PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL 620th MEETING

2016

Date |2 SEPTEMBER, 2016
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

PRESS STATEMENT

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 620th meeting held on 2 September 2016, received a briefing by the Commission on the presidential election in Gabon.
Council took note of the briefing by the Commission on the preliminary results of the presidential election in Gabon held on 27 August 2016, as announced on 31 August 2016 by the Commission Electorale Nationale Autonome Paritaire of Gabon, as well as on the unfolding situation in the country.

Council also took note of the Press Statement issued by the Chairperson of the Commission on 1 September 2016.

Council expressed concern over the unfolding violence in Gabon following the proclamation of the preliminary results of the presidential election. In this regard, Council also expressed concern over the negative consequences that the present situation could have on the preservation of peace and stability in the country and the region as a whole.

Council expressed its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wished speedy recovery to the injured. Council deplored the destruction of private and public property and called for the return to calm.

Council called on all Gabonese stakeholders to demonstrate utmost restraint and make use of all available legal and constitutional channels to resolve any difference pertaining to the results of the elections.

Council underlined the urgent need for addressing the current situation in Gabon, on the basis of respect of the Constitution and the aspiration of the people of Gabon to the deepening of democracy in their country, as well as on consensus among all concerned Gabonese stakeholders, in conformity with the relevant AU instruments.

Council affirmed the AU’s continued support to the people of Gabon, in close coordination with the region and the relevant partners, in their efforts to address the current situation in the country.

Council agreed to remain seized of the matter.


Insights on the PSC Session on climate induced conflicts: Sources of insecurity in Africa

2016

Date | 21 May, 2016

PSC Open Session on Climate Induced Conflicts: Sources of Insecurity in Africa

Tomorrow (21 May 2016), the Peace and Security Council (PSC) will have an open session on the theme ‘Climate Induced Conflicts: Sources of Insecurity in Africa’. The AU Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) and the Peace and Security Department (PSD) are scheduled to brief the PSC.

The meeting is taking place in the framework of the African Common Position on Climate Change and the Mitigation Factors adopted by subsequent AU Assembly decisions. The agenda demonstrate the increased recognition by the AU and the PSC of the strong link between climate change, global warming and violent conflicts in Africa. The African Common positon notes that even though Africa is one of the least contributors to the global green gas emission, and has one of the lowest footprint for the global warming, it is paying dearly to the global change in climate. The meeting will also be informed by the 2015 Paris Agreement in international cooperation on climate change.

The agenda for tomorrow’s session indicates that one of the objectives of tomorrow’s meeting is to have a clear picture on the relationship between climate change and conflicts in Africa. This is one of the issues on which the briefing from DREA is expected to provide insights. The effect of climate change in conflict and climate-related environmental change isn’t automatic and immediate. Yet, climate change creates the conditions for violent conflict through a long chain of connected causal events. The UN led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shown strong links between the impacts of climate change in Africa with some of the most intractable conflict on the continent. These conflicts are caused and exacerbated by existing structural environmental, socio-economic, political and technological weaknesses including environmental pressure over scarce resources, unemployment and poverty. The poor capacity of institutions and the state of the physical infrastructure and social services also contribute to poor mitigation, response and adaptive capacities.
African economies and the livelihood of various communities on the continent are heavily reliant on natural resources. Environmental pressures affecting the foundation of local and regional livelihoods are increasingly precipitating inter-communal violence. Some of the manifestations of climate change on the continent in the past two decades include recurrent droughts, El Nino, irregular rainfall, floods and intensified desertification. These developments have resulted in disrupting livelihoods, instigating migration, food and water shortages and internal displacement. Numerous researches and the AU documents especially identified the pastoralist communities of the continent as the most vulnerable group for the clime change induced inter communal violence and conflict.
The changing rainfall patterns and water scarcity and insecurity have become sites of national and regional tensions. These have ruined local economies, disrupted livelihoods producing recurring droughts as witnessed in the Horn of Africa. Declining and irregular rainfall and water scarcity have also affected the seasonal migration and movement patters of the African pastoralist communities. These changes to the long existing patters of movement for grazing land and water sources has significantly increased competition between different pastoralist groups and between pastoralists and farming communities. These tensions have resulted in recurrent conflicts in almost all regions of the continent from Ethiopia to Darfur and from Kenya to Nigeria.

Beyond the seasonal shift in pastoralist routs, environmental concerns and climate change is becoming a major source for internal displacement and cross border migration in Africa. The inability to sustain their economic and social needs because of climate change, coupled with other political and economic factors, are forcing people to move to areas with better availability of resources. The IPCC predict that environmental migration and displacement which is taken as a major adoptive strategy will be one of the biggest source of insecurity and sources of conflict in the coming years unless major mitigation and adoption initiatives are taken. These developments already lead to increased tensions and competition and led to localized and cross-border conflicts in some parts of Africa.

It is of major interest for tomorrow’s PSC meeting to look into the inclusion of environment and the effects of climate change in the continent’s peace and security architecture and the development and security agenda of AU member states. The Council in the past called for resilient approach in mitigating the impacts of climate change. These include building national capacity for proper conservation, utilization and management of natural resources. Other issues that may arise in the briefings include the inclusion in the report of the AU Commission Chairperson and in briefings on conflicts on the agenda of the PSC of assessment on the contribution or role of climate change to such conflicts. A good illustration of this was the inclusion of the climate change dimension of sources of insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin region in the April program of work of the PSC.

For PSC members, beyond the various forms of relationships between climate change and insecurity, there is a concern around the lack or weakness of shared institutions and mechanisms of conflict resolution and management among the different groups at national and regional levels. Rwanda as Chair of the PSC is expected to highlight the need for member states to implement AU decisions including the building of the trans-African green wall and to encourage member states to sign and ratify the amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Climate Change (also known as the Kigali Amendments).

In terms of follow up of the theme, one useful avenue is the inclusion of climate change and environmental factors as important peace and security concerns in the AU early warning and conflict prevention efforts. In this regard, the role of the continental and regional early warning mechanisms in building national and local capacities on early warning on potential climate change-related conflicts will also be of interest for this session. This is an issue that the briefing from PSD may highlight.

At the regional level, there are various initiatives. It is worth noting in this regard that pastoralist related conflicts in the region has been a major focus of the early warning system of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), CEWARN. Most recently, the issue of climate induced inter-communal conflicts has received attention within the framework of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The recurring violence among herders and farming communities in ECOWAS states such as most notably Nigeria exemplify the destabilizing impact of climate change on the continent. Various reports have indicated that over 2000 people have lost their lives in 2016 in such conflicts in Nigeria’s middle belt region.

At their 16 December 2017 summit, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government identified the rise of conflicts related to transhumance in several states as constituting a new threat to regional security. Accordingly, they tasked ECOWAS Commission to work with UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) to conduct a comprehensive study and recommend an action plan to address the problem. Given that one of the objectives of this session is to help the AU devise strategies to find solutions to the security related impacts of climate change, it is worth to follow this example from ECOWAS for conducting comprehensive assessment and developing action plan.

Although the outcome of this meeting was not clear, the PSC will at the very least adopt a statement. This is expected to state the need for paying increasing attention to the impacts of climate change on the security situation of various regions of the continent. It may in this regard task DREA and PSD to provide the PSC with detailed assessment of the theme and a mapping of parts of the continent most vulnerable to climate induced conflicts. The PSC is also expected to call for the introduction of a tree-planting scorecard for member states to share best practices and experiences on an annual basis. Another item that the outcome of this session may address is the inclusion of the security dimensions of climate change in the AU peace and security architecture.


PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL 642nd MEETING

2016

Date | 06, December 2016
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

PRESS STATEMENT

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 642nd meeting held on 6 December 2016, was briefed by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the Presidential election held on 1 December 2016, in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia.

Council congratulated the President Yahya Jammeh for the peaceful conduct and excellent conditions for the holding of the presidential election. Council commended the political actors and the people of The Gambia for the mobilization, as well as for the political maturity and commitment, they have demonstrated that contributed to the successful holding of the elections with full transparency.

Council paid tribute to the outgoing President, Yahya Jammeh, who accepted the outcome of the election, by recognizing the victory of the candidate Adama Barrow. Council further commended his commitment to the respect of the will of the people, as expressed on 1 December 2016, on the occasion of the elections, which, no doubt strengthens democracy in the country.

Council expressed its hope that The Gambia, as a result of this election, will go through a peaceful and orderly transition process.

Council also congratulated the President-elect of The Gambia, Mr. Adama Barrow, for his election and wished him success in the service of his country, the region and the continent.

Council reaffirmed its strong commitment to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, whose implementation is the best guarantee for the respect for constitutional order in the continent.


PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL 627TH MEETING

2016

Date | 26 September, 2016

PRESS STATEMENT

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 627th meeting, held on 26 September 2016, in Addis Ababa, dedicated an open session to the theme: “The crucial role of cybersecurity in the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa”.

Council listened to a statement that was delivered by the Head of the Defense and Security Division in the Department of Peace and Security, as well as to a presentation by the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the AU Commission. Council also listened to statements that were delivered by representatives of AU Member States, bilateral and multilateral partners, as well as international organizations and civil society organizations.

Council recalled the recommendations of the First Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Communication and Information and Communication Technologies (STC-CICT-1) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 31 August to 4 September 2015, in which the AU Commission was requested to follow up on the signature and ratification, by Member States, of the AU Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection. Council also recalled that, as part of the same recommendations, Member States were urged to develop national cybersecurity legislations and to create national and regional computer emergency response teams (CERT) and/or computer security incident response teams (CSIRT).

Council and participants highlighted the importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs), in general, and the internet, in particular, in the promotion of socio- economic development. In this context, Council and participants stressed the need for effective internet governance as a matter of strategic importance.

Council and participants noted, with deep concern, the increasing global cyber threats and attacks, which constitute a serious threat to national, regional and international peace and security. They also noted that cybersecurity concerns are broader than national security and that they can become a planetary emergency with the potential of amplifying the traditional security threats that include terrorism and violent extremism. Furthermore, they acknowledged that a safe and secure cyber space is a necessary condition for reaping the benefits of the digital transformation of Africa and for ensuring the positive impact of ICTs on human and economic development throughout the continent. In this regard, they stressed the importance of regional and global frameworks for promoting security and stability in the cyberspace.

Council and participants underscored the importance of promoting a culture of cybersecurity among all stakeholders. In this context, they urged governments, public and private enterprises, as well as civil society organizations, to work together in the process of capacity building to combat cybercrimes, as well as sensitizing their citizens in this regard, and exchanging of experiences related to cybersecurity and combating cybercrimes.

Council and participants emphasized the need for the AU Commission to establish mechanisms and platforms, such as the regional forums dedicated to discuss cybersecurity issues, with a view to facilitating an efficient platform for sharing experiences, lessons learnt and best practices related to cybersecurity issues among AU Member States, as well as to further enhance regional and international cooperation in this area.

Council and participants underscored the importance of regional and international cooperation in the promotion of security and stability in the global cyberspace. In this context, Council and participants welcomed the ongoing consultations of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) on the establishment of a global cybersecurity framework based on international regulations and responsible state behavior in the cyberspace. Furthermore, they encouraged Member States to take full advantage of the benefits from the different capacity building initiatives organized by the Global Forum on Cybersecurity Experts (GFCE), in which the AU Commission is a member and Co-Chair of its Advisory Board.

Council urged Member States to develop, in collaboration with all stakeholders, national cybersecurity policies and adopt other necessary measures to more effectively secure their cyberspaces. In the same context, Council also appealed to Member States to urgently scale up efforts to effectively combat all kinds of malicious use of ICTs and internet in the African cyberspace. Furthermore, Council stressed the need for formulation of policies and regulatory frameworks to prevent and counter all criminal activities carried out in the internet, with special emphasis on the activities of radical terrorist groups in the cyberspace, including, inter- alia, recruiting new fighters.

In addition, Council emphasized the need for Member States to ensure that all employees, both, in government, the private sector and civil society organizations are sufficiently trained in cybersecurity. Council also underscored the importance of maintaining national statistics and regular reports on the incidences and threats of cybercrime affecting Member States.

Furthermore, Council urged Member States to develop cyber diplomacy capabilities and to actively participate in international meetings and debates on the governance of the internet and cybersecurity issues. Council urged all Member States, which have not yet done so, to sign, ratify and fully domesticate the AU Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection.

Council welcomed the proposal to create a special unit within the Peace and Security Department, which will be solely devoted to preventing and effectively fighting cybercrime at continental level, including by coordinating all continental efforts and initiatives to promote cybersecurity related issues and working closely with the relevant ministries in the Member States.

Council welcomed the proposal made by Egypt, Chairperson of the Council for the month of September 2016, to host an African Event to further discuss the Egyptian Initiative previously proposed during the Specialized Technical Committee of Telecommunication and ICT to start an African Dialogue aiming at combating terrorism online and securing cyberspace based on the following pillars:

I. To pave the way for internationalprinciples on how to coordinate and cooperate with the relevant stakeholders in addressing new threats.

II. To raise the level of confidence and security in the use of ICTs and take necessary actions to fight abuses, while promoting mutual understanding between governments and stakeholders to tackle the issue.

III. To discuss protection of infrastructure and networks that might raise security challenges faced by countries.

IV. To prevent the occurrence of any online accident by government authorities at the national, sub-national and regional levels (including the establishment of national Computer Incident Response Teams), and through collaboration with the private sector.

V. To promote and encourage a linkage between the African Computer Emergency Response Teams and exchange information.

Council agreed to remain seized of the matter.


PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL 621ST MEETING

2016

Date | 05 September, 2016

PRESS STATEMENT

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 621th meeting, held on 5 September 2016, was briefed by Dr. Donald Kaberuka, the AU High Representative for the AU Peace Fund on the implementation of Assembly Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.605(XXVII) on the Financing of the African Union, which include the Peace Fund, adopted by the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly held in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2016.

Council took note of the introductory statement provided by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui on the Peace Fund. Council acknowledged the briefing made by the AU High Representative for the Peace Fund, which elaborated the proposals contained in his Progress Report to the Chairperson of the Commission of the AU, as endorsed by the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly held in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2016, titled Sustaining Predictable and Sustainable Financing for Peace in Africa.

Council recalled Assembly decision, Assembly/AU/Dec.605(XXVII), on the Financing of the Union, which also includes steps entailed in putting in place the revitalized Peace Fund.

Council commended the sterling efforts of the AU High Representative for the Peace Fund and encouraged him to persevere in his work in support of the agenda of the AU.

Council looked forward to receiving a comprehensive briefing from the High Representative for the Peace Fund on the revitalization of the Peace Fund, as soon as possible.

Council agreed to remain seized of the matter.