Development and deradicalization as levers to counter terrorism and violent extremism

Development and deradicalization as levers to counter terrorism and violent extremism

Date | 07 October 2022

Tomorrow (7 October), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1111th session at a ministerial level. The session is convened under the theme of ‘development and deradicalization as levers to counter terrorism and violent extremism’.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccan Expatriates of the Kingdom of Morocco, Nasser Bourita, is expected to preside over the session as the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of October 2022. Following an opening remarks by the chairperson of the month, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, will deliver statement. The Secretary-General of the Rabita Mohammadia of Ulema, Dr. Ahmed Abaddi, is also scheduled to make presentation while Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, is expected to deliver statement.

Tomorrow’s session becomes the 24th session of the Council dedicated to the issue of terrorism and violent extremism, making the item the most discussed thematic issue by the PSC since its operationalization in 2004. Seven of these sessions have been addressed at the ministerial or summit level, also showing the increasing high-level interest on the subject on account of the increase in incidents of terrorist attacks and its geographic expansion. Since the extraordinary summit held in Malabo in May 2022 on terrorism, the PSC met at a ministerial level on 23 September on the sidelines of the 77th session of UN General Assembly with a focus on strengthening the role of RECs/RMs in combating the scourge of terrorism.

The last time Morocco chaired the PSC, the 883rd session held at ministerial level focusing on the nexus between conflicts in general and development, it reaffirmed ‘the essence and fundamentals of human security, in line with the Common African Defense and Security Policy and the AU Policy Framework on Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD), as a multidimensional notion of security encompassing socio-economic and political rights.’ As it did during that session, tomorrow’s session is also expected to emphasise ‘the need for the consideration and conception of an integrated, inclusive, holistic and multidimensional approach regarding the interdependence between peace, security and development, aiming at enabling the African Union and the RECs to respond effectively to the challenges imposed by conflict cycles in Africa’, albeit with a particular focus on addressing the scourge of terrorism.

Tomorrow’s session, among others, affords Council the opportunity to exchange views and share best experiences including from the Kingdom of Morocco, which is presented as a success story in the fight against terrorism. The first lesson is the multidimensional nature of Morocco’s counterterrorism strategy. According to Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2022 report, Morocco ranked 76th among countries impacted by terrorist threat globally, making it one of the safest countries in the world. What contributed for Morocco’s positive performance is not because the country is less targeted by terrorists, but because of its blend of counterterrorism efforts often described as ‘tri dimensional counterterrorism strategy’ —largely aimed at addressing terrorism threats through security, socio-economic development policies and religious education—adopted following the 2003 Casablanca bombings. The same report attributes Morocco’s success in fighting terrorism to the ‘country’s understanding of the threat; the interconnectedness of its counterterrorism methods; the application of combined soft and hard measures; the facilitation of information sharing practices; and the promotion of international cooperation as the sine qua non of counterterrorism’.

Indeed, unlike most previous engagements, tomorrow’s session shifts the focus away from the dominant hard security oriented policy approach towards the socio-economic and governance factors that make the emergence and expansion of terrorism and violent extremism possible. As outlined in various Amani Africa works (reports here and here), the dominance of the hard security approach to terrorism has crowded out investment in the political, development and environmental factors. Indeed, as demonstrated in our report, the year-on-year increase in the incident of terrorist attacks and the geographic spread of the threat highlight that it is not possible to win over terrorism by increasing throwing of weapons at it.

While security measures remain critical in addressing the immediate security threat posed by terrorists, it has become evident that no amount of force would fundamentally change the terrorism landscape in Africa without addressing the structural socio-economic and political deficiencies on which terrorism thrives. Amani Africa’s special report made the case that ‘the political and socioeconomic governance pathologies and the grievances and vulnerabilities that such pathologies produce on the part of the affected communities are the core conditions that open the space for the emergence and growth of terrorist groups.’ As such, ‘given the inadequacy of the security heavy approach to countering terrorism, it is of paramount significance that the PSC gives consideration for the AU and RECs to invest as much in the socio-economic, development, governance and humanitarian dimensions of the underlying and driving factors of terrorism as, if not more than, they invest in security-heavy instrument of counter terrorism’.

Taking the passing references in the various PSC outcome documents to socio-economic, political, environmental and humanitarian dimensions of terrorism and the 22 October 2021 report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission that admitted the imperative of moving ‘beyond predominantly military action to include soft approaches, by promoting inclusive good governance, accountability as well as socioeconomic developments’ a step further, our special report provided analysis on how this policy shift can be achieved. First, in territories affected by terrorism, this needs to focus on provision of life saving assistance for the displaced and those facing food insecurity and the creation of conditions including through the implementation of protection measures for the return and rehabilitation of IDPs as well as the provision of psycho-social support that is tailored to and in harmony with the traditions and practices of affected communities. Second, investing in the rehabilitation of and providing support for the expansion of existing sources of livelihoods and making them more economically and ecologically sustainable and productive. Third and fundamentally, the rolling out of legitimate local governance structures along with enabling them in the delivery of key social services including health care, access to water, education and justice. Additionally, it is of particular significance that the AU PSC in its engagement on the theme of terrorism engages bodies such as Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social (HHAS) Development, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). In terms of deradicalisation, attention should be given to the use not only of counter-terrorism narratives and sensitization measures but also political and diplomatic instruments such as negotiation and reconciliation that provide pathways for the reintegration into and peaceful participation political and social life of society by members of society recruited into the ranks of terrorist groups.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. Council may reiterate its grave concern over the rising tide of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa. Recognizing the different factors associated with terrorism such as governance deficits, socio-economic challenges, and marginalization, Council may emphasize the need to adopt a multidimensional comprehensive counterterrorism strategy that combines security and law enforcement, socio-economic development policies, and counter-radicalization and de-radicalization programs to tackle the scourge in a holistic and sustainable manner. The PSC may reiterate its request of 883rd session for the AU Commission, to ‘further enhance the collaboration and coordination between the different departments within the AU Commission and AU Specialized Agencies to support the PSC, taking into account the interdependence between peace, security and development, whilst carrying out its mandate.’ In this context, Council may emphasize the need for fully harnessing the role of African governance and developmental institutions such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) AUDA-NEPAD, the AfDB and AU Department of HHAS in addressing the governance and socioeconomic challenges. The PSC may also call for effective implementation of the AU Policy Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) and the mobilization of the role of the PCRD Centre. Finally, Council may take tomorrow’s session as an opportunity to follow up on some of its previous decisions regarding terrorism and violent extremism, notably the development of a comprehensive Continental Strategic Plan of Action on countering terrorism in Africa as well as the establishment of the Ministerial Committee on Counter Terrorism (16th extraordinary summit on terrorism and unconstitutional changes of government held in May 2022), the formation of counterterrorism unit within the African Standby Force (PSC 960th session), establishment of a Sub-Committee on Counter-terrorism (PSC 249th session), and the establishment of an AU Special Fund for Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and Violent Extremism (Assembly/AU/Dec.614 (XXVII)).


Ministerial Meeting on Terrorism and Violent Extremism

Ministerial Meeting on Terrorism and Violent Extremism

Date | 23 September 2022

Tomorrow (23 September), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1107th meeting which will be a ministerial session on “strengthening regional organizations for the maintenance of peace and security in Africa: preventing and fighting terrorism and violent extremism in the continent”. The session is expected to take place in a hybrid format, with the in-person meeting to be held in New York.

The session is expected to have an open and closed segment. In the first, open segment, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana is expected to deliver opening statement as the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of September 2022. This will be followed with remarks by Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission and a statement by Mr. Vladimir Voronkov Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Office of Counter-Terrorism. In the second, closed segment, Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) is expected to deliver a presentation on “the impetus of a robust Continental Early Warning System in the context of implementing the May 2022 Malabo Declaration to effectively Counter Terrorism”. This will be followed by interventions from PSC member States and Executive Secretaries/Commissioners of the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs).

While Council decided to institutionalise ‘preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism’ as a standing annual agenda item at its 957th session of 20 October 2020, the theme has featured more regularly on the agenda of the PSC over the years since at least as far back as 2010. The regularity and the level at which this item is dealt with by the PSC has shown notable rise in recent years. In 2021, Council dedicated three ministerial sessions, demonstrating the increasing recognition of the growing threat that terrorism has come to pose for increasing number of AU member states. Indeed, the ‘Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Continental Efforts in Preventing and Combating of Terrorism in Africa’ to the PSC at its 1040th ministerial session highlighted the very worrying spike in attacks and in the spread of terrorism and violent extremism as well as emerging trends in the manifestation of terrorism on the continent.

In terms of the scale of increase in the threat of terrorism, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) reported that Africa has witnessed a 400% and 237% rises in attacks and deaths respectively between 2012 and 2020. As pointed out in Amani Africa’s special report, the trend in the growing threat of terrorism witnessed in recent years and the data from the 2022 Global Terrorism Index indicate that Africa has become the epicentre of global terrorism. The region accounts for about 50% of global deaths due to terrorism while four of the ten countries globally to have experienced increase in deaths from terrorism in 2021 are also in Africa, namely Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mali and Niger.

The geographic expansion of the threat of terrorism also continues to pose a serious concern. Demonstrating the expansion and spread of terrorism in the continent, Ghana, the only country along the Gulf of Guinea which has for long remained least affected by terrorism, is now feared to be target of the expansion of terrorism from the Sahel to the littoral states of West Africa. Other coastal west African States are already experiencing attacks as the terrorist groups push south wards from the Sahel, particularly via Burkina Faso. For instance, on 11 May, Togo experienced its first deadly jihadist attack perpetrated by the Al-Qaida-affiliated Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) in a town along Togo’s border with Burkina Faso, which killed 8 and wounded 13 Togolese soldiers. Côte d’Ivoire has also been experiencing recurrent cross-border attacks from neighbouring Burkina Faso perpetrated by armed groups linked to Al-Qaida. In addition to its expansion to littoral States of west Africa, the threat of terrorism has also spread to other sub-regions of the continent including the Great Lakes Region, East Africa and Southern Africa.

The terrorism menace in Africa has far reaching social, economic and political consequences that go beyond the security realm. During the past few years, it became a major factor behind the occurrence of military coups. This has been particularly the case in countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso. The humanitarian toll from terrorist attacks also continues to grow. According to the ACSRT’s 2022 Mid-Year Africa Terrorism Trends Analysis, 433 out of the 699 terrorist attacks perpetrated during the first half of 2022 were launched against civilians and out of the 5,412 deaths that were recorded during the period, 3,517 were civilian deaths. In some of the most affected countries such as Burkina Faso, the displacement rate has continued to show an unabating increase. According to the UN, over 19,000 Burkinabe citizens have fled into Côte d’Ivoire in 2021 alone, due to extremist attacks. This has been a 50% increase as compared to the previous year of 2020. In 2022, the situation has shown further deterioration with the multiplication of violent attacks in the country driving more people to flee between January and July 2022 than during the entire year of 2021. Across the wider Sahel region extending over Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, over 4.8 million people are estimated by the UN to have fled their homes due to violence including jihadist attacks and communal conflicts. In northern Mozambique, after a respite in violence between mid-July to late August, attacks have resumed displacing over 38,000 people according to the latest data.

The threat of terrorism in Africa is expanding at an alarming rate not because the investment for fighting against it and in counter terrorism operation is lacking. Indeed, indications are that the threat is expanding at an exponential rate despite the increase in counter terrorism instruments. As the AU Commission Chairperson noted in his address to the AU summit held in Malabo at the end of May, from Somalia to the Sahel and Mozambique the AU and regional bodies deployed various military operations. Analysis of the policy decisions of the AU both at the level of the AU Assembly and that of the PSC show that between 2010 and 2022, some nine hard security mechanisms have been initiated to deal with terrorism hotspots across the continent. The AU has also established key institutions such as the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) and ACSRT. There has also been notable increase since 2015 in the deployment of various international multilateral and bilateral security instruments in the Sahel.

As Amani Africa’s special report highlighted and the AUC Chairperson admitted, the threat of terrorism continues to grow despite the increase in the investment in and the use of these and other hard security tools including border control, intelligence exchange, and criminal justice. One explanation, AUC Chair highlighted in his address, is the lack of adequate support to make the use of these hard security instruments effective. Indeed, as Amani Africa’s report also admits, there are gaps that limit the effectiveness of the hard security instruments that are deployed for countering terrorism on the continent. As such policy interventions, including continental and international support instruments, have to be designed and geared towards facilitating the building of not just the fighting capacity of national forces but also importantly their legitimacy and professionalism, including both in terms of strict adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law standards and protection of civilians and their skills and mindsets in assisting local communities in finding ways and means of addressing the issues facing them.

However, it would be of interest for the PSC to take note of the existence of more than enough evidence both from elsewhere in the world and most importantly from the recent experiences from Somalia to the Sahel that no amount of force irrespective of its effectiveness would constitute a recipe for success against terrorism.  Amani Africa’s special report, challenged both the diagnosis of and the policy response measures to the threat of terrorism in Africa. The dominant view about terrorism in Africa is based on a misdiagnosis of the nature of the phenomenon. There are two aspects to the misdiagnosis. The first is that it considers groups identified as terrorists to be the core of the problem. Second, it also erroneously states that these groups are mainly ideologically driven by global jihad. The report showed that terrorist groups, rather than being the core of the problem, are the symptom of the main problem. As our report put it, ‘the political and socio-economic governance pathologies’ and the grievances and vulnerabilities that such pathologies produce on the part of affected communities are the core conditions that open the space for the emergence and growth of terrorist groups.

These two aspects of the misdiagnosis also led to faulty policy responses. Rather than focusing on approaches that prioritize addressing ‘the political and socio-economic pathologies’, the responses focused on eliminating the symptom of the problem. As such, both the policy discourse on and the policy tools often deployed in response to terrorism are predominantly centred around the use of hard security instruments (namely combat operations, law enforcement measures, border control, intelligence cooperation and sharing etc). Given the inadequacy of the security heavy approach to countering terrorism, it is of paramount significance that the PSC gives consideration for the AU and RECs to invest as much in the socio-economic, development, governance and humanitarian dimensions of the underlying and driving factors of terrorism as, if not more than, they invest in security-heavy instruments of counter terrorism. This necessitates that AU and RECs/RMs expand their capacity and develop relevant instruments for initiating and supporting efforts of local communities both for deradicalization, reconciliation, inter-communal dialogue and for implementing measures for addressing the humanitarian and socio-economic needs of affected populations. Not any less important is the role of AU and RECs in supporting the development of governance and development oriented political strategy backed by full commitment of national actors as the basis for countering terrorism. In terms of the mobilization and deployment of resources as well, the AU and RECs/RMs need also to build the capacity to develop strategies for channelling resources for addressing the underlying conditions that facilitate the emergence of terrorism.

In terms of the use of AU and RECs instruments, it is also critical for the PSC that the AU and RECs/RMs bring to the centre their policy response, and add to the security-oriented instruments usually referred to in their policy decisions (such as the ACSRT, the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and AFRIPOL as well as the PSC Sub-committee on Terrorism), their governance and development structures. This means that RECs/RMs and the AU need to harness and bring to the centre of counter terrorism the role of African Governance Architecture (AGA), ACHPR, APRM, the Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the African Development Bank etc. Similarly, the AU and RECs can also play a role in initiating and delivering targeted technical support to national security institutions with a focus on enhancing their compliance with human rights and humanitarian laws and on the use by these security institutions of civilian counter terrorism measures including community dialogue, building or rebuilding of local or community governance structures, rehabilitation of the livelihood of communities affected by or vulnerable to violent extremism and terrorism and in facilitating humanitarian assistance and psychosocial support.

Among the key decisions of the Malabo Summit was the development of a comprehensive Continental Strategic Plan of Action on countering terrorism in Africa. Considering the lessons from the experiences thus far, it is of particular significance for tomorrow’s ministerial meeting of the PSC to ensure that the strategic plan is premised on the primacy of politics and the need to invest as much in building and mobilizing relevant policy intervention tools and resources for addressing the governance and socio-economic deficits underlying the emergence and expansion of terrorism as in sustaining the military, rule of law, intelligence instruments for countering terrorism. Such a balanced approach would position the AU and RECs/RMs engagement to be more effective and successful.

The outcome of tomorrow’s session is expected to be a Communiqué. Council is expected to express grave concern over the growing expansion of terrorism and violent extremism in the continent. It is also expected to underscore the importance of strengthening capacity of and horizontal collaborations among various RECs/RMs in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. Apart from highlighting the importance of upscaling the role of RECs in mobilizing coordination among affected countries in responding to the threat of terrorism, the PSC may underscore the importance of AU and RECs focusing their attention on developing and deploying tools for addressing the governance and development deficits that terrorist groups take advantage of. It may also emphasise the need to enhance collaborations among ad-hoc counterterrorism coalitions, RECs/RMs and relevant AU organs. Council may further highlight the importance of developing a strategy for coordination of efforts between the AU and various RECs/RMs on maintenance of peace and security. It may also follow up on the status of implementation of the decisions of the 16th Extraordinary Summit of the AU Assembly conducted in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 28 May 2022, particularly on the establishment of the Ministerial Committee on Counter Terrorism and the development of a comprehensive Continental Strategic Plan of Action on countering terrorism in Africa. Council may also take note of the centrality of governance and development deficits as the cause and driver of the growing threat of terrorism and emphasise the importance of advancing the use of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and other AU governance and development instruments and mechanisms in responding to the threat of terrorism in the continent.


Briefing on Disarmament and Control of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in Africa

Transnational Threats

Date | 18 May 2022

Tomorrow (18 May) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold its 1085th session on “Disarmament and control of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in Africa.”

Following the opening remark by Ambassador Churchill Ewumbue-Monon, Permanent Representative of Cameroon and the Chairperson of the PSC for May, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to make a statement.

Representatives from the different Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) as well as representatives from the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty and Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre (KAIPTC) are also expected to participate at the session.

This theme for tomorrow’s session is specifically referenced in the preamble to the PSC Protocol. Most specifically, the Protocol expressed the concern ‘about the impact of the illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons in threatening peace and security in Africa’. Similarly, the 2004 Solemn Declaration on African Common Defense and Security Policy identifies as one of the factors that engender insecurity in Africa. Addressing the scourge of SALW also forms part of the AU Agenda of Silencing the Guns and is one of the pillars of the Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns in Africa. In terms of specific instruments, on a continental level, the AU Assembly adopted the 2013 AU Strategy on the Control of Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons, as well as a corresponding Action Plan. At the sub-national level, there is the example of the Nairobi Protocol on the Prevention, Control and Reduction of SALW applicable in 15 countries in the Great Lakes region, the Horn of Africa and bordering states.

The proliferation of and easy access to Illicit arms and weapons continues to be a major factor in fueling conflicts and making inter-communal clashes increasingly deadly. It remains to be a single critical instrument that enables terrorist groups, armed militias, criminal bandits and vigilante groups in various conflict and crisis settings on the continent. Indeed, this is one of the factors that has made the increase in the number of conflicts and the expansion of the geographic spread of such conflicts, particularly those involving armed terrorist groups. Tomorrow’s session thus provides an opportunity for the PSC to receive updates on patterns and trends in arms and ammunition inflows, illicit circulation and trafficking and gaps in control measures.

The last time the PSC convened a session on illicit proliferation and trafficking of SALW was at its 860th meeting held on 18 July 2019.  During the session, the PSC welcomed the findings of the joint mapping study conducted by the Commission and the Small Arms Survey which was launched in July 2019. The study, published under the title “Weapons Compass: Mapping Illicit Small Arms Flows in Africa,” was the first-ever continental study that under the AU sought to map the problem of illicit proliferation of SALW. At the time the study was conducted, it was reported that there were forty-million of such weapons were in possession of civilians. This figure, according to the study, accounted for 80% of arms on the continent. There is little indication to show that this level of circulation of illicit weapons among the civilian population has come down.

In the context of the eruption of new conflicts and the expansion and persistence of existing conflicts as well as inter-communal violence in various parts of the continent, it is logical that the number of illicit weapons circulating on the continent has also increased. According to the 2021 Small Arms Survey research, there is an increase in smuggling and trafficking activities due to growing local demand for illicit goods and firearms. The local demand is fueled by banditry, communities’ need for self-defence, and the reliance in firearms of artisanal and small-scale gold mining operators. As a case in point, the survey specifically assessed the tri-border region, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mali.

The other factor for the proliferation and trafficking of illicit SALW is the challenges surrounding the availability of reliable data on stockpiles of member states and the safe keeping of those stockpiles. As the PSC noted in its 860th session the diversion of small arms and light weapons from national stockpiles is a significant factor contributing to the proliferation of SALW. There is thus the issue of auditing of stockpiles in member states and enhancing capacities for the safekeeping of stockpiles. Related to these are contingent owned equipment (COE) that are deployed for use in peace support operations. These weapons diversions are largely due to battlefield loss, mismanagement, theft, and corruption. According to reports, COE loss has occurred in at least 20 peace operations in 18 African countries. Lethal materiel lost in the past 10 years alone has included many millions of rounds of ammunition, thousands of small arms and light weapons, and likely hundreds of heavy weapons systems. Nonlethal materiel, such as unarmed vehicles and motorcycles, uniforms, communications equipment, and fuel, have also consistently been a target.

It is clear that stockpiles become a source of illicit circulation and trafficking in at least two ways. First, the lack of complete data and statistics by member states and the corruption in the armed forces mean that traffickers and armed groups pay for accessing weapons kept in such stockpiles. Second, nonstate armed groups have regularly targeted and overrun peacekeepers and national armed forces to seize lethal and nonlethal materiel. This has also become a significant source of armaments for Africa’s militant groups, fueling instability on the continent.

Illicit circulation of weapons also arises in the context of implementation of disarmament processes. Here a challenge worth mentioning is the lack of effective and complete demobilization, disarmament and reintegration (DDR), noted in the AU Solemn Declaration on Common African Defense and Security Policy. In cases where no effective framework and resources for undertaking DDR as part of peace agreements for settling conflicts are provided for, weapons in the hands of armed groups ends up being traded. Similarly, the poor implementation of DDR including the proper accounting of weapons and arms in the hands of various armed groups in the DDR process would mean that such weapons and arms remain outside of the control of formal institutions.

Furthermore, for widely differing reasons non-African states appear set to increase their supply of lethal materiel to African governments. The PSC in its several communiques including on its 1029th commemorating the 2021 Africa Amnesty Month session condemned non-African states sponsoring and promote the influx of arms into Africa, including in cases of existing armed embargoes, leading to the further escalation of existing conflicts. Indeed, unless COE control measures are strengthened, these arms flows could contribute to greater instability.

Tomorrow’s session also serves as an opportunity for follow up on previous decisions of the PSC. It is to be recalled that the PSC in its 1040th session convened on 22 October 2021, requested the Commission, working closely with Member States and RECs/RMs, to conduct a second phase of the Mapping Study on Small Arms and Light Weapons. The council also requested the RECs/ RMs to continue to submit reports through the AU commission, on the actions taken in line with Africa Amnesty month.

In the current global context, one aspect of the war in Ukraine that may warrant Council’s attention is also the rising risk of the use of foreign fighter and mobilisation of large number of weapons and arms finding their way in the hands of traffickers and ending up in conflict settings in Africa. In the absence of proper tracing and regulation mechanism, the large-scale mobilisation of weapons and arms in the context of this war can have an adverse impact as had been witnessed with the case of spread of weapons and foreign fighters post-Libyan conflict. It is therefore imperative for the AU to take advance note of and imagine preventive measures on how the mobilisation of such weapons and arms in Ukraine without an effective tracing mechanism in place could impact Africa by boosting illicit transfer of arms from the war in Ukraine.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. The council may express deep concern over the growing Illicit flow of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Africa. The PSC may call for the AU to work with member states to launch a process for auditing of stockpiles with a view to enable states to have up to date data on the quantity and type of weapons and arms in their possession as a basis for ensuring the monitoring and safekeeping of stockpiles. The PSC may also call on member states to undertake measures that enhance the safe keeping and protection of stockpiles important measure for preventing leakages through corruption and vulnerabilities of stockpiles for attacks from armed groups. The PSC may also call for an African Strategy on the implementation of the Armed Trade Treaty at the continental levels as a means of controlling flows of weapons and arms into the continent and the trading of such weapons and arms within the continent. It also might call upon member State and the RECs to enhance cross border security and strengthening their monitoring and controlling mechanisms. Council may also urge member states to implement regional and international instrument to curb illicit flow of SALW. Further the council may reiterate its request to conduct second phase of the Mapping Study on Small Arms and Light Weapons in Africa. The PSC may also urge for effective integration of DDR programs in peace agreements and the proper implementation of such programs.


Briefing on Transnational Organized Crimes and Security in Africa

Transnational Threats

Date | 6 May 2022

Tomorrow (6 May) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to convene its 1082nd session on Transnational Organized Crime and Security in Africa.

Following the opening remark by Ambassador Churchill Ewumbue-Monono, Permanent Representative of Cameroon and the Chairperson of the PSC for May, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to make a statement.

Representatives from the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), AU Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), the Secretary General of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) are also expected to brief the PSC. A representative from the AUC Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development may also deliver a statement.

Tomorrow’s session is the second meeting to be convened by the PSC after it decided on its 845th meeting held on 25th April 2019 to hold an annual session on the theme ‘Transnational Organized Crime and Peace and Security in Africa’. The PSC noted its deep concern over the rise of transnational organized crime in Africa in its several sessions including on thematic sessions that are linked to the issue including terrorism, illicit economy and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

During the 731st meeting held on 8 November 2017, the PSC underlined ‘the direct linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime, particularly in situations where state institutions are weak and lack the necessary capacity to effectively discharge their constitutional mandates’. Among others, organized crime has become a source of finance for terrorist groups and this has contributed to the proliferation of violent extremist groups on the continent.

Similarly, on its 832nd meeting held on 14 March 2019; the PSC received a briefing from the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA) on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons and its Impact on Silencing the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020. The PSC, among others, underlined the link between transnational organized crime, the proliferation of weapons and corruption, illicit financial flows, poaching and illegal exploitation of natural resources. In this regard, the PSC encouraged the Member States to redouble their efforts aimed at promoting good governance, transparency, accountability and a high level of professionalism across all sections of society, including governance of security and defense institutions.

The Organized Crime Index report by INTERPOL ENACT (Enhancing African capacity to respond more effectively to transnational organized crime) in its 2021 report concludes that the majority of Africa’s population almost two-thirds (60.9%) live in countries with high levels of organized crime. The report also stressed that the increasing threat shows no signs of slowing down. In this regard, the PSC on the 845th session, also notes with serious concern ‘over the growing threat posed by organized transnational crime, particularly its increasingly direct linkages and collusion with terrorism and violent extremism, particularly in situations where state institutions are not up to the level of organization, performance and equipment commensurate to this growing threat to peace and security in Africa’.  To tackle the crime, the PSC underscored in its several communiques that, member states have the primary responsibility to fight against transnational organized crimes and terrorism. The council in its 845th session even urges Member States to take necessary steps to domesticate all AU and international instruments regarding the fight against transnational organized crime, including money laundering notably by terrorist groups.

Along with AU member states, the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) plays a critical role in providing systematic and structured cooperation among police agencies in the continent to fight against transnational organized crime.  AFRIPOL was established as a mechanism for police cooperation for Member States of the AU. Its main objective is to establish a framework for police cooperation at the strategic, operational and tactical levels between Member States’ police institutions.

So far, AFRIPOL facilitated enhanced cooperation among the police agencies of AU Member states and 48 Member States have established their AFRIPOL National Liaison Offices as provided for in the AFRIPOL Statute. The AFRIPOL Secretariat has trained the heads of the National Liaison Offices on their roles and responsibilities. As part of the engagement with the AU Policy Organs, the AFRIPOL Secretariat also briefed the PSC at its 845th meeting. The PSC, among others, commended the efforts by AFRIPOL to build and strengthen the capacities of the police agencies of the Member States, and underscored the need to further enhance the capacity of national justice systems, cooperation between and among border police and financial intelligence units, as well as to involve civil society and local communities in efforts aimed at preventing and combating terrorism and organized transnational crime.

However, despite AU institutions and member states effort to fight against Transnational Organized Crimes in Africa, the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on the intensification of transnational organized crime in the continent. Institutional responses to stop the spread of the pandemic caused extensive losses for legitimate businesses and, despite lockdowns and restrictions on movement, actors involved in organized crimes were able to adapt more effectively than legal entities. According to ENACT report, organized crime groups in Africa have adapted their modus operandi to the new COVID-19 realities, finding new routes for illicit trafficking and making more use of cargo shipments. Correspondingly, the report noted the surge in illicit trade with fake COVID-19 cures and vaccines or falsified medicines. In this regard, the INTERPOL report has also underlined the pandemic has made illicit medication markets in Africa even more attractive to organized crime groups. This concerning emerging trend would be of interest to PSC members.

It is also worth to note the interlinkage between active conflict and the upsurge of transnational Organized crime in the continent. According to ENACT assessment, countries scoring highest for organized crime often experience conflict or some form of violence, insurrection, terrorist activity or civil unrest. Conflict also diverts much needed resources from projects that contribute towards social cohesion and also from enhancing security infrastructure that is able to contain organized crime and various security threats.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The Council may express deep concern over the growing rate of transnational organized crime in the continent and its relationship to the rise and expansion of terrorism in the continent. It may underline the need to strengthen member states’ capacities of their national security institutions. It may also call upon member States’ Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to enhance collaborations in securing and managing borders to combat transnational organized crimes. The Council is expected to urge Member States to ratify and sign existing AU and other relevant international instruments on the prevention and combat of terrorism, violent extremism, radicalization and organized transnational crime. The PSC may also stress the need to strengthen the capacity of the specialized agencies including CISSA and AFRIPOL to fulfil their mandates effectively and to enhance their horizontal cooperation to create more synergy.


Briefing on Mine Action

Transnational Threats

Date | 1 April 2022

Today (1 April), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1072nd session to receive a briefing on mine action in Africa. The session will be held in person. This will be the first in person PSC session since the Council made a decision in March 2020 to hold all its meetings virtually due to COVID19 restrictions on physical meetings.

It is envisaged that following the opening remarks of the PSC Chairperson of the month and Permanent Representative of Burundi to the AU, Willy Nyamitwe, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, will make a statement. It is also expected that the representatives of the United Nations Office to the AU (UNOAU), the European Union (EU) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will deliver their statements.

The session is taking place at the margins of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action which is observed on 4 April. The session is expected to shed light on the impact of anti-personnel landmines and underscore the importance of upholding various regional and international normative frameworks towards enhancing mine action and for member states to achieve complete clearance from anti-personnel mines. While the majority of Africa countries are state party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Action Convention, according to the concept note circulated for the session ‘16 AU member states are suspected to be contaminated and/or affected directly by anti-personnel mines.’ And 12 AU member states are yet to identify and destroy anti-personnel mines. This also illustrates the gap in norm implementation and the importance of bridging this gap through concerted and collective action as well as global partnership.

To further promote and advance the Convention various instruments have been adopted including the Declaration of States parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Maputo Declaration). Maputo Declaration has been instrumental in mobilizing commitments among member states on the implementation of time-bound obligation of the destruction of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines by the year 2025. In addition, in line with the five-year Oslo Action Plan adopted in 2019 state parties to the convention committed to design national responses that accommodate the diverse needs and experiences of people in affected communities. Hence, tomorrow’s session presents an opportunity to reflect around the challenges, prospects and risks in relation to compliance and implementation, particularly as the deadline provided in the Maputo declaration is fast approaching.

Indeed, to support member states in meeting the set deadline, the 1032nd PSC session held on 16 September 2021 has requested the AUC to convene an experience sharing and lesson learning session in mine action. It would be of interest to PSC members to request an update around the session. Such forum will also be important to design long term plans for countries affected armed conflict and those in post-conflict situations as well. Anti-personnel land mines have long term effects and continue to kill and injure people even after cessation of hostilities by warring parties. It is thus imperative for countries to develop comprehensive plans for the various stages of conflict situations.

In the same session the PSC had expressed concern over threats related to anti-personnel land mines particularly in relation to the effects of COVID19 on mine action. It has further requested the AUC to integrate mine action into the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030 and to finalize the Draft AU Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) Mitigation Strategy and submit for Council’s consideration. In this context the AUC may provide update on these processes.

Similarly, it is to be recalled that the 837th PSC session recognizing the risks associated with IED and their devastating impact on civilians, called on ‘Member States to prevent and counter the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) through integrated and coherent approaches including helping one another, and demand the Commission to continue consultations with Member States to develop the necessary framework in this regard’.

In this regard, the session may highlight the use of IEDs and their serious impact on civilian population. More particularly with the increased level of urbanization coupled with the rise of conflicts in cities, various types of explosive weapons are being used by belligerent parties. The UN Secretary General Report of August 2021 highlighted the complexities around the increased urbanization of conflicts and the catastrophic impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The causalities in these settings are particularly high given population density. According to the report when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 88% of those killed and injured were civilians, compared with 16% when used in other areas. This is a concerning trend that presenters may highlight given the nature and dynamics of current conflicts.

Another area that is expected to be underscored at the session is the importance of strengthened effort in mine action in humanitarian settings. Explosive ordnance continues to spark complex humanitarian emergencies and high rate of displacement. Population fleeing violence and armed conflict have also been confronted with further danger and risks associated with explosive weapons. Anti-personnel mines have also been a major hindrance for the delivery of life saving assistance and humanitarian action. In this respect ICRC’s intervention is expected to highlight the humanitarian aspect and the effects of weapon contamination on civilian population in armed conflict.

The expected outcome is a communique. The PSC may express concern over the continuing threat of anti-personnel mine and the devastating effects of its use despite the strides made my member states. It may call on member states, in close collaboration and coordination with the AU and Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to enhance and revitalize national response to realize the goal set in Maputo Declaration as well as the Oslo Action Plan. The PSC may urge countries that are yet to remove anti-personnel mines in their territories to do so rapidly and to ensure timely reporting on the clearance and demining activities. It may call on for strengthened international partnership to support the complete clearance of AU member states from anti-personnel mine. The PSC may reiterate its previous call for the AUC to convene an exchange forum around mine action and to expedite the finalization of the Draft AU Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) Mitigation Strategy.


Briefing by African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) on the implementation of Pelindaba Treaty

Transnational Threats

Date | 31 March 2022

Tomorrow (31 March), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1071st session to receive a briefing by the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) on the implementation of the Pelindaba Treaty.

Permanent Representative of Lesotho to the AU and the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of March, Mafa M. Sejanamane, is expected to make an opening remark. AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is also scheduled to make presentation. A briefing by the representative of AFCONE will follow the presentation. The representatives of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) are also expected to deliver their remarks.

This session is convened within the context of PSC’s request of the AU Commission and the AFCONE, at its 763rd meeting held on 10 April 2018, to annually brief the Council on the ‘status of the implementation of the Pelindaba Treaty and the activities of AFCONE’. The last time Council considered the Treaty was during its 837th session that took place on 4 April 2019 while addressing the broader theme of ‘international disarmament’ with a focus on Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Tomorrow’s session takes place at a critical time given the current global crisis and the mounting tension between powers that possess nuclear weapons. Even before the outbreak of the war, the global nuclear dynamics has worsened in recent years as global powers arms race has intensified. At its 763rd session, the PSC also noted the ‘slow pace of nuclear disarmament and the rising tensions among nuclear-weapon possessor states’ and its impact in undermining confidence over the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT). Coming within this global context, members of the Council may reflect on how the Pelindaba Treaty could contribute in advancing global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda, thereby promote international peace and security.

It is to be recalled that the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty Treaty—commonly referred to as the Pelindaba Treaty which is named after South Africa’s central nuclear research complex—is one of the five Treaties on regional Nuclear-Weapons Free-Zones that came within the broader context of global initiative to strengthen the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation norms. The main objective of this Treaty is to enhance peace and security through the prohibition of the possession and stationing of nuclear weapons across the continent while it encourages the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology. The Treaty was opened for signature in Cairo on 11 April 1996 and entered into force on 15 July 2009 after the deposit of 28th instrument of ratification by Burundi. Three other protocols are also attached to the Treaty to ensure respect of the Treaty by non-African states, notably the Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS).

One of the challenges towards the full implementation of the Treaty likely to be raised in tomorrow’s session is that considerable number of Member States are not still state parties to the Pelindaba Treaty. According to an information note prepared for the session, 11 African countries, namely Central African Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Liberia, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan and Uganda, are not party to the Treaty. South Sudan is yet to accede to the Treaty. The rest 43 African countries have become state parties to the Treaty.

Another issue likely to be highlighted in tomorrow’s session is the synergy and complementarity between the Pelindaba Treaty and other international disarmament and non-proliferation regime most notably the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), as well as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). ICRC’s statement is likely to focus on this issue. As State Parties to some of the treaties that form disarmament and non-proliferation regime will convene during second and third quarters of the year (5th Conference of State Parties to the Pelindaba Treaty in April; 1st Meeting of the State Parties to the TPNW in July; and 10th Review Conference of the NPT in August), this session is an opportune moment to remind Member States to join these instruments.

The other aspect that AFCONE’s briefing may highlight is the use of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes including power generation, human health, agriculture, industrial uses and scientific research. The Pelindaba Treaty encourages such peaceful use of nuclear power, but under strict non-proliferation measures. The Council, during its 763rd session also affirmed the ‘inalienable right of all parties to apply chemical, biological and nuclear science and technology for peaceful civilian purposes’. In this regard, nuclear energy is particularly important in Africa where more than 640 million of its 1.2 billion population have no access to electricity and electricity access rate stands just over 40 percent, the lowest in the world, according to African Development Bank report. Addressing this deficit in the continent may require the inclusion of nuclear power as an alternative source of energy.

Given that nuclear power is regarded as clean, reliable and cost-effective source of energy, it is considered to be an attractive option for Africa in its effort to tackle the twin challenges of energy poverty and climate change. It also plays critical role in realizing the developmental aspirations enshrined under Agenda 2063 and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which in turn enhance the peace and stability of the continent. Despite the enormous benefit that nuclear energy offers, it is only South Africa that has been able to harness the potential through its Koeberg nuclear power plant. Promoting the use of nuclear energy in Africa therefore leaves a lot to be desired.

It is also imperative for Africa to take a more coordinated approach that would strengthen nuclear infrastructure and enhance nuclear expertise and knowledge. In this respect relevant international and regional bodies such as the AFCONE, the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA), and IAEA play critical role in providing the required technical support particularly in the areas of developing regulatory frameworks and the human resources, as well as nuclear research and training activities. In its briefing, AFCONE is expected to highlight the activities undertaken in this regard and the challenges faced.

Although key milestones have been achieved paving the way for AFCONE Secretariat to function fully, limited finance has become a major challenge affecting the effectiveness of the institution in discharging its envisaged mandate. This was flagged up by the AFCONE Vice Chairperson, Hadjaro Adam Senoussi, where he stated that ‘significant operationalization of the Secretariat AFCONE, which is critical for the Treaty of Pelindaba to achieve its objective, has not progressed with required speed and efficiency for the reasons explained in the AFCONE reports, particularly the critical budget issue’. The Vice Chairperson further asserted that without the ‘urgent integration of the AFCONE to the AU Institutional Reform Process’ and the ‘designation of a Permanent Executive Secretary and facilitate the appropriate staffing of the Secretariat’, AFCONE cannot sustain its function.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communiqué. Among others, Council is expected to express its concern over the nuclear escalation and may call upon all parties not to undermine the objectives and spirit of disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Council may stress the complementarity between the Pelindaba Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) their relevancy to the African Peace and Security Architecture. The Council may further encourage Member States to participate in the upcoming meetings of State Parties to Pelindaba Treaty, NPT and TPNW, and urge them to join the Treaties. Regarding the use of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes, Council may encourage Member States to include nuclear power as an option of energy source and fully harness its benefits. Council may re-emphasize the need for the speedy operationalization of AFCONE Secretariat based in South Africa, given its role in the implementation of the Pelindaba Treaty and the promotion of the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology. In this respect, the Council may particularly call on State Parties to the Treaty to fulfil their financial obligations to address the budget challenge.


Ministerial Session on Countering Extremist Ideology and Radicalization in Africa

Transnational Threats

Date | 15 November, 2021

Tomorrow (15 November) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is set to convene its 1048th session at ministerial level on countering extremist ideology and radicalization in Africa.

Following the opening remarks of the PSC Chairperson of the month and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Hassan Shoukry, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to make a statement. Representative of Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism, Representative of the Egyptian Money-Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit (EMLCU) and the Director of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) are also expected to deliver statements.

The report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on ‘Continental efforts in preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism in Africa’ which was considered by the PSC at its 1040th session convened at the ministerial level indicates the growing rate of extremism in the continent manifested through terrorist attacks, kidnappings for ransom (KFR) and other transnational organised crimes. As captured in the report, in central Africa, over 595 attacks leading to 1758 deaths were recorded, whereas in western Africa, 253 attacks were recorded which have resulted in 1538 deaths, only during the first half of 2021. So far into 2021, there have also been 82 recorded cases of KFR throughout the continent. The attacks carried out during the same period also demonstrate that an overwhelming majority of the targets of terrorist acts are civilians. This concerning trend has prompted Council’s much needed attention to tomorrow’s session which aims to explore means of countering radicalism and extremist ideologies which are at the bottom of the spread of terrorist acts.

The AU Commission Chairperson’s report further highlights that international terrorist groups such as Al Qaida and Daesh (the Islamic State) continue to seek alliances with domestic terrorist sects in Africa, battling for dominance over one another. As these groups fortify efforts to spread and establish strongholds, radical and extremist ideologies serve as their main weapons for mobilising and recruiting local communities. As various examples of counter-terrorist missions demonstrate, efforts aimed at preventing and fighting against radicalism and extremism fail to go beyond security responses and military approaches which are ineffective in addressing underlying root causes of the problem. In that regard, Council’s note at its 749th session that member States need to adopt holistic approaches, which address root causes of terrorism, and violent extremism has been significant in emphasising that military responses alone cannot achieve the needed success in counterterrorism efforts.

As studies into trends of terrorism and violent extremism in various parts of Africa indicate, local grievances due to inequality, marginalisation, poverty, injustice, corruption and poor governance, lack of socioeconomic opportunities and high rate of unemployment, oppression and subjugation of minority groups, and violations of human rights and freedoms are widely manipulated by terrorist groups to convert and recruit local communities, particularly the youth. To some extent, the very formation of extremist and radical ideologies is also the result of such socioeconomic challenges which are left unaddressed, prompting affected and aggrieved members of society to explore less than peaceful means of seeking their societal quests. The misuse and distortion of political opinions and religious and cultural identities and the lack of proper and timely management of resulting disputes in society also lay a fertile ground not only for the radicalisation of affected individuals and their manipulation into joining existing terrorist groups, but also for the creation of extremist ideologies. However, most of the conversation regarding terrorism and violent extremism is centred around radical religious and cultural ideologies and security-centred measures to counter them, while the background and underlying causes for the creation of such ideologies is mostly ignored. This curtails the prevention and effective response to radicalism and violent extremism.

Understanding the unique contexts under which extremist ideologies develop is also important as opposed to adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. The factors and circumstances that make individuals vulnerable to radicalisation may vary considerably from one geographic location to another. To prevent, mitigate and ultimately eradicate violent extremism therefore, identification of the specific local causes and dynamics and engaging with community members in an all-inclusive manner to find solutions to these causes is essential. The importance of early education of children and sensitisation of youth and adults on the culture of peace, peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for diversity should also not be overlooked or underplayed and should be supported with concrete government policies.

The growing linkage between terrorism and transnational organised crimes including human and drug trafficking could also be considered as factors significantly contributing to the spread of radicalism and extremist ideologies. Particularly, with poverty and lack of employment serving as push factors, individuals, especially the youth, are driven to identify with extremist ideologies and to join groups that advance them, in hopes of making a living and supporting themselves and their families. Therefore, in addition to strengthening national efforts aimed at creating economic opportunities and ensuring inclusive development, member States should also reinforce local, regional and continental initiatives designed to address transnational organised crimes in order to stem the finances it provides to advance radicalism and extremist ideologies. It is also to be recalled that at its 1040th session, Council underscored the need to expedite the establishment of an African list of persons, groups and entities associated with terrorist acts, including those sponsoring terrorism. This, followed with appropriate action from concerned member States and the international community such as freezing accounts of persons sponsoring terrorism, will also contribute towards reducing the spread of radicalism and extremist ideologies.

Another concerning factor which could further exacerbate radicalism and extremist ideologies in Africa is the existence of substantial number of foreign terrorist fighters in the continent, particularly in Libya and the Sahel region. At its 1035th session, Council addressed the growing security concern the projected withdrawal of foreign forces from Libya imposes upon the Sahel region and the rest of the continent and stressed the importance of developing and implementing a plan for their withdrawal. In addition to the direct security consequences, a mismanaged withdrawal of foreign forces from Libya also entails the possible spread of extremist ideologies to the rest of the continent. Therefore, in addition to disarming these forces, it is also important to develop withdrawal and relocation plans with an element of deradicalisation.

The manipulation of modern technologies and misuse of the cyber space to spread extremist ideologies, motivate and radicalise targeted groups, as well as to recruit and incite violence has also been a concerning trend. Hence, while ensuring and respecting freedom of expression, the right to privacy and other relevant rights, it also important for member States to regulate the use of social media and cyber space in general to restrict the flow and dissemination of inflammatory content.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communiqué. Council may express grave concern over the growing rate of violent extremism and terrorist attacks in the continent and emphasise the need to strengthen existing response mechanisms while adopting measures to address underlying root causes of radicalism and extremist ideologies. It may call on member States and Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to enhance collaborations in securing and managing borders in order to effectively control the illicit flow of weapons and to combat transnational organised crimes, which serve to finance the spread of radicalism and extremism. The PSC may reiterate the decision of the 14th extraordinary session of the Assembly on Silencing the Guns and its previous decision on the development of a comprehensive strategy for countering terrorism in Africa; the urgent need to operationalize AU Special Fund on the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa; the establishment of a special unit on counter-terrorism within the African Standby Force (ASF); and the reactivation of the Council’s sub-committee on counter-terrorism. Council may also highlight the need to update relevant AU instruments on counterterrorism, including the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and its 2004 Protocol, to ensure that the issue of extremist ideologies is also well reflected.


Consideration of the Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Continental Efforts in Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa

Transnational Threats

Date | 22 October, 2021

Tomorrow (22 October) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1040th session at a ministerial level to consider the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on continental efforts in prevention and combating of terrorism in Africa.

The session is expected to have two segments, an open and a closed session. In the open session invited guests will deliver their statements. Following the opening statement by Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mozambique and PSC Chair for October, the Chairperson of the AUC Moussa Faki Mahamat is expected to deliver remarks. The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is scheduled to deliver a presentation. Ramtane Lamamra Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Algeria and Champion in Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa is also expected to deliver remarks. The Chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) as well as the representatives of the European Union and the United Nations are expected to present their statements. During the closed segment Bankole Adeoye will present the report of the Chairperson of the AUC on continental efforts in the prevention and combating of terrorism in Africa. The Secretary General of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) is also scheduled to present its statement.

The report of the chairperson is in line with the Assembly decision (/AU/Dec.311 (XV)) during its 15th Ordinary Session, held in July 2010, which requested the Commission to submit regular reports on the status of the fight and cooperation against terrorism in Africa. During its 249th meeting held in November 2010, it is to be recalled that the Council also requested the AU Commission to submit reports and briefings on the state of terrorism in Africa and the efforts made at continental and international level to address the scourge. Since then the Chairperson of the Commission has been reporting to the Council regularly, on the challenges related to terrorism in Africa and on continental efforts being undertaken towards combating the problem. The Council thus far held three of its sessions on the theme at the level of Heads of State and Government (455th, 571st, and 749th meetings). This makes the thematic issue the most addressed at a summit level.

On the state of terrorism and trends, the report underscores persistence of Africa’s vulnerability to the threats of terrorism and violent extremisms despite the progress achieved by member states in preventing and combating the scourge. Citing African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) data, the report provides that, from 1 January to 30 June 2021, the continent witnessed a total of 950 terrorist attacks resulting in 3,883 deaths—showing a 10 percent increase in the number of attacks as compared to the same period in 2020. Civilians continued to bear the brunt of terrorist attacks. On a positive note, the report indicates that counter terrorism operations neutralized 1,943 terrorists. Recently, major successes have been also registered in neutralizing top ranks of terrorist groups operating in Africa though its implication in reducing their lethality remains to be seen.

In terms of geographic distribution of terrorist attacks, the report highlights that Central Africa registered the highest number of attacks with 595 attacks resulting in 1,758 deaths (constituting 45 percent of the total death registered in the continent) while North Africa recorded the least both in number of attacks and deaths (11 attacks and 32 deaths). West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa come second, third and fourth, respectively. Mai-Mai groups, Allied Democratic Front (ADF), Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and Al-Sunnah Wa Jummah (ASWJ) were the most active terrorist groups during the reporting period. Among these, ADF that operates in eastern DRC is the deadliest while Boko Haram remains the most lethal terrorist group in Africa.

The report attributes the spread of terrorism in Africa to several factors. First is the surge in the influx of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) from outside the continent. Despite the military defeat of ISIL and its affiliates in Iraq and Syria, its spillover effect has continued to reverberate across Africa and elsewhere. On one hand, the return and relocation of FTFs pose a huge security risk by enhancing the operational capability of local terrorist groups and affiliates, particularly in the area of using and manufacturing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). On the other hand, the threat posed by ISIL and Al-Qaida has morphed into a ‘less visible network of autonomous individuals and cells’, which makes efforts of combating terrorism more challenging. Growing trend has been also witnessed among terrorist groups operating in Africa in terms of pledging allegiance to ISIS and Al-Qaida though there is little evidence suggesting strong link between them. It is against this context that the PSC, during its last session on FTFs (957th meeting), requested the AU Commission, African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) and ACRST to ‘develop a comprehensive “guideline framework for countering FTFs”, as well as to expedite the development of a “database” of persons, entities or organizations involved in or supporting, in any form, the activities of terrorist organizations…’.

The second factor is the intricate linkage between terrorism and trans-national organized crime where not only illicit economies have become major source of financing for terrorists but also its profitability has become financial motivation for them to continue with their activities. Hence, as noted by the report of the Chairperson, depriving terrorist and violent extremist groups of their sources of funding should be a central element of any counter terrorism strategy. Terrorist groups also derive their funding from kidnapping-for-ransom (KFR), which showed a dramatic rise in 2021 as compared to the same period last year. Proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the rise of mercenarism—phenomenon particularly aggravated by the instability in Libya and Sahel—are also mentioned as factors contributing to the spread of terrorism in the continent. It is also worth noting that terrorists have taken advantage of the porous nature of African borders and ungoverned spaces in some of African countries due to weak national institutional capacities in this regard.

On the continental efforts to address the scourge, AU has made strides in building strategic partnership with UN and other stakeholders including through the launch of Coordination Committee between the AU Commission and UN Office of Counter-Terrorism on preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism. The AU has also continued its support to RECs/RMs and member states to strengthening their capacity in countering terrorism through the available mechanisms notably ACSRT, AFRIPOL, and CISSA. The ACSRT, for instance, have been providing assistance in the areas of developing/reviewing their respective counterterrorism strategies and plan of actions, building technical capacities, as well as sharing information and analysis. AFRIPOL, on its part, is also working to assist member states in their efforts to prevent and combat terrorism and transnational organized crimes through training and technical expertise. The establishment of the African Police Communication System (AFSECOM), which is intended to facilitate easy and security communication and sharing of information and data among police agencies of member states is a positive step towards the operationalization of AFRIPOL. The establishment and functioning of the 55 AFRIPOL National Liaison Offices (NLOs) within member states is another notable development having an impact on the functioning of AFRIPOL as well as its linkage with police agencies of member states. Financial, human and infrastructural issues however remain huge challenges in effectively discharging their mandates.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. Among others, the Council is expected to express its concern over the surge in influx of FTFs into Africa and its implication on the peace and security of the continent, and in this regard, the Council may reiterate its warning to ‘name and shame’ all those involved in sponsoring FTFs. In addition, the Council may recall its 1035th session that emphasized the need to expedite the implementation of the establishment of an African list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, including FTFs. Towards strengthening continental mechanisms to counter terrorism, the Council may follow up on its previous decisions as well as the decision of the 14th extraordinary session of the Assembly on Silencing the Guns including the development of a comprehensive strategy for countering terrorism in Africa; the urgent need to operationalize AU Special Fund on the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa; the establishment of special unit on counter-terrorism within the ASF; and the reactivation of the Council’s sub-committee on counter-terrorism. The PSC may also stress the need to strengthen the capacity of the specialized agencies including CISSA, ACSRT and AFRIPOL to fulfill their mandates effectively and to enhance their horizontal cooperation to create more synergy. The Council may reiterate its previous decision on the need to address the root causes including poverty and marginalization, which provide breeding ground to terrorism. Drawing on the recommendation of the report of the Chairperson, the Council may also highlight the need to mainstream counterterrorism and prevention/countering of violent extremism in the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).


Ministerial Session on the Consideration of the Projected Impact of Withdrawal of Foreign Forces and Mercenaries from Libya on the Sahel and the rest of Africa

Transnational Threats

Date | 30 September, 2021

Tomorrow (30 September), African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1035th session at a Ministerial level on the projected impact of withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya on the Sahel region and the rest of Africa.

Following the opening remarks of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Chadians Abroad of the Republic of Chad PSC Chairperson of the month, Ambassador Cherif Mahamat Zene, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to make a presentation on the AU Paper on the projected impact of the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya on the Sahel and the rest of Africa. Representatives of concerned countries and neighbouring countries as well as Regional Economic Communities (RECs), namely, Libya, Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are expected to deliver statements. The Special Representative of the Secretary General to the AU and Head of the United Nations Office to the AU (UNOAU), Hanna Tetteh, and the Head of the European Union Delegation to the AU, Ambassador Birgitte Markussen, may also make statements.

Cognizant of the risks posed by the departure of foreign forces on the peace and stability of neighboring countries and the wider Sahel, it is to be recalled that African members of the UN Security Council and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (A3+1) initiated two events at the UN Security Council on the theme—an informal interactive dialogue on 29 April and the Arria-formula meeting on 18 June 2021. The Arria-formula meeting sought to address, among others, the threat that the ‘unsupervised departure’ of foreign forces from Libya poses to the stability of the Sahel region and how international and regional organizations could best collaborate to tackle this threat. Tomorrow’s session therefore brings the broader discussion held at the UN to a regional level and presents the PSC the opportunity to, among others, deliberate on the threat posed by withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya to the Sahel region and the continent at large and explore ways and means to address the danger posed by the withdrawal of foreign forces and ensure a well-managed and orderly withdrawal.

It is estimated that there are some 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya mainly coming from Syria, Russia, Sudan and Chad. Though the October 2020 permanent ceasefire agreement reached by Libya’s 5+5 Joint Military Commission clearly envisages the withdrawal of all foreign forces by January 2021, eight months later, translating this commitment into action remains elusive. As the UN Secretary-General captured in his latest report on Libya issued on 25 August, the continued presence of foreign forces in the Libyan soil posed a significant threat ‘not only to the security of Libya, but also to the whole region’. Given that the departure of foreign forces constitutes a critical step for sustainable peace and stability of Libya and the broader region, the international community, including the PSC through its communiqué adopted at its 997th ministerial meeting on Libya, has intensified its call for the ‘immediate and unconditional’ withdrawal of these forces from Libya. The issue of withdrawal of foreign forces had been also at the centre of the 23 June Second International Berlin Conference on Libya, co-organized by Germany and the UN that drew significant number of participants including AU. One positive sign towards the withdrawal of foreign forces as a follow up to the Berlin Conference is the reported discussion between Russia and Turkey, to pull out 300 Syrians from each side.

While the discussion around withdrawal of Syrian fighters and other private security companies in Libya is indeed a step forward towards the stability of the country, little attention seems to be given to the foreign fighters and mercenaries who hail from neighbouring countries, which have become a particular concern for countries in the Sahel region. These countries have been also drawing attention to the other dimension of the withdrawal process by raising the alarm about the implication of the withdrawal of foreign forces in exacerbating the security situation of the already volatile region of the Sahel. Pursuing the agenda of withdrawal of foreign forces from Libya without a clear strategy to steer the process is a threat to the stability in the Sahel and the rest of the continent. In this connection, the representative of Niger, during the 21 May 2021 UNSC briefing on Libya, captured the link between Libya conflict and the security in the Sahel stating that ‘we fear that the arms being silenced in Libya may resound again in the Sahel’. It is also in recognition of such danger that the PSC, at its last session on Chad (1016th meeting held on 3 August 2021), requested the AU Commission to expedite the finalization of the ‘AU Policy Paper on addressing the potential impact of the withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries from Libya on Central Africa region and the Sahel’.

A clear illustration of the danger is events unfolded in Chad that led to the death of late President Idriss Déby Itno. Chad rebel group the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which has been reportedly fighting in Libya’s conflict since 2016, launched attacks from Libya on the same day of the Presidential election (11 April 2021). Chad’s military announced the death of Déby on 20 April due to the injury he sustained while fighting FACT rebels, which sparked the fear of destabilization to a country widely seen as key partner in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in the region. It is to be recalled that the PSC, during its 996th meeting convened on 14 May 2021, attributed the security situation in Chad to the activities of mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya in addition to its call for the ‘unconditional and expeditious withdrawal of all mercenaries, and foreign fighters from Chad’ based on the 1977 OAU Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa.

One starting point to ensure an orderly departure of foreign fighters and mercenaries is perhaps to assist Libyan authorities to implement the terms of October 2020 ceasefire agreement including the one that requires to ‘immediately start identification and categorization of armed groups and armed entities on the entire Libyan territory, whether they are integrated into state institutions or not’. This step would be critical particularly to venture on the task of the dismantlement of armed groups and entities in Libya. The other available avenue is through an effective support to a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) process both in Libya and neighboring countries where foreign fighters and mercenaries originate. For DDR to succeed and bring the desired outcome, however, it must form part of a broader political and security reforms aimed at addressing root causes of instability such as security sector reform (SSR), national reconciliation, and peacebuilding programmes. A positive development worth highlighting in this regard is Chad’s interim president invitation of opposition armed groups to participate in the upcoming national dialogue, which is due to be held before the end of the year.

A related challenge of interest to the Council is the continued violations of the arms embargo established by UN Security Council Resolution 1970(2011), which contributes to the illicit transfer and destablising accumulation of weapons in Libya. This, coupled with the porous borders of the region and high mobility of armed groups, is affecting the stability of countries in the Sahel and beyond.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. The Council is also expected to express its concern over the impact of unsupervised withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries form Libya to the peace and stability of the Sahel region as well as the rest of the continent. The Council is likely to stress on the importance of undertaking the withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries in an orderly and carefully designed manner to ensure that the peace efforts in Libya do not negatively affect the peace and stability of the Sahel region. The Council may further stress on the need for close coordination and complementarity of efforts between the sub-regional, regional and international actors including ECOWAS, the G5 Sahel, ECCAS, the Community of Sahel-Sahara Countries (CEN-SAD), Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), AU, UN, and other international partners with the view to effectively manage the withdrawal process. In relation to addressing the multiple challenges facing the Sahel region in holistic manner, as indicated in the Concept Note prepared for tomorrow’s session, the Council may call for the need to develop a comprehensive and integrated strategy by the AU, ECOWAS, ECCAS, UN, EU and neighboring countries for the Sahel region. In light of the growing threats posed by the departure of foreign forces from Libya, the illicit flow of arms and high mobility of armed groups in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions, the Council is expected to urge member states of the regions to effectively utilize the existing security arrangements in the region including the G5 Sahel Force as well as the Multi-National Joint Task Force, as well as AU’s Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA).


Briefing on Continental and Regional activities in the area of Mine Action in Africa

Transnational Threats

Date | 16 September, 2021

Tomorrow (16 September), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1032nd session on activities in the area of mine action in the continent.

It is envisaged that following the opening remarks of the PSC Chairperson of the month and Permanent Representative of Chad to the AU, Mahamat Ali Hassan, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, will make a statement. It is also expected that the representative of the United Nations Mine Actions Services (UNMAS) will make a presentation. Others expected to make statements include the Chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) and the representative of the European Union (EU).

Council emphasized at its 837th session on International Disarmament that antipersonnel mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to impose serious risk to the lives, safety and health of civilian populations. As highlighted in the Statement of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) to the AU at the commemoration of 2021’s International Day for Mine Awareness, there were 30,000 deaths caused due to the use of explosive weapons recorded in 2019 only, out of which 66% were civilian deaths. In addition to the immediate risk to the life and safety of individuals, mines and ERW also impede social and economic development and stand as serious hindrance to humanitarian action. On the impact for humanitarian work, United Nations (UN) General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 74/80 of December 2019 (A/RES/74/80) stated that the presence of mines and ERW in humanitarian settings impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance, thereby impacting the lives and livelihoods of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other members of civilian populations who are dependent on humanitarian aid.

Africa hosts majority of the world’s countries that are highly affected by mines and ERW. While encouraging steps have been taken by multiple African States in ratifying and taking some steps towards implementation of the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) and other relevant instruments, there is still much that remains to be done. Notably, the number of AU States parties to the APMBC suspected to be contaminated with or affected by anti-personnel mines and ERW has decreased from 30 to 16 States. However, the remaining 16 States are yet to fully meet their obligations related to demining. For instance, according to data presented by the Mine Action Review of 2020, out of eight States parties to the APMBC with regards to which no clearance of anti-personnel mines was recorded for the year 2019, seven were African countries. The same review also indicates that of the nine States parties to the APMBC, which failed to submit their reports on its implementation for the year 2020, seven are African States. In addition, in countries like Mali that confront struggles against armed non-State actors, increased threat from improvised anti-personnel mines has been recorded. This has invoked reasonable concerns over re-proliferation of mines in conflict affected African countries. One of the issues for PSC during tomorrow’s session is how to address these gaps and ensure that States renew their commitments towards full implementation of the APMBC.

Another relevant instrument is the Declaration of States parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Maputo Declaration). The Maputo Declaration has been instrumental in highlighting the need to expedite demining efforts around the world, thereby setting the year 2025 as a deadline by which member States shall ensure that there are no new mine victims in areas under their jurisdiction or control and that survivors are fully assisted and included in societies on equal basis with others. As the deadline for the implementation of the Maputo Declaration quickly approaches, it is essential for member States of the AU through the leadership of the PSC to reflect on how far they have been able to meet their commitments and how they can strengthen efforts towards meeting the 2025 deadline. Indeed, silencing anti-personnel mines and freeing African countries from landmines should form part of the AU flagship project on Silencing the Guns.

In addition to demining efforts, it is also important to emphasise the importance of taking actions against the production, export and proliferation of landmines and other excessively dangerous weapons. Particularly in light of the rise in illicit proliferation of arms in Africa, it is important for member States to remain cautious and take additional institutional and legal measures against the infiltration of excessively hazardous weapons into their territories. Although some IEDs that are remotely operated are not considered as mines, it is equally as important for States to take all necessary measures to ban the use of these devices and restrict the availability of the chemicals and elements, which are used to locally manufacture them. States also need to abide by their obligations under the APMBC to destroy their mine stockpiles, which impose serious risks including the possibility of diversion and use by unauthorized non-state actors. As experience in some African States, exemplified most recently by the experience of Libya, has indicated in the past, the lack of strict and proper regulation of the flow of arms and importantly their proper stockpiling and management has enabled non-state groups and separatists to obtain mines in black markets at very low prices, in some cases, serving as catalyst for outbreak of conflicts.

Another issue of interest for tomorrow’s session related to the proliferation of mines is the issue of porous borders. In addition to taking measures against production, transfer and storing of mines within their territories, States need to strengthen border security cooperation among them in order to thwart attempts by criminal and terrorist groups to traffic mines and other arms and weapons. In order to protect civilian populations and spare them from the impacts of mines and ERW, States also need to engage in awareness creation campaigns and consider incorporating lessons in their education curriculum, targeting particularly rural communities and refugees and IDPs who are at heightened exposure and risk of mines and ERW.

One of the major constraints that has lagged AU States parties to the APMBC from implementing their commitment under Article 5 to conduct mine clearance activities is the lack of sufficient resources and the decline in donor funding for mine action programmes. This has become particularly more challenging in the context of Covid-19 outbreak, which has forced concerned States to divert most of their resources towards efforts aimed at responding to the pandemic. The AU Mine Action Strategic Framework launched by the AU Commission is aimed at, among others, supporting concerned member States transition to national ownership and financing of their demining efforts. One of the avenues the AU Commission aims to explore in this regard is through providing capacity building trainings for AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs) on management and clearance of explosive hazards. It is important to explore similar approaches and options in order to address the resource barrier faced by concerned member States.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a press statement. Council may emphasise the serious victimisation of civilians as a result of mines and other dangerous weapons and call on States and other relevant actors to take necessary measures against production, use and transfer of such weapons. The PSC may decide that the monitoring and promotion of the efforts of member states in the clearance of mines and the banning of the production, circulation and use of mines in Africa should be include in the AU Roadmap on Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa as silencing mines on the ground that threaten the lives and personal security of people is as important as silencing other forms of arms. It may encourage Members States, who haven’t yet done so, to sign, ratify and implement the APMBC as well as the Maputo Declaration. It may urge States who are already parties to the APMBC to take all necessary measures to clear mined areas, assist victims of landmines and ensure timely reporting on their clearance and demining activities in line with Article 7 of the Convention. Member States may also be urged to sign, ratify and implement the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, as well as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), in order to ensure that survivors of exploded mines are fully assisted. Council may also appeal to international partners to continue their support for States in their mine clearance activities as well as efforts aimed at strengthening border control and weapons regulations. In light of the importance of enhancing cross-border coordination and cooperation to control transfer of mines as well as their use in border areas, Council may call on Member States, who have not yet done so, to accede to and ratify the AU Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (Niamey Convention). The various RECs/RMs may also be requested to enhance their regional strategies on management of cross-border threats. The AU Commission may be requested to mobilise support, including technical and financial resources, in collaboration with its partners.