ACCORD/TfP co-hosts an Experts Roundtable on developing a Conduct and Discipline Framework for the African Union (AU) Peace Support Operations (PSOs)
17 Dec 2014
Since its establishment, the AU has played an increased and expanded role in addressing conflicts in the African Continent, including in Darfur, Burundi, Mali, the Central Africa Republic and Somalia. As part of its intervention, the AU has developed policies and directives as well as established systems, structures and mechanisms to ensure that African PSOs are undertaken in accordance with internationally accepted norms and standards. These norms and standards relates to protection of civilians, observance of international humanitarian law and adherence to the highest standards of conduct by AU personnel. The overarching purpose of the roundtable was to strengthen the existing conduct and discipline mechanisms of AU PSOs through validation and interrogation of the draft documents already prepared by the AU Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD). The roundtable sought to strengthen these mechanisms for a robust and comprehensive framework on conduct and discipline that is responsive to the AU PSO realities and experiences and that which can be implemented and monitored in the short-, mid-, and long-term. To further support the AU processes on conduct and discipline, the Training for Peace Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) co-hosted with the AU an Expert Roundtable in the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 15 – 17 December 2014. The Roundtable brought together experts in conduct and discipline and related thematic areas. The experts were drawn from the Government Accountability Project, Washington, DC, USA; United Nations Conduct and Discipline Unit, Department of Field Support (DFS), UN; Transparency International, Mauritius; Women Peace and Security Network; Africa Somali Women’s Study Center; Institute of Peace, Leadership, and Governance at African University, Zimbabwe; and CLEEN Foundation: Justice Sector Reform Platform. Other participants were drawn from the relevant personnel in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); AU Peace and Security Department including PSOD, Office of the Deputy Chairperson Director of the Department of Administration and Human Resources Management. The discussions were also supported by other experts including communication, legal and gender experts. The discussions sought to bolster existing efforts to strengthen the conduct and discipline framework to specifically come up with recommendations on the constitution of mechanisms and to review, brainstorm and refine existing drafts of policies and directives. The roundtable took an innovative, research and evidence based, analytical and empirical approach that considers international best practice and lessons learnt, AU PSO realities and experiences taking into considerations the key drivers and trends globally on conduct and discipline for institutions, similar to or comparable to the AU. The outputs of the roundtable includes a refined draft conduct and discipline policy for PSOs; a refined conduct and discipline directive to PSOs; a refined draft Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) Policy; a refined draft “Whistle-blower”/Protection/Retaliation Policy; a refined draft Annex to Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on conduct and discipline and SEA specifically; recommendations for strengthening provisions of the AU Staff Rules and Regulations; and finally recommendations on use of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) to support a conduct and discipline framework, including establishing a misconduct database tracking system. The roundtable thus strengthened and improved the framework for addressing conduct and discipline and foster the realization of enhanced accountability and observance of standards of conduct by all personnel of the AU, resulting in increased credibility and reputation of AU PSOs. This roundtable is in line with the TfP Programme’s strategic goal for improved and sustainable capacity for peace operations on the continent, through ensuring that functional organizational systems are in place in the UN, AU and RECs using relevant policy frameworks mandated by the United Nations (UN), AU and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). In particular, the anticipated result of this initiative is in line with TfP/ACCORD’s specific objective to support the AU and RECs in policy development on the civilian structures. For more information on ACCORD's work through the TfP programme, please contact Ms. Irene Limo, Peacekeeping Unit Senior Programme Officer on Irene@accord.org.za or Ms. Barbara Mohale, Peacekeeping Unit Programme Officer on Barbara@accord.org.za.