Session on the Common African Position on the Financing of AU led Peace Support Operations through UN Assessed Contributions

Financing and other Broader Concerns

Date | 21 July, 2021

Tomorrow (21 July) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold a session on the common African Position on the Financing of AU led peace support operations through UN assessed contributions. The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to brief the council on the progress and state of development of the common position.

The AU Assembly in its decision of its 14th extraordinary summit requested the PSC to articulate a common African position on financing peace support operations in Africa, to guide the African Members of the UN Security Council (A3) in championing and mobilizing support within the UNSC for adoption of a resolution that will enable Africa to access UN assessed contribution for peace support operations in the Continent.

It is also to be recalled that the PSC at its 881st session held in September 2019 took a view that ‘a better articulated and African owned common position’ before a draft resolution on financing of AU peace operations through UN assessed contributions is tabled for consideration by the UN Security Council (UNSC). This decision was taken against the background of issues that emerged as the A3 members of the UNSC were seeking during 2018 and 2019 to secure a UNSC resolution authorizing in principle under agreed upon conditions the use of UN assessed contributions for AU led UNSC authorized peace support operations on a case-by-case basis.

The A3 spearheaded by Ethiopia initiated a draft resolution on financing to be adopted in December 2018 under the Cote d’Ivoire Presidency of the Security Council. However, the US threatened to Veto the resolution. Following the introduction of a so- called compromise text proposed by France to accommodate the US, the vote on the A3 draft resolution was postponed (Please refer to the Amani insight on this issue). South Africa, who initially brought the issue of financing to the Security Council in its previous membership, made the issue one of the priorities of its tenure during 2019-2020. After holding consultations on the matter including a visit by the Permanent Representatives of the A3 to Washington, D.C. to engage with the United States, including the Congress, White House and the Department of State, South Africa introduced a new and slightly updated text from the initial A3 draft and the so-called compromise draft.

When the PSC finally reviewed the matter, it felt that the latest updated draft did not adequately reflect AU interests. The PSC opted for deferring the consideration of the draft text by the UNSC pending the holding of adequate consultation at the level of the AU leading towards a common position. This aims at providing greater clarity on various issues, including on the implementation of the 75/25 formula and on the operationalization of the AU Peace Fund and its role for burden sharing. The common African position elaborated by the Commission is expected to explain some of these issues in order to ensure greater understanding and consensus within the AU and help the discussion in the UNSC move forward.

During tomorrow’s session Commissioner for PAPS, Adeoye, who revived the process for the adoption of the common position, is expected to provide update to the PSC on steps taken towards the elaboration of the common position and the orientation of the common position that will be the basis for resuscitating the discussion on A3 sponsored resolution on financing AU peace operation through UN assessed contributions. The common position is expected to take stock of and build on the various efforts undertaken both at the level of the UN and the AU.

It is worth noting that the issue of predictable and reliable financing has been one of the longstanding subjects in the AU-UN relationships on peace and security in Africa. In 2008, the UN Panel led by former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on the subject recommended in its report the use of United Nations-assessed funding to support United Nations- authorized African Union peacekeeping operations for a period of no longer than six months. This was further reinforced by the UN’s 2015 High Level International Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) Report, which recommended the use of United Nations-assessed contributions on a case-by-case basis to support Security Council-authorized African Union peace support operations including the costs associated with deployed uniformed personnel to complement funding from the AU and/or African Member States.

On the part of the AU, the Policy Organs had adopted milestone decisions in 2015 and 2016 on financing of the AU and the revitalization of the AU Peace Fund. Accordingly, the A3 were called upon to champion the financing of AU led peace support operations. This paved the way for the adoption of resolution 2320 (2016), facilitated by Senegal, which stressed ‘the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for African Union-led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council.’ The subsequent resolution 2378 (2017), whose adoption was facilitated by Ethiopia, expressed the UNSC’s intention to consider partially funding AU-led peace support operations authorized by the Council through UN-assessed contributions ‘on a case-by-case basis.’

One of the factors for the delay in adopting the common position related to the factors that impeded progress in the UNSC. In 2018, Cote D’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia proposed a joint draft resolution which tried to secure a clear commitment from the Council to decide in principle to finance AU led peace support operations. The draft text had received wider support within the UNSC and the broader UN membership. However, the US under Trump administration was not willing and ready to accommodate the AU request and, in fact, threatened to exercise its veto power if the African members decide to go ahead and table the draft text for a vote.

With the Biden administration in the US and its renewed multilateral engagement, there appears to be a new window of opportunity to revive the financing issue. Both Chairperson Moussa Faki and UNSG Antonio Guterres are also expected to exert reinvigorated efforts to enhance the AU-UN partnership in their new mandate by, among others, ensuring progress on the financing issue. This will certainly unleash the potential of the partnership across the whole spectrum of peace operations. Furthermore, the EU leadership seems to be much more committed and determined to enhance its partnership with the AU and may likely pull its weight behind the AU if there is readiness to resuscitate the discussion on this issue.

This said, however, it should also be understood that the discussion on this issue would not be easy. COVID-19 has had its own impact on the discussion on peacekeeping. Increasing financial pressures, among other reasons, is forcing the UN to downsize and/or draw down peacekeeping missions in recent years. Some experts are anticipating that the tendency in the future could possibly be to prioritise affordable alternatives, such as observer missions and civilian special political missions.

Even though the Biden administration could be favorably disposed to the discussion on the issue, there is a need for serious discussion to reach a shared understanding on the way forward. This necessitates engaging the Biden administration in earnest, including the state department, National Security Council and the department of defense. It is also important for the AU to engage Congress and canvass the necessary support in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations building on willingness of some congressmen to support the idea of financing AU led peace support operation as part of enhancing the role of the US.

The development of a common African position is indeed a step in the right direction and it is expected to facilitate a clear decision by AU, which will then pave the way for the A3 to resuscitate the file and try to secure a concrete commitment on the issue from the UNSC. The process will definitely take time and the necessary preparatory work for laying the ground work needs to be developed. The AU Commission and the UN Secretariat need to follow up on the implementation of their Joint Declaration of 6 December 2018, and work towards making tangible progress on some of the agreed issues as they relate to the financing issue, including the full operationalisation of the peace fund, reporting, oversight and accountability.

Most importantly, there is need to learn the right lessons from the experiences of 2018 and 2019. Ensuring greater clarity on the implementation of the AU Peace fund and demonstrating concrete commitment in sharing the burden would be vital. The full operationalization of the African Standby Force would go a long way in demonstrating AU’s commitment to shoulder responsibility on matters of peace and security in Africa. It would be absolutely important that the AU common position is accompanied by a solid roadmap with clear time lines for holding consultations and mobilizing support from all the relevant interlocutors on this file while ensuring close coordination of the AU Commission, the PSC and the A3 throughout the process for having a UNSC resolution that adequately reflects the common position.

While no formal outcome is expected from tomorrow’s meeting, the PSC is expected to provide input both on what is expected to be contained in the common position and the timeline for finalising the drafting for fulfilling the request of the AU Assembly, particularly the decision of its 14th extraordinary session held on 6 December 2020.


Insights on the PSC - Common African Position on the 2020 Review of the UN Peace building Architecture

Financing and other Broader Concerns

Date | 22 September, 2020

Tomorrow (22 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold its 948th session to consider the report of the AU Commission Chairperson on the ‘Common African Position (CAP) on the 2020 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture: Towards an Enhanced Global Peacebuilding System.’ The meeting is expected to take place through VTC.

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, is expected to brief the PSC and introduce the Chairperson’s report. Fatima K Mohammed, Head of the Permanente Observer Mission of the AU to the UN, is also expected to deliver a briefing on the review process and the development of the CAP.

The CAP is prepared in line with the 899th ministerial session of the PSC held in Luanda in December 2019 which requested the AUC ‘…to evolve a draft common African position ahead of the review conference of the UN Peace building Architecture to take place in 2020, for consideration by the PSC.’ The purpose of the CAP is to ensure that African contributions to the 2020 Review of the UN Peace building Architecture are articulated in a comprehensive document that guide African Member States during the inter-governmental negotiation process.

The last review of the UN peace building architecture was undertaken in 2015. This current review is taking place in the context of the twin resolutions A/RES/70/262 and S/RES/2282 (2016) of the UN General Assembly that call for a comprehensive review of UN peace building at its 74th session. The resolutions further underlined the importance of improving partnership and cooperation between the AU and the UN in peace building. To this effect the resolutions urge the Peace building Commission (PBC) to hold regular exchanges of views, joint initiatives, and information-sharing between the Peace building Support Office and the AU Commission.

This cooperation has also materialized through the annual interaction between the PSC and PBC, which was first held in October 2016. This interaction has regularly been held since then in subsequent years. During the most recent interaction held in November 2019, PSC’s 893rd session urged the AUC and the PBC to work in close cooperation with the countries concerned, to promote national priorities by enhancing national ownership, leadership and full participation in the peace building activities and development projects, as well as conflict prevention and addressing root causes of conflicts.

The cooperation between the AU and UN on peacebuilding has been strengthened through overarching frameworks including the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, in 2017, and the AU-UN Framework for the Implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in 2018.

In line with the decision of the twin UNGA resolutions, in October 2019, the UN Secretary-General launched the process for the five-year review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. To this end the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the UN in partnership with the African Group developed the CAP. The position paper also benefited from inputs from a wide range of stakeholders including the department of Peace and Security, Political Affairs, Gender Women and Development, the Office of the Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security as well as the AU Missions in South Sudan and Sudan. The document was also developed based on consultations with the African Caucus on Peacebuilding at the UN in New York, Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) and African civil society organisations, as well as think tanks including Amani Africa.

The CAP identifies a number of key priority areas drawing on AU policy frameworks on peacebuilding namely the AU PCRD Policy of 2006 and the AU Transitional Justice Policy of 2019 as well as based on best practices from previous peacebuilding efforts. Towards informing the review process, the areas that the CAP highlights as priority areas include financing, conflict prevention, governance, transitional justice, combating terrorism as well as partnership. Additionally, it also covers crosscutting thematic issues related to women, peace and security and youth.

In addition to existing policy instruments, the issues captured in the CAP are also linked with the political leadership of the PSC and the technical input of AU Commission structures including the Cairo based PCRD center. With respect to PSC’s role three issues may be of interest for PSC members. The first is the active participation of national stakeholders in the conception, planning and implementation of peace building support. The second is the existence of a political strategy on which peace building support is to be anchored.

Finally, it would also be of interest for PSC members to get details how the CAP envisages both strategic level synergy between the PSC and the PBC in deciding on and regularly following up peace building intervention and the technical level collaboration between the AU and the UN. If the PSC is to play its political leadership role, it is necessary for the PSC to have the countries on the Peace building Commission on its agenda.

The CAP is also expected to include salient features to enhance cooperation among actors that support peacebuilding efforts. In this regard, the three components it highlights to inform and guide inter-institutional cooperation include: ‘assistance in the design of national peacebuilding framework; financial support for peacebuilding; and mechanism for periodic consultation, joint monitoring, review and reporting on progress in implementation of peacebuilding process’. The harmonization of support and partnership in these critical areas and national ownership highly determine the effectiveness of peacebuilding efforts.

The AU may also utilize this opportunity to advance strategic matters relating to increasing its ownership of PCRD efforts in Africa; a more synergized partnership between AU, RECs/RMs and the UN as well as the operationalization of the peacebuilding efforts at the field level.

Between 2007-2020 African countries have received approximately 82.7% of the UN Peacebuilding Fund, which is a demonstration of the PBC’s priority and commitment in the continent. Given that Africa, as a region, is the biggest recipient of the funding it is essential that relevant national and continental actors take active part in informing the peacebuilding efforts of the PBC, which will have effect on a number of countries. In this respect, it would be of interest for PSC members to receive clarification on the strategy to be used for ensuring that African member states participate actively in the negotiation process speaking with one voice.

It is also to be recalled that currently there are about four African countries on the agenda of PBC, namely, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia. Hence, tomorrow’s session also serves to review the experiences from these countries for enhancing the cooperation between the AU and PBC in particular country contexts.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC may underline the importance of the global peacebuilding architecture for consolidating peace, particularly working in close coordination with AU’s PCRD. It may endorse the key recommendations towards effective peacebuilding efforts, which are articulated in the CAP with particular emphasis on the need for peacebuilding to be anchored on a political strategy for ensuring national ownership and full participation of national actors. For the PSC to play a more active role in providing strategic guidance and political support, it may request that the countries on the agenda of the PBC are also included on the agenda of the PSC and that the AU Commission together with the UN provide regular briefing and update on the post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts in those countries. The PSC may also urge the AUC for continued support to member states in ensuring that key recommendations of the CAP are well captured in the UN review process. It may call for a more coordinated and continuous effort between the AU office in New York and the AUC to ensure a coherent messaging on the basis of the CAP and to effectively inform the review process. It may also call on African member states to actively participate in the review process based on the CAP and speak with one voice. The PSC may also make reference to its annual interaction session with UNPBC as a key platform to further deepen the strategic cooperation on peacebuilding.


Insights on the PSC - PSC session to discuss the implementation of AU Assembly Decisions

Financing and other Broader Concerns

Date | 21 April, 2020

Tomorrow (21 April) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold a discussion on the implementation of the decisions of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU relating to peace and security. Although it was initially envisaged to take place via VTC, it is now expected to be conducted on the basis of email exchanges and the silence procedure.

It is to be recalled that the 33rd AU summit held in February 2020, has made a number of decisions related to peace and security after deliberating on the report of the PSC, the outcome of the 12th Ordinary Meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS) and the report on the implementation of AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns. Moreover, the AU Assembly has also adopted specific decisions on Libya and the Sahel following a PSC summit level meeting that was held at the margins of the summit.

It is envisaged that the PSC will be guided for the purposes of this session by the Matrix of the Summit Decisions which summarize the various outcomes that require follow up by the PSC, member states and relevant AU Commission departments. However, given the major changes since the February Summit due to COVID19 and measures taken to mitigate the spread, the discussion is expected to prioritize from the decisions that require follow up during this period and for which alternative options of implementation is feasible.

The Assembly made decisions in relation to crises situations as well as thematic issues. In the context of the African Standby Force (ASF), the Assembly has tasked the PSC to consider the establishment of a Special Unit within the ASF that serves to combat terrorism and to present its conclusions at the Ordinary Session in February 2021. Although Egypt has proposed to host an Extraordinary Summit dedicated to this matter, this may be reconsidered given the current restrictions on physical meeting and to identify an alternative means to follow up on this.

The other thematic issue featured in the Assembly is on efforts towards child protection. The Assembly has requested the AU Commission to integrate child protection into Silencing the Guns campaign and the 2020 theme of the AU, as well as to develop a comprehensive policy on child protection in AU peace support operations. The Assembly further reiterated previous decision, which has also been echoed by the PSC, on the appointment of a special envoy for children in armed conflict.

Issues related to terrorism and violent extremism formed a major peace and security agenda of the 33rd AU summit. In this context, the Assembly decided to organize an Extraordinary Summit focusing on the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism to galvanize support and immediate action to assist countries, which are facing the severe effects of terrorism. To this end the Assembly tasked the AU Commission, in coordination with the Chairperson of the Union, to undertake preparation for the convening of the Summit.

Although this was meant to take place in May 2020, given the current context the PSC may reflect on other mechanisms to pursue the agenda. One possible option is to have a VTC heads of state and government level PSC session on the theme followed by a similar remote summit level meeting of the Bureau of the AU Assembly.

The second set of decisions adopted by the Assembly emanate from the 12th STCDSS which mainly looked at three major issues that may need further follow up by the PSC. The first decision is on the extension of the implementation timeline of the African Union Master Roadmap (AUMR) on Silencing the Guns beyond December 2020 to provide more time for member states and other stakeholders to implement objectives set in the roadmap. More particularly, the Assembly called on for more strengthened implementation and reporting on the economic, social, environmental and legal aspects of the master roadmap. In this respect Kenya as a country that offered to host a meeting on the review of the implementation of the AUMR may provide further input on the matter.

The current situation of COVID19 and the restrictions on physical meetings will have direct impact on the implementation of AUMR, which is ending in December 2020. Many of the activities, which are time bound and planned to take place this year in line with the 2020 theme are expected to be postponed. The PSC may however undertake preparation to produce the comprehensive Report on the Status of the Implementation of the AUMR, which the Assembly has requested the Council to submit at the January/February 2021 Summit.
The second agenda item considered at the STCDSS is on the AU Doctrine on Peace Support Operations (PSO).

The Assembly has requested the AUC to gather further inputs on the doctrine to be presented at the upcoming STCDSS in 2020. Although it remains uncertain whether such meeting would be possible, the PSC may request member states and RECs/RMs to send their input on the doctrine to the AU Commission.
The third decision is around Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). The Assembly has given the responsibility to the AU Commission to conduct a second phase of the Mapping Study on SALW focusing more on illicit weapons flows more particularly linked to terrorist activities. Furthermore, it has requested the PSC to work closely with the UN Security Council to address the challenges around the proliferation and flow of SALW and violation of arms embargos. As a major driver of conflict in the Sahel and Libya, among others, this deserves a robust and sustained engagement and follow up both at the level of the PSC and the AU Commission.

Another major area, which the PSC may deliberate on in tomorrow’s session, is around early warning and conflict prevention. The Assembly has requested the PSC in collaboration with other AU Organs and Regional Economic Communities (RECs)/Regional Mechanism (RMs) Policy Organs, to establish a format to engage on strengthening efforts on early warning and early response issues. Hence the Assembly has requested the PSC and the RECs/RMs to initiate the process at the upcoming annual Consultative Meeting on Peace and Security in May 2020. In the light of the potential of COVID19 and the response measures to have dire peace and security consequences on the continent, a focus on early warning and response has acquired heightened importance.

The Assembly has also made a reference to a PSC decision on the authorization the immediate deployment of an AU Mission Against Ebola in DRC (MAEC). The PSC may follow up on the fate of this mission taking in consideration and assessing the ongoing developments of COVID19 and the capacity of the AU as well as the recent reports of a resurgence of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC.

Two regions received a particular attention by the PSC during the 33rd ordinary session: the Sahel region and Libya. The most notable aspect of the deliberation on the Sahel is expected to be the initiative for deploying 3000 AU troops to the Sahel region in support of the efforts of the countries in the region. It is to be recalled that the AUC has taken steps towards mobilizing support towards the deployment of these troops however this also requires the prompt direction by the PSC on the nature and scope of the mandate as well as its coordination with existing peace support operations.

On Libya, three major decisions are expected to feature in the Matrix. One is in relation to dispatching a joint AU-UN military and security reconnaissance mission to Libya. Although due to the current freezing of activities this particular process may not be conducted, this period however offers the PSC to review and make the necessary adjustment to this plan. The second point, which was raised in the decision, is around the establishment of Libya contact group. The contact group, which held its first meeting in March under the leadership of the Chair of the AU High Level Ad Hoc Committee on Libya, is a key platform to consolidate AU’s role in the Libyan peace process.

The third concerns the elevation to the level of mission of 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 aimed at finding a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya. The AU has strongly urged for its active role in finding a sustainable peace in Libya. While AU’s push for such role has as yet to win support in the UN Security Council, the elevation of its office together with the contact group could strengthen its influence in the Libya peace process.

The outcome of the session was unknown during the production of this ‘Insight’. Given major changes that have taken place since the 33rd Ordinary Session, particularly in relation to developments of COVID19 the PSC may prioritize decisions and activities that may be implemented within the set limits on meetings and travel. The PSC may task the AU Commission to present proposals on adjustments to and modalities for follow up of the decisions in the context of COVID19. In relation to both the Sahel region and Libya the PSC may express concern over the ongoing fighting in the midst of COVID19. The Council may exert further political pressure on belligerent parties to adhere to the global call on cessation of hostilities. In terms of early warning and response, which has become more pressing in the context of COVID19 and pending the possibility of convening a meeting on this subject with AU organs and RECs/RMs, the PSC may urge the AU Commission working with RECs/RMs to initiate assessment of risks for peace and security with a view to help member states facing major risks of instability and violence due to COVID19 initiate mitigating measures for preventing conflicts. It could also request that AU regional and liaison offices, PSC authorized or mandated missions expand their focus to cover the peace and security impacts of COVID19, while ensuring the safety and security of their personnel.


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

Financing and other Broader Concerns

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.


Insights on the PSC - Ministerial session on the nexus between peace, security and development 

Financing and other Broader Concerns

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).


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

Financing and other Broader Concerns

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.


Insights on the PSC - Consideration and adoption of the conclusions of the Cairo Retreat of the PSC

Financing and other Broader Concerns

Date | 16 September, 2019

Tomorrow (16 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a session at 10am for the consideration and adoption of the conclusions of the Cairo Retreat of the PSC.

Previously, this agenda was included in the provisional program of works of the PSC for the months of February and April 2019. Tomorrow’s session could bring to a close this postponement in the adoption of the Cairo Retreat conclusions. The Secretariat of the PSC is expected to present the conclusions of the retreat.

It is to be recalled that the Cairo Retreat was held from 29 to 31 October 2018. The retreat was held in pursuit of the decision of the AU Assembly on the Reform of the AU, particularly the dimension of the reform that concerned the PSC. In this respect, the Assembly directed that ‘the Peace and Security Council (PSC) should be reformed to ensure that it meets the ambition foreseen in its Protocol, by strengthening its working methods and its role in conflict prevention and crisis management’. It was as a follow up of its meeting of 25 April 2018 during which the PSC deliberated on the issue of the reform that the PSC convened the Cairo retreat. During the April 2018 meeting, the PSC concluded that the specific details of the PSC reform are to be drawn from the conclusions of the various retreats of the PSC on its working methods held between 2007 to 2017 and the PSC related chapters of the APSA study that the PSD conducted – ‘Study on the Implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture from 2002 to 2018’.

The draft conclusions drawn up based on the various presentations and the extensive deliberations during the retreat have four parts. The first part is the introduction highlighting brief background of the retreat and summarizing the inputs that served as basis for the deliberations. During the retreat in Cairo the PSC received presentations on ‘a) African Peace and Security Architecture, b) the African Governance Architecture, c) consolidation and enhancement of the working methods of the Peace and Security Council: Rationalization and streamlining, and d) reform of the PSC within the context of the implementation of the AU Assembly decision 635 (Assembly/AU/Dec.635 (XXVIII) on the AU Institutional Reforms’.

The second part of the conclusions present the ‘Achievements of the Peace and Security Council’ since its operationalization in 2004. In this regard, apart from noting its operationalization as well-organized and better prepared AU Organ, in terms of implementation of its mandate the PSC highlighted, among its achievements, the ‘deployment of the various peace support operations and missions in some areas of the Continent affected by conflicts… AMISOM, AMIS, AFISMA, MISCA, LRA, MNJTF,G5 Sahel’ and ‘Seizure and consideration of important thematic issues of relevance to the promotion of peace, security, and stability, as well as development, in Africa.’ In terms of organization of its work, the conclusions highlighted ‘[e]laboration of detailed and predictable provisional monthly programmes of work and the Indicative Annual Programme of Work of the PSC’, ‘[s]treamlining and strengthening the role and work of the African members of the UN Security Council’ and Mobilizing within the AU system for a predictable and sustainable budget for the activities of the PSC and its subsidiary bodies.’

The third part covers ‘[r]ecommendations on enhancing the effectiveness of the Peace and Security Council’. It is this part of the conclusions that identified the areas for the reform of the PSC. At a general level, it is important to note that the retreat ‘stressed the continued relevance of the PSC Protocol to address the evolving challenges and threats to peace and security in the Continent’ and rightly ‘agreed that there is no need to review the PSC Protocol, but to focus on strengthening the PSC in the areas of conflict prevention and crisis management, as well as enhancing its working methods’.

In terms of conflict prevention, the retreat conclusions identified thirteen (13) areas. The major areas for action include ‘[s]trengthening coordination between the PSC and all the supporting APSA and AGA pillars’, ‘[e]stablishing a trigger mechanism and indicators to facilitate the role of the PSC in assessing whether a given situation calls for an early action by the PSC. In this context, the Commission should elaborate the mechanism and indicators for consideration by the PSC. (within the context of operationalization of the CEWS)’ and the ‘need for regular meetings/briefings between the PSC and the Chairperson of the AU Commission and the Commissioner for Peace and Security on peace and security matters in Africa, in line with Article 10 of the PSC Protocol.’

On crisis management, eight (8) areas have been identified. Of these the ones that are of particular significance include, ‘full operationalization of the ASF and its Rapid Deployment Capability, ‘[a]ccelerating the establishment of the institutional and regulatory infrastructure of the AU Peace Fund’, and ‘[e]mpowering the PSC for it to be able to institute individual punitive measures against peace spoiler/obstructionist to realization/restoration of peace in conflict situations’ (i.e. to impose sanctions).
The conclusions identified 15 areas for improvement on its working methods. The major areas worth noting include the ‘imperative for PSC Members to deploy the adequate capacity in terms of Human Resources and equipment, to ensure full and effective participation in the work of the PSC’, ‘[i]mperative for provision for all necessary information on a given conflict/crisis to enable the PSC to take informed decision. To this effect, the PSC agreed to accord itself adequate time to discuss issues on its agenda’, the ‘[n]eed to mainstream voting in the decision-making of the PSC, where and when issues under consideration so necessitate,’ and to ensure that the ‘national interest of the Chairperson of the PSC of the month’ does not ‘interfere or undermine the collective work of the PSC’.

While some of the areas identified in the conclusions have been taken over by developments since the retreat most notably the convening of the PSC meeting with the RECs/RMs policy organs to discuss and agree on modalities for coordination of peace efforts and the elaboration of a manual on PSC working methods based on the outcome documents of the 10 retreats the PSC held since 2007, it would be of interest for PSC members how other aspects of the conclusions particularly those relating to conflict prevention and crisis management would be followed up. From the areas of reform on working methods identified during the Cairo retreat, those requiring further follow up include the decision-making approach of the PSC particularly the introduction of voting, the adoption of a framework for a sanctions regime and modalities for coordination between the PSC and UN Security Council (UNSC) including the African three non-permanent members of the UNSC (A3).

It is not expected that there would be a formal outcome document by way of a communique or press statement. The adoption of the conclusions of the retreat may however lead to the incorporation into the Manual on the Working Methods of the PSC that was finalized and adopted at the Rabat retreat of the PSC held on 24-26 June 2019.


Insights on the PSC - State of foreign military presence in Africa

Financing and other Broader Concerns

Date | 14 August, 2019

Tomorrow (14 August) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security  Council  (PSC)  will  hold  a  session  to  assess  the  state of foreign military presence in Africa and its implications on the implementation of African Common Defense and Security Policy.

The  AU  Peace  and  Security  Department  is  expected  to  brief the Council. The Committee of Intelligence and Security  Services  of  Africa  (CISSA)  is  also  best  placed  to  provide further inputs.

In recent years increasing concerns have been expressed over  the  surge  in  the  establishment  of  foreign  military  presence in various parts of the continent. In its communique of its 776th session held in May 2018, the PSC expressed deep concern ‘over the potential negative effects of the presence of foreign military bases in some volatile parts of the continent to the future security and stability of Africa’.

The 19th meeting of the Panel of the Wise in November 2018  went  further.  It  not  only  reiterated  the  concern  about the ‘increasing militarization of parts of the continent, in particular the Sahel and the Horn of Africa regions’  but  importantly  ‘the  increase  in  uncoordinated  external interventions which undermines the efficacy of African‐led  solutions  to  violent  conflicts  on  the  continent.’ In this respect, the Panel underscored that considerable  attention  should  be  devoted  to  understanding the dynamics of external involvement on the continent’s security landscape.

The trend in the militarization of parts of the continent is backed  by  data.  Over  the  past  three  decades,  the  continent has witnessed the heavy military presence of multiple  regional  and  international  security  actors.  Particularly in the Horn of Africa region, the number of actors  with  military  presence  from  Europe,  the  United  States, the Middle East, the Gulf, and Asia has increased exponentially.  Moreover,  the  increased  volatility  and  complex security challenges in the Sahel and West Africa regions  have  also  led  to  the  expanded  role  of  foreign  security actors.

France has had a military presence in Djibouti since the late  1800.   After  Djibouti  achieved  independence  in  1977, France retained several military facilities. In recent decades,  in  the  Horn  region,  foreign  military  presence  was first established for purposes of countering violent extremism  and  terrorism  following  the  terrorist  attacks  in the United States in 11 September 2001. Since 2001, the  Government  of  Djibouti  leased  Camp  Lemonnier  to  the USA and ever since the US has made continuous investment  to  transform  it  into  a  permanent  facility.  Similarly, the US has also established presence in other countries in the Horn for its operation against al‐Shabab. Surveillance  sites  in  South  Sudan,  Uganda  and  Democratic Republic of Congo have also been established  aiming,  among  others,  at  capturing  Joseph  Kony.

China’s  first  major  security  step  in  relation  to  military  presence in Africa came in 2008 when it launched an anti‐piracy  mission  in  the  Gulf  of  Aden.  China  has  since  maintained a permanent naval anti‐piracy presence in the  Horn  of  Africa  region  and  recently  it  launched  its  32nd convoy fleet to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters. In a landmark development, China established a People’s Liberation  Army  Navy  (PLAN)  base  in  Djibouti  in  August  2017. While presented as a logistics support base and aiming at supporting China’s peacekeeping operations in Africa  and  its  participation  in  the  fight  of  international  piracy off the coast of Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden, the  facility  has  been  instrumental  in  the  protection  of  China’s growing overseas assets and represents China’s plan to project power.

The  UK  similarly  has  deployed  a  number  of  military  personnel at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, for a closer cooperation with the US forces in the region.
Increased presence from emerging actors particularly the Gulf  States  has  witnessed  sharp  increase  starting  from  2015‐2016. Saudi Arabia has significantly increased its presence in the region, particularly following the civil war in  Yemen  and  has  maintained  a  significant  naval  presence in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. After strained relationship with Djibouti, the UAE has directed its ties to Eritrea, Somalia and Somaliland.

The UAE has also targeted Somaliland by working on the military  base  in  Berbera  to  strengthen  its  military  capacity in the conflict in Yemen while also providing security  for  Somaliland’s  coastal  waters  and  coastline.  Turkey has also opened a military training centre in Mogadishu  in  2017  to  train  recruits  for  the  Somali  National Army.

Russia  has  become  the  latest  power  to  emerge  on  the  African security scene. In 2018, it has established presence  in  the  Central  African  Republic  (CAR)  to  equip  and advise the CAR military. In apparent indication of long‐term  presence,  Bangui  and  Moscow  signed  a  military cooperation pact.

The  rivalry  and  competition  among  foreign  powers  has  worsened already volatile security situation in the continent.  In  addition  to  the  GCC  crisis,  the  perceived  rivalry between the US and China has further intensified the military presence. The US Africa Strategy has openly stated  its  intention  of  countering  China  and  Russia’s  influence in the continent.

These  competing  military  engagements  particularly  among global powers will have a number of implications for the implementation of the African Common Defense and Security Policy.

One of the principal objectives of the policy is ‘to ensure collective responses to both internal and external threats to Africa… in conformity with the principles enshrined in the Constitutive Act’. The current security landscape and involvement  of  foreign  power  complicate  the  establishment of any collective security response by African states.

While there is recognition that individual member states have  the  sovereign  prerogative  for  allowing  their  territories to be used by foreign militaries, there remain concerns  about  the  extent  to  which  such  military presence  is  channeled  for  enhancing  the  collective  security of the continent. Some of the bilateral engagements  of  member  states  are  seen  as  being  not  fully coherent with existing continental commitments and  mechanisms  established  by  the  AU.  Rather  there  is  seems to be fragmentation and ad‐hoc engagement with foreign  powers,  leading  to  fragmentation  of  the  engagement of AU member states. Moreover, there is also a tendency of building closer ties with foreign power than  with  neighboring  states  in  the  security  front.  It  is  feared that this tends to fuel tension among neighboring countries.

IGAD during its 46th ministerial meeting cognizant of the changing geopolitics in the region, adopted ‘a collective approach  to  challenges  in  the  Red  Sea  and  the  Gulf  of  Aden by strengthening regional cooperation, and establish  a  regional  platform  for  IGAD  Member  States  with a view to promote dialogue’ and agreed ‘to harmonize  and  develop  a  common  position  to  protect  the security and economic interests of the region’.

The  expected  outcome  of  the  session  is  a  communiqué.  The PSC may take note of the increased level of unregulated  presence  of  foreign  militaries  in  Africa  and  destabilizing effects of antagonism and rivalry among powers  on  the  peace  and  security  of  the  continent.  The  PSC may urge member state for their immediate action in considering  the  continental  and  regional  standards,  particularly the Common African Defense and Security Policy,  when  engaging  foreign  security  actors.  The  PSC  may call on member states to work towards common security  and  intensify  regional  cooperation  to  effectively respond  to  any  threat  emanating  from  foreign  power  competition. As part of the effort to limit the pitfalls of foreign  military  presence,  the  PSC  may  task  the  AU  Commission to present to it a report on the scope of foreign  military  presence,  its  adverse  impacts  and  ways  and means by which member states may coordinate with the AU on the role of foreign militaries in their territories.


Insights on the PSC - Report on the challenges faced by AU led Peace Support Operations

Financing and other Broader Concerns

Date | 23 May, 2019

Tomorrow (May 23) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to consider the African Union Commission’s report on the challenges faced by AU led Peace Support Operations (PSOs) and on mechanisms to address them. The military staff committee and the Peace Support Operations Division are expected to brief the Council.

The session is expected to identify challenges faced by mandated, authorized, endorsed and hybrid peace operations in Africa. A wide range of challenges are expected to be addressed including those that are recurring in all forms of operations as well as the ones that are distinct to a specific type of operation. Issues related to leadership, funding, coordination and division of labor, with a particular focus on the relationship between host nations and troop contributing countries are expected to feature in the briefing. The impact of such factors on the sustainability of mandates and their effective operationalization are also expected to be addressed.

The AU has mandated and managed and/or authorized some ten PSOs since its first mission to Burundi. The largest, most deadly and expensive mission of the AU to date is AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) since 2007. AU has also authorized and provided political and technical support for the establishment and operationalization of three ad hoc security forces against terrorist groups including the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram and the Regional Coordination Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA) which are all deployed based on the cooperation of affected countries in the respective regions. Moreover, the AU jointly with the United Nations (UN) has managed the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur for more than a decade (UNAMID).

PSOs in Africa are increasingly tasked with broad and complex mandates including protection of civilians, stabilization, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency and long term post conflict reconstruction operations. The international security system is gradually relying more on the response of the AU and its sub-regional institutions, particularly in the context of high security threats and counter terrorism operations in the continent. This has been largely the case for AMISOM and is central to the mandate of the MNJTF and the G5 Sahel. However, the delivery of these mandates highly depends on the financial and technical partnership of the UN and other multilateral and individual partners. Apart from dependency on such external sources, a major challenge has been the delivery of the logistics and equipment that matches the nature of the activities of the operations and in a timely manner. The protracted nature of the deployment timeline of PSOs is the other factor that is posing challenge in securing sustainable funding. The human and capital cost of such counterterrorism operations is also very high.

Challenges related to resource and funding have mainly contributed to the decision of drawdown and the eventual exit of peacekeeping operations such as UNAMID and AMISOM. Both missions have been in place for more than ten years however the situation on the ground remains volatile and highly insecure. PSC may also address the challenges associated with the exit process particularly in relation to such long standing operations and the kind of vacuum their withdrawal might create. In line with agreed upon timeline UNAMID’s military component will be reduced to 4,050 by 30 June 2019 and AMISOM’s uniformed personnel has already been reduced to 20,626. The unpredictable political and security recent developments in Sudan are likely to have impact on the troop withdrawal. In this regard, a major concern is the serious threat that the security risk that arises from the implementation of the withdrawal of PSOs without the presence of a trained and prepared national force that is able to take effective control. In order to prevent the risks of the reversal of the security gains, there is a need for strengthening national security mechanisms.

In these and other operations, perhaps the most crucial challenge has been the lack of political strategy for addressing the conflict issues. The absence of such strategy means that PSOs are deployed for a prolonged period of time caught up in the protracted task of trying to manage the conflict situation and hence making the planning of their exit difficult.

The other related challenge in various PSOs is the coordination among the various stakeholders involved in the implementation of the missions. There have been disagreements between nations that send troops and those that fund missions. Countries that either contribute troops or whose citizens are directly affected by peacekeeping missions often have limited say in how missions are designed and mandated given that funding and technical support is provided by other countries or partners. The interest and relationship with the host country adds an additional layer of complexity. The same is true of the relationship between the mission leadership and the sector contingents.

The mismatch between the mandate of PSOs and what their capacity and resources also remains a major challenge facing AU mandated and/or authorized missions. The challenge faced particularly by hybrid peacekeeping missions such as UNAMID is related to the asymmetrical relationship between the AU and UN. Although the AU has the political leverage in mobilizing African states for troop contribution and in managing the engagement with the government of Sudan, it however depends entirely on UN budget and resources. Although hybrid missions have deepened UN and regional organization cooperation in peacekeeping operations, in reality however the relationship between the two organizations in managing the mission has not necessarily been even.

The second aspect of tomorrow’s briefing session is expected to focus on providing solutions to the multifaceted challenges faced by the various forms of AU led PSOs. Based on these categorizations and recommendations that will be provided by the MSC and PSOD, the PSC is expected to agree on ways to address challenges faced by the various PSOs. One of the recommendations or area of intervention is expected to address the issues related to prolonged PSOs and on ways to prevent open ended mandates by strategizing on definite exit timeline.

With regards to responding to the financial challenges the launch of the AU Peace Fund in November 2018 which aims at mobilizing 400 million USD by 2021 including for the financing of PSOs is another option that may be explored. So far, around 105 million USD has been mobilized towards the Peace Fund.

The progress that is being made in strengthening Africa’s ownership in PSOs through the reinvigorated Peace Fund may also facilitate the political engagement with UNSC. Particularly in relation to the pending UNSC resolution which establishes that the AU mandated or authorized PSOs should in principle be financed on a case by case basis through UN assessed contributions. In its recent resolution 2457 (2019) the UNSC stated its ‘intention to consider steps that can be taken to enhance practical cooperation with the African Union in the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa in line with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter’. During the briefing Ramtane Lamamra High representative of the AU for Silencing the Guns by 2020 reiterated the importance of UN’s favorable response to the critical and the long-standing calls for the funding of UN assessed contributions to be accessed by AU-led PSOs.

The expected outcome of the session was not known at the time of the production of this Insight. The PSC may however consider to adopt a communiqué that identifies tasks and responsibilities for addressing the challenges that AU PSOs face and assigns the AU Commission to develop action plan for a coordinated and sustained effort for addressing the challenges. In the communiqué, the PSC may request for AU Commission reports on current missions to include analysis of the steps taken both at the strategic and operational levels to address the forgoing challenges as they relate to the specific missions. It is also expected that the outcome of the session will provide key recommendations based on the experiences and lessons learnt from past and ongoing PSOs.


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

Financing and other Broader Concerns

Date |03 December, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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