ACCORD/TfP attends workshop to finalise draft guideline on the role of the African Standby Force in Humanitarian and Natural Disaster Support
6 Oct 2015
Humanitarian situations and responses in Africa have remained complex and challenging and have resulted in a large number of internally displace persons (IDPs) and refugees. In an attempt to address these challenge, the African Union (AU) Humanitarian Policy Framework was drafted to enhance, coordinate and consolidate existing mechanisms. This policy was designed to support the efforts to ensure Full Operational Capability of the African Standby Force (ASF) and its Rapid Deployment Capacity (RDC). The guideline underscoring the role of the ASF in Humanitarian Action and Natural Disaster Support (HANDS) Operations aims to provide a foundation for the deployment of ASF infrastructure and personnel in order to facilitate responses to humanitarian and natural disasters. The guideline will form part of the AU Humanitarian Policy Framework, which complements relevant international initiatives on humanitarian activities in Africa. The Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) of the AU Commission's Department of Peace and Security in collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs of the AU Commission organised the workshop which was held from 1-3 September 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It aimed to: (a) articulate the role of the ASF HANDS guideline in working in concert with other humanitarian and disaster response actors with a view to ensuring overall effective and efficient implementation in disaster and risk management, which also includes civil-military coordination; (b) bring together relevant stakeholders in order to demonstrate how the ASF can support the coordination of humanitarian and natural disaster response through the use of appropriate assets within measurable, and time-bound implementation frameworks; and (c) to enrich the draft ASF HANDS guideline in order to ensure that all aspects of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation are in line with international practice. ACCORD/TfP has been involved in humanitarian effectiveness, more particularly in relation to peacekeeping issues and protection of civilians. This follows the 2013 Civil Military Coordination Roundtable which aimed to examine the progress on Civil-Military Coordination (CIMIC) on the African environment. Furthermore, the Programme participated in the 'African Union Regional Consultative Meeting for Southern Africa Regional for the Development of a Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness to be Submitted to the World Humanitarian Summit', which was held in May 2015 in Midrand, South Africa. ACCORD's TfP Programme was represented by Ms Barbara Mohale, Programme Officer, Peacekeeping Unit. This initiative is in line with the TfP Programme's strategic goal of supporting efforts towards strengthening the AU's capacity and capability to plan, manage and implement peace support operations on the continent through the development of the Africa Standby Force (ASF). This initiative also seeks to contribute to improved and sustainable capacity for peace operations on the continent, through ensuring effective functioning of organisational systems in the RECs/RMs.