PSC decided to dedicate an annual open session to this theme. Although a few sessions have been committed by the PSC to commemorate the International Day of Living Together in Peace in the years that followed, this hasn’t been done regularly.


Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of April 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of April 2023

Date | 1 April 2023

In April, Tunisia takes over the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). As envisaged in PSC’s provisional programme of work, five substantive sessions are expected to take place during the month. One of these will be held at ministerial level while the remaining four sessions will be convened at ambassadorial level. Two of the sessions planned for the month will be committed to country/region specific situations whereas the remaining three will address various thematic issues, all of which are already on the agenda of the PSC. Apart from the five substantive sessions, the programme of work also envisages the convening of the 15th annual retreat of the PSC on its working methods.

The first session of the month scheduled to take place on 03 April will be a commemoration of ‘international day for mine awareness and assistance in mine action’ which is noted annually on the 4th of April, in line with the declaration of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s resolution adopted on 08 December 2005 [A/RES/60/97]. On its part, the PSC has convened multiple sessions over the years to deliberate on concerns surrounding mine action in Africa. A specific concern that may receive attention at the upcoming session and was also highlighted at PSC’s previous meeting on the theme – the 1072nd session – is the increasing use of anti-personnel landmines, including Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by non-state armed groups and terrorist organisations.

The second session is planned to be held on 06 April which will be an open session committed to the PSC’s annual meeting on ‘prevention of the ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes in Africa’. In line with PSC’s 678th meeting which decided to dedicate an open session to the theme every year in April, ‘prevention of the ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes’ has become a standing agenda item of the PSC. Further to reflecting on the importance of early warning and timely response to avert the risk of hate crimes and genocide, this upcoming session also serves to reflect on the increasing significance of the lessons learned from the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the need for vigilance in the face of conflicts involving mass atrocities and propagation of denialism and incitement of hate and violence.

On 13 April, the PSC will convene its third substantive session of the month. The session will be committed to PSC’s regular engagement on cyber security. It is to be recalled that at its 850th session on the theme, the PSC decided to dedicate an annual meeting on cyber security, although this decision hasn’t been regularly implemented. The last time PSC deliberated on issues related to cyber security was at its 1097th session convened under the theme ‘Emerging Technologies and New Media: Impact on Democratic Governance, Peace and Security in Africa’. As emphasised at the 1097th session, there is increasing risk of malicious use of emerging technologies and new media space. The absence of prioritisation of cybersecurity among African countries and organisations is also reportedly making the continent an attractive target for cybercriminals. The session is expected to draw attention of member states and other relevant stakeholders toward the importance of taking necessary measures to enhance cyber security.

The fourth session of the month is scheduled to take place on 18 April. Committed to the situation in Libya, the session is expected to be held at ministerial level. The last time the PSC discussed the situation in Libya was in February, at its 1136th meeting. One of the critical issues addressed at the 1136th session and expected to be of central focus at the upcoming session is the status of Libya’s national reconciliation process. Following the preparatory meeting held in Tripoli on 08 January 2023, the National Reconciliation Conference is expected to take place in May 2023. Further to following up on on-going efforts towards convening the reconciliation conference, this session serves the PSC to decide on a solid timeframe for undertaking its planned field mission to Libya, in line with the decision of its 1136th session and ahead of the commencement of the National Reconciliation Conference.

The last substantive session of the month is set to take place on 20 April and will be a briefing on the situation in the Sahel. The situation in the Sahel was last discussed by the PSC at its 1116th session. Further to expressing concern over the continuing spread of terrorism in the region and the threat posed to security and stability due to unconstitutional changes of governments and resulting complex political transitions witnessed in countries in the region, the PSC may follow up on the commitment it made at the 1116th meeting to ‘revisit the possible deployment of 3000 troops for six months in order to further degrade terrorist groups in the Sahel, as directed by the AU Assembly Decision [Assembly/AU/Dec.792(XXXIII)]’.

In addition to the substantive sessions of the PSC, the PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) is also expected to meet on 21 April in preparation for the 15th annual retreat on the working methods of the PSC. The PSC Military Staff Committee (MSC) is scheduled to convene on 25 April to have a focused discussion on strategic airlift. This has become a critical issue as the AU struggles to get additional African countries able to provide airlift capacity for delivering the remaining supplies in the Continental Logistics Depot in Duala, Cameroon to the Southern Africa Development Community Mission to Mozambique (SAMIM).

PSC’s 15th annual retreat on its working methods is planned to take place from 27 to 29 April, in Tunis, Tunisia. In addition to reflecting on new areas to advance the working methods of the PSC, the retreat could serve to assess and follow up on the implementation of the conclusions of its 14th annual retreat.

The provisional programme of work for the month also envisages in footnote an informal consultation of the PSC with countries in political transition (Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan), to take place on 11 April.


Provisional Programme of Work for the month of March 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the month of March 2023

Date | 1 March 2023

In March, Tanzania takes over the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). As envisaged in the provisional programme of work, the PSC will convene six substantive sessions. Of these one will have two agenda items. All sessions except one will take place at ambassadorial level. Of the total agenda items, three will address country specific situations. The remaining four will be focusing on various thematic issues. Additionally, the PSC is also set to conduct of a field mission. The PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) and the Military Staff Committee (MSC) will also be meeting during the month.

The first session of the month is scheduled to take place on 01 March. The PSC will consider the status report on the implementation of the Continental Structural Conflict Prevention Framework (CSCPF): Country Structural Vulnerability Resilience Assessment (CSVRA) and Country Structural Vulnerability Mitigation Strategies (CSVMS) at this session. The CSCPF was developed by the AU as a strategy aimed at addressing structural issues. It aims to deploy preventive measures through operational and direct interventions before structural weaknesses turn into large-scale violence. Within the framework of the CSCPF, the CSVRA is designed to facilitate identification of a member State’s vulnerabilities to conflict at an early stage while the CSVMS explores the best avenues to enable appropriate actions by the AU and concerned regional economic communities and regional mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to address structural root causes of violent conflicts in member States.

The second session of the month which will contribute considerably to the PSC’s preventive role will be a briefing by the Panel of the Wise, planned to take place on 03 March. This will be the first briefing of the panel to be delivered since 2017 which was the last time it updated the PSC on its activities. The coming session serves the PSC to welcome the new members of the fifth Panel of the Wise appointed for a three-year term by the AU Assembly at its 35th Ordinary Session [Assembly/AU/Dec. 815(XXXV)] and to receive updates on the engagements of the Panel in the areas of conflict prevention, mediation, reconciliation and dialogue since its previous briefing.

An updated briefing on the situation in Somalia and operations of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forms the third session of the month. Scheduled to be held on 07 March, the session is expected to assess key developments since PSC’s 1121st session when it considered and approved the request of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to extend Phase 1 of ATMIS operational timelines, from 31 December 2022 to 30 June 2023. In addition to reviewing the security situation including the operations against Al Shabaab, the session is expected to assess the status of force generation and integration process and efforts underway to ensure the extended deadline of 30 June 2023 will be met for ATMIS Phase 1 drawdown.

The fourth session is planned to take place on 09 March and will be committed to a briefing on the conduct of a Continental Maritime Command Post Exercise. It is to be recalled that at its 1128th session, the PSC called on the AU Commission to conduct the ‘First Regional Maritime Command Post Exercise in order to increase preparedness and synergy of the Navies of the region to respond to the threats in the Gulf of Guinea, within the framework of the ASF’. In its other previous decisions, particularly the 1012th session, the PSC has also emphasised the importance of capacitating the African Standby Force (ASF) with the required naval capacity. The briefing during this session could provide important highlights on efforts being deployed to enhance the ASF’s naval capacity both at regional and continental levels.

On 10 March, the PSC will consider and adopt the provisional programme of work for the month of April 2023.

From 10 to 13 March, the CoE will convene to consider key highlights of the 2023 Africa Governance Report (AGR) which assesses the state of governance in Africa, with the aim to provide relevant and accurate information on governance issues in all AU member States.

The fifth session of the month expected to be held on 14 March will be an open session dedicated to the annual meeting on the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. The session will be convened in line with PSC’s 223rd Communiqué of 30 March 2010, in which the PSC agreed to devote an annual open session to the WPS theme. Following up on the decisions of its previous session on the theme – the 1109th meeting – the PSC may seek updates regarding efforts being made to ‘establish a forum for knowledge sharing amongst the AU Member States and partners to leverage experience, lessons learnt and good practices in addressing sexual violence against women in conflicts and crises’.

From 15 to 18 March, there will be a training of the MSC to be conducted in Tanzania.

From 20 to 23 March, the PSC will undertake a filed mission to the DRC. It is to be recalled that the PSC’s field mission to Burundi which took place from 20 to 22 June 2022 was conducted in the context of the PSC’s engagement on the Great Lakes Region and was supposed to extend to DRC. However, increasing tensions due to the situation in eastern DRC limited the PSC’s visit to Bujumbura, Burundi. Although the situation in eastern DRC largely remains the same and has even shown signs of deterioration, the planned PSC visit highlights the importance of PSC’s engagement through undertaking field visits to the conflict settings that it addresses.

The sixth and final session of the month planned to take place on 31 March will have two agenda items. The first one of these will be an updated briefing on the situation in Mozambique and operations of the South African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM). In addition to reflecting on on-going insecurity experienced in Cabo Delgado Province of northern Mozambique due to continued terrorist activities, the session could serve the PSC to follow-up on the decision of its 1119th session which drew specific attention to the logistical and financial challenges that face SAMIM and directed the AU Commission to ‘explore all options to facilitate additional support to SAMIM’.

The second agenda item will be consideration and adoption of the report on the outcomes of PSC’s field mission to the DRC.


Provisional Programme of Work for the month of February 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the month of February 2023

Date | 1 February 2023

South Africa will assume the role of the chairperson of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for February. The draft provisional program of work for the month prepared under South Africa’s leadership envisages that the PSC will convene five sessions during the month. With the exception of one thematic session added after the adoption of the first program of work for February, all sessions are dedicated to country specific situations. According to Ambassador Edward Xolisa Makaya, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the AU, the focus of the program of the month on specific conflict situations seeks to ‘inject some urgency in the resolution of these situations’. It is interesting to note that the items placed on the program of work cover conflict situations from all regions except West Africa and Sahel and Southern Africa.

The PSC is expected to hold its sessions at all the three levels of its meetings. While there will be one session each at the level of ministers and heads of state and government, the remaining three sessions will be held at ambassadorial levels.

Apart from the five sessions, the provisional programme of work also envisages two field missions and a meeting of the PSC Military Staff Committee (MSC).

The first session of the month is expected to be held on 01 February and will be assessing updates on the situation in Libya. It is to be recalled that the PSC only held one session on Libya in 2022. The last time the PSC held a session on Libya was at its 1091st session held in June 2022. Months later and despite fortified efforts deployed by the newly appointed UN special representative to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, no significant progress has been registered towards achieving political consensus among the rival entities on a political roadmap for ending the political paralysis and fragmentation. Further compounding already complex situation is the persistence of the meddling in of multiple and competing external actors providing support for the rival entities contesting control over the governance of the country. The upcoming session is expected to provide key updates on efforts aimed at resolving the stalemate over achieving agreement on the political roadmap that will facilitate the convening of elections and the overall political, security and humanitarian situation in the country.

On 03 February, the PSC will undertake a filed mission to Mekelle, Tigray Region of Ethiopia. This will be the first filed mission of the PSC to be conducted to the region since the outbreak of conflict in November 2020, although multiple AU visits have been undertaken under the auspices of the High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo. The field mission is taking place under South Africa’s chairship, which also played a role in hosting the negotiation and signing of the peace agreement between the warrying parties in November 2022. It is also to be recalled that South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was the first to dispatch a high-level diplomatic team to Ethiopia early in the conflict in 2020 with a view to facilitate peace efforts.

On the same day, the MSC will have a briefing to discuss the status of AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs). This is a timely issue considering that the continent has witnessed the proliferation of ad hoc security response arrangements as opposed to those mobilized within the framework of the PSC Protocol.

The second session of the month is planned to take place at the ministerial level on 06 February and will be committed to updates on the situation in Sudan. This session will review developments since the last PSC session including notably the signing of a framework agreement between a coalition of civilian organizations and political parties and the military on 05 December 2022. While the parties continue to hold talks over the most critical issues on the transition process in Sudan including the formation of civilian transitional government, security sector reform including the future role of the army not only vis-à-vis civilian over sight but also in the economy and justice and accountability for past and recent atrocities, Sudan’s de facto authorities are seeking to leverage the 5 December agreement for securing the lifting of suspension from the AU.

The third session is scheduled for 08 February. This session is scheduled to have two agenda items. The first agenda of this session will be committed to a briefing by the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) on the peace and security outlook on the continent in 2023. It is to be recalled that the PSC, as part of the decisions it adopted at its 1073rd session on ‘continental early warning and security outlook in Africa’, it requested the AU Commission to facilitate quarterly briefings to the PSC by CISSA, among other organs relevant for ensuring prompt conflict prevention. Within this context and informed by the trends observed over the past year, CISSA’s briefing could highlight some of the concerning threats and challenges expected to confront the continent in 2023 including the increasing spread of terrorism and violent extremism, growing governance related security challenges and the potential threats in the realm of cyber security.  This session may also put a spotlight the preventive diplomacy role of the PSC particularly through identifying ways of enhancing the use of the Panel of Wise.

The second agenda items of the session is expected to consider the African Peer Review Mechanism’s (APRM) African Governance Report (AGR) 2023. The APRM prepares the AGR every two years and the 2023 AGR unsurprisingly focuses on unconstitutional changes of government in Africa.

On 10 February, the PSC will consider and adopt the provisional programme of work for the month of March 2023.

The fourth session will be convened on 17 February at Heads of State and Government level. The session will be dedicated to consider the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), that registered further deterioration recently and the deployment of Regional Force by the East African Community (EAC). It will be held in person. The session is expected to consider the situation within the framework of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF) Agreement for DRC and the Region.

The second filed mission of the month is planned to take place from 23 to 25 February and will take the PSC to South Sudan. The field trip will be undertaken in line with the PSC’s decision adopted at its 1123rd session to conduct ‘a solidarity visit to South Sudan on the third anniversary of the formation of the Transitional Government on 22 February 2023’. As indicated in the Communiqué of the 1123rd session, the filed mission is expected to serve the central purpose of encouraging South Sudanese stakeholders ‘to remain resolute in pursuing the transitional tasks outlined in the 2022 Roadmap on Outstanding Issues, with a view to concluding the political transition before 22 February 2025’.

The fifth and last session of the month is scheduled to take place on 28 February. The PSC will consider and adopt the report on the findings of its field mission to South Sudan at this session. In tandem with the focus of the field visit and having regard to updates reflected in the report of key findings, the session is expected to reflect on the status of ongoing efforts to finalise the outstanding tasks in the implementation of the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) outlined in the 2022 Roadmap of Outstanding Issues.


Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of January 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of January 2023

Date | 1 January 2023

In January, Uganda will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC), as a stand-in chair. The provisional program of work for the month envisages five substantive sessions. All of the sessions planned to take place during the month will be addressing thematic issues. The PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) will also convene meetings during the month.

On 6 January, the PSC will consider and adopt the draft provisional programme of work for the month of February 2023.

Consecutively on 17 and 18 January, the CoE will meet to consider the annual Report of the PSC on its activities and on the state of peace and security in Africa, as well as the Report on the implementation of the ‘AU Master Roadmap on Practical Steps on Silencing the Guns in Africa’.

The first session of the month will be taking place on 20 January. The session will be dedicated to the PSC’s consideration of the Report of the AU Commission Chairperson on Elections conducted in Africa from July to December 2022 and outlook for elections to be conducted in 2023. This is in line with PSC’s 791st meeting convened in August 2018 which decided to institutionalise and regularise the holding of sessions to review the conduct of elections in various member States. General elections conducted in member States such as Angola and Kenya as well as the parliamentary election in Senegal and the referendum as well as parliamentary and local elections in Tunisia are expected to feature in the Chairperson’s report for the second half of 2022. In terms of outlooks for upcoming elections in 2023, the report may provide some highlights on Nigeria’s presidential election and Zimbabwe’s general elections planned to take place during this year and the AU’s efforts in assisting member States in their preparations.

The second session is scheduled to take place on 24 January and the PSC will be considering the revised/updated policy framework on post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD). The review of the PCRD policy framework took place in the context of the 1047th PSC session which underscored the need to ensure ‘urgent review of the AU PCRD Policy Framework in order to ensure that it is re-aligned and adaptable to the emerging challenges in the Continental peace and security landscape’ as well as the decision of the 35th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly [Assembly/AU/Dec. 815(XXXV)] which requested the AU Commission to ‘review the 2006 AU PCRD Policy Framework and submit the report for consideration by the next ordinary session of the Assembly’. The PSC may endorse the reviewed/updated policy which is expected to be tabled at the upcoming 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly.

On 26 January, the PSC will convene its third session of the month to consider and endorse two reports ahead of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly – the PSC Report on its activities and on the state of peace and security in Africa, as well as the Report on the implementation of the ‘AU Master Roadmap on Practical Steps on Silencing the Guns in Africa’. Having been endorsed by the PSC, the two reports will be submitted to the upcoming ordinary session of the Assembly in accordance with Article 7 of the PSC Protocol.

The fourth session planned for the month will be taking place on 27 January and will be a Joint briefing of the PSC, the Committee of Fifteen Ministers of Finance (F15), the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) Sub-Committee and Board of Trustees on the AU Peace Fund. It is to be recalled that on 16 September 2022, the PSC held a joint briefing with the PRC Sub-Committee on Budget Matters along with the Board of Trustees of the AU Peace Fund where the status of operationalisation of the AU Peace Fund was discussed. The upcoming joint briefing is expected to discuss updates since the deliberations of the previous joint engagement, particularly on aspects related to the status and modalities for contribution to the Peace Fund and the status of finalisation of consensus African position on accessing UN assessed contributions for financing AU peace and security activities.

On 30 January, the CoE will meet once again to consider a draft Engagement Mechanism between the PSC and the African three members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council (UNSC) or the A3. Establishing mechanisms for enhanced coordination between the PSC and A3 was one of the key decisions emerging from the 983rd PSC session which took place on 4 March 2021, under the title ‘Unified role of the African Members in the United Nations (UN) Security Council (A3) in the UN Security Council’. The development of a draft manual for engagement between the PSC and A3 undertaken during 2021 is a welcome progress on which the PSC Secretariat reported to the most recent high-level seminar in Oran, Algeria that took place in December 2022.

The fifth and final session of the month will be an open session dedicated to inauguration of Africa reconciliation day, scheduled to take place on 31 January. The session will be held in line with the decision of the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly [Ext/Assembly/AU/Decl.(XVI)], which decided to institutionalise the annual commemoration of ‘Africa Day of Peace and Reconciliation’ every 31 January. The coming session may serve to welcome, commend and support reconciliation efforts in various member States and encourage relevant partners to lend their support to reconciliation works in Africa.