du Conseil de Paix et de Sécurité de l’Union Africaine - 2020

2020

2021

AVANT-PROPOS

Le Conseil de paix et de sécurité (CPS) de l’Union africaine (UA) est une incarnation de ce que l’éminent politologue kényan, feu Professeur Ali Mazrui, a appelé Pax Africana, qui fait référence à une paix “protégée et maintenue par l’Afrique elle-même’’.

En créant le CPS et en le dotant des pouvoirs qui lui sont conférés par le Protocole relatif à la création du CPS (Protocole du CPS), l’UA s’est dotée d’une structure institutionnelle faisant ainsi droit à la longue quête du continent pour assumer le leadership dans la recherche de solutions aux défis continentaux liés à la paix et à la sécurité. Lorsque le CPS a été installé le 25 mai 2004, communément dénommé Journée de l’Afrique, les chefs d’État et de Gouvernement du CPS ont déclaré que l’installation du Conseil constituait un
tournant historique dans le cheminement de l’Afrique sur la voie du règlement de ses conflits et de l’édification d’une paix durable’’ sur le continent.

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The Peace and Security Council in 2020: The Year in Review

2020

Date | 08 January, 2021

2020 REVIEW OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL

As the year of the novel coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, 2020 presented a unique challenge to the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC), as it did to many institutions. In the work of the PSC, the year will be remembered more by the fact that the PSC sustained the continuity of its work in the face of the disruption COVID19 brought about across the world than by the deployment of any major new peace and security initiative. In this report, we provide a review of the work of the PSC during 2020, including how the PSC overcame the threat that COVID19 posed to the continuity of its work.

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CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF THE AGENDA OF SILENCING THE GUNS IN AFRICA

2020

Date | December, 2020

INTRODUCTION

Silencing the Guns is one of the flagship projects of Africa’s development blue print of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU). It provides the overarching objective guiding the efforts of the organization towards achieving a peaceful and secure Africa which is the foundation for the implementation the development and regional integration plans of the continent.

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Consideration of the Special Report of the AUC Chairperson and the UN Secretary-General on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and a follow-on presence

2020

Date | 30 November, 2020

Tomorrow (30 November) the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) is scheduled to consider the Special Report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) on the African Union United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and a follow-on presence. The session is expected to take place through VTC.

Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, is expected to deliver a statement. The Joint Special Representative and Head of UNAMID, Kingsley Mamabolo, is also scheduled to make a presentation. Representative of Sudan as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and country concerned, IGAD secretariat, UN Office to the AU (UNOAU) are also expected to make statements.

In the last session on UNAMID held in May 2020, the PSC in its 927th communiqué reiterated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s request to the UNSC in deploying a mission with a Chapter VI of the UN Charter mandate. It further underlined the importance of respecting national ownership of the transition process and need for continued coordination and complementarity between the AU and UN in peacebuilding activities. Moreover, the PSC further stated that UNAMID’s mandate should be extended up to 31 December 2020 in line with its protection mandate and implementation of the exit strategy.

On 3 June 2020, the UNSC has adopted two resolutions: 2525 (2020) and 2524 (2020). Resolution 2524 (2020) established the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) for an initial period of 12 months. The UNSC requested the Secretary General to rapidly appoint a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sudan and Head of Mission of UNITAMS and ‘ to swiftly initiate the planning for and establishment of UNITAMS, with a view to reaching full operational capacity as soon as possible and in order to ensure the mission is able to start delivering against all its strategic objectives no later than 1 January 2021.’

Pending the establishment of UNITAMS, resolution 2025 (2020) extended the mandate of UNAMID until 31 December 2020 with the current troop and police ceiling. The resolution also requested the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of theAUC to provide the Security Council with a Special Report no later than 31 October 2020, assessing ‘the situation on the ground… the capacity of the Government of Sudan… to protect civilians… and recommendations on the appropriate course of action regarding the drawdown of UNAMID, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.’ The UNSC is expected to deliberate on the drawdown and exist of UNAMID based on the guidance provided in the report.

In line with this resolution, the joint AUC Chair and UNSG report is expected to provide an analysis of the security situation in Darfur, outcome of the Juba peace agreement, ongoing efforts for protection of civilians and key recommendations for the transition from UNAMID to UNITAMS.

Moreover, in light of the joint October 2020 visit to Sudan by Commissioner Smail Chergui and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, it would be of interest for PSC members to be briefed about the political and security situation in Darfur. In this respect, it is worth noting that despite very encouraging political developments in Sudan, the situation in Darfur remains concerning. Apart from the presence of armed opposition groups, the sources of insecurity include notably inter- communal clashes, land related clashes and attacks on civilians which have increased from the third quarter of 2020. Between June and October 2020, UNAMID recorded a total of 146 fatalities including 111 fatalities in July alone as a result of 31 clashes and disputes, marking a more than four-fold increase of casualties compared to the same period in 2019 and a more than eight-fold increase from that of in 2018.

With regards to the ongoing security risks, another key issue that is expected to be discussed in tomorrow’s briefing is the National Plan for Protection of Civilians that was officially submitted to the UNSC and its implementation. The Juba peace agreement itself has created a framework to address the protection of civilians through comprehensive measures covering security, justice and reconciliation, protection of refugees and internally displaced persons.

In terms of the peace process, tomorrow’s session will discuss the developments that followed the Juba peace agreement signed between the Transitional Government of Sudan, the Sudan Revolutionary Front coalition of armed opposition groups, and the Sudan Liberation Front led by Minni Minawi on 3 October 2020 and the Declaration of Principles signed between Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the SPLM-N faction led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu on 3 September 2020.

The briefing, in line with the recommendations of the report, will also present the action points leading to UNAMID’s drawdown and UNITAMS’s deployment. The transition will be marked by the shift from the physical protection provided by UNAMID to UNITAMS’s role in supporting the implementation of the National Plan for Protection of Civilians, peacebuilding activities, economic recovery and development. Moreover, the key recommendations outlined in the report include the termination of UNAMID’s mandate by 31 December 2020 and the full operationalization of the UNITAMS as per the Security Council resolution 2524 (2020); UN, the AU and IGAD in close collaboration with the government of Sudan to provide support in sustaining peace in Darfur and the need to conduct a lessons learnt exercise to document UNAMID’s experience.

Commissioner Chergui’s briefing may further provide overview on the outcome of the Tripartite (AU – UN – Government of Sudan) Coordination Mechanism (TCM) on UNAMID that was held in October 2020. His briefing may also touch on the possible follow up technical meeting between the National Committee and UNAMID that is expected to deliberate and rollout actions in the period after December 31.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to endorse the recommendations of the report including the termination of UNAMID’s mandate in December 2020 and the subsequent deployment of UNITAMS. It may welcome the signing of the Juba agreement and express its wish for the effective implementation of the agreement to ensure peace and stability in Darfur and more broadly in Sudan. It may also commend the Government of Sudan for the development of a National Plan for Protection of Civilians. It may express concern over the recent rise in violence and insecurity in Darfur and may urge for a smooth transition that pays particular attention to the protection of civilians and to prevent any security vacuum in the area. It may stress the importance of continued and strengthened engagement of the AU in the aftermath of UNAMID and more particularly for the AU to play an active role in the peacebuilding and development process of the country. In this respect, the PSC may request that the presence of the AU in Sudan is strengthened for supporting both the transitional process and the implementation of peace agreements and post-conflict reconstruction and development measures.


Briefing on the Situation in Abyei

2020

Date | 24 November, 2020

Tomorrow (24 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a virtual meeting to receive a briefing on the situation in Abyei.

The Chairperson of the AU High Level Implementation (AUHIP) Panel Thabo Mbeki is expected to brief the Council. United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) Force Commander may also provide a briefing. The representative of Sudan also as the Chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and representative of South Sudan are scheduled to present. The UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa may also deliver a statement.

The meeting is taking place after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed the mandate of UNISFA for another six months. It would have been useful if the PSC meeting had taken place ahead of the mission’s mandate renewal. This would have given the African members of the Security Council a clear guidance to reflect Africa’s views and perspectives in the negotiation process.

Be that as it may, in light of the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the meeting of the AUPSC will be critical to pronounce itself on some of the salient issues. There is pressure particularly from the penholder underscoring the need for an exit strategy for UNISFA. Over the last couple of years, the US has been calling for a significant reduction of the UN peacekeeping budget and, hence, pushing for exit of some of the UN missions. What made the situation further complicated as far as UNISFA is concerned relates to the fact that the parties have not been able to make much of a progress in terms of the political track. Although there have lately been positive developments in the bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan, this has not yet been translated into concrete action, particularly in terms of resolving the outstanding issues, including the final status of Abyei. Therefore, by insisting on the exit strategy, the Council and particularly the penholder, is trying to exert pressure on the parties to make progress.

There has indeed been increasing frustration that the parties have not made progress in establishing joint institutions as per their 2011 agreement. There is also disappointment over the delay in the deployment of UN police and denial of visas, the impasse in the appointment of a civilian Deputy Head of Mission. These issues need to be resolved to assist the mission in effectively carrying out its mandates. Every possible effort must also be made to capitalize on the positive momentum generated by the warm bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

No doubt, the mission cannot stay there indefinitely but it should also be understood that it is premature for the mission to withdraw at this stage. Since UNISFA has been deployed nine years ago, it has certainly contributed in stabilizing the Abyei Area. The mission, which is composed solely of Ethiopian peacekeepers has been recognized for effectively discharging its mandate, including the facilitation of peaceful migration, conflict prevention, mediation, and deterrence. A premature withdrawal without the resolution of the outstanding issues will have the risk of undermining the stability of the Abyei area and jeopardize the fragile transition processes in both Sudan and South Sudan. But then the issue is the parties will have to make tangible progress. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) working together the UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa is expected to intensify mediation efforts to encourage both Sudan and South Sudan to establish temporary administrative and security arrangements for Abyei and to achieve a political solution for the status of Abyei. Some important work is expected to be done over the coming six months.

The UN Secretary-General is requested by the Security Council to hold a joint consultation with the governments of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia to discuss the exit strategy for UNISFA and develop options. He is also expected to report on engagement by the African Union and AUHIP on political mediation of the Abyei dispute and Sudan and South Sudan border issues, and recommendations on the most appropriate framework, structure or organizational mandate for the region to provide support to the parties that will enable further progress in these areas. Furthermore, the Security Council has expressed its intention to request an independent review of UNISFA in the context of recent political developments between and within Sudan and South Sudan and based on the outcomes of the above-mentioned joint consultation.

The exepected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC may welcome the recent mandate renewal of UNISFA for the next six month. The PSC may deliberate on the exit strategy of the mission and chart out the way forward. It may call on the AU Commisison for enhanced and continued support for the mediation efforts between Sudan and South Sudan.


Briefing on the Situation in Abyei

2020

Date | 24 November, 2020

Tomorrow (24 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a virtual meeting to receive a briefing on the situation in Abyei.

The Chairperson of the AU High Level Implementation (AUHIP) Panel Thabo Mbeki is expected to brief the Council. United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) Force Commander may also provide a briefing. The representative of Sudan also as the Chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and representative of South Sudan are scheduled to present. The UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa may also deliver a statement.

The meeting is taking place after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed the mandate of UNISFA for another six months. It would have been useful if the PSC meeting had taken place ahead of the mission’s mandate renewal. This would have given the African members of the Security Council a clear guidance to reflect Africa’s views and perspectives in the negotiation process.

Be that as it may, in light of the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the meeting of the AUPSC will be critical to pronounce itself on some of the salient issues. There is pressure particularly from the penholder underscoring the need for an exit strategy for UNISFA. Over the last couple of years, the US has been calling for a significant reduction of the UN peacekeeping budget and, hence, pushing for exit of some of the UN missions. What made the situation further complicated as far as UNISFA is concerned relates to the fact that the parties have not been able to make much of a progress in terms of the political track. Although there have lately been positive developments in the bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan, this has not yet been translated into concrete action, particularly in terms of resolving the outstanding issues, including the final status of Abyei. Therefore, by insisting on the exit strategy, the Council and particularly the penholder, is trying to exert pressure on the parties to make progress.

There has indeed been increasing frustration that the parties have not made progress in establishing joint institutions as per their 2011 agreement. There is also disappointment over the delay in the deployment of UN police and denial of visas, the impasse in the appointment of a civilian Deputy Head of Mission. These issues need to be resolved to assist the mission in effectively carrying out its mandates. Every possible effort must also be made to capitalize on the positive momentum generated by the warm bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

No doubt, the mission cannot stay there indefinitely but it should also be understood that it is premature for the mission to withdraw at this stage. Since UNISFA has been deployed nine years ago, it has certainly contributed in stabilizing the Abyei Area. The mission, which is composed solely of Ethiopian peacekeepers has been recognized for effectively discharging its mandate, including the facilitation of peaceful migration, conflict prevention, mediation, and deterrence. A premature withdrawal without the resolution of the outstanding issues will have the risk of undermining the stability of the Abyei area and jeopardize the fragile transition processes in both Sudan and South Sudan. But then the issue is the parties will have to make tangible progress. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) working together the UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa is expected to intensify mediation efforts to encourage both Sudan and South Sudan to establish temporary administrative and security arrangements for Abyei and to achieve a political solution for the status of Abyei. Some important work is expected to be done over the coming six months.

The UN Secretary-General is requested by the Security Council to hold a joint consultation with the governments of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia to discuss the exit strategy for UNISFA and develop options. He is also expected to report on engagement by the African Union and AUHIP on political mediation of the Abyei dispute and Sudan and South Sudan border issues, and recommendations on the most appropriate framework, structure or organizational mandate for the region to provide support to the parties that will enable further progress in these areas. Furthermore, the Security Council has expressed its intention to request an independent review of UNISFA in the context of recent political developments between and within Sudan and South Sudan and based on the outcomes of the above-mentioned joint consultation.

The exepected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC may welcome the recent mandate renewal of UNISFA for the next six month. The PSC may deliberate on the exit strategy of the mission and chart out the way forward. It may call on the AU Commisison for enhanced and continued support for the mediation efforts between Sudan and South Sudan.


Open Session on Protection of Children Affected by Armed Conflicts

2020

Date | 18 November, 2020

Tomorrow (19th November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to have an open session on children affected by armed conflicts (CAAC). This is the second open session of the month.

It is expected that following opening remarks by Chairperson of the PSC for November Tesfaye Yilma, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui and the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira El Fadil are set to make statements. Moreover, the Special Rapporteur on CAAC of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), Benyam Dawit Mezmur, will be making a presentation. Remember Miamingi, Child Protection Expert, is also expected to deliver a briefing on behalf of the Peace and Security Department (PSD) focusing on the Policy on integration of child protection into the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The PSC is also expected to receive updates on the state of children in situations of conflict in the continent from respective representatives of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Save the Children.

Tomorrow’s session will be the second session in 2020 focusing on the CAAC theme, the first one having taken place in May 2020 with a specific focus on the impacts of COVID-19 on children during the 924th PSC session. While COVID-19 related realities have lessened much of the attention on the plight of children in conflict situations, there is evidence demonstrating that the condition of children affected by armed conflicts continues to worsen. Tomorrow’s session is anticipated to serve as an opportunity to reflect on the situation of children, which has been further exacerbated due to the impact of COVID-19. It is also to be recalled that at its 924th meeting on the impact of COVID-19 on children, Council stressed that Member States’ responses to the pandemic should prioritise most vulnerable children in conflict situations including refugee and internally displaced children as well as children with disabilities. Tomorrow’s session may follow up on efforts committed in that regard.

The ACERWC has recently adopted a General Comment on children in conflict situations – ‘General Comment on Article 22 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC): Children in Armed Conflict’. The General Comment is mainly aimed at providing guidance to Member States on how to prevent violations of children’s rights in armed conflicts or situations of tension and strife. Among the novel issues addressed in the General Comment are the extraterritorial applicability of rights and duties enshrined under Article 22 of ACRWC, and stipulating the age of 18 as minimum age of recruitment into an army or armed groups. In addition, the General Comment provides direction on how to ensure protection of children in those situations, which may not meet the threshold of armed conflict but nonetheless create conditions for the violation of children’s rights. The PSC is expected to review and adopt a decision relating to this General Comment, in addition to reflecting on some of its features as to determine how it can integrate it as a document informing its works and decision-making.

Tomorrow’s session will also present the opportunity for the PSC to consider and adopt the ‘Policy on Integration of Child Protection into the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)’ and Miamingi’s presentation is expected to highlight the main aspects of the policy. The initiative to ensure integration of child protection within the framework of APSA was initially proposed by Save the Children in 2016, to be carried out as a three years project. The PSC is expected to welcome the final Policy developed by the PSD and reflect on the opportunities and challenges of integrating child protection concerns within APSA, including relevant organs of Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs).

It is also to be recalled that Assembly/AU/Dec.718 (XXXII) adopted at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly convened on 10-11 February 2019, underscored four strategic resolutions related to child protection. These are: the establishment of an accountability, monitoring and reporting mechanism; the development of a child protection architecture for the AU; the establishment of child focal points in all AU missions; and the establishment of an office of Special Envoy on children in situations of conflict. The PSC may call on all relevant actors to ensure implementation of Assembly/AU/Dec.718 (XXXII) having regard also to its contribution for the successful realisation of the goals of AU’s 2020 theme – Silencing the Guns in Africa – as well as Aspiration 4 of Agenda 2063 which places the need for a peaceful and secure continent as a prerequisite for the full realisation the entire Agenda.

At its 841st session held in April 2019 on the CAAC theme, the PSC made a request for Specialised Technical Committees (STC) dealing with education and humanitarian issues to propose practical recommendations regarding education of refugee and internally displaced children. Moreover, the AU Commission (AUC) was requested to expedite the preparation of the evaluation report on the implementation of PSC’s previous decisions on women and children in armed conflicts. The PSC may follow up on the status of these decisions at tomorrow’s session.

The updates regarding the situation of children in armed conflicts may be expected to reflect on some of the grave violations faced by children in countries with active conflicts as well as countries affected by terrorism. Various reports throughout 2020 have for instance indicated that children have suffered multiple violations in Boko Haram affected countries, mainly in Nigeria. Fear of stigma, retaliation and detention of children believed to be associated with the terrorist group are some of the main violations experienced in addition to the most common atrocious incidents of abduction and sexual violence perpetrated by Boko Haram. The worrying trend in the denial of humanitarian access to children in conflict zones in countries such as Central African Republic (CAR) is also another concern, which might feature on tomorrow’s briefings. The recent attacks on a school in Kumba, Cameroon, that killed at least six teachers and seven schoolchildren is another manifestation of the grave violations to which children are exposed in conflict situations at times for the simple reason of being at school.

The expected outcome of the session is a press statement. The PSC may adopt the policy on integrating child protection into APSA. It may also welcome the adoption of the General Comment and request the AUC to explore mechanisms to integrate the tool in the deliberation and engagement of the PSC on CAAC. The PSC may express its condemnation of violations targeting civilians and children including the attack on a school in Kumba in Cameroon and urge that measures are taken for safeguarding schools and children from attacks. It may call on concerned Member States and other relevant actors to comply with human rights law and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as well as obligations assumed under various international and regional instruments for the protection of children, by refraining from recruiting child soldiers or otherwise involving children in the crossfires of conflicts. Council may also call upon Member States emerging from armed conflicts to ensure that reintegration of child soldiers is part of their post-conflict reconstruction, stabilisation and development efforts. Member States may also be encouraged to adopt and implement all relevant legal and normative standards aimed at protecting children affected by armed conflicts. It may further urge member States of the AU to take mitigating measures to address the compounding impact of COVID19 for children affected by conflict


Open Session on Youth, Peace and Security

2020

Date | 12 November, 2020

Tomorrow (12 November) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene an open Session on ‘Youth Peace and Security: Advancing Youth Roles and Capacities for Silencing the Guns in Africa’. This 963rd session of the PSC is expected to take place through VTC.
The Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Cessouma Minata Samate, and Commissioner for Human Resource, Science and Technology, Sarah Anyang Agbor, are expected to make statements. The AU Youth Envoy, Aya Chebbi and the five AU Youth for Peace Ambassadors (AYAPs) are scheduled to make presentations.

This session is organized as part of the African Youth Month and the annual thematic session of the PSC on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS). As envisaged in the concept note, the objectives of the session include, among others, discussing the contribution of youth to the AU agenda on Silencing the Guns and the provision of technical and financial support to the conflict prevention projects to be undertaken by AYAPs in the five regions of the continent.

It is to be recalled that the PSC convened its first session dedicated to YPS in November 2018, which amongst others requested for undertaking a study on the role of the youth in promoting peace and security, the appointment of the five AYAPs and decided to ‘institutionalize and regularize an annual open session dedicated to the theme of YPS’. During its second session on YPS in November 2019, the PSC appointed the five AYAPs to promote, in collaboration with the youth envoy, the inclusion and participation of the youth across the entire peace and security cycle. The appointment was subsequently endorsed by the Assembly at the 33rd Ordinary Session in February 2020. This is in line with the African Youth Charter, which calls on states parties to strengthen the capacity of young people and youth organizations in peace-building, conflict prevention and conflict resolution through, among others, dialogue.

At its 933rd PSC session, the PSC considered and adopted the two PSC mandated documents, the ‘Continental Framework on Youth, Peace and Security’ along with the 10-year implementation plan (2020-2029), and the ‘Study on the Roles and Contributions of Youth towards Peace and Security in Africa’. The framework was developed in collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) to provide policy guidance for member states and RECs/RMs for the promotion of effective and meaningful participation of the youth in all spectrums of peace, security and development in Africa.

Tomorrow’s PSC session focuses on YPS in relation to the theme of the year 2020: ‘Silencing the Guns: Creating Conductive Environment for Africa’s Development’. The youth are major actors whose role significantly shapes the agenda of Silencing the Guns in Africa. This is due to, among others, the demographic size of the youth in Africa (comprising over 60 %), the governance and socio-economic challenges affecting majority of youth and the impact of conflicts on youth (one in four young people), particularly on young women and girls. Apart from mobilization of the youth by conflict parties, youth are often caught in the crossfires of conflicts or are deliberately targeted as the recent brutal attack of a school in Cameroon highlighted. A youth-centered approach is thus a peace and security imperative both to understand the challenges for achieving the AU agenda of Silencing the Guns and to gauge the degree of public awareness and engagement on this theme.

As the AU prepares to convene an extraordinary summit on silencing the guns on 5 December 2020, tomorrow’s session serves to enhance ways for mobilizing substantive inputs of youth to the summit including through the planned youth tweet chat.

This session presents an opportunity for the AYAPs to share their experiences and perspectives in relation to their contribution and how best their capacities can be enhanced in the implementation of the STG agenda in the continent. During the intervention of Chebbi, the Council could also identify achievements and positive roles played by young Africans, which can be supported further.

Of particular interest to the Council could be the recent launch of the Youth Silencing the Guns Campaign by the AU’s Peace and Security Department (PSD) and the AU Office of Youth Envoy (OYE) in collaboration with other relevant departments on 24th of July 2020. The main aim of the campaign is to ‘mobilize the development and support of key actions that can be undertaken by youth to fast-track the implementation of the STG agenda in Africa’. The OYE, for instance, rolled out series of regional consultations, dubbed as intergenerational dialogue (IGD). This open session, as part of the campaign, is expected to further strengthen the intergenerational dialogue between the PSC, AU member states, RECs/RMs, international organizations, partners and the youth with the view to ramp up the immense role and positive engagement of African youth towards the actualization of the STG agenda. Also, of interest is the ‘Youth Silencing the Guns Award’, which was established by OYE to recognize and promote young peacebuilders behind innovative and impactful STG initiative.

As indicated in the concept note, one of the objectives of the session is to provide policy guidance to facilitate financial and technical support for the implementation of projects conflict prevention and peacebuilding to be undertaken by the AYAPs. In this regard the PSC may request the AUC to prepare and present options to support the projects.

Another issue that may be of interest to PSC members is update on the outcome of recent events and milestones and planned activities. The UN Resolutions on YPS including notably 2250 (2015), 2419 (2018) and 2535 (2020) offer further support and elaborate meaningful ways of advancing the YPS agenda which are relevant to the AU YPS agenda including notably inclusion and participation and creating the space for youth role through prevention and protection.

The expected outcome is a press statement. The PSC may underscore the critical importance of the contribution of the youth towards the actualization of the STG agenda despite the wide range of challenges. In this respect, the Council may further call for the promotion and creation of awareness regarding the role of African youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding and the need for recognizing and harnessing the leadership of the youth by the AU, RECs/RMs and States. The PSC may request that AU peace processes pay particular attention to and highlight the youth dimension of conflicts and peace processes in their analysis and work, with a particular focus on young women. In terms of support for the role of the AYAPs, the PSC may call on the AU Commission working in collaboration with RECs and the UN to mobilize technical and financial support. The Council may commend the AUPSD, OYE and other relevant bodies of the AU for the launch of the Youth Silencing the Guns Campaign. The council may further call the Commission, RECs/RMs, member states, and other stakeholders to scale up their efforts for the active and meaningful engagement of the youth geared towards the pursuit of STG and the broader peace and security agenda at continental, regional and national levels.


Briefing by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

2020

Date | 05 November, 2020

Tomorrow (5 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to receive a virtual briefing by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The Chairperson of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons, Fatma Zohra Karadja is expected to deliver the briefing. The briefing is expected to focus on the country review report of Mozambique. The representative of Mozambique may also make a statement.

The APRM has briefed the PSC for the first time on 19 December 2018 at the 819th PSC session. The second briefing by APRM was conducted on 5 March 2020 during PSC’s 914th session. Tomorrow’s briefing is taking place in line with PSC’s 914th session that decided to institutionalize the Council’s engagement with APRM by receiving briefings from the latter twice a year. It further requested the Commission, to organise a joint retreat to thoroughly review the various country reports undertaken in the past two years including the report of Mozambique. Hence tomorrow’s briefing will present the key findings of the country review of Mozambique. The country review report was peer reviewed by the APR Forum of Heads of State in February 2019 and the government of Mozambique has launched the Report in May 2020.

The country report which is anchored in the National Program of Action (NPOA) will shed light on the progress made on all the four pillars including: Democracy and Political Governance; Economic Governance and Management; Corporate Governance; and Socioeconomic Development. It would be of particular interest for PSC members to examine the developments under the first pillar on democracy and political governance. In this regard the report is expected to present the developments around normative frameworks that are aimed at expanding the political space.

On the other hand, despite such progress it may also touch upon the growing dissatisfaction in the Northern part of the country as well as the concerning trend of terrorism in the coastal province of Capo Delgado. It is to be recalled that the 929th session of the PSC, which welcomed ‘the outcomes of the Troika Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation held situation in Mozambique, which are aimed at finding a in 19 May, 2020 in Harare, Zimbabwe, on the security lasting solution to the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism’, affirmed the readiness of the PSC to support SADC in its efforts to combat terrorism in the region’. Tomorrow’s session also presents an opportunity for the PSC to follow up on this and explore how best the AU can contribute to address the situation in Cabo Delgado, which has led to loss of lives, displacement and destruction.

Another key issues that is expected to be included in the briefing is the political development that transpired in the previous year and the work undertaken around national dialogue and the peace agreement between the Mozambican government and former rebel group RENAMO for which the AUC Chair was one of the guarantors of the agreement. This process was shortly followed by the national election. These developments and their implications in sustaining peace in Mozambique are key elements, which may be of interest for PSC members.

The policy measures and efforts under the other pillars including alleviation of poverty and reduction of inequality are also essential components to further consolidate the political cohesion in the country. In this respect, one area of policy interest for the PSC, which is linked to instability and conflict, is natural resource governance. Due to issues relating to weak financial management of revenues from extraction of resources, here are concerns that Mozambique faces the risk of the phenomenon of resource curse. It is also worth noting that there is vast proven gas reserves in the Rovuma basin off shore the Cabo Delgado province, the region affected by the operation of terrorist groups.

Policies and measures designed for social protection of certain groups including children, women and internally displaced persons are also expected to feature in the briefing. In addition to the four thematic areas, the country review further identifies crosscutting issues, which require particular attention including corruption, youth employment, environment and climate change. It is to be recalled that when cyclone Idie hit the east and south eastern cost of Africa, Mozambique was one of the countries that was hit hard by the destruction that the cyclone caused.

The report is also expected to provide insights on the process of the review including the consultations that were held during the visit of APRM’s Country Review Mission in the country 10 to 26 November 2018. A range of consultations was held with various groups including government representatives, CSOs, the President and the leaders of the two major political parties FRELIMO and RENAMO.

The second aspect of tomorrow’s briefing is expected to focus on the APRM’s ongoing initiatives being undertaken to respond to the global pandemic of Covid-19, in partnership with the AUC including the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). In this regard the briefing may discuss the recently launched Preliminary Report on Africa’s Governance Response to COVID-19. The report captures the continent’s early response and policies that have been adopted to fight the pandemic. The report also includes an assessment of the legal and institutional capacities of member states in disease prevention and containment measures including in relation to vaccine research and development as well as the ability to prepare and manage disasters. The report further presents recommendations targeted at member states and the AU. Particularly for member states it underlines the need for the protection of human rights while responding to the pandemic.

Indeed, since the last APRM briefing, the continent has witnessed significant governance issues connected with measures adopted in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. Tomorrow’s briefing may therefore shade some light on the COVID-19 related socio-economic and political crisis encountered by member states, particularly in relation with elections and protection of human rights, and elaborate opportunities within the framework of APSA-APRM collaboration, for resolving such challenges before they escalate into conflict or crisis situations.

In light of the compounded impact of political instability, economic crises, natural disasters and pandemics experienced in some parts of the continent region, tomorrow’s briefing may also set the stage for further reflection on the proper utilisation of AU institutions like the APRM and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) as well as appropriate pillars of APSA, in collaboration with modalities set up by relevant RECs/RMs to carry out early response to avert the impending crisis.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s deliberation is a communiqué. The PSC may commend Mozambique for preparing the country progress report and for the efforts it has demonstrated in the various thematic areas. The PSC may call on building on the gains made in enhancing peace in the Mozambique and may in this respect underscore the imperative for collective action of Mozambique, SADC and the AU to address the threat of and actual presence of terrorist groups in Cabo Delgado. The PSC may also underscore the importance of strengthening the legal, financial and regulatory framework for natural resource governance in Mozambique to avoid risk of the [phenomenon of resource curse] in the country. It may also commend the APRM for its work and support to Mozambique as well as its work around COVID19 including the recently launched report. It may take note of the preliminary actions being taken by the APRM in order to support the efforts of the AU to strengthen the various governance systems to effectively respond to Covid-19 pandemic and promote experience sharing. The PSC may call on member states that have joined the APRM and encourage them to enhance the quality and regularity of their reviews. Council may also encourage member states that have not yet acceded the APRM, to do so. The PSC may further express its wish to receive similar country review reports in the future.


Consideration of the Situation in Libya

2020

Date | 3 November, 2020

Tomorrow (3 November) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to consider the situation in Libya. The session is expected to take place through VTC.

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui and the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson for Libya expected to brief the PSC. The Representative of Libya is also anticipated to make a statement. The United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) and the European Union (EU) are also expected to address the Council.

This is the first time that the PSC considers the situation in Libya since its February session on the situation in Libya held at a level of Heads of State and Government. Tomorrow’s session has come after the warring parties in Libya, the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and the self-styled Libya National Army headed by the renegade General Khalifa Haftar, signed a permanent ceasefire on 23 October after talks in Geneva under the facilitation of the UN Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL).

It is to be recalled that in an attempt to avert further escalation of military confrontation among the rival external backers of the LNA and the GNA, Germany hosted an international conference aimed at establishing the conditions that enable the UNSMIL facilitate peace talks between Libya’s warring parties. The Berlin Conference that concluded with the adoption of a communique which outlined a peace plan organized around the six baskets: ceasefire, arms embargo, political process, security, economic and financial, international humanitarian law and human rights law matters.

Despite the official support expressed to the outcome of the Berlin Conference and the commencement of indirect talks for ceasefire in early February, the fighting continued unabated. The LNA imposed a blockade on the export of oil in Libya, seeking to deprive the GNA of its major source of revenue and further expanding the economic woes of the country. In the ensuing months, fighting continued unabated with the direct participation of the foreign backers of the two warring parties (UAE and Russia on the side of LNA and Turkey on the side of GNA).

It was only after the LNA lost the campaign to seize Tripoli in May and a stalemate emerged in June with the frontline of the fighting shifting to the strategic city of Sirte and major backers of Haftar, notably Russia and to a lesser extent UAE, accepting Haftar’s loss, that a terrain more favourable to the peace process has emerged. In the following months, diplomatic efforts have gained new momentum with the US playing a more active role taking advantage of the stalemate and the Speaker of the Tobruk based LNA aligned House of Representative (HoR), Aguila Saleh, assuming increasingly prominent diplomatic role. Signalling a path for signing of a ceasefire, in August Prime Minister Serraj and Speaker of the HoR Saleh issued separate statements calling for a ceasefire, the lifting of the oil blockade and a return to the political process.

In the fourth round of talks in Geneva in October, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission met face to face for the first time. This round culminated in the signing of a permanent ceasefire. According to the terms of the agreement, the ceasefire includes the departure of foreign fighters and mercenaries from all sovereign Libyan spaces (land, sea and air) within three months starting the same day. Calling for immediate suspension of foreign military training, including the departure of respective training personnel and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of armed elements, the agreement also expresses the intention to set up a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the agreement.

For tomorrow’s session, one of the major issues of interest for the PSC is the chances of success of the ceasefire agreement. There are positive signs. One of the major positive outcomes of the ceasefire agreement is the lifting of the blockade of oil export. Control over the oil fields and its revenues have been at the center of the struggle between adversaries racing for influence. The lifting of the oil blockade plays a key role in reviving the national economy, which will trickle down to the livelihoods of the ordinary citizens. The resumption of commercial flight from Libya to Benghazi after a hiatus of more than a year is also widely seen as a positive gesture.

While these are positive signs, they do not guarantee success. Indeed, in the face of the entrenched polarization of the parties and opposed interests of the external actors involved in the conflict, it is no exaggeration to say that the agreement stands on shaky grounds. It is difficult to see how some of the elements of the agreement notably that which calls for the expulsion of all foreign fighters from Libya in three months can be realistically implemented. Not surprisingly given its decisive role in ending Haftar’s military campaign for controlling Tripoli, Turkey expressed doubt on whether the parties will successfully heed the terms of the agreement. UAE, whose supply of weaponry and deployment of air power in support of the LNA was a major factor in escalating the conflict and precipitating the direct involvement of rival powers in the Libya conflict, is also a major factor.

In the context of the stalemate, one of the concerns for Libya is the risk of its de facto division, threatening the territorial integrity of the country.

A further complicating factor is the real risk of internal fragmentation on both sides to the conflict. Although Sarraj’s announcement of his plan to resign by end of October has since been retracted pending agreement on a negotiated new government, it has unleashed internal rivalries among those vying for succeeding him. In the Eastern front, Haftar’s diminishing clout due to blows from the Tripoli offensive is met by the rise of Aguila Saleh, the president of the opposition parliament based in the East. The recent move by the EU to delist him from the sanction blacklist has further reinforced Saleh’s power position in the Eastern bloc.

In the context of the implementation of the ceasefire agreement, one development that is of particular interest for the PSC is the fifth-round meeting of the JMC that is expected to take place on 2-4 November in Libya for the first time.

Another development that would be of interest for tomorrow’s session include the first in-person meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), which is scheduled to take place on 9 November in Tunisia. This political track of the Berlin Conference outcome seeks to ‘generate consensus on a unified governance framework, and arrangements that will lead to the holding of national elections in the shortest possible timeframe in order to restore Libya’s sovereignty and the democratic legitimacy of Libyan institutions.’ A virtual meeting has been already kicked off in October.

Although its influence remains to be limited, the AU has continued its engagement on the situation in Libya both on its own and as one of the participants in the UNSMIL led peace process. It is to be recalled that the decision of the February 2020 AU Summit, Assembly/AU/Dec.792(XXXIII), provided for the establishment of a Contact Group, chaired by the Republic of Congo, deriving from the Members of the AU High Level Committee on Libya, and any other country the Chair of the Contact Group may wish to add, to provide political leadership, as well promote coordination of international efforts in the search for a solution to the Libyan crisis. Since then, the Contact Group met twice. The first meeting, held on 11-12 March in Oyo, the Republic of Congo with the participation of South Africa, Algeria, Chad and Egypt, decided to convene the Inter- Libyan National Reconciliation Conference, in July 2020, at the AU Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in conformity with the decision of the AU Assembly adopted in 2018, although this did not materialize due, among others, the COVID19 pandemic. Most notably, it reiterated condemnation of foreign interference, the violation of the arms embargo, the presence, deployment and utilisation of foreign fighters on Libyan soil, saying that ‘such continued interference’ was ‘motivated by national interests and looting of Libyan natural resources.’

The second meeting of the Contact Group took place on 19 May. The Group ‘condemned the numerous violations of the International Humanitarian Law that could constitute war crimes, such as the attacks on hospitals and vital facilities, the persistent indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and the impediments to humanitarian access. It called upon all the parties to the conflict to comply with the obligations imposed by the International Humanitarian Law and to take the necessary measures to prevent and immediately put an end all those acts.’

The PSC at its 929th session expressed particular concern over the continued fighting in Libya, which, it said, ‘has undermined efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic and is also aggravating an already precarious socio-economic situation in the country, as well as worsening the plight of migrants and asylum-seekers’.

In a statement on 8 June, AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, called upon the ‘warring parties to ensure strict compliance with international humanitarian law’ and called ‘upon the Security Council to apply sanctions as provided for in various resolutions on the arms embargo’. In a statement issued on 23 October welcoming the signing of a permanent ceasefire, Mahamat expressed AU’s ‘readiness to assist in the implementation of the ceasefire and to contribute to create the necessary conditions for the resumption of dialogue between all Libyan stakeholders for a durable solution.’

A major issue of interest for PSC members in tomorrow’s session would be how the AU could ‘assist in the implementation of the ceasefire’ that Mahamat indicated. This is linked to one of the outcomes of the February 2020 summit decision on Libya which called for the dispatching of a military reconnaissance mission to Libya jointly with the UN and the announcement, by Chergui when declaring the establishment of an Inter-Departmental Taskforce on Libya on 17 February, as a follow up to this decision that the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) was charged to begin preparations for the deployment of a multidimensional mission once a ceasefire agreement is reached between the Libyan parties.

The other issue that may be of interest for PSC members is the follow up to the AU Assembly decision 792 for the to upgrade to the level of mission the current AU Liaison Office in Libya, and to equip it with the necessary political, diplomatic and military capacity, with a view to ensuring greater contribution and participation of the AU in the efforts. In this respect one notable development has been the offer of the UN Secretary General, within the framework of the AU-UN Framework Partnership for Peace and Security, to host the African Union Mission within UNSMIL, which the AU Contact Group on Libya welcomed.

In the course of the fighting, various violations of international human rights and humanitarian law have been perpetrated.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to welcome the signing of the ceasefire between GNA and LNA under the framework of 5+5 Joint Military Commission and call upon the parties to honour the terms of the agreement. The PSC may also commend the positive steps taken by the parties in terms of the resumption of oil production and commercial flights between Tripoli and Benghazi and encourage their continued constructive engagements. The PSC may express its strong support for the successful convening of the upcoming in-person meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis, on November 9. The PSC may further reiterate its strong desire to assume a central role in resolving the Libyan crisis and encourage the AU to enhance active participation in the various tracks of the Libya peace process. It may also welcome the launching of the AU Contact Group on Libya and the two meetings that the Group held. In terms of the concrete role that the AU may play, the PSC may request the AU Commission to submit to the PSC proposals on how the AU can directly support implementation of the ceasefire agreement including as a follow up to the Assembly decision 792 and the assignment given to PSOD upon the establishment of the Inter-Departmental Taskforce on Libya to make preparation for deployment of a multidimensional mission for supporting implementation of ceasefire. The PSC may also reiterate its call on external actors involved in the conflict in Libya to desist from their destructive role and respect the independence and territorial integrity of Libya. In the light of the dire humanitarian condition and perpetration of numerous violations which may amount to war crimes, the PSC may also consider to establish a mechanism for monitoring and reporting on compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law standards for the protection of civilians in Libya.