The Peace and Security Council in 2019: The Year in Review


Date | 03 January, 2020


Various important developments have been witnessed in the work of the PSC in 2019. One such most notable engagement of the PSC was its handling of the transition in Sudan following the ouster from power of Sudan’s longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 after sustained popular protest against his government for several months. Another important file with respect of which the PSC, working in tandem with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), achieved relative success in averting the derailment of the electoral process in the country and its descent into further political instability and violence was Guinea-Bissau. Although it has continued to face major challenges, another conflict situation in respect of which measures taken by the AU Commission, under the auspices of the PSC, in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) was the successful peace-making effort that led to the signing on 6 February of a peace agreement between the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and 14 armed rebel groups in the CAR.

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Open Session: Celebration of Amnesty Month


Date | 4 September, 2019

Tomorrow (5 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold an open session to commemorate the celebration of amnesty month. The discussion is expected to focus on the progress made on the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap on silencing the guns by 2020 mainly the challenges and perspectives, with a focus on the Security Sector Reform (SSR) in Africa.

The Department of Peace and Security (PSD), particularly the representative of the Director of PSD and Acting Head of the Division on Defence and Security are expected to deliver briefing to the PSC. Also expected to make a statement is the Head of the UN Office to the AU. The Institute for Security Studies is expected to present as well.

Tomorrow’s session is taking place in line with the 2017 Assembly decision Assembly/AU/Dec. 645(XXIX), which after deliberating on the Inaugural Report of the PSC on the Implementation of the AU Master Roadmap on Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020, declared the month of September each year, up to 2020, as “Africa Amnesty Month” for the surrender and collection of illegally owned weapons/arms.

It is expected that tomorrow’s session will address three inter-related thematic issues. The first relates to Security Sector Reform/Governance (SSR/G). The tailored approach, account should be had to the second is the commemoration of the Amnesty Month. The last is the implementation of the AU Roadmap on Silencing the Guns by 2020.

In the presentation from the Head of the Defence and Security Division. particular attention is expected to be given to SSR including the AU SSR program and the AU SSR Policy framework. Tomorrows’ session follows the inauguration meeting of the AU steering committee on security sector reform, held from 3 September 2019 in Addis Ababa.

The Silencing the Guns Roadmap recognizes the challenges around SSR policies. The Roadmap calls on the need to promote ownership of national SSR Programs in member states and the need to stipulate clear obligations and timelines on SSR in peace agreement including putting in place adequate follow up mechanisms.

For PSC members it would be of interest to identify the challenges relating to SSR in Africa. One set of issues expected to be highlighted is the sensitivities of member states and wrong perceptions that SSR concerns only post-conflict situations. Studies also show that another challenge in SSR relate to civilian possession and use of small arms and weapons. The recent report by the AUC and Small Arms Survey ‘Weapons Compass: Mapping Illicit Small Arms Flows in Africa’ has noted that civilian actors including individuals, private businesses and non- state armed groups hold almost 80% of small arms on the continent. Among the civilian held firearms only around 10% has been registered.

This is also an indication that security regimes in various African countries have been characterised by a range of non-state actors, including private security companies, local militias, guerrilla armies, community self-policing groups and others. With the lack or weakening monopoly use of force by the state particularly in countries affected by violence leads to the emergence of reliance by individuals and communities on self-organized security provision.

While a locally driven SSR is key in designing a tailored approach, account should be had to the transnational nature of insecurities. This also requires enhanced coordination among the security institutions of neighbouring countries including through the Regional Economic Communities/Mechanisms and the AU SSR processes.

Tomorrow’s session may also highlight that SSR is not solely a security matter and may call on for a comprehensive approach to reform encompassing state-society relationship. Therefore, its effective implementation may require the concerted efforts and cooperation among wide range of institutions in the government structure and the public at large.

There is also the challenge of effective formulation and proper implementation of SSR provisions in peace agreements. As the experiences of South Sudan and the Central African Republic show, this is one of the major sources of disruption of peace processes. In the light of the return of countries to conflict after signing of peace agreements, there is also interest in post-conflict reconstruction and development. Hence the PSC and participants may reflect on how to sustain peace including through enhanced consideration of the SSR dimension of peace and post-conflict processes.

In terms of the amnesty month, the recent report on small arms and light weapons referred to above highlighted the need for focusing on private possession and use of small arms and light weapons. In this regard the 860th meeting of the PSC stressed ‘the need for improved measures to regulate non-state actor possession of a small arms and light weapons, in order to prevent the diversion or misuse of weapons and encourages Member States to implement initiatives that are in line with the Africa Amnesty Month’.

However, there is a need for national level measures including the boosting of state-based provision of security services for encouraging the surrender of weapons in the hands of non-state actors and reporting on how and whether member states are observing the Amnesty month. Central to this is the need for finding ways of establishing or restoring the capacity particularly of states lacking effective provision of security to all their populations. This is directly linked to security sector governance as a measure of conflict prevention.

With respect to the AU Roadmap on Silencing the Guns, tomorrow’s session affords an opportunity for taking stock of where implementation of the Roadmap stands and the progress made towards achieving its ambitious objectives. Also important is the lessons to be learned from the process of elaboration and implementation of the Roadmap, including in terms of identification of areas of intervention and effective implementation of relevant measures. With 2020 only months away, it would be of particular interest to PSC members to discuss what will happen post-2020.

The expected outcome of the session is a press statement. The Council may highlight that the prospects for sustainable peace and stability are ensured by the extent to which SSR is anchored on the state of security broadly defined, instead of a narrow focus on certain security institutions. The PSC may reiterate its previous decisions for Member States and RECs/Regional Mechanisms to submit reports to Council, through the AUC, on the actions taken in implementing the Africa Amnesty Month, to feed in its report to the upcoming Assembly. With respect to the Roadmap on Silencing the Guns by 2020, the PSC could request the AU Commission to provide it with a comprehensive report reviewing implementation of the Roadmap and proposing on how the agenda on silencing the guns by 2020 will be followed up post-2020

The Internal Institutional Setup and Working Processes Shaping the Relationship between the AUPSC and the UNSC


28 | December, 2019

The establishment of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) under the 2002 Protocol to the AU Constitutive Act on the Establishment of the PSC 1 (PSC Protocol) and its launch in 2004 2 has transformed the peace and security landscape of the continent. Most notably, among others, it has changed the role of international engagement in the maintenance of peace and security in Africa. The PSC Protocol, in defining the principles governing the maintenance of peace and security in Africa, attributing leading role to the PSC and defining how the PSC interfaces with international actors, sets the expectations of the continent on the parameters of international action, including through the United Nations (UN), on peace and security in Africa.

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The Internal Institutional Setup and Working Processes Shaping the Relationship between the AUPSC and the UNSC


28 | December, 2019

The establishment of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) under the 2002 Protocol to the AU Constitutive Act on the Establishment of the PSC 1 (PSC Protocol) and its launch in 2004 2 has transformed the peace and security landscape of the continent. Most notably, among others, it has changed the role of international engagement in the maintenance of peace and security in Africa. The PSC Protocol, in defining the principles governing the maintenance of peace and security in Africa, attributing leading role to the PSC and defining how the PSC interfaces with international actors, sets the expectations of the continent on the parameters of international action, including through the United Nations (UN), on peace and security in Africa.

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Briefing on the situation in Somalia


Date | 13 December, 2019

Tomorrow (13 December) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will receive a briefing on the situation in Somalia and the activities of AMISOM. As
Somalia is gearing up to hold elections next year, the PSC is expected to make a thorough assessment of the
progress made and the challenges that lie ahead. The AU Peace and Security Department and the Special Representative of the AUC Chairperson to Somalia and head of the AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), Francisco Madeira, are expected to brief the PSC. During the introductory part of the session, following the practice of the PSC the Inter‐ Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), particularly Ethiopia as the Chair of IGAD and African Member of the UN Security Council (A3), the UN office to the AU (UNOAU) and the European Union (EU) will also make their statements at the session are expected to make a statement.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to address various issues including the preparations for the 2020 national elections, the recent political and security developments in Somalia and the implementation of AMISOM’s mandate under the revised CONOPS adopted in May 2019. The 2020 election is a key milestone in the stabilization and peacebuilding of Somalia and the holding of “one man, one vote” election in the country for the first time in fifty years will be historic. In this regard, finalizing the Constitutional Review, adopting the amended Federal Constitution and the electoral law, allocating the necessary resources for the election and creating a safe and secure environment for the conduct of the election are considered priority areas. At the Somalia Partners Forum held on 2 October 2019, in Mogadishu, Somalia has committed itself to expediting the constitutional and legislative processes with a view to adopting the electoral laws this month and the Federal Constitution in June next year, while international partners agreed to provide the necessary support in this regard.

However, the prevailing tension between Mogadishu and the regions has been an obstacle in establishing broad political consensus in the country. There is concern that the situation may escalate ahead of elections.

Therefore, easing these tensions will be very critical to ensure the smooth and peaceful conduct of the election and lay the foundation for ensuring democratic and inclusive politics. This requires that constructive dialogue takes place between Mogadishu and the regions to
overcome differences and resolve the prevailing stalemate. Indeed the most recent agreement reached between the Federal Government of Somalia and the leadership of Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ) is a positive step. The meeting between President Farmajo and two former Presidents, Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and Sheikh Sharif was welcomed by international partners as a step in the right direction and further engagement was
encouraged among key stakeholders at national and regional levels to ensure broader consensus on the holding of peaceful and credible elections. In terms of the regional dynamics, tensions were also rising between Somalia and Kenya in relation to their maritime dispute.

The meeting of President Farmajo and President Kenyatta in Nairobi last month to improve strained relations was very much welcomed. This is believed to have positive impact not only for the bilateral relations between the two countries but also the peace and security of the wider region.

The security situation in Somalia remains volatile. Al‐Shabaab remains a serious threat continuing to create havoc and mayhem but, according to AMISOM, there has been a decline in Al‐Shabab’s activities over the last three months owing to a number of factors, including an
increase in the number of lethal strikes against Al‐Shabaab by partners, with the arrival of the Somali rains, which made it difficult for the group to operate and the successive operations conducted jointly by Somali security forces and AMISOM. This is said to have forced the group to concentrate its activities in and around Mogadishu. The mortar attack on the Airport zone where AMISOM Headquarters and the UN compound are located is a case in point. Ensuring public security and safety in preparation for the election is absolutely vital and AMISOM is said to have repositioned itself to do that and also strengthen its support to the Somali electoral
security task force.

The implementation of the Somali‐led Transition Plan has been a matter of priority. The progress made in reforming the Somali security forces and in undertaking joint operations with AMISOM, including the recovery of some territories from Al‐Shabab and handover of forward operating bases to the Somalia National Army has been considered encouraging. However, the pace of implementation has been rather slow and there is a long way to go before the Somali National Army is ready to take over full and effective security responsibilities from AMISOM. Therefore, there is need to undertake the necessary assessment to make sure that the drawdown of AMISOM forces in accordance with resolution 2472 (2019) is calibrated with the evolving situation on the ground.

The humanitarian situation in Somalia has also been a cause of concern. According to the UN, heavy seasonal rains triggered floods affecting thousands of people in the southern part of the country. The situation is taking a heavy toll on the people. Farmlands and other infrastructures have been destroyed. There is need for urgent humanitarian response to reach out to people in the worst affected areas. In terms of Somalia’s long‐term peacebuilding needs and its development agenda, Somalia is making progress in its discussions with the international financial institutions towards securing a debt relief. The progress in its reform efforts, including in improving public financial management and revenue generation, as well as adopting a new National Development Plan have been recognized as positive steps by international partners. At the Somalia Partners Forum, it has agreed with international partners on “a Mutual Accountability Framework to narrow their joint focus to priority areas for action and resources in order to achievThe expected outcome of the meeting is a communique.

The PSC is expected to take note of the progress made in Somalia and underscore the need to expedite preparations to ensure a peaceful, free, fair and credible election next year. The Council may reiterate its concern over the prevailing tensions between the Federal Government and the regions and urge the Somali stakeholders to exert every possible effort to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue and negotiation with a view to building the necessary political consensus towards election 2020. In this context, it may welcome the meeting between President Farmajo and the two Former Presidents. It may also welcome the easing of tensions between Somalia and Kenya following the meeting of the leadership of the two countries.

The Council may express concern over the volatile security situation in Somalia and the continued attack by Al‐Shabaab. In this regard, it may underline the need to create a safe and secure environment for the holding of peaceful election next year. It may also point out the need for a comprehensive assessment of the security situation in the country in light of the conditions‐based gradual withdrawal of AMISOM in line with the relevant security council resolutions and the decisions of the AUPSC. The Council could express concern on the humanitarian situation and call for the mobilization of international assistance in support of people who are affected by the recent flooding. It may, on the other hand, express satisfaction with the progress made in the reform efforts and the positive momentum built in the discussion with the IFIs with regard to debt relief.

Briefing on conflict prevention, early warning and mediation in Africa


Date | 12 December, 2019

Tomorrow (13 December) the African Union (AU) Peace and  Security  Council  (PSC)  is  expected  to  receive  a  briefing on conflict prevention, early warning and mediation  in  Africa.  Fred  Ngoga,  Head  of  the  Conflict  Prevention and Early Warning Division (CPEWD) of the AU  Commission  is  expected  to  brief  the  PSC.  Representatives of Regional Economic Communities (RECs)  and  Regional  Mechanisms  (RMs)  may  also  make  interventions.

The briefing is expected to focus on two main issues. The first  will  be  horizon  scanning  of  threats  to  peace  and  security in Africa. A second possible aspect of the briefing may be an update on the status of development of conflict prevention tools.

One  of  the  key  principles  that  guide  the  operationalization of the PSC mandate is ‘early response to  contain  crisis  situations  to  prevent  them  from  developing into full‐blown conflicts.’ The PSC Protocol highlights  the  Council’s  responsibility  to  ‘anticipate  and  prevent conflicts’ particularly through ‘early warning and preventive  diplomacy’.  Conflict  prevention  and  early  warning is also one of the key objectives of the AU articulated in the Constitutive Act.

However, during the last briefing on early warning, at its 669th  session  the  PSC  has  indicated  its  concern  with regards  to  the  ‘continued  cases  of  denials  to  objective/credible early warning signals of looming crises,  thereby  undermining  the  conflict  prevention  capacity of Council’.

Similarly  at  its  12th  retreat  held  in  June  2019  in  Rabat,  the PSC stressed challenges to conflict prevention including  insufficient  funding  and  resources,  lack  of  political will of member states and sensitiveness around the  categorization  of  looming  crisis.  Towards  enhancing  the capacity of the Council it has ‘decided to increase the regularity  of  briefing  sessions  with  the  AU  Commission,  on issues relating to looming crises with a view to assembling  the  relevant  information  for  appropriate  action’. Tomorrow’s session will also be an opportunity to  deliberate  on  some  of  these  challenges  that  are  preventing the scaling up of early warning mechanisms for early action.

Within this context, the horizon scanning is expected to assess the security situation in the five regions and may identify  the  major  threats  witnessed  across  the  continent. It may particularly look into the broad areas of root  causes,  structural  factors  and  drivers  of  conflict  including terrorism and radicalization, climate change, election, democratization, governance, respect of human rights  and  the  rule  of  law  as  well  socio‐economic  inequalities and marginalization.
As  part  of  its  Border  Program,  CPEWD’s  presentation  may also highlight the tension that may be arising from border demarcation and delimitation disputes.

In  terms  of  country  and  regional  focus,  it  may  pay  particular attention to situations which are experiencing not  only  looming  crisis  but  also  countries  and  regions  that may be experiencing relative stability while confronted  with  risks  of  relapse  to  violence.  In  this  regard, the briefing may shed light on the developments in  various  countries,  which  are  currently  in  political  transition or have recently signed peace agreements or are  in  mediation  processes  including  countries  such  as  Sudan, South Sudan and CAR. It may also pay particular attention  to  close  to  twenty  countries  that  will  be  holding elections in the coming year.

The  briefing  may  also  look  into  the  cross‐border  and  regional aspect of conflict prevention. It may offer an analysis  on  regions  that  are  experiencing  conflicts  and  crisis emanating from intertwined and compounded factors  affecting  multiple  countries.  The  presentation  may also provide an assessment of key trends and analysis  on  changing  dynamics  and  complexities  surrounding the causes of conflicts.

In  the  light  of  the  longstanding  challenges  of  effective  operationalization of the conflict prevention mandate of the PSC, it would be of interest for PSC members to look into  the  modalities  for  a  more  effective  engagement  in  conflict prevention. In this regard, consideration can be given  to  Article  8(11)  of  the  PSC  Protocol  that  provides  for the possibility of the PSC holding informal consultations.  As  a  meeting  format  that  has  not  been  adequately explored, informal consultation particularly at  the  level  of  Committee  of  Experts  of  the  PSC  avails useful avenue for considering early warning briefings and exploring options for preventive action.
After the overall overview of peace and security risks and threats, the presentation in its second part may look into conflict  prevention  tools  and  update  on  their  progress.  This will also be an opportunity to promote and enhance the  utilization  of  continental  and  regional  mechanisms  by policy makers.

Article 2 of the PSC protocol stipulates the need for the Council  to  be  supported  by  the  various  mechanisms  including Continental Early Warning System in fulfilling its  mandate.  CEWS  primarily  consists  of  two  components: (i) the continental observation and monitoring  center,  known  as  “The  Situation  Room”  and  (ii) the observation and monitoring units of the Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RMs), which collect and process data and are linked directly to the Situation Room. To this end, it will be critical to deliberate on mechanism that enhance the synergy and close collaboration between the AU and RECs/RMs in providing up‐to‐date and relevant information to the PSC as well for the PSC itself to strengthen its working relations with the regional entities.

Considering the ongoing AU institutional reform process and  increased  PSC  engagement  with  RECs/RMs,  Council  members may wish to recall the commitments made during  PSC’s  12th  retreat  which  tasked  the  PSC  jointly  with RECs/RMs policy organs to establish ‘criteria for assessing  looming  crises  and  emerging  situations…  to  ensure … common understanding of parameters, benchmarks  and  principles  that  define  entry  points  for  interventions’.

The  presentation  by  the  division  may  also  provide  an  update on the activities of Panel of the Wise as a key pillar that is established for preventive diplomacy and in order to support the efforts of the PSC and those of the AUC  Chairperson,  particularly  in  the  area  of  conflict  prevention. The briefing may provide an update on the recently  concluded  annual  statutory  meeting  of  the  Panel of the Wise as well as the AU Special Envoy Representatives.  PSC  members  may  also  follow  up  further on the work of the Special Envoys considering the decision  at  its  12th  retreat  ‘to  hold  each  year  a  PSC  session during which AU Special Representatives/Envoys and AU High Representatives will provide briefings’.

The  presentation  may  also  provide  an  update  on  thematic issues related to Gender, Peace and Security Program  and  the  work  of  FemWise  as  well  as  their  harmonization with other gender centered mechanisms in  the  Commission  including  the  Office  of  the  Special  Envoy on Women, Peace and Security and the Gender Directorate.

As  part  of  the  Youth  for  Peace  program  activities  the  presentation may also raise the developments around the  ‘Study  on  the  Roles  and  Contributions  of  Youth  to  Peace and Security in Africa’, which was recently considered by the PSC.

The  expected  outcome  of  the  session  was  unknown  during the production of this ‘Insight’. The PSC may urge member states to strengthen their efforts at the national level  as  well  as  support  the  efficiency  of  early  warning  and prevention mechanisms at AU and RECs/RM level. Towards operationalizing its mandate, the PSC may also urge  for  the  strengthening  of  the  reporting  tool  of  the  Commission through enhancing of the systematic provision  of  early  warning  reports.  The  PSC  may  also  urge the Commission to provide regular briefings and horizon  scanning  to  equip  members  with  relevant  data  for effective decision‐making. To this end, the PSC may consider  adopting  informal  consultation  as  the  format  for a more regular and systematic consideration of early warning  and  conflict  prevention  sessions  including  through the convening of such informal consultations at the level of Committee of Experts.

Briefing on Silencing the Guns in Africa


Date | 10, December 2019

Tomorrow (10 December) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will consider the draft report on the implementation of the AU Roadmap on Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020, which will be presented to the next ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa in February next year.

Silencing the Guns is a flagship initiative of the African Union to promote prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa. It provides the overarching strategy guiding the efforts of the organization in ensuring a peaceful and secure Africa and laying a solid foundation for the
implementation of Agenda 2063. As part of the Solemn Declaration of the 50th Anniversary of the African Union, African states committed “to achieve the goal of a conflict‐free Africa, to make peace a reality for all our people and to rid the continent of wars, civil conflicts, human rights violations, humanitarian disasters and violent conflicts and to prevent genocide.” They further pledged “not to bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars by 2020.”

The AUPSC submitted a Master Roadmap of practical steps to Silencing the Guns by 2020, which was endorsed by the Assembly in January 2017. In view of the impending deadline, the upcoming AU Summit in February next year is expected to take stock of the progress made and the challenges encountered in the efforts made towards achieving the objective of silencing the guns in Africa. In this context, the 32nd ordinary session of the Assembly requested the PSC, with the support of the Commission, to take steps for the elaboration of a comprehensive report on the status of implementation of the AU Master Roadmap.

Therefore, the AUPSC will consider the draft report before its submission to the Assembly. A decision has already been made that the AU theme of the year for 2020 would be “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”.

For PSC member states, some of the issues of interest include the degree of progress made and the remaining challenges as well as the measures to be taken for addressing the challenges towards increased progress for silencing the guns in Africa. Although fragile, some progress has been made towards resolving some of the most intractable conflicts in Africa. The signing of the revitalized peace agreement in South Sudan had revived hope for restoring peace. The guns have by and large been silent but without implementing the letter and spirit of the agreement, there is a serious risk of reversal. Ensuring accelerated progress in the extended pre‐transition period of 100 days will be very critical in this regard. The signing of the peace agreement in Central African Republic also rescued the country from falling into the abyss but
challenges still abound. Furthermore, the signing of the power‐sharing deal by the Sudanese stakeholders with the support of the AU and Ethiopia has set a very good example in the search for African solutions to African problems.

The normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea also ended long standing stalemate that impeded stability in the Horn of Africa. However, without resolving some of the outstanding issues, sustaining the peace will be a challenge. Progress has also been made in recent years in strengthening governance including in holding peaceful elections in Africa. This said, strengthening institutions of governance, promoting inclusive politics, responding to the needs and aspiration of the people remains a daunting challenge.

By AU’s own admission, some of the limited progresses achieved thus far are a far cry compared to the lofty goals and objectives set out in the AU Master Roadmap for silencing the guns in Africa and the scale of remaining challenges. The continent no doubt continues to face serious threats to its peace and stability. Parts of Africa remain mired in conflict and new challenges to peace and security have emerged.

Governance deficits coupled with the global economic slowdown and its attendant impact on commodity prices as well as the youth bulge and high rates of unemployment have made many African countries vulnerable to instability and conflict. Together with this, the mismanagement of diversity and competition over power and resources have also contributed to fueling conflicts in some parts of the continent. In other parts, state fragility and weak state institutions have increased the risk of those countries that have emerged out of conflict relapsing into yet another cycle of conflict and violence.

Therefore, that a lot remains to be done towards silencing the guns in Africa is all the more evident and, hence, the need to redouble efforts to fasttrack implementation. There is a recognition of this fact and a dedicated Unit under the Bureau of the AU Commission Chairperson has been established.

Considering the new global geo‐political dynamics, enhancing the role of the AU and regional mechanisms in the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa is not an option. The institutional reforms underway will be critical in strengthening the governance and security architectures of the AU to accelerate efforts towards silencing the guns in Africa. Ensuring greater coordination and synergy between the AU and regional mechanisms is also vital. Furthermore, the revitalization of the AU Peace Fund will contribute to addressing the financing needs of the AU in its prevention and peacemaking efforts. At a time when there is donor fatigue, enhancing greater ownership of the AU’s programmatic activities and enhancing the contribution of member State to the Peace Fund has become all the more indispensable. This should be driven by the conviction that building a conflict free Africa is essentially the responsibility of the AU and its Member States, their people and their institutions, including civil society.

Although no outcome by way of statement or communique is expected, the AUPSC is expected to endorse the draft report with revisions and recommend it for adoption by the Assembly. It may express appreciation to the AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns in Africa and recommend that a plan is put in place for addressing challenges faced in the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap.

The PSC may also welcome the adoption of resolution 2457 (2019) and commend the role of Equatorial Guinea and other members of the A3 for their important contribution in facilitating its adoption. It may also reiterate the need for all AU Member States to submit their reports on their implementation of the AU Master Roadmap.

Ministerial session on ‘National Reconciliation, Restoration of Peace, Security and Rebuilding of Cohesion in Africa’


Date | 05 December, 2019

Tomorrow  (5  December  2019)  the  African  Union  (AU)  Peace and Security Council is scheduled to hold a ministerial  session  under  the  theme  ‘National  Reconciliation, Restoration of Peace, Security and Rebuilding of Cohesion in Africa’.

Apart  from  members  of  the  PSC,  non‐PSC  AU  member  states including Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African  Republic,  Mali  and  Niger  are  also  expected  to  participate at the ministerial meeting.

This theme was inscribed into the program of the month for December on the initiative of Angola. The session is also  slated  to  take  place  in  the  capital  Luanda.  This  is  illustrative of the increasing regional and continental role Angola  has  come  to  play.  It  is  to  be  recalled  that  in  September Luanda played host to a major continental conference on the promotion of the culture of peace.

Indicating the significance of this session for Angola, the President of Angola, João Lourenço, is expected to open the  session.  Angola’s  experience  with  national  reconciliation, restoration of peace, security and rebuilding of cohesion in the aftermath of the long civil war  and  the  divisions  it  sowed  is  expected  to  be  highlighted.

The ministerial session is expected to provide a platform to  discuss  and  share  the  experience  of  participating states in national reconciliation and in building inclusive and  stable  societies.  A  number  of  issues  would  be  of  interest for PSC members. One such issue is to identify what  kind  of  reconciliation  processes  –  national  reconciliation commission, national dialogue or national consultations  –  that  member  states  deployed  in  the  search for national reconciliation and the institutional and  policy  measures  they  developed  for  inclusion,  representation, or sharing of power for achieving inclusive structures of government and fostering national cohesion.

Another  and  critical  issue  is  how  to  muster  decisive  political leadership and the will to make difficult compromises as a means of building trust and achieving national reconciliation. As the challenges in South Sudan or  Mali  show,  this  more  than  anything  else  is  the  key  ingredient for the success of initiatives for national reconciliation and rebuilding of cohesion.
The  timing  of  the  theme  of  this  session  is  of  particular  importance as it coincides with commencement of the 2020  AU  theme  of  the  year  focusing  on  Silencing  the  Guns in Africa as 2019 gets concluded in a few weeks’ time. Within this context, tomorrow’s session is expected to  draw  out  the  particular  contribution  of  its  thematic  focus towards the making progress to meet the ambition of silencing the guns in Africa. In this respect and as part of  the  effort  to  silence  the  guns,  an  important  consideration is the need to paying a more central attention  to  the  inclusion  and  promotion  of  arrangements for national reconciliation, restoration of peace,  security  and  rebuilding  of  national  cohesion  in peace processes for resolving existing conflicts or as part of  the  initiative  for  restoring  peace,  security  and  rebuilding cohesion in emerging crisis situations such as in  Cameroon  or  contested  political  transitions  such  as  Ethiopia.

Indeed,  national  reconciliation  and  rebuilding  of  cohesion are crucial at all stages of the conflict cycle from  prevention  to  post‐conflict  reconstruction  and  development. Such initiatives are important for countries having  peace  processes  for  resolving  existing  conflicts  such as the Central African Republic or South Sudan or Mali  and  for  countries  in  a  post‐conflict  phase  such  as  Cote d’Ivoire. Initiatives for national reconciliation and rebuilding  of  cohesion  are  also  important  for  conflict  prevention in countries with relative peace and stability. This  is  illustrated  for  example  by  recent  experiences  of  some AU member states such as the Building of Bridges Initiative  of  Kenya  and  the  provision,  as  part  of  the  on‐going transition facing contestations, for a national reconciliation commission in Ethiopia.

In all these different settings, some of the issues for the PSC and its member states include the role to be played by  the  AU  and  how  to  support  initiatives  for  national  reconciliation, restoration of peace, security and rebuilding  of  cohesion.  The  AU,  including  through  the  PSC, has on various occasions called for the ratification of various AU instruments. There are however gaps on how to give them domestic legislative, institutional and policy expression  and  translate  them  into  forms  of  inclusive  and representative political and socio‐economic governance structures.

This is not the first time that the PSC convenes a session on  subject  related  to  the  theme  of  tomorrow’s session.  Its 347th, 383rd, 409th, 525th, 672nd and 726th sessions also  focused  on  a  related  theme.  Indeed,  the  first  time  the PSC held ministerial level session on a related theme was at its 393rd session. That session was held in Algiers, Algeria,  on  29  June  2013  under  the  theme  ‘National  Reconciliation: A Crucial Factor for Security, Stability and Development in Africa’. Apart from highlighting what it called  elements  for  conducting  national  reconciliation,  the communique of this 383rd ministerial session underscored that ‘national reconciliation is an imperative for  overcoming  divisions  arising  from  conflict  and  restoring social cohesion, in order to ensure lasting stability and progress’.

The  communique  of  the  409th  session  of  the  PSC  recommended to the AU Assembly to declare ‘2014‐2024 as a decade of reconciliation in Africa with a view to  consolidating  peace,  stability  and  sustainable  development on the continent’, leading to the AU Assembly  decision  of  31  January  2014  declaring  ‘2014–2024 as the Madiba Nelson Mandela Decade of Reconciliation  in  Africa’.  Although  it  has  not  been  implemented, one of the important pronouncements of the 525th press statement of the PSC was the decision to make the theme a standing thematic agenda of the PSC to be reflected in the annual indicative calendar.

The  Press  Statement  of  the  last  PSC  session  on  this  theme at the 726th session of the PSC emphasized the importance  of  comprehensive  transitional  justice  and  reconciliation process, as being key to effectively preventing  relapses  and  laying  a  strong  foundation  for  sustainable peace in countries emerging from violent conflicts.  Affirming  the  critical  importance  of  national  ownership, it also underscored ‘the importance of building  and  further  enhancing  the  capacity  of  local,  national and regional justice systems, including peace committees,  peacebuilding  ministries  and  national  reconciliation commissions, as well as community and traditional  justice  systems.’  It  also  reiterated  previous  calls for expediating the process of the development and adoption of AU transitional justice policy instrument.

The  review  of  the  previous  sessions  highlights  that  at  least two elements were lacking. First, although these previous sessions benefited from the 2006 AU Policy on Post‐Conflict  Reconstruction  and  Development,  when  these previous sessions were held the AU transitional justice  policy  did  not  exist.  Second,  the  mechanism  for  following up the measures required to advance this thematic  agenda.   Tomorrow’s session takes place in a different context. First,  it  is  convened  after  the  adoption  of  the  AU  Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP), which was adopted by the  AU  Assembly  in  February  2019.  Apart  from  consolidating the key messages of previous PSC sessions on  this  theme  and  bringing  them  into  a  coherent  framework, this Policy presents, drawing from the rich and  diverse  national  reconciliation,  justice  and  peace‐making experiences of the continent, the principles, guidelines,  mechanisms  and  benchmarks  for  the  implementation of national transitional justice processes including  national  reconciliation  and  truth  seeking.  For  its implementation, the AUTJP is complemented, as highlighted  in  the  preface  to  the  policy  that  AU  Chairperson Mousa Faki Mahamat wrote, by the Study of the  African  Commission  on  Human  and  Peoples’  Rights  on Transitional Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. It  is  expected  that  the  PSC  would  underscore  national  reconciliation, restoration of peace, security and rebuilding  of  national  cohesion  to  be  indispensable  for  achieving progress in Africa’s quest for Silencing the Guns and should receive  particular attention during the  2020 theme of the year. The PSC is also expected to call for  the  implementation  of  previous  decisions  on  the  theme particularly the decision of its 525th for making the theme of the session a standing agenda item of the PSC. The PSC could also welcome the adoption by the AU Assembly  of  the  AUTJP  and  urge  member  states  to  use  the Policy in pursuing national reconciliation, restoration of  peace,  security  and  rebuilding  of  cohesion.  The  PSC  could also call on the AU Commission and the African Commission  on  Human  and  Peoples’  Rights  in  collaboration with member states to support the implementation  of  the  AUTJP  in  peace  processes,  peacebuilding, conflict prevention and national reconciliation initiatives and report to it on existing and emerging national initiatives.

Provisional Program of Work for the Month of December 2019


Date | December 2019

Angola assumes the role of the monthly chairpersonship of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of December. Prepared under the leadership of Angola’s Permanent Representative to the AU, Ambassador Francisco José Da Cruz, the provisional program of work includes some five substantive sessions, including one country specific session and a ministerial meeting.

The monthly PSC program of work starts with the ministerial meeting that will be held from 4‐6 December in Luanda under the theme ‘National Reconciliation, Restoration of Peace, Security and Rebuilding of Cohesion in Africa’. The meeting is expected to provide a platform to discuss countries’ experience in national reconciliation and in building inclusive and stable societies. Non‐PSC member states are also expected to participate at the ministerial meeting.

On 10 December the PSC will consider the two reports that will be presented to the Assembly in February 2020: the draft Report on the Activities of the PSC and the State of Peace and Security in Africa and the Draft Report on the Implementation of the AU Master Roadmap on Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020. On the same day the PSC will consider and adopt the Provisional Programme of Work of the PSC for January 2020.

On 12 December the PSC is expected to be briefed on elections in Africa. Following that, the PSC will hold a session in preparation to the High Level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa. The annual seminar, which is planned to take place in Libreville in January 2020, is expected to look at the relationship between the PSC and the three African members in the UNSC, the A3.

The PSC will be briefed on two agenda items on 13 December. First, it will receive a briefing on the situation in Somalia and African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) activities. The last time the PSC held a meeting on Somalia and AMISOM was on 7 August 2019. The session scheduled on 13 December will be part of the quarterly reporting and review mandated by the communiqué of 848th session of the PSC.

During the second session of the day, the Council is expected to be briefed on Conflict Prevention, Early Warning and Mediation in Africa. This presents an opportunity for the AU Peace and Security Department to present to the PSC its horizon scanning briefing on changes to existing conflicts or new emerging conflict situations.

From 16‐19 December, the Military Staff Committee of the PSC will attend the 12th Ordinary Meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security and the 15th Meeting of African Chiefs of Defence Staff and Heads of Safety and Security, in Cairo. In addition to these agenda items, the provisional program of the month also envisions in footnotes a possible briefing on the situation in Sudan, meetings of the Committee of Experts and Military Staff Committee for which the dates are yet to be set.

Consideration of the MNJTF Mandate Renewal


Date | 28 November, 2019

Tomorrow (28 November) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a session on the security situation in the Lake Chad Basin region and to consider the mandate renewal of the Multi‐ National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

The representative of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) is expected to brief the Council. LCBC member states as well as Benin are also expected to deliver their statements. The AU Department of Peace and Security (PSD) and UNOAU representative may also make an intervention.

It is to be recalled that the PSC at its 816th session has renewed the mandate of the MNJTF for 12 month effective from 31 January 2019. The communique LCBC requested the LCBC Secretariat to provide biannual briefing on the implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization. It is to be recalled that the LCBC briefed the PSC at its 838th session in April 2019 and the Council called for a ‘comprehensive and rapid implementation of the Regional Strategy’. As a follow up to this, it is also expected that the LCBC presents an update on the implementation of the strategy. The Strategy, drawn up with the support of the AU PSD as part of post conflict reconstruction and development work, was adopted by the LCBC member states on 30 August 2018 and later on 5 December 2018 by the PSC.

It is expected that the briefing is to provide highlights of the activities that were undertaken since the last PSC session on the matter. The LCBC briefing may include the outcome of the second meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum held in Niamey, from 17‐18 July 2019. The meeting, which brought together eight regions of the Lake Chad Basin countries affected by Boko Haram primarily aimed at enhancing cross‐border cooperation and the implementation of the Regional Strategy. One of the key outcomes was the pledge made by donors where they committed around 60 million USD to the establishment of a stabilization facility that will coordinate the implementation of the Strategy. The PSC may request an update regarding the establishment of the facility as well as the practical measures taken in implementing the Strategy.

In accelerating the implementation of the Regional Strategy, the PSC may also recall its previous decision, which tasked the AU Commission to support the LCBC secretariat to ‘develop a clear roadmap for the implementation of the strategy’, a resource mobilization strategy and the convening of a solidarity conference under the Africa Solidarity Initiative. The statement by the PSD may provide details on the support provided and on the remaining tasks.

The briefing may make reference to the 2020‐2024 eight‐ point action plan in combatting and eradiation terrorism adopted at the ECOWAS extraordinary summit in Ouagadougou on 14 September 2019. It is expected that the mandate renewal will consider the priority areas that were identified by the ECOWAS meeting which range from coordination, training, financing and dialogue. The action plan, which is expected to serve as resource mobilization tool is expected to be finalized and adopted at the ECOWAS ordinary session on 21 December 2019. The framework may also offer guidance for the PSC in assessing not only the military operation of the MNJTF but also in examining the deliverables against the comprehensive set priority areas in the Regional Strategy.

The MNJTF has recorded operational successes in many of the offensives undertaken in the region including the liberation of occupied territories and in reducing the capabilities of the group. But various factors continue to enable proliferation of terrorist groups in the wider region. It is reported that new members coming from Libya and Syria have joined the ranks of terrorist groups in the region including North East Nigeria.

Despite the success the MNJTF registered, the insurgency remains to be capable of orchestrating attacks and providing support for other groups. The UN Secretary General Report on West Africa and the Sahel indicates that in the first six months of 2019, ‘despite counter‐terrorism efforts, the “Islamic State West Africa Province” faction of Boko Haram expanded its area of operations’. The armed group continued to use suicide bombers against civilians and security and defence forces. Between January and April alone 189 terrorist attacks took place in the northern states of Nigeria, resulting in 453 deaths and 201 kidnappings.

In a dangerous development, the group has increased the use of suicide vehicle‐borne improvised explosive devices (IED) against national security forces and the MNJTF in the countries of the Lake Chad region. In the past six‐month there has also been renewed attacks on army deployments and civilians.
It is also critical for tomorrow’s session to not only highlight the military efforts that aim at addressing immediate security concerns but also to ensure that there is adequate deliberation on addressing root causes and restoring sustainable peace, which are key elements identified in the Regional Stabilization Strategy. Indeed, the presidential statement of the 8592nd meeting of the UN Security Council, held on 7 August 2019, underlined ‘the need for security efforts to be aligned with political objectives, to enable the restoration of civilian security, the establishment of effective governance to deliver essential services, and the revival of local economies to provide livelihood opportunities for surging youth populations’. These are also key elements identified in the Regional Strategy. The upsurge of terrorist groups in the region have added urgency to the imperative of enhancing national ownership and prioritizing political strategies, notably active and sustained engagement of national leaders in the affected areas and strengthening state institutions and bolstering the legitimacy of local structures of government in those areas and others susceptible to penetration of terrorist groups.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC may commend the LCBC member states and Benin in their counter‐terrorism efforts. It may welcome the outcome of the meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum on the implementation of the Regional Strategy. It may call for increased efforts in realizing the objectives of the Strategy. It may task the AUC to support member states in developing implementation tools to monitor and track progress by also aligning it with the 2020‐2024 ECOWAS counter‐terrorism action plan. It may also reiterate the need for the convening of a solidarity conference. The PSC could also express concern on the volatile security situation in the region despite the sustained efforts of the MNJTF and may in this regard urge the prioritization of political processes that facilitate the enhancement of legitimate structures of governance at the local levels and the delivery of social services. Considering the political and security developments in the region, it may renew the mandate of the force for another 12 months.