As part of on-going intensive efforts to facilitate and support the growth and development of African Union police (AUPOL) and policing for peace support operations (PSOs) and Special Operations (SOs), the ISS/TfP in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and GIZ African Union Office (GIZAUO) organised and facilitated the 2nd Conference of the AU Police Strategic Support Group (PSSG). The theme of the conference was, “Africa Agenda 2063 for The Africa We Want: Consolidating the Police and Policing in Support of the Rule of Law and Good Governance for Public Safety and Security, Human Rights, Access to Justice and Sustainable Economic Development of Africa”.
The conference was opened with key opening remarks by Commissioner of the AU PSC (Amb. Smail Chergui), the Norwegian Deputy Ambassador to Ethiopia (Amb Mariann Murvoll), Germany’s Ambassador to Ethiopia (Amb Joachim Schmidt) and the Deputy Head of UN Police Division (Mr. Shaowen Yang). The speakers underlined the importance of policing in PSOs and SOs and noted that the AU PSSG is an essential platform for enhancing standardization of international policing. More than 60 participants, from the AUC, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the four of the Regional Mechanism planning elements (RPLANELMs), delegates from AU Member States, and AU development partners namely the United Nations, GIZAUO, ISS/TfP, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Kofi Anan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), APSTA Secretariat, Norway, Denmark and British Peace Support Team for EASF participated in the Conference.
The purpose of the PSSG-2nd Conference was to review the results and streamline the work of the PSSG in line with its strategic objectives, harmonize the police and policing approaches in PSOs and SOs and to enhance coordination and communication regarding the police and policing for PSOs and SOs. The Conference also discussed the evolving contemporary trends and threats in PSO and SO environments, with a view to inform future strategy and mandates.
The specific objectives of the Conference were to:
- familiarize Heads of PSOs and Police Components of the regional planning elements (RPLANELMs) and representatives of Member States (MSs) with various strategic guidance materials for the police and policing in PSOs and SOs, which the PSSG has developed, to facilitate their successful implementation;
- develop modalities for the verification of the Africa Standby Force (ASF) police standby capabilities pledged by MSs;
- review PSSG achievements and identify outstanding tasks and challenges;
- identify PSSG and AU Police branding and communication strategy; and
- discuss the emerging contemporary trends and threats in PSO and SO environments;
- map out strategies for enhancing coordination and communication on the police and policing for PSOs and SOs; and
- formulate PSSG business plan for 2017 including project tasking and coordination.
A background presentation on “AU PSSG: galvanizing the AU police towards realisation of the aspiration of the AU agenda 2063 for The Africa we want.” emphasised the possible roles and responsibilities of the police in the APSA and AGA.
The draft “Policy for International policing in AU PSO and SO.” was presented and discussed to ensure that all participants could familiarise themselves with the Policy and provide input. The policy is guided by the AU Constitutive Act, the Protocol of the PSC, 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration of the AU Heads of State and government, and the UN Charter (Chapter VIII Article 52 (1)). The draft Guidelines and SOPs for individual police officers (IPOs), draft Guidelines and SOPs for Formed Police Unite (FPU), draft Guidelines on AU Police Command, draft AUPOL Administrative Guidelines on Vacancy and Succession Management for police professional staff (PPS) as well as the draft Table of Equipment (TOE) for IPOs and FPUs were presented and discussed. In addition, group and plenary presentations and discussions on Modalities for the Verification of ASF Pledged Police Standby Capabilities (PPSCs), Emerging Threats and Trends in PSOs and SOs, and Enhancing Participation of Police and Policing in APSA and AGA were well received and discussed by the representatives from the RECs and PCCs.
After thorough deliberations, conference attendees agreed on:
- Verification of standby capabilities – to conduct training of facilitators for Assessment of capabilities (AOC) for Formed Police Unite (FPU) and Assessment for Mission Service (AMS) as part of capacity building aspect, develop guidelines and SOPs on rostering, and establish coordinating mechanisms for verification;
- Standardisation of Training – to develop Guidelines on standardisation, accreditation and certification as well as standardised training curriculum packages and conducting a police specific FTX;
- Advocacy to involve African Chiefs of Police (ACOPs) in relevant mechanisms – to arrange a ACOP conference; Enhance relationship between regional COP mechanisms and regional planning Elements; Visit to Regional COP meetings and create awareness about all the APSA and get them integrated;
- Develop and establish ranking systems that works in the PSOs;
- Branding, marketing and advocacy – through developing a communication strategy and advocate for consideration of police and policing aspects in management of peace fund;
- Advocacy for establishment of a specialised technical committee on the Rule of Law, Public Safety and Access to Justice – drafting a Communiqué and/or a Protocol;
- Finalisation of policy frameworks within the ambit of the emerging trends and threats as well as translation into all AU official languages and distribution;
- Development of guidelines on performance management and other identified documents;
- Use existing forums/mechanisms for coordination between AU and RM/RECs on policing;
- Ensure effective involvement of police in the review of the ASF Doctrine and development of PSO doctrine;
- Advocate and influence on mandate decision-making processes - Establish synergy between different components; and Inclusion of police in planning and preparation processes;
- Establish information flow mechanism in support of Early Warning System processes;
- Establish integrated/central police structure - Review police structure to provide for all activities needed as part of different AGA and APSA structures; outreach to MS to provide secondment to the structure at MS cost; and establish a task teams;
- Strengthen the PSSG capacity - Outreach to MS; Accreditation of members; and Certification of members;
- Advocate involvement and participation of ACOPs in the current APSA and AGA mechanisms (e.g. specific to the STCDSS);
- Monitoring and evaluation of outcomes; and
- Submit the PSSG report and recommendations to relevant structures.