Insights on the PSC – Ministerial session on the nexus between peace, security and development 

Date | 27 September, 2019

Tomorrow (27 September 2019) the African  Union  (AU)  Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold a ministerial  session  devoted  to  the  theme  “Nexus  between peace, security and development: towards a pact  of  collective  responsibility”.  To  be  chaired  and  opened with a statement by Mr. Nasser Bourita, Minister of  Foreign  Affairs  and  International  Cooperation  of  the  Kingdom of Morocco and Chair of the PSC for the month of  September,  the  session  is  expected  to  receive  a  briefing from the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Apart  from  the  members  of  the  PSC  and  the  Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui and Commissioners for Social Affairs and Political affairs, it is also  envisaged  that  Egypt,  as  the  Chair  of  the  AU,  will  participate.

This  theme  was  included  in  the  provisional  program  of  work of the PSC for September on the initiation of Morocco  as  Chair  of  the  PSC  for  the  month.  After  the  draft concept note was initiated, it was circulated to the Committee  of  Experts  for  their  inputs  and  adoption  before it was submitted to the PSC to guide the drafting and review of the communique of the session.

The session draws on relevant instruments in which the interface between peace and security and development has been specified. Accordingly, reference is made to the preamble of the AU Constitutive Act acknowledging the need  to  promote  peace,  security  and  stability  as  a  prerequisite for the implementation of our development and integration agenda. More directly, specific reference is  made  to  the  relevant  provisions  of  the  PSC  Protocol  notably Article 3(a) and Article 4(d) with the later specifying the interdependence between socio‐economic development  and  the  security  of  peoples  and  States  as  one of the principles that guide the work of the PSC.

Beyond  examining  the  nexus  between  peace  and  security and development, the session also puts a spotlight  on  the  security‐heavy  character  of  AU’s  peace  and security initiatives. It means that inadequate attention  is  paid  to  the  development  dimension.  In  foregrounding the development dimension of conflicts, the session emphasizes the need for paying attention in AU’s  peace  and  security  interventions  to  the  socio‐economic factors that propel and fuel conflicts and instability.  Reference  is  also  made  to  how  the  socio‐economic dimension intersects with lack of good governance,  weakness  of  state  institutions,  organized  crime and environmental degradation in compounding insecurity.

The  session  also  highlights  how  the  absence  of  socio‐economic development undermines peace processes at times  leading  to  the  relapse  of  post‐conflict  countries  back to conflict. This underscores the critical importance of  post‐conflict  reconstruction  and  development interventions  paying  particular  attention  to  social,  economic and political inclusion of conflict affected and vulnerable  groups  and  the  creation  of  spaces  for  socio‐economic opportunities.
The  concept  note  states  that  ‘social  and  economic  discontent, combined with general access to media and social  network,  give  rise  to  higher  expectations  which  governments cannot satisfy, and make a source of tension  that  cannot  be  neglected’.  Indeed,  as  the  emergence in recent years of protests and riots as the dominant  forms  of  crisis  events  in  Africa  shows,  poorly  distributed wealth and lack of sufficient jobs, opportunities  and  freedoms,  particularly  for  a  large  youth population, can also increase the risk of instability.

It  would  be  of  interest  for  the  members  of  the  PSC  to  further assess how best to pursue this theme of the nexus  between  peace  and  security  and  development  within the framework of the mandate of the PSC. At one level, this pertains to the question of how the issues that this  theme  raises  can  be  integrated  into  the  conflict  prevention, management, resolution and post‐conflict reconstruction  tools  and  interventions  of  the  AU  including with respect to specific country or regional conflict  situations.  It  is  expected  that  some  countries  notably Kenya may make reference to global initiatives such as most notably the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Additionally, another practical consideration for pursuing this  theme  relates  to  developing  approaches  for  both  tapping into the role of development actors including businesses  and  mobilizing  the  use  of  development interventions to leverage peace processes. This obviously necessitates  not  only  identifying  the  role  of  AU  institutions particularly the specialized agencies and partner  entities  such  as  the  African  Development  Bank  and the UN Economic Community for Africa as well as the  UN  Peace  Building  Commission  for  whom  development is their core mandate but also articulating the  strategies  for  activating  and  strategically  deploying  their role.

Also  of  interest  for  PSC  members  is  the  aspect  of  the  theme referring to ‘a pact of collective responsibility’. While  two  of  the  objectives  of  the  session  identified  in  the concept note involve defining ‘an institutional framework  with  a  view  to  establishing  a  Pact  for  Collective Responsibility, based on the principle of interdependence  as  well  as  shared  responsibility  and  establishing ‘a roadmap for the implementation of the Collective  Responsibility  Pact,’  it  is  not  immediately  apparent what the pact for collective responsibility refers  to  and  entails.  The  general  thrust  of  the  session  however suggests the need for processes in which the role  of  actors  with  development  mandate  is  fully  mobilized and the development dimension is integrated in peace and security analysis and policy interventions. It is possible to anchor such collective pact on the the AU Post‐Conflict Reconstruction Development (PCRD) Policy Framework by establishing partnerships including based on the example of the 2008 United Nations‐World Bank Partnership  Framework  for  Crisis  and  Post‐Crisis  Situations.

Based  on  the  concept  note,  a  draft  communique  was  prepared for review by the PSC ahead of the ministerial session.  On  16  September,  the  PSC  reviewed  the  draft  communique and provided inputs for updating the draft. Member  states  highlighted  the  need  for  enriching  and  tightening the communique. In this regard, attention is drawn  to  the  importance  of  building  on  existing  engagements and strategies of the AU, particularly those not substantially referenced such as the relevant aspects of  the  AU  Master  Roadmap  on  Silencing  the  Guns  by  2020 and Agenda 2063.

If  the  initial  draft  of  the  communique  is  anything  to  go  by, the specific items expected to feature in the communique  have  been  identified.  One  such  item  concerns the systematic integration of the development dimension  in  AU  initiatives  and  tools  as  well  as  in  the  division of responsibilities at AU and RECs/RMs. The other  is  the  harmonization  and  coordination  with  AU  specialised agencies particularly those with a mandate on  development  such  as  the  AU  Development  Agency/NEPAD. In terms of how to take the theme of the session  forward,  the  PSC  is  expected  to  request  the  Chairperson of the AU Commission to present a document  on  ‘a  multidimensional  approach  reflecting  the nexus between peace, security and development.’

It is envisaged that prior to the ministerial meeting, the PSC,  meeting  at  the  level  of  Ambassadors  at  the  AU  Observer Mission to the UN, will undertake further review of the draft communique.

Apart from those identified in the draft communique and further developed in the various review sessions on the communique, the PSC may consider to also look into the additional  questions  this  theme  raises  in  terms  of  how  best to pursue it within the framework of the mandate of the  PSC.  This  notably  includes  the  identification  of  the  mechanisms for integrating the development dimension in  all  the  peace  and  security  tools  and  interventions  of  the AU beyond the early warning system as envisaged in Article  12(4).  The  communique  could  also  envisage  the  identification of the role of the development institutions of  the  AU  and  its  partner  organizations  as  well  as  their  systematic and targeted deployment across the conflict continuum. Given its direct relevance for this theme, it is of  particular  importance  for  the  communique  to  make  reference to and draw on AU PCRD Policy Framework. Reference  could  also  be  made  to  Agenda  2063  and  the  2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as various  UN  initiatives  notably  the  Peace  Building  Commission and UN Security Council Resolution 2282(2016).