Provisional Program of Work for the Month of March 2024

Provisional Program of Work for the Month of March 2024

Date | March 2024

In March 2024, the Republic of Namibia will take over the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) from the Kingdom of Morocco. The provisional program of work of the month envisages a total of six substantive agenda items and an informal consultation of the PSC with the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee (EUPSC). Of the six substantive agenda items, four will address country-specific and regional situations while the remaining two will focus on thematic issues. One of the sessions to be held during the month will take place at Ministerial level while the remaining will be Ambassadorial level meetings. In addition, the Military Staff Committee (MSC) and the Committee of Experts (CoE) will also be meeting during the month.

The first meeting of the PSC will be its informal consultation with the EUPSC, scheduled to take place on 01 March. It is worth noting that this is not the ordinary engagement between the two bodies. It is rather an informal meeting initiated in the context of the visit of members of the EUPSC. It is expected to serve as the platform for the two counterparts to exchange on issues related to working methods.

There will be two agenda items in the first substantive session of the month, on 04 March. The first agenda item is a briefing on the operation of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM). It is to be noted that in 2023, although indicated in the annual indicative program of work, the PSC overlooked to convene a session on SAMIM during the year. The upcoming briefing on SAMIM’s operations is expected to cover the state of operation of SAMIM and the situation in northern Mozambique. SADC would brief the PSC on progress made in the implementation of SAMIM’s mandates and key developments from SADC‘s decision to the extension of SAMIM’s mandate by an additional year, expected to end in July 2024. The session would additionally cover AU Commission’s recent activities in alignment with the PSC’s request at its 1119th session for the Commission to ‘…facilitat[e] the delivery of the equipment, directly to the Government of Mozambique at the Port of Nacala (Nampula Province), donated by the Government of the People’s Republic of China…’. A key update that may be highlighted in this respect is the November 2023 mission to Pemba, Mozambique, undertaken by the Director of Conflict Management of the AU PAPS Department, Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, aimed at handing over donated military equipment.

The second agenda item to be considered on 04 March is the Situation in Eastern DRC and the deployment of SADC Mission in the DRC (SAMIDRC). Although the PSC has covered the increasing tensions between DRC and Rwanda and the escalation of conflict between the Armed Forces of DRC and the M23 in eastern DRC during previous sessions, this session marks the first time when the PSC will discuss the decision of SADC Heads of State and Government on the deployment of troops to the DRC on 08 May 2023. In the communiqué of the 1140th session when the PSC last considered the situation in eastern DRC, it highlighted the importance of dialogue between the two countries for de-escalating tensions and underscored the role of the Luanda and Nairobi processes, with a focus on the need for ensuring coordination and harmonization between these two processes. The deployment of SAMIDRC as a replacement of the East African Force which DRC hurriedly pushed out for failing to fight against the M23. Unlike the East African Force which was tied to the political track of the Nairobi process and the inter-state focused Luanda process, SAMIDRC lacks a political and peace track on which it is anchored. It seems that it takes the model of SADC’s deployment in Mozambique and yet the situation in eastern DRC is not akin to northern Mozambique. This is not without consequences for the Nairobi and Luanda processes.

On 08 March, the PSC will convene another country-specific session to receive a briefing on the situation in Somalia. As the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) is nearing its final drawdown in December 2024 and with the PSC convening a total of five sessions on ATMIS vis-via Somalia in 2023, it is to be noted that Somalia has been and will remain one of the PSC’s key concerns in the region for 2024. During the 1173rd session, which was when it last discussed Somalia and operations of ATMIS, the PSC considered the second drawdown phase of ATIMS on the basis of the reports produced by the Joint Technical Assessment and the outcome of the Somalia Coordination Committee to steer their engagement. In alignment with the process of drawdown, the PSC decided on the withdrawal of 3000 ATMIS troops and 851 police personnel. Per the PSC decision, on 2 February, ATMIS reported the completion of phase two drawdown including the transfer of seven Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) to the government of Somalia and the closure of two additional FOBs. As the third phase of the drawdown nears, the AU Commission and ATMIS also held a consultative session with the Chiefs of Defense on 13 February to discuss the challenges that were encountered during the Phase 2 drawdown including the technical pause in September of 2023. Beyond that, the meeting also covered the plans for the Phase 3 drawdown and the implications it may have on the security situation in the country. As such, it is anticipated that the PSC will receive a briefing on the discussion that took place the previous month and anticipate the preparations for the phase 3 drawdown of ATMIS as well as the plan for avoiding the emergence of any security vacuum on the departure of ATMIS.

The PSC is scheduled to consider and adopt the programme of work for the month of April, on 08 March.

The next session taking place on 12 March will be dedicated to the situation in Abyei.  To enable engagement with Sudan, a member state that is currently under suspension and hence cannot participate in AU activities including formal sessions of the PSC, an informal consultation is aimed to precede the formal briefing on Abyei. The last time the PSC convened a meeting to discuss the situation in Abyei was in September 2022, at its 1108th session, before the outbreak of the war in Sudan. This session came against the background of major spike of violence and fighting in Abyei during late 2023 and the preceding months. The coming session also offers the opportunity to follow-up on the implementation of the outcomes of the 1108th meeting, specifically the PSC’s request for the AU Commission to conduct a study on the root causes of instability in the region alongside a matrix of implementation of PSC’s decisions on Abyei.

From 14 to 16 March, the second forum on unconstitutional changes of government (UCG) will be held in Accra, Ghana. Following from the inaugural convening held in Accra from 15 to 17 March 2022, the coming forum serves to follow-up on the status of implementation of key elements of the Accra Declaration on UCG in Africa as well as the Malabo Declaration on Terrorism and UCG adopted in May 2022 and the lessons from persisting challenges facing the continent with the continuation of the occurrence of coups and attempted coups.

On 19 March, the PSC will receive a briefing on the activities of the AU Panel of the Wise and its subsidiary bodies, FemWise and WiseYouth. Since the hiatus of engagement between the PSC and Panel of the Wise between 2017 -2022, the previous year saw a revival in engagement between the two bodies. The Panel of the Wise reinforcing the mandate of the PSC via its preventative diplomacy has increased its engagement with the PSC in 2023 by providing updates on its activities and conducting field missions to specific countries including Chad, in alignment with PSC’s directive. With the increasing conflicts across the continent, it is becoming imperative for the PSC to utilize the APSA tools in achieving its mandate. Building on the revitalization of engagement between the two bodies, the forthcoming session provides an opportunity for the PSC to continue increasing its engagement with the Panel to supplement and inform its work. The session will also be unique in that the PSC will receive a briefing not only on the activities of the Panel of the Wise, but also that of its subsidiary bodies, FemWise and WiseYouth. Although FemWise, established in 2017, is often dealt by the PSC under the context of its agenda on Women Peace and Security, the PSC has not engaged the FemWise within the framework of its exchanges with the Panel of the Wise. Similarly, this will also be the first instance the WiseYouth Network will brief the PSC as it was recently established and endorsed at the 35th Assembly of Head State Summit in 2022. Since the endorsement of the network, the WiseYouth has convened a consultative meeting to operationalize the network.

The last session of the month will be held on 22 March, at the Ministerial level. The session will be committed to one of PSC’s standing agenda items, Women Peace and Security (WPS), being convened within the framework of International Women’s Day, annually commemorated in March. A notable practice from the PSC’s previous session on WPS – the 1144th session – which is worth replicating was the participation of women from conflict-impacted areas in the meeting. Beyond their participation, these women representatives were able to provide the PSC with testimonies on how the ongoing conflicts in their respective regions and countries have disproportionately impacted women. In addition to upholding this practice by inviting women representatives from conflict affected countries, the upcoming session is expected to follow-up on some of PSC’s pending decision including its request for the AU Commission and Special envoy for WPS to undertake a comprehensive review of the involvement of women in the peace process.

Aside from these substantive sessions, the program of work for March envisages in the footnote a possible update briefing on the situation in Sudan. The program also anticipates a meeting of the MSC on 07 March, aimed at reflecting on ways of making the MSC more active in playing its role of supporting the PSC. The CoE is also scheduled to meet on 11 March, in preparation for the induction of the newly elected members of the PSC.

The induction of the 10 new members of the PSC, elected at the 44th ordinary session of the Executive Council and endorsed by the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly, is expected to be the last activity of the PSC for the month of March 2024. The induction program is scheduled to be held from 25 to 27 March, in Swakopmund, Namibia. This is an important occasion for the PSC to take stock of its working methods and the level of delivery of its mandate, the peace and security situation on the continent and the ways in which it can improve on its effectiveness in the execution of its mandate. This is indeed an opportune occasion considering the challenging continental and global dynamics.

 

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council


Provisional Program of Work for the Month of February 2024

Provisional Program of Work for the Month of February 2024*

Date | February 2024

In February, Morocco takes over the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) from Ghana. The PSC’s Provisional Programme of Work of the month, prepared under Morocco’s lead, includes twelve substantive sessions. This number is almost twice more than the average number of sessions held by the PSC on a monthly basis. Four of these sessions will address country-specific issues, while the remaining eight will cover thematic topics. Except for one ministerial-level session, all the sessions will be held at the ambassadorial level. Additionally, the Programme of Work also envisages that the PSC will convene an informal meeting for an exchange with countries in political transition.

The first session of the month taking place on 1 February will be on transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding. It is a session for discussing trends regarding the use of transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding in Africa and the implementation of the AU Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) of 2019. As the most comprehensive and authoritative articulation of the principles, benchmarks and policy parameters for planning and implementing transitional justice processes, the AUTJP avails globally the most current legal and policy resources both for the pursuit of justice and reconciliation in post-conflict settings and for addressing the root causes and drivers of conflicts. By focusing on the AUTJP, this session contributes towards an enhanced understanding of the AUTJP and the enormous potential it carries. In doing so, it will enable the AU and its member states to develop a context-specific comprehensive policy, strategy and programme toward democratic and socio-economic transformation, achieving sustainable peace, justice, reconciliation and social cohesion. The session may also serve as a platform to share experiences and best practices in the implementation of the TJP and provide recommendations to improve the effectiveness of transitional justice in post-conflict peace-building initiatives.

On 5 February, the PSC will convene an Informal Consultation to provide an updated briefing on the countries in political transition, namely Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso. In 2023, the PSC implemented a new format to overcome limitations in engaging with member states suspended from AU activities. These consultations were held on 26 April 2023 and 21 December 2023, with representatives from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Sudan, as well as a representative of the Economic Commission for Western African States (ECOWAS). The purpose of these informal consultations was for the PSC to directly engage with member states suspended from AU activities and enable countries concerned with the opportunity to address challenges faced in implementing transitional roadmaps to return to constitutional order. In the upcoming informal engagement, the PSC may address the recent joint statement by Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali announcing their withdrawal from ECOWAS.

On 7 February, the PSC will address the intersection of health, peace and security on the continent. The PSC has previously convened sessions to discuss various aspects of health peace and security, including public health threats and pandemics, such as Ebola and COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the complex societal impacts of health crises and how they exacerbate existing peace and security challenges. Building on these experiences, the upcoming session on the 7th may assess the interlinkage between health and security, pandemic preparedness and response, humanitarian impacts of health crises, international collaboration and partnerships. Importantly, this also provides an opportunity to address issues around the protection of healthcare facilities, professionals and humanitarians, considering the disastrous attacks on healthcare infrastructures that became apparent in the ongoing war in Sudan. Additionally, the session could serve as an opportunity for the PSC to explore the role of health diplomacy exemplified by Africa CDC’s delivery of assistance for Sudan, the involvement of peacekeeping missions in health security and discuss prevention and early warning systems.

On 9 February, the Council’s session will hold two country-specific agenda items. The first part will provide the PSC with an update on the current situation in Gabon. Following the coup that took place on 30 August 2023 in Gabon, the PSC convened two meetings. The first meeting (1172nd) resulted in the suspension of Gabon from all AU activities until the restoration of constitutional order, while the second meeting (1180th) assessed the political progress made since the coup. During the 1180th session, the Council expressed concern regarding the delay and the lack of a clear, practical and time-bound timetable for a transition, especially regarding national dialogue processes and elections. There are, however, some developments that took place following the PSC’s last session, including the announcement of a deadline for a transition, which is set for August 2025 with the holding of general elections. Furthermore, a national dialogue is scheduled for April 2024 and the development of a new constitution is planned for December 2024. The PSC is expected to monitor the progress concerning the transition process, particularly developments in relation to the national dialogue and the development of the new constitution. Additionally, as a follow-up from PSC’s 1172nd session, the AU Commission is expected to update the Council on the deployment of a high-level mission to Gabon.

The second agenda, expected to be discussed on 9 February, marks PSC’s first session of the year on the situation in Sudan. This session comes against the recent announcement by the AU Commission Chair on the appointment of three individuals to make up the AU High-Level Panel effective as of 17 January. During the PSC last convening on Sudan in 2023, the PSC made two forthcoming requests to the AU Commission, one to expedite the two-stage political dialogue process with the support of IGAD and in alignment with the AU and IGAD Roadmap and two, the request for the Commission to set up a High-Level Ad hoc Panel on Sudan. It is anticipated that this session will address three key developments on the situation in Sudan since the start of the year, namely, the appointment on the AU High-Level Panel by the AU Commission per the request from the PSC; the key outcomes on Sudan from the 42nd IGAD Summit held on 18 January;  and the impact of the announcement by the Sudanese government to suspend its membership and sever ties with IGAD, the regional body in the process of facilitating a convening between the conflict actors in Sudan.

On 12 February, the PSC will convene a session for the commemoration of the International Day against the use of child soldiers. The meeting will provide an opportunity to reflect on the trends on the continent regarding the recruitment and use of child soldiers, the challenges faced and progress made in preventing recruitment of children. It is also expected that the meeting will include discussions on reviewing the current status of efforts deployed by the AU Commission to prevent the use of child soldiers in Africa; share best practices and successful initiatives in demobilizing and rehabilitating former child soldiers; identify areas for enhanced collaboration and coordination among member states, RECs/RMs and other relevant stakeholders and lastly explore strategies to strengthen advocacy and raise awareness about the plight of child soldiers.

It is to be recalled that last time Morocco chaired the PSC, this theme also formed part of the agenda of the monthly program of the PSC and is expected to build on the outcome of that 1105th session of the PSC. This session will also build on the last PSC ministerial and high-level open session on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights and Welfare of Children in situations of conflict which was held on 4 and 5 December 2023 and adopted the Banjul Conclusions.

The only ministerial session of the PSC for the month will be held on 16 February on ‘Connectivity: the path to strengthening peace, security and integration in the Sahel’. Considering previous years’ sessions, it is worth noting that the PSC held several individual sessions on the countries in the Sahel region but only managed to dedicate one session on the Sahel in 2023. Apart from last year’s session, the ministerial session is expected to also build on the 1116th session of the PSC on the Sahel which was also held during Morocco’s Chairship of the PSC. Among others, the issues expected to be addressed during the session include the continuing threat of terrorism affecting the countries of the region, the adverse impact of the deepening geopolitical tension involving various outside powers, and the progress in the transitional processes for restoration of constitutional rule in the countries of the Sahel as well as how to provide coordinated support to the countries.

On 21 February, the Council is expected to convene a session on the Peace, security and development nexus: follow-up to the Tangier’s Conference. This in accordance with the Conclusions of the Tangier Declaration of 2022 adopted during the 1134th PSC session, in which the PSC was urged to consider convening an annual Council session. The session is expected to give an update on the implementation of the recommendations of the Declaration, ahead of the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government.

On 23 February, the PSC will convene on migration as a stand-alone item for the first time since 2018. Since 2018, the PSC convened on various thematic issues that intersect with migration including its session on xenophobic violence on African Migrants in South Africa and its most recent convening during its 1081st session commemorating 30 years of cooperation between the AU and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) where among other issues of concern, migrations was significantly covered. Due to the PSC’s hiatus on session solely addressing migrations, this session provides an opportunity to re-engage the issues of migration in relations to development and peace and security holistically. The last convening of the PSC held on migration as a stand-alone agenda item was during its 782nd session where the PSC highlighted key outcomes that may be revisited in the upcoming session. These include the revision of the migration policy framework and the development of a plan of action between 2018-2023; the establishment of various platforms for intel sharing among member states regarding migration (i.e, establishment of the Regional Operational Centre in Khartoum, the Continental study Centre for Migration, Research and Data in Mali and the Observatory for Migration in Morocco). More recently, during the PSC session commemorating the cooperation between the AU and ICRC, the PSC also noted the production of a report on the ‘registration and documentation of vulnerable populations in Africa’ in collaboration with AU, regional and international actors which may also be revisited during the upcoming session. Other key developments on the issues of migration that may be a point of discussion during the PSC session may also comprise the outcome from the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons which took place in May 2022. The objective of the It is also expected that the African Migration Observatory, the Rabat-based AU body, is expected to provide a briefing as well.

On 27 February, the PSC will hold its session with two agenda items. The first agenda item that will be discussed by the PSC is the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). During the PSC’s 1157th session on 13 June 2023, discussions were held regarding the status of the implementation of the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR (PAPR-CAR). The discussions highlighted the challenges posed by the illicit proliferation of arms in CAR, which is connected to the war in Sudan, as well as the disagreements among CAR’s political stakeholders in organizing a constitutional referendum. Considering the hindrance of these challenges on the full implementation of the PAPR, the PSC is expected to examine the current political and security challenges on the implementation of the agreement. One area that was not addressed during the 1157th meeting was the update on the status of drawdown of the AU Military Observer Mission to CAR (MOUACA). Therefore, it is expected that the upcoming session on the 27th will provide an opportunity for the PSC to review the progress made in incorporating MOUACA’s mandate into the AU Mission in CAR. Additionally, it is expected that an assessment of the AU Mission in CAR’s capacity to execute its responsibilities will also be conducted during the session.

In addition to its briefing on the situation in the CAR, the second agenda item of the PSC’s session on 27 February is the agenda of terrorism and violent extremism (TVE). The last convening of the PSC held on TVE in 2023 was centered around the AU Commission’s Report on Countering Terrorism in Africa. Key outcomes from that session that may be featured in this session include the request from the PSC to expedite the establishment of the AU Ministerial Committee on Counter-Terrorism (AUCCT), the Coordination Task Force (A2CTF), and the operationalization of the PSC Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism. In alignment with recent findings by Amani Africa’s special research report, the PSC took key decisions that aim to take a holistic approach to addressing the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism. This includes its decision to establish an annual roundtable on alternative approaches to counter and prevent violent extremism. A follow-up on this decision is also expected to feature in this session.

On 28 February, the PSC will convene a session with two agenda items at the ambassadorial level. The first session will be discussions on the AU election observation, a lever for better governance through lessons learned. AU election observation mission reports have shown that the majority of electorates across the continent have been receptive to the deployment of election observation missions, although the contribution of these missions for clean elections remains a subject of major contestation.

The last agenda item of the session and the program of the month will be on the political situation in South Sudan. The country is slated for general elections at the end of the transitional period in December 2024 despite major remaining tasks. According to a recent Report by the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), it is premised that due to the insufficient funding for the unification of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) and the ineffective functioning of the agreement mechanisms and institutions including the National Elections Commission, National Constitutional Review Commission and Political Parties Council, the country will continue to struggle with the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), in which the ripple effect will be felt in the holding of elections in December. In addition, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan remains dire. The impact of the conflict in Sudan has worsened the existing humanitarian crisis in the country, in addition to inter-communal conflicts, with the influx of Sudanese refugees and South Sudanese returnees who had sought refuge in Sudan amidst dwindling support from humanitarian actors. The convening of this PSC session will give an opportunity for Council to get an update on the aforementioned issues.

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*Post-script: The PSC Provisional Programme of Work for February as initially adopted has been revised. As per the Rev 1 of the Program, the following changes have been made.

Items indicated in the original program that have since been removed are:

  • Informal session on exchange with countries in political transitions scheduled for 5 Feb 2023
  • Briefing on the situation in the Republic of Gabon scheduled for 9 Feb 2023
  • The situation on the Republic of Sudan scheduled for 9 Feb 2023
  • Migration: the co-development approach to reinforce peace and security in the continent scheduled for 16 Feb 2023
  • AU Elections observation, a lever of better governance through lessons learned scheduled for 29 Feb 2023

The dates and agenda items of the various sessions to be held starting 6 February are as follows:

  • Transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding now scheduled for 6 Feb 2023
  • Health security and the promotion of peace and security in the continent now scheduled for 8 Feb 2023
  • Peace, security and development nexus: follow-up to the Tangier’s Conference scheduled for 21 Feb 2023
  • Fighting against Terrorism and violent extremism scheduled for 23 Feb 2023
  • Commemoration of the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers scheduled for 27 Feb 2023
  • Update on the situation in the Republic of South Sudan scheduled for 27 Feb 2023

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council

 


Provisional Program of Work for the Month of January 2024

Provisional Program of Work for the Month of January 2024*

Date | January 2024

Ghana will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) in January 2024. The provisional programme of work for the month envisages five sessions, of which three will address country/region specific issues whereas the remaining two will have a thematic focus. All of the sessions planned for the month will be taking place at the ambassadorial level. The PSC also plans to undertake a field visit to Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, on 27 and 28 January.

The first session of the month is scheduled to be held on 8 January. The session will assess the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau. The recent origin of this crisis goes back to the June 2023 legislative elections which secured a majority of 54 parliamentary seats for a coalition led by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) rather than the parties affiliated with the president of the country. PAIGC’s victory was followed by a sequence of events including detention of key personalities in the government particularly the Economy and Finance Minister and the Secretary of State for Treasury. On 1 December, the situation erupted into armed confrontations between the Presidential Guard and the National Guard. Claiming that this incident constituted an attempted coup, on 4 December, President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea-Bissau dissolved the National People’s Assembly (NPA), an act apparently not consistent with the Constitution. The president then immediately appointed new commanders of the National Guard and new representatives within the interior and defence ministries. The AU Commission Chairperson in a statement of 5 December expressed concern on the situation in Guinea Bissau, including the dissolution of parliament and called on ‘the government and national stakeholders… to respect the Constitution.’ Similarly, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the communique of its 64th ordinary session, while condemning the violence that took place on 1 December, called for ‘the full respect of the national Constitution and …quick restoration of all national institutions.’ In a 21 December statement, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General also called on ‘all parties to respect the Constitution’. The proposed session under PSC’s chair-ship of Ghana, ECOWAS member state, affords the PSC the opportunity for discussing the unfolding constitutional crisis in Guinea-Bissau and how the AU can contribute towards both the prevention of the situation from further deteriorating and the restoration of constitutionality through respecting separation of powers by including what ECOWAS called ‘quick restoration of all national institutions’, which essentially means the reversal of the dissolution of the NPA.

On 23 January, the PSC will convene its second session of the month to consider and endorse the ‘Report on the Activities of the Peace and Security Council and the State of Peace and Security in Africa’. In line with Article 7 of the PSC Protocol and established practice, having considered the report, the PSC will submit it to the 37th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly scheduled to take place in mid-February 2024. As always, the report is expected to provide details of both the various activities that the PSC undertook over the course of 2023 and an assessment of Africa’s peace and security landscape during the reporting period.

The third session is expected to be held on 25 January and will be committed to PSC’s bi-annual consideration of the half-year report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on elections in Africa. Following from the 1165th session when the PSC considered the Chairperson’s report on elections conducted in the continent during the first half of 2023, the forthcoming session is expected to consider the report on elections conducted during the second half of the year – July to December 2023. In addition, the report is also expected to provide information on upcoming elections taking place in 2024, with a focus on those expected to be held during the first half of the year. Some of the critical elections from the second half of 2023 that could be expected to feature in the report and thus generate some discussion in the PSC are the Central African Republic’s (CAR) and Chad’s constitutional referendums conducted on 30 July and 17 December 2023 respectively, as well as the very recently concluded general elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held under contested circumstances. In addition to Burkina Faso whose presidential election is expected to take place in 2024 as per the transition calendar, other two upcoming elections that may be highlighted in the Chairperson’s report and discussed by the PSC include the presidential elections in Comoros and Senegal, both slated to take place in the first quarter of 2024.

The PSC’s filed mission to Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, will be its next activity after the session on 25 January. It is to be recalled that last February, the PSC scheduled to undertake this mission but was unable to proceed due to a lack of collaboration. Planned to be undertaken on 27 and 28 January, the field mission could serve as an opportunity for the PSC to engage with the interim regional government of Tigray, civil society actors and members of displaced communities currently hosted in the region’s capital, Mekelle, on the status of implementation of the Pretoria Agreement and other key ongoing concerns.

On 30 January, the PSC will convene its fourth meeting of the month to consider the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the renewal of the force’s mandate. At its 1126th session convened on 12 December 2022, the PSC renewed MNJTF’s mandate for one year starting from 1 February 2023. Aside from renewing the force’s mandate which would expire on 31 January 2024, the PSC is also expected to reflect on the overall situation in the Lake Chad Basin (LCB), with a specific focus on trends in the threat of terrorism, illicit transfer of arms and status of MNJTF efforts aimed at degrading Boko Haram.

The last session of the month is scheduled to be held on 31 January. It will be committed to an updated briefing on the peace process in Ethiopia, specifically the monitoring, verification and compliance mechanism (MVCM) and consideration of the report of the PSC on its field mission to the Tigray region of Ethiopia. While the signing and launch of AU’s MVCM on 29 December 2022 had been an important step to contribute towards the implementation of the Pretoria Agreement, the PSC has not had a chance to receive updates on the progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of the peace agreement and the work of the MVCM. Only one meeting – the 1158th session held on 15 June 2023 – discussed the situation in Ethiopia in 2023, within the context of the session’s broader engagement on the situation in the Horn of Africa. The coming meeting hence presents the opportunity for the PSC to receive key updates including on its previous request for the AU Commission to ‘undertake a needs assessment for the extension of the deployment of the MVCM’.

The PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) is also scheduled to meet during the month, on 9 and 10 as well as on 16 and 17 January. On each of those occasions, the focus will be to consider the ‘Report on the Activities of the Peace and Security Council and the State of Peace and Security in Africa’, before it is tabled to the PSC on 23 January as elaborated above.

The provisional programme of work for the month also indicates in the footnote that there may be a session on the situation in Sudan. The fast deteriorating security, human rights and humanitarian situation warrants a follow up by the PSC including on the implementation of its decision of the 15th November 2023 ministerial session, which, among others, stipulated the establishment of a high-level panel and tasked the AU Commission with the responsibility of constituting the Panel.

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*Post-script: In the revised program of work (PoW), the session on Guinea-Bissau has been indefinitely postponed, as informed by the AU Commission. In addition, PSC’s Field Mission to Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, and the updated briefing session on the peace process in Ethiopia have been removed from the PoW, following Ethiopia’s notification that the timing was inconvenient for facilitating the Mission. On the other hand, the revised PoW has introduced three more sessions: updates on the selection process of the African Youth Ambassadors for Peace (30 January), consideration of the AU PCRD Policy (31 January), and commemoration of Africa Day of Peace and Reconciliation (31 January).

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council


Provisional programme of work for the month of December 2023

Provisional programme of work for the month of December 2023

Date | December 2023

In December, the Republic of The Gambia will assume the chairship of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) under the leadership of H.E. Ambassador Jainaba Jagne, Permanent Representative of the Republic of The Gambia to the AU. This month’s provisional programme of work includes a total of three substantive sessions, one of which will be held at the ministerial level and chaired by H.E. Mamadou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Gambia. In addition to its sessions on thematic and country specific issues, the PSC will also convene its 3rd annual joint retreat with the APRM in Johannesburg, South Africa and conduct the 10th High-Level Seminar, at ministerial level, in Oran Algeria.

On 01 December, the first session of the month, at ambassadorial level, is scheduled to discuss private military and defence companies operating in Africa. The last time the PSC reflected on this topic was during the 1159th Ministerial-level meeting held on 22 June 2023. During that session, the agenda focused on the ‘Status of Implementation of the Common African Defence and Security Policy and other Relevant Defence and Security Instruments on the Continent.’ In its Communique, the PSC expressed its concern regarding the surge of mercenaries and foreign fighters in Africa, inconsistent with the principles outlined in the Solemn Declaration on a Common African Defence and Security Policy (CADSP). Mercenaries were identified in the CADSP as common external threats to continental security in Africa. Consequently, the first session of the month is expected to give an update on the status of the review of the OAU/AU Convention for the Elimination of Mercenaries in Africa, initially adopted on 03 July 1977. It is noted that out of the total 55 countries, only 36 signed the convention and among them, only 32 have ratified it.

Additionally, there will be a briefing on the outcome of the 3rd edition of the Luanda Biennale. The Biennale of Luanda (Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace) is an event which is held every 2 years in Angola’s capital city, Luanda. Its primary objective is to promote experience sharing and dialogue on the promotion of the culture of peace and intergenerational dialogues, as a means of preventing violence and resolving conflicts. During this segment of the session, the PSC is expected to receive a brief on the outcome of this year’s forum under the theme “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent” which was held on 22-24 November 2023.

On December 4 and 5, a Ministerial and High-Level Open Session will be held in Banjul, The Gambia. The purpose of this session is to discuss the African Child Protection Architecture and the African Platform on Children Affected by Armed Conflict (AP-CAAC). During the last 1101st meeting on Children Affected by Armed Conflicts in Africa held on 18 August 2022, the PSC expressed deep concern about persistent violent conflicts undermining the fundamental rights and welfare of children. The PSC praised the AP-CAAC for its efforts to mobilize action to address grave violations against children rights and urged member states and partners to support the platform. The Ministerial high-level session is set to bring together various stakeholders with a view to take stock of the state of children affected by armed conflict on the continent, the various role players in the AU system and articulate measures for advancing effective action and close coordination and synergy among various role players. It also affords the PSC the opportunity to consider how to systematically mainstream the protection of children both across the peace and security architecture and the entire conflict cycle as the AU engages specific conflict situations. Among others, the ministerial meeting may take cue from some of the best practices of the UN in this regard, including most particularly the tracking, monitoring and reporting on trends and dynamics in status of compliance with children rights and protection in various conflict and crisis settings on the continent with a view to inform a more systematic as opposed to ad hoc policy response to the challenges to compliance with protection of children. More concretely, the Ministerial session may also consider the urgent and pressing situation of children caught up in the raging war in Sudan, which is classified by UNICEF as the world’s largest child displacement crisis.

On the same week, December 8 in particular, the PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) will convene to prepare for two major annual fora: the 3rd PSC and Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Retreat and the 10th High-level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa. At the 1129th PSC meeting on the consideration of the adoption of the Conclusions of the Second Joint Retreat of the PSC of the AU and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) held on 20 December 2022, a Communique was adopted providing PSC’s decision to hold the Third Joint Retreat in Durban, South Africa, during the third quarter of 2023, at a date to be jointly agreed upon in due course. In that context, the Joint Retreat will take place on December 11 and 12 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This year’s retreat coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the APRM. Building on the theme of the 2nd Joint Retreat held in Durban in November 2022, the upcoming retreat will assess the collaboration between the PSC and APRM in early warning and conflict prevention, as well as the synergy between the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA).

Furthermore, the 10th High-level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa: Assisting African Members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) (A3) in preparing to address peace and security issues on the continent, will be held at the Ministerial Level on December 17 and 18. Coined ‘the Oran Process’, this year’s seminar will fall under the theme ‘Celebrating 10 years of progress and cooperation: A decade of transformation and innovation, reaching new heights together’. The meeting, traditionally held in Oran Algeria during December in accordance with the PSC’s Annual Indicative Programme, is expected to address the A3’s practices in setting and prioritizing African issues in the UN Security Council agenda and how to advance support for and close coordination with the A3 by the PSC and the AU in general. Additionally, discussions will focus on how to address the challenges and set strategies for supporting incoming A3 states.

The last session of the month scheduled for 21 December will be an Informal Consultation to provide an updated briefing on the countries in political transition namely Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso. On 26 April 2023, PSC convened for the first time an informal consultation with representatives of member states undergoing political transitions i.e. Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan. The consultation served as an opportunity for the PSC to directly engage with the member states suspended from the activities of the AU in relation to unconstitutional changes of government (UCG), in an informal consultation format, which carries no formal outcome. On the same day, the PSC is expected to consider the recently concluded 15th PSC Retreat on the review of its working methods held from 25 to 27 November 2023 and would consider the adoption of the Terms of Reference for the operationalization of the PSC Sub-committee on Sanctions. The programme of work for the month also indicates that the deliberations on the same day will consider the PSC Annual Indicative Programme of Work for 2024.

The footnotes on the programme of work indicate that from 7 to 9 December 2023, the PSC Chairperson (representing West African region) and one PSC Member per region will attend the COP 28.

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council


Provisional programme of work for the month of November 2023

Provisional programme of work for the month of November 2023

Date | November 2023

In November, the Republic of Djibouti will assume the chairship of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month, under the leadership of H.E. Ambassador Abdi Mahmoud Eybe, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti to the AU. This month’s provisional program of work includes a total of seven sessions including on matters specified in the annual indicative program. Six of these sessions will be held at the ambassadorial level, and one at the ministerial level. The meeting at the ministerial level will be chaired by H.E. Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti. In addition to the seven sessions, the PSC will also hold its Retreat on Working Methods in Tunis, Tunisia.

01 November being commemorated annually as the Africa Youth Day, the first convening of the PSC will be held on 3 November. In light of the African Youth Charter adopted in November of 2006, the meeting will be dedicated to addressing youth in regard to peace and security. The last PSC session on Youth, Peace and Security was held on 03 November 2022, constituting PSC’s 1118th session. This month’s convening is expected to discuss the implementation of the progress of the 10-year implementation plan of the Continental Framework on Youth, Peace and Security and the outcome document ‘Bujumbura Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security in Africa’ submitted to the PSC for consideration post the convening of the Continental Dialogue on Youth, Peace and Security held earlier this year.

The next session of the PSC scheduled for 7 November will focus on Climate Change, Peace and Security. During the last PSC convening on Climate Change Peace and Security held at the Ministerial level in October 2022, the PSC reiterated the need to accelerate the work on two items, the report on the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace, and Security in the Continent and the implementation of the AU Climate Change and Resilience Development Strategy and Action Plan. The PSC is expected to receive a briefing on the African Continental Climate Security Risk Assessment Report on Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus and the Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace and Security in Africa during this month’s session scheduled to take place on 7 November 2023.

In the second week in November, the PSC will convene four sessions in one week: two thematic, and two country-specific sessions. On 13 November, the first thematic session will be on the annual meeting with the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission. The AU PSC and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) had their last convening on 28 November 2022, which was held as an agenda item of PSC’s 1122nd session. Last year’s meeting had a particular focus on the nexus between climate change and peacebuilding. As such, the outcome of that meeting emphasized, among others, how the Peacebuilding Fund can contribute towards the promotion of climate-sensitive programming in Africa.

On 14 November, the Council will convene a session on South Sudan. This session is expected to review progress made in the implementation of the various outstanding transitional tasks and South Sudan’s preparations and readiness for the upcoming elections scheduled to take place in December 2024.  In a report that was presented to the UN Security Council some months back, the Report of the UN Secretary-General noted with ‘concern the slow implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the significant delays in meeting the benchmarks agreed under the roadmap adopted in August 2022’.

The next session scheduled for 15 November is set to involve update on the situation in Sudan. Convened by Djibouti in its capacity as Chairperson of IGAD as well, this will be held at a ministerial level. It is anticipated that the session will review the developments in the war that will mark on the day of the session eight months since its outbreak in April. Despite more than a dozen declarations or announcements for ceasefire of various kinds that we documented, none of them held. The war has continued to rage on with devastating consequences to civilians and the physical and institutional infrastructure of the Sudanese state. Similarly, no meaningful wider political or peace process has emerged despite various initiatives including the AU and IGAD Roadmaps, AU’s Extended Mechanism Core Group, the various convenings by Sudan’s neighbours (Cairo, Ndjamena and Asmara). This session is expected to also discuss recent developments with respect to ceasefire negotiations in Jeddah and civilian actors meeting held in Addis Ababa.

On 17 November, the PSC session will be on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in Africa. This forms part of the annual meeting of the PSC within the framework of Resolution 1325 which is usually undertaken in October.

On the third week of the month, the PSC will hold its retreat on its Working Methods. The retreat is expected to take place between 21-28 November in Tunis, Tunisia, commencing at the level of the Committee of Experts the week prior, followed by a retreat at the Ambassadorial level. The discussions of the retreat are expected to cover, among others, the following: the improvement of coordination and decision-making between Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the PSC; enhancement of the capacity of the PSC Secretariat in regard to human resources for the implementation of the adopted structure; identification of the bearer of responsibility for the drafting of the PSC outcome documents and a timeframe for publication of the outcome documents; and the regularization of the presence of a legal advisor from the Office of the AU Legal counsel during PSC session. Other items that may be addressed during the session emanating from the previous PSC Retreat on Working Methods highlight the streamlining of the Annual Indicative Programme (AIP) of Work of the PSC for the purpose of harmonization as well as the inclusion of the African Peace Support Operations into the AIP.

The final session of the month is scheduled to take place on 30 November focusing on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD). The PSC is expected to receive a briefing on the various activities undertaken since the last convening. Based on the outcomes of the previous PSC session on PCRD, the session is expected to address the revitalization of the Council’s Sub Committee on PCRD via the establishment of the terms of reference for the committee. Other key considerations for the PSC during this session include the sustainable financing of the PCRD through increased financial and technical support from member states and the diversification of partnerships among international and nonconventional partners (private sector) for increased financial and technical capacity of the PCRD. In addition to the progress of PCRD, the Council will also consider the Conclusion of the 15th PSC retreat during this session.

In addition to the foregoing, the programme of work encompasses the meeting of the Committee of Experts (CoE). The CoE is scheduled to convene on 9 November. As indicated in the footnotes of the programme of work for November, the PSC will also be considering the provisional programme of work for December 2023 via email.

 

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council


Provisional programme of work for the month of October 2023

Provisional programme of work for the month of October 2023

Date | October 2023

For the month of October, the Republic of Congo takes over the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). The PSC’s provisional programme of work of the month, prepared under the guidance of the incoming chairperson includes four substantive sessions as well as the annual consultative meeting of the PSC with the United Nations (UN) Security Council (UNSC). Three sessions will be addressing various thematic issues, one session will have country-specific focus. The PSC is also expected to conduct a field mission to Libya within the month.

At the start of the month, on 3 and 4 October, the PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) and the UNSC Working Group will meet to prepare for the 8th joint informal seminar and 17th joint annual consultative meeting between the PSC and the UNSC. The CoE and Working group meeting will take place at the Julius Nyerere Peace and Security Building inside the African Union. While the CoE travelled to New York several times for such preparatory meeting, it is the first time that the UN Security Council Working Group to Addis Ababa.

On 5 October, the PSC will convene its 8th joint informal seminar with the UNSC. This 8th edition of the informal seminar is scheduled to focus on discussion on financing of AU PSOs and working methods in UNSC-PSC relationship. his seminar will immediately be succeeded on 6 October by the 17th joint annual consultative meeting between the PSC and UNSC. The agenda for this joint consultative meeting covers country/region specific situations namely Sudan, Sahel, Somalia and ATMIS and the situation in Eastern DRC.

On 10 October for its first substantive session, the PSC will receive a briefing by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on its activities and the humanitarian situation in Africa. Since 2007, the ICRC has made regular briefings to the PSC, and ICRC’s president Mirjana Spoljaric Egger is expected to present the briefing this year, to reflect on pertinent humanitarian concerns in Africa. Among other key points, the briefing could provide    an opportunity to discuss persisting and emerging trends in the humanitarian situation and in the provision of humanitarian assistance in the continent.

For its second substantive and only country-specific session of the month, on 17 October, the PSC will receive updates on the two recent situations of military coup in Africa: Niger and Gabon. Since the coup in Niger on 26 July, this will be the third time the PSC will be discussing the situation. During its previous session on 14 August, the PSC had decided to suspend Niger from all activities of the AU, and its organs and institutions until effective restoration of constitutional order.

Following the coup in Gabon on 30 August, the PSC held an emergency session on the situation on 31 August where it condemned the coup and immediately suspended Gabon from all activities of the AU and its organs and institutions until the restoration of constitutional order and demanded such restoration to be through the conduct of a free, fair, credible, and transparent election observed by the AU Election Observer Mission and the concerned region. This session will allow the PSC to scrutinize the implementation and effectiveness of the outcomes of its previous sessions to ensure restoration of constitutional order in both Niger and Gabon.

As its third substantive session on 19 August, the PSC will discuss on the AU Sanctions regime. The PSC is expected to deliberate on the effectiveness and enforceability of the AU Sanctions regime. During its 1100th session held on 15 August 2022, the PSC had deliberated on sanctions and enforcement, particularly as a deterrence against unconstitutional changes of government (UCGs). The PSC is expected to receive update on the development of the sanctions mechanism and the related progress towards the operationalization of the PSC Sub-Committee on Sanctions.

From 23 to 26 October, the PSC will undertake a field mission to Libya, to express AU Solidarity with the Libyan people and to gather first-hand information on the situation on the ground with a view to adopt more informed decisions on the next steps in favor of Libya. This field mission is a follow up on the PSC’s decision of its 1136th meeting. In addition to armed conflicts, Libya is grappling with the devastating impact of the deadliest Mediterranean tropical-like cyclone in recorded history, Storm/Cyclone Daniel, that hit Libya, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt, and Israel at the beginning of September 2023. The impact of the cyclone hit Libya the hardest with the World Health Organization (WHO) recording over 4000 deaths and over 8500 people missing, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimating over 43,000 people displaced in Libya, while Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria had 17, 7 and 4 fatalities respectively. The significantly devastating impact of the cyclone in Libya was due to the country’s vulnerabilities owing to weakened critical infrastructure involving dams in Derna due to lack of maintenance and neglect made possible by years’ long conflict that has plagued the country. This field mission to Libya would present an opportunity for the PSC to assess the transitional process in Libya and engage the various stakeholders on the reconciliation conference for which the AU took responsibility to organize.

For its fourth and final substantive session for the month of October, the PSC will consider the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on Counterterrorism. At its 957th session held on 20 October 2020, the PSC had decided to dedicate an annual session to assess the progress in the Continental efforts in combating the scourge of terrorism, radicalization, and violent extremism, as well as foreign terrorist fighters. The last time the Chairperson of the Commission presented a report to the PSC on Counterterrorism efforts was on 22 October 2021, at the 1040th ministerial level session of the PSC.

As indicated in the footnotes of the programme of work for October, during the month, the PSC will also be considering the provisional programme of work for November 2023 via email. The footnotes also envisage an informal consultation to be held on 13 October, between PSC member states and the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS).

 

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council


Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of September 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of September 2023

Date | September 2023

For the month of September, Cameroon takes over the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) from Burundi. The PSC’s Provisional Programme of Work of the month, prepared under the guidance of the incoming Chairperson, includes six substantive sessions. While two sessions will address country-specific issues, the remaining four will cover thematic topics. Except for one session that will be held at the ministerial level, all the sessions will be held at the ambassadorial level. The PoW for the month also envisages that PSC will be on a mission to Mozambique for the commemoration of the Amnesty Month.

As the next phase of the drawdown of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) approaches, the first session of the PSC, scheduled for 7 September focusing on conflict specific situation, is dedicated to an updated briefing on the situation in Somalia and the activities of ATMIS. It is to be recalled that the first drawdown of ATMIS troops, following the initial extension on the request of the Government of Somalia, took place last June. It is anticipated according to the timeline for the drawdown that the second drawdown that will involve the departure of 3000 troops will take place at the end of September. This session is expected to hear from the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of ATMIS about the state of preparedness of ATMIS for the drawdown. Related to the drawdown, UN Security Council Resolution 2687 [S/RES/2687(2023)] envisaged the conduct of a technical review by the AU and Somalia to evaluate the progress of the initial withdrawal. ATMIS is also expected to provide update on this review, whose conclusions are expected to be released by 15 September. Additionally, the session will also receive update from Somalia as well as ATMIS on the security situation in Somalia including the ongoing offensive operations against Al Shabaab and the readiness of Somalia security forces to shoulder the security responsibilities from ATMIS troops that will be departing as part of the drawdown. In light of the violent clashes in LasAnod, the PSC may also use the session to seek briefing on the nature and scale of the crisis and how the AU including through ATMIS may facilitate the resolution of the conflict.

With September as the Amnesty month, the next activity of the PSC involves the commemoration of Africa Amnesty Month, which is planned to take place from 11 to 13 August in Maputo, Mozambique. While Africa Amnesty Month has been commemorated by the PSC every September since 2017, in line with the decision of the AU Assembly adopted at its 29th Ordinary Session [Assembly/AU/Dec. 645 (XXIX)] and at 14th Extraordinary Session, [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV)], it is in 2022 that the PSC started to mark the annual event outside of Addis Ababa through various symbolic activities including collection and burning of weapons and arms. Beyond the symbolic activities, the Amnesty Month also serves to highlight the role of illicit arms and weapons as major drivers of conflicts and insecurity in Africa. The PSC may also use the mission as an occasion for canvasing the current state of the conflict involving terrorist groups in the Cabo Delgado province and to interact with representatives of the Southern Africa Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM).

On 18 September, the PSC is scheduled to hold the second substantive session of the month. It is expected that the PSC will receive a briefing on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. According to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report, the trend of maritime crimes in the region has decreased in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. Despite this hopeful trend, the Gulf of Guinea remains to be the main locus for maritime insecurity in Africa. Apart from reviewing the state of maritime security in this region, this session also serves as an occasion for following up on previous decisions of the PSC on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. In this regard, the last time the PSC discussed maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea was at its 1128th session held on 19 December 2022. At that session, the PSC tasked the AU Commission to convene a meeting to facilitate the establishment of a body of experts or task force to coordinate and share knowledge on maritime security, and to plan the First Regional Maritime Command Post Exercise to enhance naval preparedness and collaboration within the African Standby Force (ASF) and Combined Maritime Task Force (CMTF) frameworks. Therefore, the PSC is expected to follow up on these requests during the upcoming session. In addition, the upcoming session is expected to assess the implementation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct to explore challenges and determine the most effective utilization of accessible resources.

Another key thematic session of the PSC scheduled for 20 September, which would also be a signature event for Cameroon as Chairperson of the PSC, is envisaged to focus on military-civil relations in Africa in enhancing conflict prevention mechanisms. This would be the first time for Council to convene a session committed to this specific issue, although the issue arises in relation to various contexts. The issue of civil-military relationship brings to the centre of attention not only the issue of ensuring the republican character and the allegiance of the security forces to the national constitution but also that of bringing the instrument of violence under effective civilian oversight on the basis of constitutionally established rules and processes. Considering the danger arising from exposing the army to partisan politics, the session may also address the issues of the politicization of the military which on various occasions led to the intrusion of the military in politics and that of situations of instability leading to the militarization of politics. These issues have become particularly salient for current peace and security policy making in the context of the resurgence of military coups in the continent throughout 2021-2023, the session is expected to highlight the issue of UCGs during discussions. It is worth noting that in various sessions addressing UCG in concerned member states, and during the Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Change of Governments held on May 28, 2022, the PSC has repeatedly stressed the importance of military non-intervention in politics. Other issues of significance in considering civil-military relations involve the military’s professionalism, including its adherence to codes of conduct and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

On 23 September, the PSC will convene its fourth substantive session, which is also the only session that will be held at the ministerial level. This session will consider the financing of AU peace support operations. The session will be held in New York on the side-lines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting. The last time the PSC discussed the topic was during its 1153rd session. At that meeting, the PSC requested the AUC to increase the ceiling of the Crisis Reserve Facility (CRF), use the AU Peace Fund to fill the current financial gap in the ATMIS, and expedite the establishment of the Peace Fund Secretariat, including its governance structure. Additionally, the PSC requested the development of modalities for enhanced AU-UN joint work, including collaborative planning and mandating processes.

The next session scheduled for 27 September involves engagement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on post-Malabo Extraordinary Summit on Humanitarian issues. It is expected that the session will review the follow up on the outcomes of the Humanitarian Summit, particularly regarding funding, institutional cooperation, and the 10-year AU Humanitarian Agenda. Additionally, the PSC’s discussion on this session could benefit the existing situations across the continent. One such instance is the situation in Sudan. According to the UNHCR, as of July 21, 2023, more than 3.3 million people have been displaced and the estimated number of refugees could reach 860,000 by October 2023. It would be not only a missed opportunity but also a dereliction of duty that the situation in Sudan, including the atrocities and grave humanitarian emergency in Darfur, has not attracted dedicated attention for a while.

On 29 September, for its final substantive and second country-specific session, the PSC is expected to receive an updated briefing on the political transitions in Guinea and Mali. For this session, the PSC is expected to receive updates on its key actionable decisions from its 1162nd and 1106th sessions. The PSC held a session dealing with Guinea and Mali on 20 July 2023 at its 1162nd meeting within the ambit of the Situation in the Sahel, where it considered and expressed concern over the withdrawal of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) from Mali and the risks of reversal of the gains made in the implementation of Mali’s 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. As it welcomed progress made in the transitional process, the PSC also urged the transitional authorities in Guinea and Mali to resume engagements with the Economic Commission for Western African States (ECOWAS) mandated mediators. Furthermore, it is recalled that on its 1106th meeting on 19 September 2022, the PSC had a session designated to receive briefings on particular Sahelian countries, including Guinea and Mali. For Guinea, it had called for the transitional authorities to conduct transparent and impartial investigations on the reports of the use of coercive measures that jeopardize fundamental freedoms and human rights, as well as on the operationalization of the Monitoring Mechanism on the Transition in Guinea from its decision on 10 September 2021. Regarding Mali, the PSC had urged the fulfillment of pledges of support for the Malian Transition.

In the light of the reports of military coup taking place in Gabon on 30 August, the PSC may also convene a session on the situation in Gabon.

In footnote, the Program of Work also envisages a press statement will be issued marking the international day of peace on 21 September.

In addition to the activities of the PSC, the program of work also lists activities of the Military Staff Committee (MSC) and the Committee of Experts (CoE). The MSC will convene a meeting on 5 August for the consideration of the Code of Conduct on Military-Civil Relationship. The CoE will meet on 14 August for the preparation of the 8th Informal Joint Seminar and the 17th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting between the PSC and UNSC.

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council


Provisional Program of Work for the Month of August 2023

Provisional Program of Work for the Month of August 2023

Date | August 2023

Burundi will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of August 2023. The PSC’s Provisional Program of Work includes eight substantive sessions. Three of these will focus on country specific situations. Three will address thematic issues, with the remaining two dealing with consultative meetings. All of the planned sessions are expected to be held virtually, unless in person meeting is specifically called for. The PSC is also expected to conduct a field mission to the Republic of Guinea from 14 to 16 August.

On 3 August, the PSC will convene its first substantive session to consider the report of its field mission to Burkina Faso. It is to be recalled that the PSC undertook the field mission from 24 to 28 July. The report is expected to present the assessment of the mission on the political, security, economic and humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso with recommendations on how the AU could enhance its support for the transitional process and contribute to the effort to contain the insecurity and accompanying humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso.

On 11 August, the PSC will convene its second substantive session, which will be committed to the joint engagement between the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) Subcommittee on Human Rights, Democracy and Governance (HRDG). This will be the second such joint consultative session.  The first was held during the 1095th session of the PSC on 1 August 2022. This upcoming consultative meeting will serve to review the implementation of the outcome of the previous session and exchange with the Sub-Committee on developments since the last session. In light of the coup in Niger and the launch of the African Peer Review Mechanism’s African Governance Report 2023 focusing on unconstitutional changes of government, this consultative meeting offers the PSC and the Sub-Committee to reflect on the recurrence of unconstitutional changes of government on the continent.

The third week of August will commence with the PSC’s Field Mission to Guinea, which is expected to take place from 14 to 16 August. It is to be recalled that on 4 December 2022, the transitional military government has agreed to a consolidated 24 months transition time table with elections scheduled for January 2025. The field mission presents the PSC the opportunity to engage with Guinea’s transition authorities on the various tracks of the transition. Apart from enabling the PSC to have first-hand engagement with various national stakeholders and communicate its policy position directly with the relevant authorities, the field mission highlights PSC’s willingness to show its presence on the ground.

On 17 August, the PSC is scheduled to convene its third substantive session which will assess unfolding development in Niger following the coup that took place on 26-28 July 2023. On 28 July, the PSC met to discuss the situation and demanded that the military shall ‘immediately and unconditionally return to their barracks and restore constitutional authority, within a maximum period of fifteen days’ from the date of the decision. The coming session is hence being convened in the context of the 15 days’ timeline stipulated by the PSC. Following its discussion on 31 July of the proposal to have another meeting on Niger following the ECOWAS summit, the PSC took the right conclusion for considering the outcome of the ECOWAS summit when it convenes the session its 28 July session envisaged after two weeks. This timeline would also give members of the PSC enough time to scrutinize the nature and implications of the outcome of the ECOWAS summit and the follow up action that ECOWAS may adopt upon the expiry of the one week timeline it gave to the junta in Niger.

On 18 August, the PSC will hold its fourth substantive session of the month, where it will be briefed on the situation in Sudan. This is the fifth time the PSC will be discussing the situation in Sudan since the beginning of the conflict on 15 April. At the 1156th session held on 27 May, it adopted the AU Road Map for the Resolution of the conflict in Sudan, which is meant to serve as a blueprint for the AU to work towards resolving the conflict. The PSC had requested the AU Chairperson to coordinate the implementation of this roadmap in cooperation with the warring parties, IGAD, LAS, UN and partners towards the restoration of peace and stability, as well as to promptly develop and execute the means of implementation of this roadmap. It is therefore envisaged that the PSC will be briefed on both the situation in Sudan and where the diplomatic efforts stand and how best these efforts could be strengthened.

For its fifth meeting taking place on 22 August, the PSC will receive a briefing on the Continental Early Warning and Security Outlook. The Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and AU Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) are expected to update the PSC on key emerging trends and issues of relevance to the peace and security landscape of the continent. At its 1073rd session held on 6 April 2022, the PSC requested the AU Commission to facilitate quarterly briefings to the PSC by the department of PAPS, Panel of the Wise, AFRIPOL, ACSRT and CISSA to ensure prompt conflict resolution. In line with this decision, the PSC, in its annual indicative program of activities for 2023 had scheduled to receive such briefings in February, June, October and December. However, the briefing session initially planned for June did not take place.  The coming session hence provides the chance to follow-up on the implementation of PSC’s decisions adopted at the 1138th session held in February 2023, including its request for the AU Commission to better capacitate and resource the ACSRT, AFRIPOL and the AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) Centre.

The third Annual Consultative Meeting between the PSC and Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) Policy Organs will take place from 24 to 26 August in Bujumbura, Burundi, constituting the sixth meeting of the month. The representatives of the Policy Organs of the RECs and RMs and members of the PSC are expected to reflect on the state of AU-RECs/RMs relationships and engagements. The second Annual Consultative Meeting between the PSC and RECs/RMs Policy Organs took place two years back in 2021, where substantive challenges in the harmonization of decision making between the PSC and RECs/RMs was discussed. In addition to sharing ideas on how to resolve such challenges, specific crises situations and themes of interest to these decision-making organs could be addressed at the coming consultative meeting.

The seventh session of the month is expected to be a briefing on the Development of the Common African Position on Cyber Security in Africa, expected to take place on 29 August. It is to be recalled that in its 1148th session held on 13 April 2023, the PSC had requested the preparation of a draft statement on the application of international law to cyberspace and a questioner to be filled by States on such application. The PSC had also requested the AU Commission on International Law (AUCIL) to urgently complete and submit the draft statement of a ‘Common African Position on the Application of International Law to Cyberspace’. It is expected that the PSC will be briefed on the developments of the draft statement and draft Common African position in this respect.

On the same day, the PSC is also expected to receive a presentation on a) the draft ToR of the Sanctions Committee; b) the draft ToR for the Ministerial Committee on Counter Terrorism – both to be established in line with the decision of the May 2022 Malabo Declaration on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government – and c) the draft Manual on the working methods/modalities for engagement between the PSC and the African three member of the UN Security Council (A3). It is to be recalled that the PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) has been extensively engaged in the development of these documents including through the convening of a retreat in May 2023.

On 31 August, as its eighth and final session of the month, the PSC will receive updates for its annual session on the impact of climate change on peace and security. During its 1079th meeting convened on 21 April 2022, the PSC discussed climate change and peace and security, and requested the AUC to expedite the finalization of the report of the AUC Chairperson on the Study on the Nexus Between Climate Change and Peace and Security and to submit it to the PSC for consideration. Apart from presenting an opportunity to receive update on this and related previous decisions of the PSC, the session on 31 August will particularly focus on developing contribution to the Africa Climate Summit scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya in early September on the climate and security nexus.

In addition to the substantive sessions and activities of the PSC, the programme of work encompasses the meetings of the CoE. The CoE is scheduled to convene on 8 and 21 August to deliberate on the agenda for the third Annual Consultative Meeting between the PSC and RECs/RMs Policy Organs. As envisaged in footnote of the programme, the PSC will also consider via email, the provisional programme of work for the month of September.

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council


Provisional Program of Work for the Month of July 2023

Provisional Program of Work for the Month of July 2023

Date | July 2023

Senegal will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of July 2023. The PSC’s Provisional Programme of Work includes four substantive sessions. One of the sessions will address country/region-specific issues, while the remaining three will cover thematic topics. All of the planned sessions are expected to be held physically, except for the only session that will be held at the ministerial level. The PSC is also expected to conduct a filed mission to the Sahel during the month.

On 6 July, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its first substantive session of the month through a consultative meeting with representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Economic Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC). The holding of this meeting is in line with Articles 5 and 22 of the AU Constitutive Act, which establishes the ECOSOCC, and Article 20 of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the PSC. This is the second time that the PSC will be convening a consultative meeting with CSOs and ECOSOCC. It is to be recalled that the inaugural consultative meeting took place in September 2022. The convening of this second consultation promises to regularize the annual consultative meeting pursuant to the decision of the inaugural session. In the exchange, a selected CSOs from the five regions are expected to brief the PSC on their programs and activities. Those CSOs are also expected to share their proposals on how to enhance their cooperation with the PSC.

On account of the mid-year meeting of the Executive Council and the coordination meeting of the AU and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) taking place during the week of 10 July, members of the PSC will be occupied with the session of the Permanent Representatives Committee of the AU and the will not accordingly convene session during that period.

On 21 July, the PSC will hold its second substantive and the only country specific session for the month. In this session, the PSC will be briefed on the situation in the Sahel. The last time the PSC discussed this issue was during its 1166th session in October 2022. However, discussions were focused on the political transition of Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali during a session held in April 2023. During this session, the PSC requested for the revitalization of the Transition Monitoring Mechanisms for all countries in political transition as set out in PSC decisions. It is envisaged that the session will be briefed on the activities of the ECOWAS and CEN-SAD on the transition support mechanism.

Previously, the PSC also held its 1127th session that was dedicated to the deployment of 3000 troops in the Sahel Region. In the light of the decision of the Security Council to end the UN Mission in Mali the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) on the request of the de facto authorities of Mali, this session will serve to consider the requisite measures that should be taken to avoid the emergence of security vacuum and address the impact this may also have on the G5 Sahel operation which benefits from the support of MINUSMA.

On 25 July, the PSC will hold the third session of the month which will be aimed at discussing community responses to the security challenges on the continent. The session, which will be held at ministerial level, will be addressing the theme for the first time. In the light of the increasing militarization of the civilian population and the resort also of affected communities to self-defence groups and the associated challenges that arise from these developments, this session helps to understand these and related issues in community response to security challenges and explore relevant policy response measures.

The fourth session is scheduled to take place on 31 July to consider the Mid-Year Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on elections in Africa.The report aims to provide an overview of the outcomes of elections in Africa that were held or scheduled for 2023. The Chairperson’s report is expected to provide an outlook on the scheduled elections for 2023, as well as recommendations on how to improve electoral processes and outcomes. This session presents an opportunity for the PSC to engage in discussions and deliberations on upcoming elections in Africa. Moreover, given the potential for electoral violence in some countries, this session is also an opportunity for the PSC to explore ways to help member states prevent such violence.

In addition to the activities of the PSC, the programme of work encompasses the meeting of the Committee of Experts (CoE). The CoE is scheduled to convene on 18 July, to deliberate on the Terms of Reference for the PSC’s field mission to the Sahel. The field mission is anticipated to take place from 26 – 29 July. The visit is expected to enable the PSC to engage with member states in the region on developments related to the security situation in the wider region as well as political transitions in concerned member states

Furthermore, the CoE will discuss the preparation for the 3rd Annual Consultation meeting between the PSC and RECs/RMs Policy Organs. This item is intended to develop a comprehensive plan for the consultation in order to enhance the coordination and cooperation between the PSC and RECs/RMs. The issue of coordination and policy coherence between the PSC and RECs/RMs has increasingly become a major area of policy concern particularly since the past few years.

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council


Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of June 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of June 2023

Date | June 2023

Zimbabwe will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of June 2023. The PSC’s Provisional Programme of Work includes six substantive sessions. Two of the sessions will address country/region-specific issues, while the remaining four will cover thematic topics. All sessions except one, which will be held at the ministerial level, are scheduled to be held at ambassadorial level.

On 13 June, the first session of the month is scheduled to provide the PSC with an update on the current situation in Central Africa Republic (CAR). During PSC’s 1093rd session, major decisions were made regarding the drawdown and closure of the AU Military Observer Mission to the Central African Republic (MOUACA). The upcoming session on the 13th could serve to follow up on the status of implementation of the peace agreement, including developments regarding integration of MOUACA’s mandate into the AU Mission in CAR and the capacity of the AU Mission in CAR to follow up on those tasks. In addition, it is anticipated that the PSC will receive a briefing on the necessary arrangements for CAR’s local and regional election, which is planned for July 2023.

On the same day – 13 June – the PSC will also consider and adopt the programme of work for the month of July.

The second item on the agenda for the month is an update on the situation in the Horn of Africa, planned to take place on 15 June. It is expected that the central focus of the session will be the situation in Sudan and the regional impact of the conflict. Since the outbreak of the conflict, the PSC convened four sessions on Sudan including the recent session at the level of Heads of States and Government. It is therefore expected that the PSC will follow up on the decisions made during its previous sessions and specifically consider the regional implications of the conflict.

On 20 June, for its third session and the first thematic topic of the month, the PSC is set to conduct a review to evaluate the progress made towards achieving one of AU’s flagship projects, Silencing the Guns in Africa. This review is in line with the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2030. The Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism for the AU Master Roadmap was adopted in Nairobi in May 2021, in line with the decision of the 14th Extra-Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV)], and endorsed by the Assembly in February 2022. It is expected that the PSC will receive a briefing from the newly appointed AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns, Mohammed Ibn Chambas. It is expected that the PSC will hear from Chambas on his plans on how best to pursue the agenda of silencing the guns. This is particularly pressing considering the setback that Africa continues to face in the effort for preventing and resolving conflicts in recent years. Furthermore, the upcoming session is expected to review the efforts made by member states, Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), and relevant stakeholders towards silencing the guns in Africa using the existing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms outlined in the roadmap.

The fourth session of the month scheduled to take place on 22 June will be held at ministerial level. The session will focus on the progress made in implementing the Common African Defence and Security Policy, along with other relevant Instruments on Defence and Security on the Continent. The session will primarily update the PSC on developments regarding the full operationalisation of the Africa Standby Force (ASF) since PSC’s last briefing on the topic, at its 1069th session. This session is expected to give particular focus on steps taken by the various RECs in operationalising the ASF. Coming after the recent conclusion of the 15th Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security (STCDSS), the upcoming session is also expected to provide updates regarding the status of the draft 2021-2025 strategic work plan for the enhancement of ASF and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AU and RECs/RMs on the Deployment and Employment of ASF, issues that were tabled for discussion at the 15th Ordinary Session of the STCDSS. The PSC may also receive updates on force/capability generation and rapid recruitment and deployment processes, as well as the status of the Continental Logistics Base (CLB) and the Regional Logistics Depots (RLD).

On 27 June, the fifth substantive session will be committed to a briefing on the continental early warning and security outlook (CEWS). This session will be held in line with the decision of PSC’s 360th session of March 2013 to review the state of peace and security on the continent through horizon scanning, biannually. At the 1138th session which was the last time the PSC received a briefing on CEWS, it also underscored the need for regular briefing on the topic. During the coming session, it is expected that the PSC will be briefed by the Committee of Intelligence Services of Africa (CISSA), the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) and African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT). It should also be noted that at its 1073rd session, the PSC emphasized the need for Member States and RECs/RMs to address the persistent denial of credible early warning reports of potential crisis and conflict situations on the continent. To address this issue, the PSC, among other key asks, requested the Commission to elaborate a trigger mechanism and indicators to facilitate the role of the PSC in responding to early warning information on potential conflict or crisis situations, and urgently submit both for its consideration. Apart from follow up on these decisions, this session may also serve as an opportunity for reviewing developments relating to the last briefing on the security outlook of the continent and since that briefing.

The last session of the month, scheduled for 29 June, will be dedicated to the annual consultative meeting with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The consultative meeting is in line with Article 18 of the PSC Protocol which envisages maintaining close working relations between the PSC and the PAP in furtherance of peace, security and stability in Africa and emphasizes the importance of cooperation between the two bodies.

In addition to the activities of the PSC, the program of work also lists activities of the PSC subsidiary bodies, namely Military Staff Committee (MSC) and the Committee of Experts (CoE).  In addition to the sessions of the PSC, the MSC will undertake a technical field mission to Somalia from 5 to 7 June.  On 19 June, the report of the MSC’s technical field mission to Somali will be considered. It is anticipated that the report will include major implementation component as well as challenges of the ATMIS mandate to implement the Somali Transition Plan (STP), detailing the handover of security responsibilities from ATMIS to the Federal Government of Somalia by December, 2024. Particularly, the report is expected to provide key findings on the preparations for the drawdown of 2000 soldiers by 30 June 2023.

On 16 June, the PSC CoE will convene a briefing session on the outcomes of three key items discussed during its retreat held from 18 – 22 May 2023. As such, the briefing will cover status of finalization of the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Sanctions Committee and finalization of ToR for the AU Ministerial Committee on Counter-Terrorism, both to be established in line with the decision of the May 2022 Malabo Declaration on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government (UCG). Moreover, the CoE will reflect on the working methods and modalities for the engagement between the PSC and the African three-members of the UN Security Council (A3).