Peace, security and development nexus

Date | 20 February 2024

Tomorrow (21 February), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1201st session to deliberate on the theme ‘peace, security and development nexus: follow-up to the Tangier’s conference’.

The session is expected to commence with opening remarks from Mohammed Arrouchi, the Permanent Representative of Kingdom of Morocco and Chairperson of PSC for the month of February followed by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is also expected to deliver a statement. The meeting is also expected to receive statements from H.E. Ambassador Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Tourism, Trade, Industry and Mining, statements from representatives of AUDA-NEPAD African Union Development Agency,  the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

This session comes as a follow-up on the commitments of the Tangier Declaration. The “Tangier Process,” an AU Conference focusing on the nexus between Peace, Security and Development, takes place annually in October in Tangier, Kingdom of Morocco. The conference is primarily attended by the 15 members of the AU PSC, although other member states may be invited on a case-by-case basis, subject to mutual agreement among all partners and the host country. The conference collaborates closely with four key partners: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). The main goal is to put into action development policies, with a focus on large-scale initiatives known as “nexus projects,” across African nations, regions and border areas.

The 2022 Tangier Conference, held from 25 to 27 October conference served as a platform for policy and decision makers, as well as peace, security and development practitioners, to explore ways to advance the AU-led strategic partnerships. The focus was on building peace, resilience and prosperity on the continent. Through the adoption of the ‘Tangier Declaration’, which was considered to outline the key outcomes of the three-day discussions, thereby charting a path for enhanced engagement in delivering on the triple nexus while promoting regional integration, the binding document encapsulated the outcomes and commitments of the deliberations of the conference. The conference aimed to enhance synergies between development, regional integration, peace and security. It also sought to explore mechanisms to respond to the complex security challenges facing African development. In addition, the conference offered a unique opportunity for the policy development and knowledge communities to exchange views on the practical implementation of the triple nexus: peace, security and development. It also launched new initiatives that seek to foster the effective delivery of the nexus.

The convening is held in line with the AU PSC communiqué, PSC/PR/COMM.1(DCCCLXXXIII) adopted during the 883rd meeting held at ministerial level on 27 September 2019, in the margins of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, on “the Interdependence between peace, security and development: towards a collective engagement for action”, as well as in accordance to the commitment of the AU member states to realize the seven (7) Aspirations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the frameworks of the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development respectively, with particular reference to Aspirations 1, 3 and 4 and Goal 16 relating to the promotion of peace, justice and strong institutions.

The previous session PSC convened on this subject was during its 1134th session held on 27 January 2023 in which it adopted the Declaration of the AU Policy Conference on Promoting the Peace, Security and Development nexus in Africa, referred to as Tangier Declaration, which was later submitted for consideration and endorsement by the Assembly of the Union at the 36th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government held in February 2023. It is against this context that the PSC is convening this meeting, as a follow-up to the 2022 conference. It should be noted that Morocco did not chair the PSC in 2023. However, during its last chairship in October 2022, it included this agenda item on the programme of work. The session comes a day after the conclusion of the 37th AU Summit in which, among others, member states recognized the interdependence of these three elements, which is a key aspect of the AU’s Agenda 2063. Albeit regardless the significance of these interlinkage, the challenges in achieving socio-economic development, particularly through the full implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) still hinder the full realization of this outfit. Member states also emphasized the need for preventive diplomacy, in line with the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa, to effectively prevent, manage and resolve conflicts.

Tomorrow’s meeting is expected to give an update on the nexus between peace, security humanitarian and developmental programmes. In particular, the Tangier Declaration highlighted that the AU Member States, in coordination with the relevant RECs/RMs and the AU Commission and other Organs, to establish programmes of economic integration for border communities including internally displaced persons, refugees and migrants. Furthermore, in order to foster socio-economic development, the African Development Bank Group, the African Export-Import Bank, International Financial Institutions, along with the UN Agencies and other development partners were urged to step up efforts to identify financial options that minimize the high-risk premium associated with investments in Africa and leverage their positions and instruments to address the structural causes of conflicts in Africa, reduce growth volatility and consolidate development outcomes for a more secure and resilient continent.

During the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held on 5 – 6 February 2022, in Addis Ababa, there was a proposal regarding the need of a Security-Indexed Investment Bonds: a financial instrument aiming to mobilize scalable and flexible resources to address the root causes of insecurity, enhance the capacity of formal institutions and rehabilitate communities and infrastructure adversely impacted by insecurity. This convening will be a significant platform to get an update of the implementation of this mechanism in relation to implementation of the AU Assembly decision (Assembly/AU/Dec. 817(XXXV)).

Commissioner of the PAPS Department is also expected to give a statement on the state of peace, security and development in Africa. The situation of peace and security in Africa is a multifaceted issue, deeply connected with the wider subjects of development and governance. Recently, Africa has encountered substantial hurdles, with intense conflicts leading to forced migration and displacement. The detrimental impacts of climate change have put the livelihoods of millions at risk, particularly in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. The AU on the other hand possesses ambitious commitments and resources for mediation and peacekeeping, but it falls short in terms of political and financial capacity to fully leverage them. Regarding development, the just concluded AU Summit took decisive actions on the continent’s security situation as several member states continue to grapple with security issues. The reemergence of military coups, violence surrounding elections, humanitarian crises due to warfare and climate change effects were underscored as grave threats that could undo the progress made in the continent’s development agenda.

One key aspect of tomorrow’s deliberation is expected to be a follow-up on the UNDP and AU Commission’s PAPS Department establishment of the Africa Facility for Supporting Inclusive Transition (AFSIT), to prevent and effectively respond to unconstitutional changes of government, and other forms of complex political transitions in line with the Declaration of the 16th Extraordinary Session of AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in Malabo, in May 2022. In the same vein, it will be prudent for the meeting to have an update discussion on the operationalization progress of the Inter-Regional Knowledge Exchange (I-RECKE) on Early Warning and Conflict Prevention, which was jointly launched by the AU, RECs/RMs in July 2022 in Lusaka, Zambia, which called on all the stakeholders, as ‘Watchdogs’ of democratic governance, to use the platform designed to improve cross-regional learning on best practices, conflict prevention and resilience building against the propagating factors and triggers of conflicts especially ineffective governance, unconstitutional changes of government, terrorism, violent extremism and climate-induced insecurity.

In light of the above, the session is likely to address some of complex security challenges on the continent and identify mechanisms to respond to this. The deliberation is also expected to provide a platform to the PSC to chart a path for enhanced engagement in delivering on the peace, security and development nexus.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. PSC may take the opportunity to emphasize the need to promote peace, security and stability as a prerequisite for the implementation of Africa’s development and integration agenda. PSC may highlight the significance of strengthening the synergies between AGA and the APSA through robust engagement between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs). Council is also likely to welcome the renewed commitment of the AU to the Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) through its revised Policy framework. PSC may also urge all the African stakeholders and sponsoring partners to work collaboratively on a common nexus agenda-setting and prioritized programming covering the five (5) regions of the Union through operational triple nexus projects in member states.