Amani Africa Seminar on the Reform of the Peace and Security Council

On 7 June 2018 Amani Africa Media and Research Services (Amani Africa) held its inaugural seminar with a focus on the reform of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU).

Convened at Marriot Executive Apartments, the seminar brought together members of the Peace and Security Council, representatives of the UN Office to the AU, the European Union, members of the UN Security Council, AU member states and various embassies in Addis Ababa and civil society organizations.

Concept Note

Seminar on the Reform of the Peace and Security Council

After considering the report “The Imperative to Strengthen our Union: Proposed Recommendations for the Institutional Reform of the African Union’’ the January 2017 AU Assembly decided the Peace and Security Council (PSC) ‘should be reformed to ensure that it meets the ambition foreseen in its Protocol, by strengthening its working methods and its role in conflict prevention and crisis management’. More recently, on 25 April 2018 the PSC received an update on the ‘AU Reform – Review of the Peace and Security Council’ from Pierre MouKoko Mbonjou, Head of the AU Reform Implementation Unit (RIU) in the Office of the Chairperson of the AU Commission.

Currently, a draft issue paper on the reform of the PSC has been internally produced. The PSC Committee of Experts is considering the document with a view to solicit and enlist the input of PSC members in the development of the proposals for the reform of the PSC. It is anticipated that the PSC would convene a retreat to consider and deliberate on a revised copy of the document during the coming few months. The final outcome of this process is expected to be submitted to the January 2019 AU summit.

This is the first reform initiative to visit the PSC since its inauguration in 2004. Depending on its scope, this reform may entail important substantive changes in how the PSC organizes its work and delivers on its mandate. There is indeed huge room for improvement in the work of the PSC. After almost decade and half of leading the implementation of the peace and security agenda of the AU, it is also good time to assess the performance of the PSC and introduce relevant changes for strengthening its delivery on the mandate given to it under the PSC Protocol. While the AU Assembly decision on the reform of the PSC uses the language of ‘strengthening its working methods and its role in conflict prevention and crisis management’, what exactly this entails and the specific areas of reform need to be clarified. Notwithstanding that the formulation in the Assembly decision does not necessarily require amendment of the Protocol establishing the PSC, it has yet to be certain whether the reform would necessitate review of this founding treaty of the PSC. A further issue is on whether the particular focus on the PSC’s ‘role in conflict prevention and crisis management’ would entail cutting down on some of the existing areas of work of the PSC or how the PSC sets its agenda and make policy decisions on the agenda it has set.

In raising and addressing these various issues on the reform of the PSC, the seminar will interrogate the rationale, process and possible areas of reform of the PSC as well as its implications. An event during which Amani Africa plans to launch a policy brief on the subject, the seminar also serves as useful platform to get the perspectives of various actors working with the PSC.

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