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The state of peace and security in Africa and the PSC's responses in 2013
Date: 29 November 2013
Time: 09h30 - 12h30
Venue: Conference Room, ISS Addis Ababa

As the year draws to a close and preparations for 2014 are beginning, it is worth assessing security trends on the continent and efforts to protect peace in Africa.

The seminar aimed to review the various peace and security issues of concern in 2013 and the Peace and Security Council’s (PSC) responses, and reflect on trends in various regions as well as country situations and issues of interest for 2014.

Following on the success of the ISS’s first Annual Review of the PSC 2012/2013 launched in January this year at the African Union (AU) summit, this stakeholders seminar contributed to preparations for the second edition of the PSC review.

The seminar brought together representatives of affected countries, members of the PSC and the wider Permanent Representatives of the AU, the AU Commission, representatives of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the UN and EU as well as the diplomatic community and institutions working on peace and security in Africa.

Speakers at the seminar included:

  • Colin Stewart, Chief of Staff and Deputy Head of UN Office to the AU, Addis Ababa
  • Dr Solomon A. Dersso, Senior Researcher, Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division, ISS Addis Ababa

In his presentation, Colin Stewart considered the PSC’s work from the perspective of cooperation between the AU and UN. Given the political nature of the composition of both the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the PSC, cooperation is a challenge. But Stewart pointed out that a lot of progress has been made particularly by the UN Secretariat and the AU Commission (AUC) on issues such as how to work together, and exchange data and analysis. Examples of successful cooperation are the mission in Somalia and the joint assessment on AMISOM. Cooperation has not worked as well in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR). The experience thus far shows that collaboration between the UN Office to the AU (UNOAU) and the AUC, which have agreed on a framework and mechanisms for cooperation, will lead to a better result. However every case or situation is unique and requires a specific partnership and approach.  

Dr Solomon A. Dersso summarised the preliminary findings of the research on the Annual Review of the PSC 2013/2014. He first covered the state of peace and security in 2013. In this regard, Dersso noted that while Central and North Africa experienced a deterioration in their peace and security outlook, West Africa, the Sahel, East and the Horn of Africa continue to reflect the insecurities that have affected them in the past year. Despite some successes in Southern Africa, with the potential unraveling of the 1992 peace agreement in Mozambique the country risks a relapse back to conflict.

Dersso’s presentation also reflected on the responses of the PSC to the various situations encountered during the year. A statistical analysis revealed that the PSC mandated one of, if not, the highest number of deployments of peacekeeping personnel and that about 70 per cent of the PSC’s agenda was dominated by situations from Central, East and the Horn of Africa regions.

Other points included how a) the lack of funds continues to constrain the PSC’s ambition of effectively asserting its leadership role b) the impact of the PSC’s role has varied from case to case c) the weak recognition of the authority of the PSC vis-à-vis RECs/RMs results in policy divergence that undermines effective responses and d) the success of the PSC depends on not only solid regional consensus and support but also on cooperation with the UN and mobilization of support from partners as reflected in the cases of Somalia and Madagascar.      

This event was made possible through funding provided by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The ISS is also grateful for the support of the following core partners: the governments of Norway, Sweden, Australia and Denmark.
Conference Room
ISS Addis Ababa
Solomon A. Dersso
Phone: +25 111 5156367
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