Ministerial session on the interdependence between peace, security and development

Peace & Security and Development

Date | 14 December, 2021

Tomorrow (14 December), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1055th session at a ministerial level to address the issue of the interdependence between peace, security and development.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to proceed in open and closed segments. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, is expected to preside over the meeting as the Chairperson of the PSC for the month. In the open session, following opening remark by Demeke Mekonnen, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to make presentation. The representatives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Development Bank, as well as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to the AU and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), Hanna Tetteh are also scheduled to present.

The Council’s first dedicated session on the theme was held at a ministerial level on 27 September 2019, at its 883rd meeting. In that session, the Council requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to submit annual report on the measures taken towards enhancing collaboration and coordination between departments within the AU Commission and AU Specialized Agencies on account of its recognition of the interdependent nature of peace, security and development.

The second session on the theme was convened at a summit level during its 975th meeting that took place on 27 January this year. The session addressed issues on how best to finance peace, security and development in the continent and ways to factor in security challenges in development financing. The deliberations during the session reflected on trends in which funds originally committed to financing development efforts are at the risk of being diverted to address security challenges in the context of growing threats of terrorism and violent extremism. Among other, the PSC called on the international community for ‘debt relief, cancellation and restructuring’ in light of the financial burdens resulting from the multi-dimensional threats imposed by terrorism, violent extremism, climate change and the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. As noted in the concept note, tomorrow’s session presents the Council the opportunity to ‘continue with the discourse on the inextricable link between peace, security and development from a policy perspective and advance its messaging on current efforts in the Continent and what needs to be done further in this regard’.

A major concern in the conceptualization of the security-development nexus is the risk of shifting the focus from addressing the structural underlying causes of insecurity (such as poverty, unequal distribution of wealth, marginalization, human right abuses, and governance deficits) towards strengthening the security apparatus of member states. While addressing the Council during its last session on the theme, Comfort Ero, Crisis Group Africa Program Director, noted this concern stating that ‘the full spectrum of insecurities leading to violence is often overlooked’ though states often ‘give a nod to addressing the root causes of conflict’. As security sector assistance will not resolve the broader sources of insecurity, it is worth heeding to Comfort Ero’s call for the AU to focus on ‘overall “sustainable security” strategy that links hard security to broader development and human security concerns’. The presentations from the representatives of NEPAD and African Development Bank may particularly highlight the role these institutions play in addressing the deeper socio-economic challenges and set the continent on the path of sustainable development.

Furthermore, the idea of prioritizing and sequencing security and development in the sense that security issues need to be first addressed to pursue development goals has its own limits at least in three respects. First, it may divert meagre national resources towards maintaining stability as opposed to national development. Second, it raises the question of ‘securitization of aids’, having implication on the type of programmes funded by donors and prioritization of ‘fragile states’ in aid flows. Third, it may also encourage military approach over political solution in response to conflicts arising in the continent though holistic approach has been promoted on paper. The last concern, for instance, has been flagged up by the Council during its 975th session when it urges for capacitating national armies as a quick fix to address security threats while emphasizing the need to ‘supplementing’ military approach with preventive diplomacy and political solutions to promote and sustain peace.

Evidences also show the close link between peace, security and development. According to World Bank, a civil conflict costs the average developing country roughly 30 years of GDP growth, and countries in protracted crisis can fall over 20 percentage points behind in overcoming poverty. It further estimates that by 2030, up to two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor may live in fragile and violent conflict settings. It is against such link between security and development that the Constitutive Act of the AU maintains security as a ‘prerequisite’ for the implementation of the development and integration agenda. The concept of security-development nexus is also rooted in the understanding of security as a precondition for development. As violent conflict is often associated with weak and fragile state institutions, it is argued that efforts should be geared towards building or rebuilding the capacity of state institutions (particularly the security sector) to address security concerns, which in turn create a conductive environment for development.

Given the cyclical nature and mutually reinforcing relations between peace, security and development, tomorrow’s session may stress the need for a balanced and simultaneous security and development responses instead of a siloed or sequenced approach towards achieving sustainable peace and development. As highlighted in the PSC’s 883rd session, the interdependent nature of peace, security and development requires not only the cooperation and coordination of different departments within the AU Commission but also developing mechanisms that underpin ‘integrated, inclusive, holistic and multidimensional’ approach with the view to achieving sustainable peace and development in the continent. One of the available mechanisms likely to receive attention in tomorrow’s discussion within this framework is AU’s Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) framework. The latter plays pivotal role in contributing towards strengthening the capacity and resilience of state institutions as well as addressing underlying root causes of violent conflicts. While AU’s PCRD initiative gets impetus with the establishment of PCRD Centre in Cairo, it remains critical to avail the necessary resources for the Centre to effectively discharge the envisaged role. The full implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) are also worth mentioning as important step in addressing the imperatives of peace, security and development in an integrated and holistic manner.

Over the last decade, not only violent conflicts have spiked but also their nature have changed fundamentally with conflicts becoming increasingly internal, intense and protracted. In its most recent session (1014th) on early warning and Africa’s security outlook, the PSC has expressed its concern over the continental security landscape dominated by the growing influence of armed groups and non-state actors, the expansion of terrorists’ territory and theatre of operation, increasing convergence of terrorism and transnational organized crimes, as well as increasing political and social tension with the rising incidence of violent inter-communal conflicts. Foundational instruments including the AU Constitutive Act, the protocol establishing the PSC and the Common African Defence and Security Policy clearly recognize instability due to these multi-dimensional threats to peace and security as the major impediment to the realization of development aspirations of the continent.

The outcome of tomorrow’s session is expected to be a communique. Among others, the Council may reiterate its 883rd session in emphasizing that AU’s efforts towards conflict prevention, peacekeeping and the consolidation of peace are informed by the link between peace, security and development. While acknowledging the importance of strengthening the security sector, the Council is expected to stress on the need for addressing the structural root causes of violent conflicts in order to transform exiting conflicts, avoid relapses, and consolidate durable peace. The Council is likely to highlight the imperative of an integrated and holistic approach while tackling the interlinked challenges of security and development in the continent. In this respect, the Council may further reiterate its 883rd session that urged the Commission to enhance ‘the collaboration and coordination between the different departments within the AU Commission and AU Specialized Agencies’. Given the unique role that AU’s PCRD initiative plays in tackling the underlying fundamental root causes and drivers of violent conflicts in an integrated and holistic manner, the Council is likely to urge the Commission to support the PCRD Centre in undertaking its mandate.

Peace and Security Council Session on Peace, Security and Development

Peace & Security and Development

Date | 27 January, 2021

Tomorrow (27 January) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will have its 975th session on the theme ‘Peace, Security and Development: Taking Security Challenges into Account in Development Financing’.
The PSC Chair of the month, Baye Moctar Diop, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Senegal will be delivering opening remarks. Presentations on the theme are also expected to be delivered by Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security; Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa and Hanna Tetteh, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the AU and Head of the UN Office to the AU. Representatives of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and International Crisis Group are also expected to address the Council.
The last time the PSC had a session on this topic was in 2019, at its 883rd meeting, where it reflected on the interdependence between peace, security and development. It is to be recalled that at that meeting, Council stressed the importance of adopting an integrated and all-inclusive approach regarding peace and security and development. In addition, the contribution of socio-economic development for fully addressing underlying causes of conflicts in Africa was stressed. The PSC has requested the Chair of the Commission to submit annual reports on the coordination between the Commission and AU specialized agencies to support the PSC within the context of peace, security and development. Tomorrow’s meeting will present the PSC an opportunity to follow up on its previous decisions.
As the Chairperson of the PSC for this month, this session represents Senegal’s effort in campaigning for the restructuring of the debt burden particularly of conflict affected countries. It is to be recalled that Senegal has held an international conference in 2019 and it has advocated for the special considerations in debt relief and cancellation for countries in conflict situations including the ones affected by terrorism and violent extremism. The issue of addressing the economic and financial challenges of conflict affected countries has become even more pressing in the context of the COVID19 pandemic. Hence, the session will deliberate on mechanisms for addressing the issue of debt burden of these countries, as part of the comprehensive financing of peace, security and development.
The background to this session is thus the financing challenges that countries on the continent have experienced for meeting the demands of recovery efforts as they come out of conflicts, epidemics, and climate change induced natural disasters. The COVID19 pandemic has compounded the existing financial and economic challenges facing these and many other African countries including those with a higher than 100 % external debt-to-GDP ratio. It is expected that the presentation by Songwe will address the impact of these on the continent. Millions of people have lost their jobs and livelihoods. Millions risk falling into extreme poverty. According to UNECA, Africa needs at least $100 billion to resource the health and social safety net responses, and another $100 billion for economic stimulus, including debt restructuring. Now, African countries face the additional challenge of financing access to the COVID19 vaccine. Given the social and security ramifications of the socio-economic fallout of the pandemic, addressing these economic needs is clearly both a development and peace and security imperative.
The focus of tomorrow’s session also has its foundation in the mandate of the PSC both in conflict prevention and in post-conflict reconstruction and development. It is worth noting that the AU Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) envisages under the resource mobilization pillar ‘support PCRD through investment, improved resource flows including official development assistance, debt relief’.
Significant number of conflicts in Africa are either mainly caused by or related to the unequal use of natural resources. Development projects and initiatives which tend to benefit one section of society while failing to meet the needs of other sections not only impose risk to peace and stability, but are also counterproductive to the achievement of sustainable development. The PSC may therefore call on Member States and concerned actors to ensure that all development efforts are designed to equally address the needs of all members of society.
Another issue expected to be addressed during the session is the pressure that security challenges are putting on resources meant to be for development purposes. Due to the increasing rate of terrorism and violent extremism in parts of the continent, governments have progressively channelled resources towards national security, which has consequently diverted focus from financing for development projects. As outlined in the concept note for the session, the PSC is expected to discuss this phenomenon and the best possible approaches for financing peace, security and development, mainly through engaging financing partners and creditors to consider not only debt restructuring but also consider how security challenges and the enhancement of the security capacity of states in development financing.
To this end the session is expected to provide a platform to exchange ideas on foreign debts and development financing in the context of insecurity and to identify ways to boost countries’ capacity in their fight against terrorism and violent extremism. Among others, this will also be directed at mobilizing support for the implementation of the various regional stabilization and development strategies.
It is to be recalled that in order to combat terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin regions, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have adopted 2020-2024 Plan of Action at their Extraordinary Summit held on 14 September 2019. The Action Plan aims to mobilise USD 1 billion to fund the training of special units to be deployed in the fight against terrorism, violent extremism, and transnational organised crime including trafficking in humans, arms, and drugs. The PSC is expected to reiterate its support to this Action Plan and call on Africa’s bilateral and multilateral partners and African financial institutions such as the AfDB to mobilize support for the implementation of the Plan.
Having regard to the fundamental nature of the interdependence between the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA), it is important to determine how to better connect the two frameworks throughout their implementation. Development initiatives, particularly PCRD related efforts offer the best opportunity for a well synchronised implementation of these frameworks. Council may emphasise the need for Member States to enhance their socio-economic development through improving accountable and transparent system of governance.
Council may also take tomorrow’s session as an opportunity to urge Member States to make efforts towards fully realising the commitments emphasised under Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063. It is noteworthy that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the aspirations of Agenda 2063 is by far noticed at a lower rate in countries affected by conflicts. Council may therefore stress its call to those Member States experiencing conflicts, to consider peaceful settlements and political dialogue and ensure that they spare no efforts from pursuing implementation of the development objectives of Agenda 2063 and SDGs.
It is also to be recalled that the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has become operational in August 2020, a major step towards the full implementation of the free trade agreement. In a landmark development in the operationalization of the AfCFTA, the start of the trading of the AfCFTA was launched early this month. Having regard to the enormous potential of the AfCFTA in facilitating interstate trade to boost continental development, which contributes to peace and security efforts, Council may welcome the milestones achieved.
Another area that may be considered by the PSC is the close collaboration between the AU Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Peace and Security Department (PSD) which is also essential to ensure that development efforts in Africa are funded in a manner, which takes account of security challenges. Also of significance is the importance of close coordination with the AfDB. Thus, the PSC may call for better coordination between the specialized agency and the relevant departments in the Commission. In light of their important role in both development and peace and security efforts, Council may also call upon the various Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) to strengthen their support to Member States and enhance their capacities in holistically addressing security and development challenges.
The expected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC, within the framework of the provisions of the AU PCRD policy, is expected to reiterate its appeals from its 918 session to the bilateral and international development partners, including notably the IMF and World Bank, ‘to consider debt cancelation and relief to those African countries with fragile economies, including provision of economic support packages, to enable these countries to regain resilience and commit the required resources to the fight against COVID-19.’ In the context of the critical importance of access to COVID19 vaccine, the PSC may call on international partners to support Africa’s efforts to access the COVID19 vaccine. The PSC may also urge the UNECA, the AfDB and Africa’s bilateral and multilateral international partners to provide dedicated funding for supporting the enhancement of the security capacity of affected countries along with the provision of development support as critical measure for the effectiveness of development efforts. Underscoring the importance of the AGA and the AfCFTA for enhancing peace and stability, PSC is also expected to call for enhanced implementation of the AGA through implementing reform measures that enhance transparent, inclusive and accountable governance and for the adoption by states of the necessary institutional, legislative and financial regulatory measures for the full implementation of the AfCFTA. The PSC may also call on the full implementation of the AU PCRD policy and the AU PCRD Centre to work in collaboration with RECs and specific Member States to address economic and developmental concerns of those countries emerging from conflict situations. The PSC may also reiterate its support to various stabilization and regional security plans including the 2020-2024 ECOWAS Plan of Action for combating terrorism and radicalization in the Lake Chad Basin and call for mobilization of support to implementation of such plans. The PSC may also underscore the key role that various institutions including the AUDA-NEPAD and RECs play in ensuring that funding of development efforts in countries affected by conflict, terrorism and violent extremism adequately integrates the security capacity challenges of those countries.

Ministerial session on the nexus between peace, security and development 

Peace & Security and Development

Date | 27 September, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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