The Peace and Security Council in 2018: The Year in Review


Date | 06 January, 2019


During January to December 2018, the PSC held some 80 sessions. Convening an average of 6.5 meetings per month, the number of sessions for 2018 is less than the 96 sessions the PSC held in 2017. While more than 1/3 of the sessions of the PSC relate to country or region specific situations, the rest of the sessions relate to thematic issues, developments relating to the APSA and peace support operations. The dominance of thematic issues on the agenda of the PSC has been a feature of many of the monthly programs of work of the PSC. Out of the 6.5 sessions that are held on average per month, more than half related to thematic issues.

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Illicit flow and financing of arms in Africa


Date | 23 May, 2018

Illicit flow and financing of arms in Africa: Sources of conflict and impediment to silencing the guns’

Tomorrow (24 May) the Peace and Security Council (PSC) will have a briefing session on the theme of ‘Illicit flow and financing of arms in Africa: Sources of conflict and impediment to silencing the guns’. The PSC is expected to receive a briefing from the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) and the AU Peace and Security Department (PSD), particularly its division on Defense and Security. Others who will participate in this session include members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and representatives of Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs).

This session is convened within the framework of the 430th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council, held on 24 April 2014 under the theme ‘Silencing the Guns: Pre-requisites for Realising a Conflict-Free Africa by the Year 2020’ which identified the curbing of illicit flow of light and small weapons as one of the measures requested for achieving the AU agenda of silencing the guns by 2020. As reflected in the agenda for this session, this session is designed to support the efforts of the AU to achieve its aim of silencing the guns and adopt decisions identifying measures that help in preventing illicit flow of arms and its financing.

One of the aims of the session is to understand current dynamics in the flow of arms and their financing in Africa. The briefing from RECSA is expected to provide insights on patterns and trends in arms and ammunition inflows, illicit circulation, and gaps in control measures. It is in particular expected to share the experience of the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes regions in terms of both the challenges these regions face due to illicit flows and financing of arms and the measures being taken to address these challenges.

The briefing from PSD is expected to highlight the role of illicit flow of arms in fueling and sustaining conflicts, in the displacement of peoples, in disrupting development efforts and the scale and nature of casualties inflicted on civilians. In this regard, mention can be made of how the illicit flow of arms from Libya in the aftermath of the collapse of Col Gadhafi’s regime fueled the conflict in Mali and the surge in acts of terrorism and groups engaged in such acts in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin regions of Africa. It is also worth noting that the changing character of conflicts in Africa that witnessed the proliferation of small and poorly organized militias, insurgents, terrorist groups and criminal networks is partly attributed to easy access to illicit flow of weapons.

At the AU level, the policy framework that serves as point of departure is the ‘African Common Position on illicit circulation, proliferation and trafficking of small and light weapons’ (SALW), also known as the Bamako Declaration of 2000. This declaration commits member states to identify, seize and destroy illicit weapons. In January 2017, the AU Assembly adopted the AU Master Roadmap on Practical Steps to Silence the Guns by 2020. As a follow up to this master roadmap, in September 2017 the PSC declared the month of September an amnesty month for the Surrender and Collection of Illicit Weapons. As noted in our ‘Insight’ on the PSC Field Mission to Sudan, Darfur, one of the stabilization efforts being implemented in Darfur is the collection of weapons.

At sub-regional levels, important normative and institutional developments have taken place, including with the adoption of binding treaties. These include the 2001 SADC Protocol, the 2004 Nairobi Protocol for the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States, the 2006 ECOWAS Convention, and the 2010 Central Africa Convention.

Member states of the PSC would expectedly share their experiences with respect to illicit flow and circulation of weapons as well as its consequences and their efforts to address the threat that illicit flow and circulation of SLWPs poses. In terms of the efforts of the AU, it would be of interest to PSC member states to know why illicit flow and circulation of weapons persist despite the various legal and institutional regimes put in place and the various interventions both at AU and regional levels.

For PSC member states and the wider AU system, this session presents an opportunity not only to take stock of the policy and institutional architecture but also the steps that are required for both enhancing the effectiveness of the legal and institutional regime for curbing illicit flow of SALW and implementing practical measures for countering illicit flow and circulation of SALW at national, regional, continental and global levels. With respect to the legal and institutional regimes, one of the major challenges remains to be non-ratification and lack of adherence to the measures stipulated in the various regional conventions. The universal ratification and implementation of these legal instruments is thus necessary. Regional level efforts should include the strengthening of the legaland security measures for cracking down entry pointes and trafficking routs, arms dealers, including the activities of brokers and the sources of financing of the illicit flow, sell and circulation of SALW.

There is a need for regionally targeted approach to the challenge of illicit flows. The nature of the problem and its manifestations are not the same in the different regions of the continent. It is necessary in this regard that targeted interventions are designed and implemented in collaboration with RECs/RMs for parts of the continent most affected by the illicit flow and use of illicit weapons or arms. The measures to be taken in this regard include not only the strengthening of control measures and coordination between member states but also implementation of programs for collection of weapons and for the effectives physical security and management of stockpiles.

At the national level, issues that need attention include corruption and the strengthening of the regulatory measures for effective control, management and protection of SALW. Indeed, weak regulatory framework, including poor protection and management of stockpiles, and corruption often lead to diversion of legally sourced arms through leakages and raids by illegal non-state actors.

Given the global dimension of the movement and circulation of arms, the agenda for this session recognizes the need for the AU to work with international actors. In this respect, the agenda envisages a plan for the PSC, through its Chair with the support of the African members of the UNSC (A3) and the AU Commission, to brief the UNSC on Africa’s efforts for silencing the guns with a view to have a UNSC resolution calling on different arms producing countries to implement arms certification, including end user certification. Another avenue for effective follow up is the expected review of the UN Program of Action on small arms during 2018. The PSC can articulate African common position on this review addressing issues including transparency in small arms production and sell, the obligation of tight regulation and accountability measures by producing countries of the transfer of SALW and weapons registers as well as standardization of certification.
The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué.

Nuclear Energy, non-proliferation and disarmament


Date | 10 April, 2018


Tomorrow (10 April 2018) The PSC will receive a briefing on nuclear energy, non-proliferation and disarmament. The session will discuss the prohibition of nuclear weapons in Africa, and the status of the Pelindaba Treaty, and increasing Africa’s global role and contribution for a nuclear free world by strengthening its non-proliferation efforts. Apart from the Commission for Peace and Security, the PSC is expected to receive briefing from the Executive Secretary of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE).
The meeting builds on the 29 March 2016 report of the AU Chairperson to the PSC on Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. The session is taking place less than a month after the fourth ordinary session of the conference of the state parties to the treaty of Palendaba that took place on 14-15 March 2018 in Addis Ababa. The meeting reviewed the status of the implementation of the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone treaty, known as the Pelindaba Treaty, which serves as the African legal and political regime for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Pelindaba that was adopted in 1996 entered into force on 15 July 2009. To date it is signed by 52 members of the AU and ratified and deposited by 41 member states. Beyond prohibiting the possession, use and threatening to use nuclear weapons, the agreement also sanctions undertaking, assisting or encouraging the testing of nuclear weapons.

The concerns and focus of the PSC meeting lies at issues of uranium trading, nuclear testing and the safety of using nuclear energy for civilian purposes. The PSC is expected to discuss the status the operationalization of the Algiers based African regulatory body AFCONE which oversees the implementation of the Pelindaba treaty. The meeting will also examine the two-year program and budget for AFCONE adopted by the March meeting. The program from 2018-2020 will a have a special focus on safeguarding nuclear material, enhancing the accounting and control mechanism, and upgrading verification and monitoring activities of the AFCONE. In the post Fukushima era, AFCONE will also be working on the safety of radioactive waste management and regulating the peaceful application of nuclear energy.

The increased capacity, visibility and mobility of multinational and cross border terrorist groups and networks, and the easy accessibility of the nuclear knowhow and technology is a major concern for the continent. The council will discuss this major security threat tomorrow. Africa has one of the biggest deposits of uranium in the world. A single member state, Namibia alone holds about 7% of the world’s uranium reserves. The country supplies the mineral to nuclear power stations around the world. Niger, South Africa, Botswana and the DRC also have reserves or produce uranium. The threat of non-state actors holding the possession of uranium and its illicit trafficking is a major security threat the PSC is expected to address.
Africa is a nuclear weapon free zone. South Africa was the only country on the continent to had the possession of nuclear weapons. It had its nuclear weapon by the end of the 1970s and had a total of six bombs by the time it decided to end its nuclear weapons program and dismantle the weapons in the early 1990’s. The abolition of all the nuclear weapons was later confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the moment, South Africa is also the only African country on the continent with a nuclear power plant. The plant provides around 5% of its electricity production. In recent years however, several other member states of the African Union have signed agreements or shown interest to use of nuclear power to generate electricity. The most notable ones include Egypt, Nigeria and Ethiopia. In 2013 Egypt announced its plan to build 1,000 MW nuclear reactor for power generation and on October 2017, Russian state-owned company Rosatom signed a deal to build two nuclear power plants in Nigeria with the cost of around $20bn. In 2013, the Ethiopian government announced it targets generating up to 1,200 Megawatts of electricity from nuclear energy. And in March 2018 Ethiopia signed memorandum of understanding on cooperation in peaceful uses of atomic energy with Russian Nuclear Technology Agency. Other countries like Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Namibia, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia, and Uganda, have a serious and publicly expressed plans to go nuclear for power.

The increasing trend and interest in the use of nuclear power plants on the continent demand a proper regulatory framework, monitoring mechanisms and accountably and control. On 15 February, the AU Chairperson and head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed a four-year agreement (2018-2022), an agreement on a safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies for development in Africa. Beyond the development of nuclear power infrastructure, the cooperation includes areas like health, agriculture, environment and industrial applications of nuclear technology. Building Africa’s capacity in radiation and nuclear safety and security is also part of the four-year deal. The PSC will discuss the details of the agreement.

Africa is aspiring to be a major actor in the global non-proliferation regime. The PSC meeting is taking place at a time where the most prominent international nuclear deal, the Iran Nuclear Deal of October 2015 between Iran and the P5 plus Germany and the EU faces its biggest challenge. The AU Chairperson hailed the agreement as ‘triumph for multilateral diplomacy and a vindication of the principle of peaceful and negotiated resolution of international disputes’ in a press statement on 15 October 2015, a day after the signing of the deal. The AU also expressed its support to the deal and its proper implementation. Tomorrow’s PSC meeting will discuss global trends and updates on international and regional efforts towards nuclear weapons disarmament non-proliferation and cooperation in the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s PSC session is a communiqué. It is expected that the PSC would welcome the role of AFCON. It would also emphasized the need for coordination among AU actors including member states to address current threats relating to threat of possession and illicit-trafficking of uranium by non-state actors. The PSC is also anticipated to affirm AU’s firm support for the Iran Nuclear Deal and to urge that the parties to the deal to maintain their commitment to the terms of the agreement.

Briefing on Sustainable financing of African Peace & Security Agenda under the UN Charter


Date |03 December, 2018

Tomorrow (3 December 2018) the Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold a briefing session on sustainable financing for African Peace and Security Agenda in the context of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. It is expected that Woinshet Tadesse, Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU), will provide the briefing to the PSC representing members of the African 3 members (A3) of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The focus of tomorrow’s session is expected to be the draft resolution on financing of AU led or mandated peace support operations authorized by the UNSC that has been under negotiation in the UNSC. While major progress has been achieved in the quality of partnership, the issue of predictable and sustainable financing of AU peace support operations has remained a major area of disagreement. At the 18 July briefing at the UNSC, Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, observed that the AU has consistently advocated for more predictable and sustainable funding for AU peace operations through UN assessed contributions.

In the briefing, the A3 are expected to inform the PSC the efforts they have made in championing the longstanding demand of the AU for predictable funding to AU led peace support operations authorized by the UNSC including through the use of the UN assessed contributions. This is in line with the PSC communiqué of 30 May 2017 which underlined the critical role of the A3 in advancing AU Peace and Security Agenda at the UN level, in particular with regard to reaching a substantive resolution on the use of UN assessed contributions to support AU mandated or authorised PSOs.

Initiated by the A3, the draft resolution, if adopted, is meant to establish the principle that AU mandated or authorized PSOs authorized by the UN Security Council should be financed through UN assessed contributions, with decisions on the financing of specific missions to be taken on a case-by-case basis. As Côte d’Ivoire’s permanent representative to the UN noted in the UNSC session in July, the draft resolution ‘does not trigger the immediate provision of funding, but rather provides a framework for the Council’s assessment … for consideration on a case-by-case basis’. The briefing affords PSC members to discuss where the negotiations in the UNSC over this draft resolution stand.

When the PSC adopted its communiqué of 30 May 2017, there were two requirements of UNSC Resolution 2320 (2016) for the fulfillment of which the AU was tasked to take appropriate measures. The first was the implementation of the Peace Fund. The Second was the establishment of the relevant framework for ensuring compliance by AU PSOs with international humanitarian law and human rights law. In terms of the effort to secure the adoption of the draft resolution when it is tabled before the UNSC this month, this session offers an opportunity for the PSC to review the progress made in fulfilling these requirements. This is an area on which the Department of Peace and Security provides update to the PSC.

With respect to the Peace Fund, the AU has achieved the target that was set in PSC communiqué of 30 May 2017. With $65 million collected, the Peace Fund is on target to meet its funding target from the contribution of AU member states projected to reach 100 million in early 2019. The Peace Fund was officially launched at the 11th Extraordinary Session on 17 November 2018 and the members of the Board of Trustees representing the 5 AU Regions have also been appointed. This governance body was expanded to include representation of the UN and the EU in the Board to ensure the highest fiduciary standards.

The AU also made major progress with respect to instituting the relevant frameworks for ensuring compliance of AU peace support operations with international standards including human rights and international humanitarian laws. At its session held on 29 November 2018, the AU PSC adopted the AU Policy Documents on the Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and on Conduct and Discipline.
Given the progress made with respect to the requirements set under Resolution 2320 (2016), the draft resolution initiated by the A3 seeks to follow up on the intent of Resolution 2317 (2017). This notably refers to the intention that the UNSC expressed in this resolution ‘to give further consideration to practical steps that can be taken, and the conditions necessary, to establish the mechanism through which African Union led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council and under the Security Council’s authority under Chapter VIII of the Charter could be partly financed through United Nations assessed contributions, on a case by case basis, in compliance with relevant agreed standards and mechanisms.’

It is also an opportunity to reflect on the prospects for the adoption by the UNSC of the resolution when it is considered in the course of the month. Within the UNSC, there are differences over the draft resolution between the A3 and the US in particular. In the 18 July briefing at the UNSC, the United States will not consider use of assessed contribution to support AU operations under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, until benchmarks for financial transparency, conduct and discipline and human rights are demonstrably implemented across AU peace organizations and operations.

At the 20 November UNSC open debate held under the Presidency of China, the US raised other concerns. It in particular noted unanswered questions about the implication of support from assessed contributions on UNSC’s authority and the need for members to have time to ensure full political and legislative support from capitals. It is not clear if the US would change its positions when the draft resolution is tabled at the UNSC for adoption.

While the expectation of the PSC is for the draft resolution to be adopted setting a framework for the UNSC to take decision for use of assessed contributions to support AU led or mandated peace support operations authorized by the UNSC on a case-by-case basis, there are two issues of interest for tomorrow’s session. The first is whether the consideration and adoption of the draft resolution will happen as scheduled in December 2018. The second is the scope of conditions that may be included if the final version of the resolution is agreed.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. Drawing on the benchmarks set in the 30 May 2017 communiqué, this is expected to highlight the progress made towards meeting the requirements of resolution 2320 (2016). The communiqué is also expected to urge members of the UNSC to adopt the draft resolution that sets to elevate the strategic partnership between the AU and the UN to a higher level.

PSC field visits and follow up on their outcomes


Date |12 June, 2018

Tomorrow (12 June) the Peace and Security Council (PSC) will have a session focusing on PSC field missions and the follow up to the outcome of the filed missions. The PSC Secretariat is expected to provide inputs. During the past two months the PSC undertook field missions to Sudan, Darfur and South Sudan.

Field visit has become part of the working methods of the PSC with the adoption of the Conclusions of the Yaoundé Retreat of the PSC held on 15-16 November 2012. The Conclusions provided that members agreed to ‘the need to undertake field missions, especially to the conflict areas’. The following year the PSC undertook field visits to a number of major conflict zones, notably Darfur in Sudan, Goma in the eastern DRC, Mogadishu in Somalia and Abyei in South Sudan, making the visits in 2013 the highest number of visits undertaken by the PSC in one calendar year.

The PSC field visits serve a wide range of purposes in terms of the effective implementation of the PSC Protocol. They provide PSC members first hand insights on the conflict parties, the nature of the conflict and indeed the security and humanitarian impact of particular conflicts. Such insights would help PSC members to have a more effective participation in the policy deliberations of the PSC on the specific conflict situations. Field visits can also play a role of supporting ongoing efforts for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts including mediation and peace-making efforts as well as peace support operations. In an ongoing conflict, field visits, if implemented effectively and are accompanied by follow up action, which can help in reducing violence.

Despite the fact that the field visits have become part of the PSC working methods, the details that could guide field visits are not elaborated in any of the subsequent retreats of the PSC. As a result, the role of field visits, the choice and timing of the places for field visits, the drafting and consideration of the reports including their publication and the mechanism for their follow up are yet to be properly clarified.

The current practice shows that PSC field visits are organized based on specific terms of reference. Often, the PSC Chair of the Month decides on the choice and inclusion of field visit in the monthly program of work of the PSC. For the field missions undertaken in the past two months, the visits were undertaken at a time different from the periods proposed in the program of the month.

In terms of best practice, the PSC Secretariat has started issuing statements on the field visits. When the PSC commenced its field visit to South Sudan, the AU issued a press statement outlining the purpose of the visit, how it relates to ongoing efforts for resolution of the conflict and the places that the PSC would travel to during its field visit in South Sudan. Even more interesting is the fact that the PSC Secretariat issued press release on PSC’s field visit to Sudan two times. The first time was on 7 May 2018 after its arrival and commencement of the filed visit. Apart from providing the itinerary of the PSC, it highlighted the various stakeholders the PSC plans to interact with. As the press statement for the field visit to South Sudan, this one also indicated the significance of the timing of the field visit.

It can also be gathered from these recent visits that timing of visits is generally tied with significant developments relating to the conflict situation. While the visit to South Sudan comes at a time when the sub-regional body the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been trying to have the peace process back on track with its High-Level Revitalization Process, the visit to Sudan is linked to the ongoing process on the review and downsizing of the UN-AU Hybrid Mission to Darfur (UNAMID).

Another good practice is the preparation of the field visits report and its presentation to and consideration by the PSC. This is very critical. The report helps not only in documenting the information gathered during the field visit but also in informing the follow up to the field visits.

Currently, the PSC field visit reports are not made public. This is in part a result of the lack of detailed guideline on the PSC filed visits including the status of the field visit reports. Importantly however there is ongoing debate in the PSC on whether the report should include everything that the PSC gathered during its interactions with various stakeholders. There are members of the PSC who do not seem comfortable with the inclusion of certain details owing to the fact that they ring too intrusive and may undermine the sovereignty of the country concerned.

Apart from the foregoing issues on clarifying the mechanics of the organization and outcome of PSC field visits, in tomorrow’s session the PSC would also reflect on the outcome of its field visits. In this respect issues for consideration include timeline for finalizing the PSC decisions and follow up on the implementation of the decisions. Given the importance of field visits and the expanding richness of the PSC practice on field visits, the outcome of tomorrow’s session may include the formulation of the relevant practices into PSC working methods as guidelines on the conduct and outcome of PSC field visits.

Update on the AU Reform – Review of the Peace and Security Council


Date | 25 April 2018

Update on PSC Reform

Today (25 April), the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) will receive update on the ‘AU Reform – Review of the Peace and Security Council’. Pierre MouKoko Mbonjou, Head of the AU Reform Implementation Unit (RIU) in the Office of the Chairperson of the AU Commission is expected to brief the PSC.

Currently, the RIU is in the process of undertaking the review of the various organs of the AU and is convening consultations with AU organs. In its decision Assembly/AU/Dec.635(XXVIII) on the Report on “The Imperative to Strengthen our Union: Proposed Recommendations for the Institutional Reform of the African Union, the AU Assembly decided that ‘the 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’. This session is the first opportunity for PSC members to convene a meeting with the RIU within the framework of this Assembly decision.

In his briefing to the PSC, Mr Mbonjou is expected to offer insights both on what the review of the PSC would focus on and the methodology to be used in identifying areas for review. It would highlight that, instead of a reform requiring amendment of the PSC Protocol, the review of the PSC would follow strictly the terms f the decision of the AU Assembly, and hence limited to the ‘strengthening of its (PSC’s) working methods and its role in conflict prevention and management.’

The briefing would also highlight on how the review and assessment of the PSC is to be undertaken and the envisaged role of the PSC in the process. The review, expected to use consultant, is anticipated to deliver draft paper outlining the challenges and systematically presenting existing proposals on strengthening the role of the PSC in conflict prevention and crises management. The briefing is expected to indicate how the PSC participates in the review and assessment process, including the option of engaging the PSC Committee of Experts on the development of proposals on the reform of the PSC.

In terms of the methodology, apart from review of existing reviews, assessments and evaluations, the review and assessment process is anticipated to cover the recommendations from the conclusions of the PSC’s many working method retreats. There is already a document of the PSC Secretariat highlighting the various proposals and the lack of implementation of the various proposals. The review is also expected to rely on the ongoing APSA/AGA Study that the AU Peace and Security Department leads.

For members of the PSC questions of interest include those relating to the PSC decision-making processes, on timelines of finalization of the review and authority for validation of the proposed recommendations. Other issues of interest also include working relationships and the institutional and resource implications of PSC’s work, including on the use of the finances in the Peace Fund.

No outcome is expected from this update. But, the PSC may consider providing guidelines on modalities of the review and assessment of its works and provision of further updates on the assessment process and final adoption of the proposed reforms.

Africa’s peace and security landscape by 2023


Date | 24 April 2018

Looking into the future: Africa’s Peace and Security Landscape by 2023

Tomorrow (24 April), the PSC is scheduled to hold a second open session of the month. The theme of the session is ‘Africa’s peace and security landscape by 2023 (end of the ten-year plan of Agenda 2063): A prospective analysis of peace and security challenges’. This session was slated in the original program of work for the month for 3rd April but was postponed to finalize preparations including the concept note for the session. The Peace and Security Department, the Department of Political Affairs and the Agenda 2063 Unit of the AU (SSPERM) are expected to provide briefings. The Institute for Security Studies is also envisaged to make presentation based on the concept note it initiated for the session.

In May 2013 AU member states adopted Agenda 2063, the continent’s development, governance and security vision. This session on the prospect of peace in Africa by 2023 comes half way through the first ten years plan of Agenda 2063. In looking into the future, this session draws on the peace and security trends of the continent thus far.

When Agenda 2063 was adopted in 2013, the continent has been witnessing an upsurge of conflicts and crises. Apart from ongoing protracted conflicts, new conflicts and crises erupted as post-conflict transitions unraveled in DRC, Central African Republic (CAR), Mali, Burundi and South Sudan. The continent also witnessed the spread of terrorism in both territorial coverage and intensity of violence. During 2014/15 Boko Haram became the most deadly terrorist group in the world until its capacity was degraded during the past year.

In West Africa, Mali, experiencing the twin challenges of unconstitutional change of government and that violent seizure by armed groups of its northern territories, saw the internationalization of its conflict with the intervention of the French to stop the southern march of the armed opposition to seize Mali’s capital, Bamako. Terrorism and armed insurgency affecting Nigeria and countries of the Sahel was on the rise. In the Central African region, Séléka’s overthrow of the government of François Bozizé of the CAR ushered in a new period of violent conflagration involving the collapse of the little that existed of the state and a brutal sectarian violence between the Seleka and the ‘anti-balaka’ that triggered major humanitarian crisis. DRC was also under the grip of a new war against the March 23 rebel group in its volatile eastern region.

In North Africa, the transitions in all the North African countries affected by the 2011 popular uprisings faltered as each suffered setbacks. All the countries in transition experienced increasing levels political upheavals and violence during the year. Most notably, downward spiral of Libya into the abyss culminated in the following years in the country’s fragmentation into violent rival armed militias and criminal networks of weapons traffickers, smugglers and terrorist groups including IS.

Another region that witnessed major deterioration in its peace and security outlook in 2013 was East and Horn of Africa. Despite limited progress in Somalia amid persisting political and security crises, the most significant development was the eruption of South Sudan into violent civil war.

Progress has been registered in arresting the worst manifestations of the newly erupted armed conflicts and the spread of the terrorist menace since 2013, albeit unevenly. Apart from highlighting the progress made, the briefings and deliberations are expected to underscore the persistence of the conflicts and violent extremist in all the regions that experienced the upsurge of these conditions around 2013. This has implications for prospects for peace and security in 2023, notably with respect to how these situations evolve in terms of resolution, continuation or further deterioration.

There are some key factors that would determine how the current conflict situations shape the peace and security landscape of Africa in 2023. Apart from the role of African and international mediation and peace operations efforts, one such factor concerns the fragility or weakness of the state that makes it vulnerable to conflicts. Another but related factor is the extent to which the underlying political, socio-economic and demographic conditions are effectively addressed.

The prospect of peace and security challenges in 2023 does not depend only on the dynamics of current conflict situations and the changing dynamics of violent extremism in Africa. It also depends on the evolution of vulnerabilities of various countries and regions to conflicts and major insecurities. The concept note anticipates much focus on what it calls the seven structural drivers of conflicts in Africa that will determine the security outlook of Africa by 2023 and beyond. These relate to poverty, democratization, regime type, population age structure, repeat violence, the bad neighborhood effect and poor governance. Other drivers of conflicts highlighted in the AU roadmap on silencing the guns by 2020 include illicit trafficking and use of weapons.

The nature and dynamics of conflicts would also witness change. Due to population pressure, increasing vulnerability of people due to pressure from large scale projects including activities of extractive industries, climate change and weak or bad governance infrastructure, resource-based conflicts notably over water and land are likely to increase and assume prominence. These would be both sub-national and cross border in nature.

Another source of security challenge for Africa is the increasing militarization of some parts of the continent. This is particularly the case in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa where various old and new powers continue to scramble for establishing military bases.

Governance related crises are also set to witness significant increase. Riots and mass protests are the dominant conflict events in 2017. Changing demographic dynamics involving mostly youthful, increasingly educated and politically conscious public coupled with the spread of information technology have led to expanding the gulf in the expectations of the public and the ability of governments to deliver in terms of political responsiveness, accountability and socio-economic inclusivity. The resulting political upheavals and conflicts taking the form of protests, riots, election induced violence and disputes over revision of presidential term limits are expected to be the most dominant conflict events.

The briefing from PSD is expected to highlight the measures envisaged under the AU Roadmap on silencing the guns by 2020. This session is expected to also highlight the importance of conflict prevention and the need for a strategy on the effective deployment of preventive instruments. In this context, the AU Unit on Agenda 2063 is expected to highlight the areas of intervention planned to address the current peace and security challenges and those expected by 2023.

As rightly pointed out in the concept note for the session, attention would also be drawn to the need for enhanced investment in and effective utilization of the governance frameworks and instruments of the AU that make up the African Governance Architecture (AGA). Other areas of intervention proposed in the concept note include greater focus on security sector reform, a rule of law based approach to counter terrorism, more independent and resourced election monitoring unit, and partnering with election monitors from other international bodies.

The expected outcome of this session is a press statement. In terms of follow up, issues worth focusing on in the press statement include the need for identifying and sharpening interventions tailored to the different security challenges and the imperative of resolving current conflicts and greater use of prevention tools with full operationalization of the Continental Structural Conflict Prevention framework including through the use of the country structural vulnerability/Resilience assessment.

Briefing on the delimitation and demarcation of boundaries in Africa to resolve inter-state conflict in Africa


Date | 31 May, 2018

Delimitation and demarcation of boundaries

Tomorrow (1 June) the Peace and Security Council (PSC) will have an open session under the theme ‘Delimitation and demarcation of boundaries in Africa the way forward to resolve interstate conflict in Africa’. The PSC is expected to receive a briefing and report on the theme from Frederic
Gateretse-Ngoga, Acting Head of the Conflict Early Warning and Prevention Division of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Department (PSD).

This session aims at providing members of the PSC update on the work being undertaken by the AU Borders Programme (AUBP), which was established in 2007 on the basis of the Declaration on the African Union Border Programme. It is also a session that is convened to mark the Africa Border
Day that is annually marked on 7 June.

The briefing from Gateretse-Ngoga is also expected to highlight not only the increasing importance of African borders for peace and security and regional integration but also the challenges facing the PSD in implementing the mandate of the AUBP. The briefing providing update on the progress in
the implementation of the AUBP is organized and will be presented around the five areas of work of the AUBP, with emphasis on the theme of the agenda for the session. The first, which is the main focus of tomorrow’s session, is delimitation and demarcation of boundaries.

As an instrument for promotion of peace and structural prevention of conflicts, Gateretse-Ngoga’s update is anticipated to highlight the work of the AUBP in supporting increasing numbers of AU
member states in the delimitation and demarcation of their interstate borders. While it is reported
that only a third of Africa’s 83,000 km of African interstate land borders are demarcated, it is interesting to note that since 2016, some 1592 km of borders have been delimitated and demarcated within the framework of the AUBP. Currently, more than 20 Member States are conducting operations to clarify their common boundaries whether they are lake, river, land or maritime borders. As its work on the border issues between Sudan and South Sudan shows, the AUBP also supports conflict resolution efforts. In support of the AUHIP, the technical team of the AUBP completed in March 2018 the first phase of the process of the marking of the ten crossing points along the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) between South Sudan and Sudan with the marking of three crossing points.

Various factors including the presence of mineral and hydrocarbon resources, the rising demand for land and other resources due to population increase and climate change, the increasing need to
secure borders from terrorist and criminal networks are increasingly making delimitation and demarcation of boundaries key to preventing border conflicts and implementing cross border cooperation. Despite this, the level of member states’ engagement in delimitation and demarcation of their joint borders remains unsatisfactory. The percentage of the delimitation and demarcation of African borders remain low. Additionally, the AUBP intervenes only when all the states concerned agree to it.

Despite the amount of delimitation and demarcation work that has been done thus far and currently under way, there is concern that the new timeline of having African boundaries fully delimited and demarcated by 2022 would again be missed. Underscoring the importance of delimitation and demarcation for both security and regional socio-economic cooperation, member states would be encouraged to deliminate and demarcate their common border. In this respect, major issues that require attention in tomorrow’s session include the identification of the various factors that impeded delimitation and demarcation in the previous deadlines and the development of a realistic plan to address them.

Apart from sharing their experience, PSC members are expected to recognize the increasing risks associated with non-delimitation and demarcation of borders and the challenges arising from the
porous nature of the borders of many AU member states. In this context, issues requiring attention
include the need for initiating conflict prevention measures with respect to those borders facing
major threats and the beefing up of not only border security but also over all border management
capacities that ensure secure cross border cooperation and regional integration.

Tomorrow’s session and this year’s celebration of the Africa Border Day have come at a time when the AU witnessed landmark legal and policy developments. Notably, The adoption at the
extraordinary summit of the AU held in March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda of the African Continental
Free Trade Area (CFTA) and the Protocol to the Abuja Treaty on Free Movement of Persons, Rights
of Residence and Establishment is major development that brings African borders to the center of
AU’s push for regional integration. Indeed, key to the successful implementation of these instruments is the management by member states of their borders including in terms of delimitation and demarcation, policing, cross border cooperation and infrastructural development. It is thus of interest to PSC member states how the AUBP contributes for addressing the security, border policing and management capacity and other issues that can impede the CFTA and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons.

Within the framework of its work on cross border cooperation, the AUBP supports various initiatives including the establishment of bilateral border agreements, facilitation of dialogue,
security cooperation and local development activities and cross border service infrastructure in the
common border areas of member states. The AUBP also promotes the ratification, domestication
and implementation of the AU Convention on Cross-border Cooperation (Niamey Convention) of
2014. The briefing will note that the Convention have been signed by fifteen countries and ratified
by only five. In this context, the importance and necessity of ratifying and implementing the Niamey
Convention as key instrument for pursuing the objectives of the CFTA and the Protocol on Free
Movement of Persons are issues that also deserve attention during the deliberation in tomorrow’s

Other areas of work with respect of which the report highlights progress since the last report of June 2017 are capacity building, national and regional border policies and strategies, coordination within the AU and with Regional Economic Communities/ Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs). The work
done in these areas also show that the AUBP is serving as instrument for strengthening of the
capacities of personnel in charge of border issues and development of national and regional border
policies and strategies.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a press statement. The statement is expected to urge member states to ratify and domesticate the Niamey Convention as key instrument of regional
integration including for the effective implementation of the CFTA and the Protocol on Free
Movement of Persons. It would also underscore the role of the AUBP to address the various security
and border related issues for speeding up the ratification and implementation of these instruments.
In terms of conflict prevention, it may underscore the need to monitor and identify major risks of
border conflicts for timely deployment of preventive measures.

PSC Briefing on the Harmonization of the ACIRC within the ASF Framework


Date | 18 September, 2018

Tomorrow  (19  September)  the  Peace  and  Security  Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) will hold a briefing on the harmonization of the African Capacity for Rapid  Intervention  in  Crises  (ACRIC)  within  the  African  Standby Force (ASF) framework. Convened on the request  of  Nigeria,  the  meeting  will  examine  the  conceptual, structural and institutional harmonization of the  ASF  and  ACIRC.  The  session  will  also  evaluate  the  progress made by the two mechanisms since the last briefing  to  the  PSC.  The  meeting  will  receive  a  briefing  from the Peace and Security Department (PSD)’s Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD).

The meeting is held in line with the decision 695 of the AU  Assembly  meeting  in  Nouakchott,  which  requested  quarterly progress update on implementation of decision 679 of the 30th ordinary session of the Assembly.

The  meeting  will  also  receive  updates  from  the  Secretariat of ACRIC in PSOD on the state of the ACIRC, its  relations  with  the  ASF  mechanism  and  recent  developments in the implementation of the Maputo Strategic  Work  Plan  on  the  Enhancement  of  the  ASF  (2016‐2020). The five‐year work plan for the ASF highlighted  the  changing  security  environment  and  threats on the continent. Its recommendation for dynamism  into  the  design  and  structure  of  the  ASF  to  respond to the challenges goes in line with the initiative to  harmonize  the  ASF  with  the  ACIRC.  The  session  will  use the indicators, deliverables and timelines defined by the  five‐year  work  plan  as  a  reference  to  evaluate  the  move towards harmonization of ACRIC with ASF, particularly  its  rapid  deployment  capability  (RDC).  The  training, exercises, airlift and mission support capabilities of  the  regional  forces  and  their  progress  in  articulating  the command structure and control, and logistical capabilities  of  the  ASF  and  ACIRC  will  also  be  discussed  by the session.

The  discussion  and  debate  of  the  meeting  will  focus  on  the complex relationship between the ASF and ACRIC. Divisions still exist among the member states of the AU and  within  the  AU  Commission  on  the  relevance,  role,  interaction and the need for keeping the two as parallel initiatives.  There  is  an  opinion  that  sees  ACIRC  as  a  redundancy, an admission of failure to fully operationalize the ASF, and questions the value addition of  the  ACIRC.  This  view  sees  the  2013  initiative  as  a  project that diverts and distracts the attention, energy, resources  and  political  focus  of  the  continent  and  partners that should have been spent on realizing the ASF.  Those  participating  in  ACRIC  consider  the  mechanism as providing the mechanism for rapid mobilization and more flexibility (compared to the region based and relatively more region approach of the ASF) in cases emergency situations.

Despite  its  success  for  standardization,  training  and  mobilization of peace support mission in Africa, security challenges in the continent have revealed the weakness of the ASF in rapidly deploying troops. Harmonizing the ASF  and  ACIRC  will  primarily  focus  on  addressing  this  structural gap. The conversation on the ASF and ACIRC dynamics is taking place while the continent is witnessing a sweeping trend of relying on ad‐hoc regional coalitions and  deployment  arrangements  and  alliances  as  a  rapid  response mechanism. The meeting is expected to address  these  trend  in  the  context  of  the  effort  for  harmonization of the ASF and ACRIC.

While  peace  support  operations  serve  as  a  vital  tool  of  crisis response, changing security dynamics and trans‐regional nature of emerging security threats demand a more flexible, agile and effective missions. The possibility of an effective transfer of responsibility to local security forces and institutions, and withdrawal of missions with an extended presence and limited effectiveness still look distant.  These  conditions  and  reality  significantly  affected the reputation and effectiveness of the traditional peace support operations in Africa, and called for a revision of the existing practice and arrangements. The  threat  posed  by  transnational  terrorist  groups  and  non‐state actors need a ‘fit for purpose’ and tailor made mandated  approach,  which  is  currently  lacking  in  the  traditional African Union and UN missions in Africa.

Tomorrow’s  meeting  will  examine  the  ASF‐ACRIC  harmonization as a response to the question of effectiveness  and  sustainability  of  peace  support  operations in the continent. Reviewing the design and structure  of  the  ASF  in  a  way  that  enhances  its  deployment capabilities and mission effectiveness including the ACIRC as its component is seen by the AU as a way forward. An important aspect of this session is also  finding  a  balance  between  rapid  and  flexible  regional initiatives and overarching standards and principles developed within the framework of the ASF.
Also  important  for  tomorrow’s  session  is  tailor  made  interventions with greater emphasis on political initiatives underscoring the imperative of the primacy of political  strategy  over  military  or  security  approaches.  These include integrating and enhancing the role of preventive  diplomacy  and  mediation  mechanisms,  the  African Governance Architecture (AGA), Africa’s normative  framework  to  constitutionalism  and  inclusive  governance. Enabling national institutions is critical in the path from conflict to sustained peace, and should be part and parcel of the ASF‐ACIRC harmonization.

The expected outcome of the briefing is a communiqué. The  communiqué  may  stipulate  a  timeline  for  finalizing  the harmonization of ACRIC within the ASF and for all efforts at the levels of the AU and regions to focus on the full  operationalization  of  the  ASF  with  necessary  adjustments for flexible, rapid and effective utilization of ASF in response to emerging crisis.

Consideration of outcome of the MSC meeting on the harmonization of ACIRC and   ASF


Date | 18 December, 2018

Tomorrow (19 November) the Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to have a session for considering the summary records of the meeting of its Military Staff Committee (MSC) on the harmonization of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC) within the African Standby Force (ASF).

It is to be recalled that the PSC at its 795th session decided that the MSC of the PSC convenes a meeting to ‘identify and propose ways and means of fully implementing Assembly Decisions 679 and 695 and to make appropriate recommendations, including timelines and roadmap, to guide the PSC on how to overcome the challenges facing the harmonization of the ACIRC within the ASF’. Acting on this decision, the MSC held on 5 October 2018the meeting for working on the task the PSC entrusted to it.

Although it has been introduced in 2013 as a gap filling measure for availing the AU a rapid response capability pending the full operationalization of the ASF, in the years that follow divisions emerged over the role of ACIRC and its relationship with and implications on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) in general and the ASF in particular. While countries participating in ACIRC viewed it as availing the AU pragmatic capability for rapid response based on the concept of coalition of the willing organized around a lead nation, others came to view ACIRC as diverting attention from the operationalization of the ASF and carrying the risk of fragmenting or undermining the APSA framework. Some RECs/RMs, such as ECOWAS, ECCAS and EASFCOM, have in particular been critical of ACIRC both for lack of their participation in its establishment and for their exclusion in its operationalization and potential utilization. The Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS), during its seventh meeting held on 14 January 2014 in Addis Ababa, recommended that both the ACIRC and the ASF RDC concepts should be harmonized to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure that the ACIRC assists in expediting the operationalization process of the RDC. In 2015, the Report of the Independent Panel of Experts’ Assessment of the African Standby Force recommended that the AU Commission ‘takes steps to harmonise and integrate the ACIRC into the ASF model, as an additional tool for further enhancing the AU’s capacity to respond rapidly to Scenario Six-type mass atrocity crimes, and that it be synchronised with the ASF’s national or stand-alone RDC (Rapid Deployment Capacity) model.’

Subsequently, the AU Assembly adopted decision 679 which called on all stakeholders to support the realization of the full operationalization of the ASF, and harmonization of the activities of ACIRC with the Framework of the ASF and enhance cooperation with all ad-hoc coalitions namely, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram terrorist group, Group of Five Sahel Joint Force and the Regional Cooperation Initiative against the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA), and requested the Commission to submit a plan on the harmonization of ACIRC into ASF, including steps to be taken by the AU and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention (RECs/RMs) to coordinate ad-hoc the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.’

Despite the policy decisions, the actual implementation of the harmonization of ACIRC within the ASF has faced challenging questions of political, legal and resource preconditions. Various institutional, technical, human and financial inputs have been put in place for putting ACIRC in place. An ACIRC PLANELM within the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) of the AU Commission in Addis Ababa has been established. Politically, it remains unclear that all ACIRC participating countries are convinced that ACIRC merges into the ASF RDC. The legal issue pertains to the memorandum of understanding that the AU may need to sign with ACIRC members on the integration and use of their pledged capabilities within the ASF. It is also imperative that the harmonization addresses the question of what happens to the various technical, logistical and institutional resources, including the personnel making up the ACIRC PLANELM, currently servicing the ACIRC.

These were the issues that the 5 October meeting MSC considered with the Defense Attaché of the Congo chairing by virtue of the fact that Congo was the PSC chair of the month. Premised on the understanding that harmonization means integration of the ACIRC into the ASF, the meeting of the MSC proposed the steps to be taken and the accompanying timeline for implementing the harmonization. The steps to be taken consist broadly of a) communication by the AUC to ACIRC countries (for their contributions), AU member states (urging them to comply with Assembly decisions 679 and 695) and partners (notifying them of the merger of ACIRC and ASF), b) the legal process to be followed (in terms of review of existing legal frameworks between AU and ACIRC countries and reporting to the PSC in May 2019), the approach to the re-deployment of the assets and resources of ACIRC into the ASF, and the measures to be taken at the level of the PSOD, RECs/RMs and finally the AU Assembly.
These various steps are envisaged to run from November 2018 to February 2020 when the AU Assembly is expected to make final pronouncement. The integration of ACIRC into the ASF seems to fit the ongoing AU reform process that seeks to avoid duplication and ensure mainstreaming of efforts. Yet, some of these issues such as the proposal on integrating the human resources of the ACIRC PLANLEM into PSOD are likely to trigger discussion from the perspective of the human resource regulations of the AU.

The Defense Attaché of Congo is expected to present the summary record of the MSC meeting. The AU Peace and Security Department is also expected to make a statement. The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. The PSC may endorse the proposed steps with amendments with a request for the AUC to develop and implement a roadmap based on the steps and timelines set and to report periodically on progress.