Verification, Confirmation and Validation of African Standby Force Pledged Capabilities
In line with the announcement by regional standby capabilities that they had attained Full Operational Capability (FOC) at the end of the AMANI AFRICA II exercise at Lohathla, in South Africa in 2015, the Heads of State and Government instructed the African Union Commission (AUC) to conduct a verification exercise to establish if in fact the declarations were true thereby confirming the readiness of the African Standby Force (ASF) to respond to conflict challenges that plague the continent. The verification was to be preceded by a self-verification by all regions and then a team organised by the African Union Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) would then visit each of the regions and receive detailed briefings of the state of affairs regarding pledged capabilities in each region. The team would then compile a detailed report that would be submitted to the AUC which would also report to the Summit of Heads of State and government and highlight the findings of the verification exercise.
ACCORD and ISS were invited by the AU PSOD to join the SADC Verification and present to PSOD its opinions on how the exercise was progressing. The PSOD team, headed by Professor Gambari, has already visited ECCAS, SADC and EASF and still have to visit ECOWAS and NARC, where after the team’s report will be submitted to the AU Chairperson. At the meeting with the SADC Standby Force Planning Element (SSF PLANELM), the team received a detailed status of the pledged capabilities that the PLANELM had established following visits to each of the Member States. The SSF outlined their deficiencies and how they, in the interim, would manage should a deployment be ordered by the region. The recent SADC visit clearly and satisfactorily confirmed the region’s SSF’s FOC status.