Provisional Program of Work for the Month of January 2021

Date | 01 January, 2021

Senegal assumes the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of January. As indicated in the provisional program of work, some three substantive sessions are set to take place in the month including two region specific sessions. The PSC is expected to conduct all of its meetings in January through video teleconference (VTC).

On 12 January, the PSC will consider and adopt the draft PSC program of work for February 2021, which will be circulated to all PSC members via email for their comments.

On 14 January, the PSC will conduct its first substantive meeting of the year to consider the draft report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the activities of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). It is to be recalled that the PSC requested the Commission, in coordination with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) Secretariat, to ‘regularly update Council on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin’ during its previous meeting on MNJTF at its 898th session held on November 28, 2019. The session will take stock of the progresses made by the MNJTF and the member states of the LCBC plus Benin in the fight against Boko Haram since its previous session. As the MNJTF’s mandate expires on January 31, the Council is also expected to renew its mandate in light of the continued security threat that Boko Haram poses despite MNJTF’s contribution to contain thescale of the threat that the terrorist group poses in the region.

On 20 January, the PSC will commence its consideration of the Report of the PSC on its activities and the state of the peace and security in Africa. The report, which covers the activities carried out by the PSC in 2020, will be submitted to the Assembly of the Union in the upcoming summit slated for February 2021, pursuant to article 7(q) of the PSC protocol.

The following day, on 21 January, the PSC will receive briefing on the situation in Great Lakes Region. It has been a while since the PSC convened session on the region though it dedicated one meeting in January 2020. This session is, therefore, expected to afford PSC the opportunity to assess recent political and security developments in the region, most notably- the upsurge of armed conflicts and the national election in CAR held in December; and the persistent attacks in Eastern DRC and the collapse of the coalition of political groups and the resulting political crisis in the DRC.

On January 27, the Council will continue with its consideration of the report of the PSC on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa. This is expected to be the final consideration of the report and the PSC is expected to adopt it.

The last session of the month, scheduled for 28 January is dedicated for the preparation of a PSC retreat. The date of the retreat and specific agenda are yet to be set, although the annual indicative program for 2021 makes reference of convening a retreat in May on working methods and challenges in the discharge of the Council’s mandate. It is to be recalled that the PSC decided to review its working methods regularly during its 85th session held on August 8, 2007. The disruption caused by Covid-19 has prevented the PSC from holding a retreat in 2020.

In addition to these agenda items, the provisional program of work indicates in footnote meetings of the PSC Committee of Experts to consider the PSC report for which the date is yet to be confirmed. The event is likely to happen ahead of the timeline slated for the PSC to consider and adopt its report to the Assembly.