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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PSC 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.

Briefing on Transnational Organized Crime and Peace and Security in Africa


Date | 24 April, 2019

Tomorrow (25 April) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to have its 845th session on Transnational Organized Crime and Peace and Security in Africa. The briefing is expected to be conducted jointly by the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), AU Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) and International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
The session is expected to highlight the need for enhanced cooperation for police agencies and other relevant law enforcement agencies in fighting all forms of organized crime with the aim of promoting peace and security in Africa. The session also presents an opportunity to elaborate on the nature of the threat of transnational organized crime in the continent and highlight the ongoing efforts by AFRIPOL, INTERPOL and CISSA in providing support to member states to fight organized crime in Africa, particularly due to the growing linkage between transnational organized crime and terrorism.

During the 731st meeting held on 8 November 2017 the PSC underlined ‘the direct linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime particularly in situations where state institutions are weak and lack the necessary capacity to effectively discharge their constitutional mandates’. Among others, organized crime has enhanced the ability of terrorist groups to finance their activities and this has contributed to the proliferation of violent extremist groups in the continent.

Similarly the INTERPOL-ENACT (Enhancing African capacity to respond more effectively to transnational organized crime) report released in December 2018 concluded that crimes are increasingly converging in Africa, underlining how transnational threats cannot be treated in isolation by particularly highlighting the interconnectedness between transnational organized crime and violent extremism. Criminals, terrorists and armed insurgents have benefited from diverse illicit activities and profits, through drug and arms trafficking, people smuggling and wildlife crime. The rapid technological development in Africa including its e-commerce and mobile technologies has come with the inadvertent consequences of the rise of cybercrime and illicit online activities.

Geographically as well organized crime is increasingly interconnected across the region and globally, hence in order to respond effectively to the threats the efforts by member states need to be more coordinated and move beyond national boundaries. In this context, the establishment of AFRIPOL, as a technical body for cooperation among the police agencies of the AU member states play a critical role in providing systematic and structured cooperation among police agencies in the continent. This has also been recognized by the PSC 731st session which underlined the importance of ‘collective security approaches in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime… and the core need for information and intelligence sharing among the relevant security agencies of the member states’.

Towards fostering regional cooperation the PSC, at its 687th meeting held in May 2017, requested the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), CISSA and AFRIPOL in partnership with other stakeholders to develop a five year strategic roadmap for the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism. This is expected to advance synergies and coherence among partners and mandate holders, by preventing duplication of efforts. Tomorrow’s session will also offer an opportunity to discuss ongoing efforts and coordination among the various institutes towards the common goal of fighting organized crime the interrelated activities of terrorism and violence extremism. In line with the PSC decision, AFRIPOL and CISSA may provide update on the development of the roadmap.

Similarly these efforts of coordination can be further enhanced by following up on the PSC decision that has requested the Commission to urgently prepare and submit to the Council, an updated matrix of status of implementation of all decisions adopted by Council including on transnational organized crime. The PSC may also recall this previous decision and follow up on the activities of the Commission.

The evolving nature of transnational organized crime requires that member states continue to review and update their responses in line with the changing environment. In this regard the briefing is expected to provide an overview of how INTERPOL and AFRIPOL work closely with member states towards strengthening the capacities of the national police agencies in adopting a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration the transnational nature of organized crime. The agreement signed between the AU and INTERPOL in January 2019, is also in recognition of the borderless nature of organized crime and to enhance cooperation between INTERPOL and AFRIPOL in areas of common interest, including in the exchange of data and information, technical cooperation, and training and capacity building.

It is also worth noting that transnational organized crime and illicit economy have become extremely complex and continue to evolve. The overlaps between the licit and illicit economies are significant, and it becomes increasingly difficult to draw distinction between them. Hence this requires coordination beyond law enforcement authorities by also building close cooperation with financial institutions, legal entities performing legal and financial services and financial intelligence offices. In this regard, the 749th PSC session that was held at heads of state and government level have called on ‘member states to take the required measures to dry up the flow of terrorism financing, by cutting the links between terrorist organizations and organized crime, including trafficking, smuggling and illicit trade.’

The situation is even more intricate with the increasing trends of criminal networks operating in Africa but with the support of criminals from outside the continent engaged in the various forms of crimes of trafficking and smuggling of illicit products and resources. The continent is becoming more entangled in a global network of illicit economic networks. This key aspect necessitates the shift from traditional responses towards organized crime that are designed to operate within national borders towards evidence based and coordinated approach at regional and global level.

The expected outcome is a press statement. The PSC may provide strategic guidance to member states, Regional Economic Communities/ Regional Mechanisms, and the AUC on ways to strengthen the capacities of the police authorities and agencies in combating transnational organized crime and deter its impact on the peace and security of the continent.

Open Session on Protection of civilians against the use of explosive weapons in populated  areas


Date | 17 July, 2019

Tomorrow (17 July) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold an open session on the protection of civilians against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
During the session it is expected that the Permanent Representative of Mozambique to UN Office in Geneva, representatives of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will deliver their presentations. AU Peace and Security Department is also expected to make a statement.

The adverse effect of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) has been a widely recognized challenge causing harm to civilians in conflicts. As indicated in the concept note, civilians are the overwhelming majority constituting 90% of victims during the use of wide-area effects explosive weapons in populated areas. Weapons designed to spread a wide effect or lacking precision when launched, often times lead to civilian suffering. In a time where violence and conflicts are increasingly taking place in populated cities instead of remote areas, the impact of the use of such weapons rises exponentially.

Beyond the immediate impact, the effects have long-term consequences in terms of the destruction of infrastructure, education and health facilities heavily affecting the coping capacity of communities. Particularly in the context of protracted conflicts, EWIPA may also delay or complicate conflict reconstruction and peace building processes.

With the increased level of urbanization coupled with the rise of conflicts in cities, various types of explosive weapons are being used such as mines, anti-personnel mines, missiles and grenades both by national military forces and armed groups. The AU has demonstrated commitment in the fight against the use of anti-personnel mines. 51 African member states have ratified the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Treaty). The 837th PSC session recognizing the risks associated with improvised explosive device (IED) and their devastating impact on civilians, called on ‘Member States to prevent and counter the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) through integrated and coherent approaches including helping one another, and demand the Commission to continue consultations with Member States to develop the necessary framework in this regard’.

Moreover, the protection of civilians has been a key priority to the AU as it is articulated in various policy instruments and deliberations. The AU provides a comprehensive definition to the protection of civilians. The Draft Guidelines for the protection of civilians in PSOs identified four tiers or dimensions of protection: protection through political process; physical protection; rights-based protection; and establishing a secure environment.

A dedicated regional meeting on Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas was also held in November 2017. In the communiqué of the meeting states highlighted that they ‘support the process that will lead to the negotiation and adoption of an international political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas’. The meeting although aimed at forming a group of African States that can actively support the development of the declaration, thus far only Senegal and Mozambique have participated in the diplomatic process. The two countries will represent Africa in the Core Group that will be leading on the development of the declaration. Following the upcoming October 2019 conference in Vienna, the declaration is expected to be adopted in Dublin in 2020.

Similarly the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his annual report on the protection of civilians in May 2019 called on member states to join the political process.

Across the continent EWIPA is further exacerbated by the increasing flow of illicit arms. The 788 session of the PSC highlighted that flow of ‘small arms and light weapons (SALW), to non-state actors contributes significantly towards exacerbating insecurity and violence in various parts of Africa, thereby undermining social cohesion, public security, socio-economic development and the effective functioning of state institutions’.

Presenters particularly the ICRC may highlight and provide an overview of the humanitarian dimension of the use of EWIPA, including the failure of such weapons to meet the international humanitarian law principles of distinction and proportionality. The destruction of homes and basic infrastructure the use of EWIPA coupled with a lack of access to basic services, lead to forced displacement of civilians. The delivery of humanitarian aid is often times hampered by destruction of roads, preventing access to life saving assistance and basic services. Hence, beyond the direct impact on people it affects the entire system of particular area or a country. Within the context of 2019 theme on Refugees, IDPs and Returnees the interventions may further highlight the linkages with forced displacement and the challenges associated with returns due to the destruction of homes and livelihoods.

INEW’s intervention may elaborate on the distinctive pattern of harm caused to civilians by the use of EWIPA. Given its role in the development of the political declaration, it may provide further details on the progress made thus far and next steps. It may also elaborate on why such a declaration is needed and how it can serve as a guiding framework for member states in their efforts in designing policies and in effectively responding to the security threat. The declaration may explicitly address issues related to harm of civilians due to the use of EWIPA and it may also pay particular attention on the mechanisms to ensure protection of civilians.

The representative of Mozambique may highlight the key outcomes of the Maputo regional meeting and elaborate on the country’s role and contribution in articulating a global political commitment anchored by provisions in existing African instruments.

The expected outcome of the session is a press statement. The PSC in the outcome document may recommend key actions and next steps towards mitigating harm and ensuring the full protection of civilians. It may commend Mozambique and Senegal for their leadership in contributing to the process of developing the political declaration. It may call on member states to strengthen their efforts by utilizing existing regional and international instruments. It may also call for a greater respect for international humanitarian law to reduce suffering of civilians.

Consideration of the Mapping Study on Illicit Arms Flows in Africa 


Date | 18 July, 2019

Tomorrow (18 July) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will consider the mapping study on illicit arms flow in Africa.

The Peace and Security Department (PSD) and the Small Arms Survey are expected to brief the council and present the main findings of the mapping study. The joint study has been conducted pursuant to the 430th PSC decision that tasked ‘the Commission to undertake a comprehensive study on the flow of illicit weapons into and within Africa and submit to it the outcome of such a study’.

Following this decision the AU Commission, jointly with the Small Arms Survey, has co-organized the inception meeting on mapping illicit arms flows in Africa, in June 2017. The press release at the inception meeting indicated that the study aims at producing data on patterns and trends in arms and ammunition inflows, diversion and illicit circulation, and gaps in control measures. The study also serves to equip the AU, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and member states with relevant tools to ‘prevent the flow of illegal arms and ammunition into conflict zones, implement evidence-based policies and better measure progress and impact in line with the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020’.

The study has been underway over the past two years including the validation by RECs and international experts in 2018. Following tomorrow’s consideration by the PSC, the study will be launched and presented to the various stakeholders in the AU headquarters.

The study is expected to establish a continental data and analysis that identifies regions and countries affected by illicit arms flow and trends in the illicit production, trade, possession, stockpile and circulation of arms. The data and analysis may also identify sources and patterns of movement and circulation of arms. This study is essential given the complexity of the issue and the absence of a continental binding instrument and a dedicated continental mechanism that can monitor trade and illicit arms flows and track their effects on peace and security. Currently the Bamako Declaration on an African Common Position on the Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons is the only existing continental instrument but it only expresses political rather than legal commitment. Hence its implementation and impact has been limited. Additionally, there is not a continent-wide dedicated mechanism for promoting the standards of the Declaration.

The various RECs have established frameworks within their respective regions. Although this is a positive step, it has resulted in parallel legal regimes and made response fragmented. Even in regions that have instruments, implementation is still lacking. The very nature of the flows of illicit weapons necessitates a kind of response that is trans-regional and a standardized continental framework. The fragmented response has also left regions such as the Sahel without an established instrument.

Although the 832nd PSC session underlined the primary responsibility of member states in combating illicit circulation of arms, however their capacities are limited. A related challenge is the porous nature of the boarders of many African countries and their inability to regulate their peripheral territories. Member states’ limited capacity and resources in putting in place effective administrative and institutional measures for safe stockpiling of arms has affected the safekeeping and control of arms. In this regard there is a need for the AUC to provide guidance and technical support on ways member states adequately monitor and track illicit arms as well as produce reports on their efforts and the challenges that are encountered as a follow up to the various calls of the PSC for receiving reports from member states. Hence institutional support to member states for the development of national strategy and reporting will enable relevant national institutions in discharging their roles for effective control of flow of arms.

Previous PSC sessions have made reference to the linkages between the proliferation and illicit flows of arms on the one hand and terrorism, organized crime and financing of terrorist groups. Additionally, there is a need to recognize the increased transnational nature of conflicts and how weak border control leads to porous borders that allows free movement of traffickers of arms across national borders.

Flows and circulation of illicit arms are particularly critical in conflict affected countries and post-conflict situations. The absence of effective implementation of DDR and SSR enables the proliferation of armed groups and the flow of illicit weapons, hampering cessation of hostilities and peace building processes. It may also contribute to potential relapse to violence by compromising gains made in restoring peace and security.

The PSC may also follow up on its previous decision at the 832nd, which requested ‘the Commission to consider organizing a forum for the AU to constructively engage with weapons manufacturers’. Apart from being a shared area of interest for the UN Security Council (UNSC), this international dimension of the illicit manufacturing, trade and transfer to Africa of small arms and light weapons also necessitates developing close coordination and joint approach with the UNSC. The risks and challenges associated with illicit flow of arms have been regularly debated at the UNSC.

The UN Secretary-General submits biennial report on small arms and light weapons to UNSC. In the Resolution 2220 (2015), the Security Council requested the SG to continue to submit to the Council on a biennial basis a report on the issue of small arms and light weapons. Following this decision the SG has submitted its fifth report in December 2017. In this context, the growing concern over the increased links between transnational organized crime, illicit small-arms trafficking and terrorism as well as emerging technologies for illicit trafficking and production has received attention.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. It may express concern over illicit small arms and light weapons within the continent and from the outside. It may commend the AUC and Small Arms Survey for leading on the development of the continental mapping study on illicit arms flows in Africa. It may call on member states in strengthening their monitoring and control mechanisms and may urge for enhanced cooperation among countries and with relevant international bodies. The PSC is also expected to adopt the recommendations of the study and call for their implementation. In its deliberation the council may call for standardization of the norms and approaches of RECs for a more harmonized and coordinated approach. In terms of targeted action within the framework of the AU Roadmap on Silencing the Guns as well, the implementation of measures directed at countries most affected by illicit circulation and trade of small and light weapons such as Libya. The PSC could also emphasize issues related to partnership and international cooperation in tracing illicit flows and movement of arms, capacity building to member states for arms and ammunition management and information sharing including through the UNSC.

Sensitisation Session on International Disarmament


Date | 04 April, 2019

Tomorrow (4 April) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold a sensitization session on International Disarmament with a focus on the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Treaty) and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The concept note of this 837th meeting envisages that tomorrow’s session will be an open one.

Executive Secretary of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) and the Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Beatrice Fihn are expected to brief the Council. The Commissioner of Peace and Security and the Defense and Security Division (DSD) will also deliver a statement. Additionally, statements are also expected from invited participants including Norway as the President of the Mine Ban Treaty for 2019 and host of the fourth review conference of the treaty. A statement will also be delivered by the Chair of the month, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye of Nigeria.

The session aims at generating awareness and reinvigorating commitment for the implementation of the two instruments. The Ottawa Treaty came into force in March 1999 with the central objective of eliminating anti-personnel land mines (AP-mines) globally. Currently 51 African member states have ratified the treaty. The review of the Treaty has taken place every five years, the last one was held in 2014 in Maputo, which also marked the 15th anniversary of the entry into force of the treaty. Consequently the Maputo Action Plan (2014-2019) was adopted with clear commitments on the implementation of time-bound obligation of the destruction of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines by the year 2025. The fourth review conference is scheduled for November 2019 in Oslo, which will mark the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Convention.

The concept note of the session indicates that despite the commitments of African member states both at the global and regional levels and the progress that has been made over the years, 13 AU Member States remain affected by mines, while 4 have not completed the destruction of their stockpiles. The anti-personnel land mines continue to kill and injure people even after cessation of hostilities by warring parties. Member states are continuously facing challenges due to armed groups increased use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) compounded with Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) threat particularly in Peace Support Operations context.

Although there has not been regular PSC briefing on AP-mines, at the AUC level the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action has been observed in past on 4 April. Moreover, previously the AU developed and launched the Mine Action and Explosive Remnants of War Strategic Framework project document for the period 2014-2017. The session may serve as a reminder of existing initiatives, which require renewed commitments and to commemorate the International Day.

The other instrument that will be discussed extensively is the TPNW and its implementation in line with the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (the Treaty of Pelindaba). The TPNW was adopted in July 2017 by 122 UN Member States, including 42 African countries, as a global instrument banning nuclear weapons. Despite such efforts, currently a total of 50 ratifications are needed to bring the treaty into force and only 22 countries have ratified including two African countries. Thus far, there are 70 signatories and 22 ratifications of the TPNW.

From Africa, while 20 AU member states are signatories, only South Africa and The Gambia have ratified this treaty. Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Sudan and Tanzania have expressed their intention to ratify the treaty. Given the leadership that African states demonstrated through the Pelindaba Treaty banning the proliferation of nuclear weapons with ratification from 41 AU member states, tomorrow’s session may serve as an opportunity for AU member states to take Africa’s commitment to the international level by mobilizing the ratification of the TPNW as a means of strengthening the international legal regime aiming at outlawing nuclear weapons.

This session that can help in the effort for strengthening multilateral regulation of nuclear weapons is very timely, taking place as the tension at the global level is heightened. With the withdrawal of the US and Russia from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, the lack of talks between the two countries for extending the 2010 treaty that reduced nuclear warheads, there are increasing fears of nuclear arms race, which threatens the TPNW. There are also risks in other fronts including around upholding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal due to the withdrawal of the US, the collapse of the talks between the US and North Korea and the recent escalation of tension between India and Pakistan are all concerns that the PSC members may raise as existential threats of global stability.

In the midst of these challenges Africa remains committed in maintaining a nuclear weapon free zone. The AU Chairperson and head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have signed a four-year agreement (2018-2022), an agreement on a safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies for development in Africa. At the 763rd PSC session held in April 2018, the Council ‘reaffirmed its commitment to disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy, as enshrined in the AU Constitutive Act and the Protocol relating to the establishment of the PSC’. In the same decision the Council ‘requested the AU Commission and the AFCONE to provide annual briefing to the PSC on the status of the implementation of the Pelindaba Treaty and the activities of AFCONE’. The latter was established by the Pelindaba Treaty to monitor compliance of member states in the use of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes and development.

As indicated in the concept note the session may also shed light on the fact although the continent is a nuclear weapon free zone, the global threats and use of nuclear weapons will have severe humanitarian impact on Africa and may reverse the development gains made. It may also make the case for the massive global expenditure on nuclear weapons amounting to close to US$105 billion annually to be channeled for global development and cooperation. The discussions may also highlight the efforts of countries including Nigeria and South Africa, who facilitated the initial resolution that led to the establishment of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) and continue to engage in the implementation of the treaty.

The expected outcome is a press statement. Tomorrow’s PSC meeting will hold a comprehensive discussion and deliberation given that it will be covering two interlinked instruments and processes that have immense impact globally and for the continent. The PSC may reiterate its commitment to nuclear weapons disarmament non-proliferation and cooperation in the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology. The Council may highlight the existential risks and humanitarian consequences of nuclear detonation would have on the continent. Hence, it may call on member states to ratify the TPNW to ensure that it enters into force. The PSC may also urge for the full implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the realization of the Maputo 2025 Commitment and for international partners to support the complete clearance of AP mines in Africa. The PSC may also call on the AU Commission to convene a meeting of AU member states for an African common position for the fourth review conference of the Ottawa Treaty.

Briefing on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons


Date | 14 March, 2019

Tomorrow (14 March) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to receive a briefing on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and its impact on the AU plan for Silencing the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020. The PSC is expected to receive briefing from the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA). The AU Peace and Security Department (PSD), particularly its division on Defense and Security is expected to brief. Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms are also expected to share their experiences.

The session is initiated by Kenya as the Chair of the month and host of RECSA. As the concept note for the session developed by Kenya indicates, the aim is to identify concrete actions to address the proliferation and circulation of illicit weapons and ammunition in line with the provisions of AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns. The concept note makes reference to the Silencing the Guns Continental Plan of Action (STG-PoA) that is currently being developed by the African Union Commission (AUC) as a framework to operationalize the Master Roadmap. The briefing will also offer an overview of the success and challenges of the efforts undertaken against the proliferation of illicit weapons by particularly focusing on the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region. At its 778th session the PSC stated that ‘illicit flow of arms, particularly small arms and light weapons (SALW), to non-state actors contributes significantly towards various parts of Africa’. exacerbating insecurity and violence in Following its 824th meeting held on February 5 2019, the Council, in a press statement, emphasized the centrality of national institutions in the fight against the proliferation of SALW and further urged ‘Member States to invest more in building and further strengthening their capacities to effectively safeguard national stockpiles of weapons, with a view to preventing weapons and ammunition from falling into wrong hands’.

Building on this, the session is expected to discuss the role of regional organizations and inter-state coordination in mitigating the proliferation and accumulation of illicit arms. AU peace and security frameworks including the Silencing the Guns Roadmap recognize the role of RECs/RMs to design and monitor tailored policy instruments that addresses the specific security situation in their respective regions.

In line with the session’s objective, the briefing by RECSA may provide an overview of the impact of flow of illicit arms and gaps in control measures on peace, stability and development. RECSA’s intervention is expected to shed light on the recent political developments in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes regions and their impact in fostering regional cooperation to eradicate illicit flows of arms and weapons. It may also make reference to the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspect and the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa in order to identify practical steps towards accountability and regulation of non-states actors possession SALW.

The briefing from PSD may highlight challenges around regulatory frameworks, including the lack of protection and management of stockpiles which often lead to diversion of legally sourced arms by illegal non-state actors. The intervention may emphasize on the importance of compliance with international and regional legally binding instruments, including the universal ratification and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty, as well as the need to strengthen national legislations and institutions. PSD may also speak on the draft AU policy for the management of recovered arms and ammunitions in peace support operations.

The Assembly decision Assembly/AU/Dec. 645 (XXIX) adopted by the 29th Ordinary Session of the AU, has declared the month of September of each year until 2020, as “Africa Amnesty Month” for the surrender and collection of illegally owned weapons and arms. During the commemoration in September 2018 the PSC has urged RECs/RMs to submit reports to the Council, through the AU Commission, on the actions taken in line with the Africa Amnesty Month.

The AUC has also been leading on the development of technical and operational guidelines by the Council to inform national and regional efforts in undertaking activities under the Africa Amnesty Month and a compendium of the success stories and best practices across the continent in implementing voluntary disarmament programs. The PSD may provide status update on the development of such instruments and on following up on national measures.

PSC members may discuss the increased link between the circulation of small arms, terrorism and proliferation of rebel armed movements. The UNSC resolution 2457 on Silencing the Guns in Africa adopted on 27 February 2019 underscored ‘the need for effective implementation of relevant arms control and disarmament instruments and regimes as well as arm embargoes imposed by the United Nations Security Council’. The PSC may urge member states and regional organizations to take measurable actions against the proliferation of illicit weapons and arms, including through the strengthening the criminal justice response and enhancing law enforcement institutions. The PSC may also follow on UNSC resolution 2457, urging international actors to take specific measures of cooperation including in terms of effective regulation of the sale and movement of small arms and light weapons and supporting the sanctioning of illicit flows.

At the time of production of this insight the form that the outcome of the session takes was unknown. The PSC could consider urging member states to strengthen their capacities to vigorously monitor and protect national stockpiles of weapons and recover illegally owned arms. The Council may also call on RECs/RMs to complement the efforts of member states and assist them in developing and implementing national action plans and regional cooperation to curb illicit proliferation of arms. The PSC may reiterate its previous decision by urging compliance with international and regional legal frameworks and task the AU Commission to submit a report on the trends and dynamics of illicit flow of small arms and light weapons and progress made and challenges faced in implementing continentally and regionally agreed measures. The PSC may call on member states in transition from conflict to undertake sustainable disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs to prevent relapse to violence and conflict.

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.

Ministerial session on the nexus between peace, security and development 


Date | 27 September, 2019

Tomorrow (27 September 2019) the African  Union  (AU)  Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold a ministerial  session  devoted  to  the  theme  “Nexus  between peace, security and development: towards a pact  of  collective  responsibility”.  To  be  chaired  and  opened with a statement by Mr. Nasser Bourita, Minister of  Foreign  Affairs  and  International  Cooperation  of  the  Kingdom of Morocco and Chair of the PSC for the month of  September,  the  session  is  expected  to  receive  a  briefing from the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Apart  from  the  members  of  the  PSC  and  the  Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui and Commissioners for Social Affairs and Political affairs, it is also  envisaged  that  Egypt,  as  the  Chair  of  the  AU,  will  participate.

This  theme  was  included  in  the  provisional  program  of  work of the PSC for September on the initiation of Morocco  as  Chair  of  the  PSC  for  the  month.  After  the  draft concept note was initiated, it was circulated to the Committee  of  Experts  for  their  inputs  and  adoption  before it was submitted to the PSC to guide the drafting and review of the communique of the session.

The session draws on relevant instruments in which the interface between peace and security and development has been specified. Accordingly, reference is made to the preamble of the AU Constitutive Act acknowledging the need  to  promote  peace,  security  and  stability  as  a  prerequisite for the implementation of our development and integration agenda. More directly, specific reference is  made  to  the  relevant  provisions  of  the  PSC  Protocol  notably Article 3(a) and Article 4(d) with the later specifying the interdependence between socio‐economic development  and  the  security  of  peoples  and  States  as  one of the principles that guide the work of the PSC.

Beyond  examining  the  nexus  between  peace  and  security and development, the session also puts a spotlight  on  the  security‐heavy  character  of  AU’s  peace  and security initiatives. It means that inadequate attention  is  paid  to  the  development  dimension.  In  foregrounding the development dimension of conflicts, the session emphasizes the need for paying attention in AU’s  peace  and  security  interventions  to  the  socio‐economic factors that propel and fuel conflicts and instability.  Reference  is  also  made  to  how  the  socio‐economic dimension intersects with lack of good governance,  weakness  of  state  institutions,  organized  crime and environmental degradation in compounding insecurity.

The  session  also  highlights  how  the  absence  of  socio‐economic development undermines peace processes at times  leading  to  the  relapse  of  post‐conflict  countries  back to conflict. This underscores the critical importance of  post‐conflict  reconstruction  and  development interventions  paying  particular  attention  to  social,  economic and political inclusion of conflict affected and vulnerable  groups  and  the  creation  of  spaces  for  socio‐economic opportunities.
The  concept  note  states  that  ‘social  and  economic  discontent, combined with general access to media and social  network,  give  rise  to  higher  expectations  which  governments cannot satisfy, and make a source of tension  that  cannot  be  neglected’.  Indeed,  as  the  emergence in recent years of protests and riots as the dominant  forms  of  crisis  events  in  Africa  shows,  poorly  distributed wealth and lack of sufficient jobs, opportunities  and  freedoms,  particularly  for  a  large  youth population, can also increase the risk of instability.

It  would  be  of  interest  for  the  members  of  the  PSC  to  further assess how best to pursue this theme of the nexus  between  peace  and  security  and  development  within the framework of the mandate of the PSC. At one level, this pertains to the question of how the issues that this  theme  raises  can  be  integrated  into  the  conflict  prevention, management, resolution and post‐conflict reconstruction  tools  and  interventions  of  the  AU  including with respect to specific country or regional conflict  situations.  It  is  expected  that  some  countries  notably Kenya may make reference to global initiatives such as most notably the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Additionally, another practical consideration for pursuing this  theme  relates  to  developing  approaches  for  both  tapping into the role of development actors including businesses  and  mobilizing  the  use  of  development interventions to leverage peace processes. This obviously necessitates  not  only  identifying  the  role  of  AU  institutions particularly the specialized agencies and partner  entities  such  as  the  African  Development  Bank  and the UN Economic Community for Africa as well as the  UN  Peace  Building  Commission  for  whom  development is their core mandate but also articulating the  strategies  for  activating  and  strategically  deploying  their role.

Also  of  interest  for  PSC  members  is  the  aspect  of  the  theme referring to ‘a pact of collective responsibility’. While  two  of  the  objectives  of  the  session  identified  in  the concept note involve defining ‘an institutional framework  with  a  view  to  establishing  a  Pact  for  Collective Responsibility, based on the principle of interdependence  as  well  as  shared  responsibility  and  establishing ‘a roadmap for the implementation of the Collective  Responsibility  Pact,’  it  is  not  immediately  apparent what the pact for collective responsibility refers  to  and  entails.  The  general  thrust  of  the  session  however suggests the need for processes in which the role  of  actors  with  development  mandate  is  fully  mobilized and the development dimension is integrated in peace and security analysis and policy interventions. It is possible to anchor such collective pact on the the AU Post‐Conflict Reconstruction Development (PCRD) Policy Framework by establishing partnerships including based on the example of the 2008 United Nations‐World Bank Partnership  Framework  for  Crisis  and  Post‐Crisis  Situations.

Based  on  the  concept  note,  a  draft  communique  was  prepared for review by the PSC ahead of the ministerial session.  On  16  September,  the  PSC  reviewed  the  draft  communique and provided inputs for updating the draft. Member  states  highlighted  the  need  for  enriching  and  tightening the communique. In this regard, attention is drawn  to  the  importance  of  building  on  existing  engagements and strategies of the AU, particularly those not substantially referenced such as the relevant aspects of  the  AU  Master  Roadmap  on  Silencing  the  Guns  by  2020 and Agenda 2063.

If  the  initial  draft  of  the  communique  is  anything  to  go  by, the specific items expected to feature in the communique  have  been  identified.  One  such  item  concerns the systematic integration of the development dimension  in  AU  initiatives  and  tools  as  well  as  in  the  division of responsibilities at AU and RECs/RMs. The other  is  the  harmonization  and  coordination  with  AU  specialised agencies particularly those with a mandate on  development  such  as  the  AU  Development  Agency/NEPAD. In terms of how to take the theme of the session  forward,  the  PSC  is  expected  to  request  the  Chairperson of the AU Commission to present a document  on  ‘a  multidimensional  approach  reflecting  the nexus between peace, security and development.’

It is envisaged that prior to the ministerial meeting, the PSC,  meeting  at  the  level  of  Ambassadors  at  the  AU  Observer Mission to the UN, will undertake further review of the draft communique.

Apart from those identified in the draft communique and further developed in the various review sessions on the communique, the PSC may consider to also look into the additional  questions  this  theme  raises  in  terms  of  how  best to pursue it within the framework of the mandate of the  PSC.  This  notably  includes  the  identification  of  the  mechanisms for integrating the development dimension in  all  the  peace  and  security  tools  and  interventions  of  the AU beyond the early warning system as envisaged in Article  12(4).  The  communique  could  also  envisage  the  identification of the role of the development institutions of  the  AU  and  its  partner  organizations  as  well  as  their  systematic and targeted deployment across the conflict continuum. Given its direct relevance for this theme, it is of  particular  importance  for  the  communique  to  make  reference to and draw on AU PCRD Policy Framework. Reference  could  also  be  made  to  Agenda  2063  and  the  2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as various  UN  initiatives  notably  the  Peace  Building  Commission and UN Security Council Resolution 2282(2016).

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


Date | 19 September, 2019

Tomorrow (19 September 2019) the African  Union  (AU)  Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold a session to consider the draft UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution  initiated  in  August  2019  on  sustainable  financing for African Peace and Security Agenda in the context of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. It is expected that the Committee of Experts, a subsidiary body of the PSC, is expected to present the outcome of its review of the draft resolution to the Council.

In  December  2018,  the  African  three  non‐permanent  members of the UNSC (the A3) presented a draft resolution  on  financing  of  African  Peace  and  Security  Agenda for vote by the UNSC. The draft resolution initiated  by  Cote  d’Ivoire,  Equatorial  Guinea  &  Ethiopia  had gone through rigorous negotiation process with other  members  of  the  United  Nations  (UN)  Security  Council (SC). After negotiations were concluded, the draft was put in blue on 8 December by Cote d’Ivoire, the President  of  the  UNSC  for  December  2018,  on  the  request the A3 and voting was initially scheduled for 10 December.

In  a  press  release  of  14  December  2018,  the  PSC  underlining that ‘the tabling of this resolution represents a  watershed  moment  and  an  expression  of  the  international community’s commitment to strengthening the  global  peace  and  security  architecture  and  its capacity to address today’s complex security challenges’, endorsed  it  as  ‘timely  and  balanced’.  Following  an  apparent indication by the US to veto the draft if the vote went ahead as planned, the 10 December vote was postponed for a week after France requested to engage the US further to avoid the veto and bring the US to the consensus.

In  the  meantime,  the  A3  continued  mobilizing  support  for the resolution. Following a briefing by the A3 on 18 December  and  taking  into  account  the  14  December  press release of the AU PSC, the African Group in New York after deliberation on the draft decided to put its full weight behind the A3 efforts and called on all members of the group to co‐sponsor the draft resolution. Beyond the  Africa  group,  the  draft  also  received  support  from  other members of the UN with a total of 87 UN member states co‐sponsoring it.

The  postponement  of  the  10  December  vote  and  the  engagement with the US did not yield the kind of compromise  that  the  A3  deemed  to  be  consistent  with  the core fundamentals of the draft resolution. Accordingly,  a  vote  on  the  draft  resolution  was  scheduled for 19 December. However, unofficial communications  received  from  the  AU  advised  that  every effort be made to avoid the veto. In the meantime, a  compromise  text  by  France  started  to  circulate.  The  result was that the A3 postponed the vote once again to 21  December.  Two  complicating  factors  also  surfaced.  First, an informal message from the AU advising to accept  the  so‐called  compromise  text  emerged.  It  was  followed by a note verbal from the AU Commission Chairperson holding that ‘the best course of action is to build on the compromise proposals in the past few days,’ hence opting for the compromise text by France instead of the original A3 draft. Second, the cohesion of the A3 suffered  a  blow  when  Cote  d’Ivore  requested  the  UN  Secretariat to put the so‐called compromise proposal in blue for a vote.

In an email it sent out to the UN members co‐sponsored the  original  A3  text,  the  Office  of  the  Permanente  Representative of Ethiopia raised serious reservations on the  ‘compromise  text’.   It  observed  that  ‘the  new  text  introduced significant amendments and new languages in  its  operative  paragraphs  (see  OP9,  OP16,  OP  17,  OP  18, OP 19, OP 26, OP 28 and OP 30) which is fundamentally different from the original A3 text’. It also pointed out that ‘[m]ost of the members of the Security Council had no knowledge of the new resolution. Neither did it pass through any negotiation process nor did it also go through the silence procedure’.

Following  a  meeting  on  21  December  at  the  level  of  Permanent Representatives, the A3 once again decided to  postpone  the  vote  on  the  draft  resolution  pending  a  clear guidance from the AUPSC, which mandated the A3 to  champion  the  common  African  position  on  the  financing issue. The Africa Group also met in an emergency  session  and  endorsed  the  A3  decision.  The  report of the Africa Group meeting was communicated to the AUC.

On  24  December  2018,  the  PSC  discussed  the  matter  under ‘any other business’ and requested the AU Commission to submit to it a report. Although the report was  planned  to  be  presented  to  the  Council  in  early  2019, this did not happen. Yet, at the level of the AU, the call  on  the  UNSC  for  adopting  the  resolution  has  continued. In February 2019 the AU High Representative on  Silencing  the  Guns  by  2020  urged  the  ‘Security  Council to respond positively to the African Union’s long‐standing and legitimate calls for the funding of African peace  support  operations  through  United  Nations  assessed contributions.’

In New York, another effort for following up the process for securing a resolution has been initiated under South Africa,  which  joined  the  A3  in  January 2019  taking  over  from Ethiopia. After consultations with A3 members including Ethiopia, the two drafts that were put in blue in December 2018 were withdrawn. In August 2019, South Africa  in  consultation  with  the  A3  introduced  a  new  draft. While negotiations on this text has started, the draft  was  also  submitted  to  the  PSC  for  its  guidance  in  anticipation of a consensus being achieved on this draft for  its  potential  consideration  for  vote  under  South  Africa’s presidency in October 2019.

It  was  against  the  background  of  the  foregoing  that  tomorrow’s agenda was put in the program of work of the PSC for September. It was not for the first time that the  PSC  would  discuss  this  tomorrow.  On  Monday  16  September, the PSC also discussed this agenda after receiving  a  briefing  from  the  troika  of  the  PSC  (the  previous, the current, and incoming chairs of the PSC) on their videoconference meeting that they had with the A3 the previous week. After the meeting, the PSC tasked the Committee of Experts to review the two draft resolutions that  the  A3  proposed  in  December  2018  and  the  latest  one from August 2019 in order to make proposal to the PSC on the next steps.

The  August  2019  draft  reflected  recent  developments  since the December 2018 Draft. For example, draft preambular  paragraph  17  welcomed  ‘the  joint  Declaration of the Secretary‐General of the United Nations  and  the  Chairperson  of  the  African  Union  Commission of 6th December 2018’ and preambular paragraph 19 and 20 welcoming work undertaken by the UN  Secretariat  and  the  AU  in  developing  and  adopting  relevant compliance standards. In terms of the operative paragraphs, the August 2019 draft no longer contains the text from the compromise draft postponing the adoption of a framework resolution for another time. Yet, despite keeping  the  key  paragraph  ‘deciding  in  principle  that  United Nations assessed contributions can be provided, with decisions to be taken on a case‐by‐case basis … to support  future  African  Union‐led  peace  support  operations’, the August 2019 draft has carried much of the  new  text  that  was  introduced  in  the  compromise  draft that France proposed and the A3 and the Africa Group rejected.

The  Committee  of  Experts  reviewed  the  two  drafts  during their 17th meeting held on 17 September. There is strong view in the PSC that the position of the PSC of 14  December  2018  endorsing  the  A3  draft  needs  to  be  maintained. In this respect, there are concerns that the August  2019  draft  with  the  text  from  the  compromise  draft including that which reduced the role of the AU ‘to operational  details’  would  seriously  undermine  the mandate of the PSC as provided for in the PSC Protocol. In  their  report  to  the  PSC  tomorrow,  the  Committee  of  Experts would also highlight other aspects of the draft that  are  deemed  to  mark  major  departure  from  the  December 2018 draft including the language ‘utilized’, the  reporting  arrangements  and  the  formulation  of  the  reference to AU’s decision committing to raise 25% of funds for peace and security.

It  is  therefore  expected  that  the  Committee  of  Experts  would advise that the draft resolution should not be submitted  to  the  UNSC  for  adoption  in  October  2019.  The Committee is also expected to propose that further negotiations  are  held  on  the  draft  focusing  on  those  aspects of the draft resolution that are feared to curtail the mandate of the PSC provided for in its Protocol and seriously limit the scope  of flexibility  and strategic level  political role of the AU in general.

In  terms  of  taking  this  process  forward,  there  is  a need  for ensuring that the momentum is not lost. Central to keeping the momentum that has been achieved thus far is engaging the US not only with a view to avoid its use of veto  but  also  importantly  achieve,  based  on  further  negotiations on the draft, a new more balanced formulation.  In  this  respect,  consideration  should  be  given to recalibrate the approach utilized thus far. There is  in  particular  a  need  for  elevating  the  engagement  of  the US administration not only at the level of the US Delegation in New York but also at the level of Congress, the  State  Department  and  the  White  House.  The  opportunity that the UN General Assembly (UNGA) presents for engaging the US administration particularly at  most  senior  levels  of  the  State  Department  and  the  White House by the AU PSC ministers and Heads of State and  Government  including  South  Africa’s  President,  as  the incoming president of the UNSC leading on the negotiation in the UNSC on the draft resolution, is worth exploring.  Similarly,  as  part  of  the  preparation  for  the  13th Annual Consultative Meeting of the PSC and the UNSC  scheduled  for  October,  consideration  should  be  given to engage, including based on proposed text jointly formulated by the AU Commission and the UN Office to the  AU  (UNOAU),  the  permanent  five  members  of  the  UNSC in general and the US in particular for avoiding a stalemate in the negotiation process.

While  no  formal  outcome  is  expected  from  tomorrow’s  meeting, depending on the depth of the deliberations and the guidance that the PSC may wish to give on next steps, it may adopt a communique. Such a communique could envisage that the matter is discussed with the A3 both  on  the  side‐lines  of  the  UNGA  and  during  the  upcoming visit of the Committee of Experts to New York to  discuss  preparations  for  the  Annual  Consultative  Meeting. In the light of the existence of major concerns over  the  current  draft,  it  could  also  urge  for  further  negotiations in the interest of keeping the momentum of the  process  with  a  more  sustained  and  elevated  engagement. It could also task as part of the negotiation process  proposed  texts  for  bridging  the  gap  and  achieving a more balanced draft are initiated in consultation  with  the  A3.