The AU has played an increasing role in mandating and deploying PSOs since its creation in 2002. The AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) has authorised or mandated the deployment of a total of thirteen peace support operations in Africa since its establishment. This includes sending approximately sixty-four thousand uniformed peacekeepers (troops and police) to missions on the continent. Its largest and most complex mission, the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) has been operational since 2007 with a current troop strength of 22,126. Other current operations include the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and two multinational task forces: The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) mandated to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria and surrounding countries, and the AU Regional Task Force combatting the Lord’s Resistance Army in central Africa (LRA RTF).
The establishment of the African Standby Force (ASF) and its Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC) under the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) has been instrumental to the development of practices and capacities of African-led peace operations. The ASF is composed of five regional standby capabilities for peace operations which would be implemented by the RECs and RMs, and made available to the AU when a crisis arises and deployment is required. It is intended that the ASF will support the PSC in the deployment of peace operations in cases of intervention to prevent or respond to imminent gross human rights violations.
The TfP programme has played an important role in enhancing Africa’s continental capacity to enhance peace operations tailored to the needs and realities of the African context. The programme will continue to support the capacity of the AUC to plan, deploy, manage, sustain and liquidate peace operations mandated by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). It will continue engagement on the enhancement of peace support operations’ police and civilian dimensions, protection of civilians policy frameworks and mechanisms, as well as providing support to the development of capacities, capabilities, doctrinal and policy guidance for AU peace support operations.
The number of fatalities caused by terrorism globally has been rising steadily since 2000, from 3,329 in 2000 to 32,685 in 2014 (IEP 2015: 2). A particular dramatic increase was noted in 2014, with an 80% increase compared to 2013, largely because of IS and Boko Haram (ibid.). Some of the key groups behind terrorist attacks are on the African continent, including Boko Haram (Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad), Al Shabaab (Somalia), AQIM (Mali), and Al Mourabitoun (Mali). The AU has been exploring how it can counter and unpack the threats of violent extremism and terrorism in a holistic manner across the continent, from using the ASF to fight terrorist groups, analysing interlinked issues such as irregular migration and organised crime, to addressing root causes.
These challenges will require new mandates, capabilities, technologies and new kinds of training. Through applied research, the TfP Programme will support the AUC in developing a better understanding of current and emerging global security threats and vulnerabilities, and to develop its institutional capacity to respond to such threats in a holistic, effective and coherent way.
The TfP will contribute to enhancing the capacities of the AUC towards timely, effective and sustainable engagements in areas of preventive diplomacy, political conflict management and mediation, reconciliation and peacebuilding. Conflict prevention, in particular, remains the most cost-effective and best alternative of all types of conflict management approaches. Yet, there remains a need to further entrench prevention approaches and mechanisms into holistic responses to conflicts. The AUC has developed extensive capacity in relation to its conflict prevention, management and mediation efforts, which the TfP programme will support, through for instance ensuring the participation of women in mediation efforts. Recognising that the participation and representation of women in peace processes is necessary to achieve sustainable peace, the programme will strive to promote engendered conflict analyses, increase women’s participation in decision-making roles in conflict management and resolution with particular regard to mediation and conflict prevention.
TfP partners will also support the Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development initiatives led by the AUC, focusing on transitional justice policy and peacebuilding programmes and drawing on lessons learned from key countries. Supporting the institutionalization of the African Governance Architecture (AGA), created in July 2010, and its linkages with the African Peace and Security Architecture will be a key priority.
Gender is a critical issue within AU’s peace and security response, with several different policy responses being incorporated into mainstreaming gender and increasing the role of women in peace and security matters. Within APSA, the PSD launched a Gender Peace and Security Program (GPSP) in 2014 that aims to provide the necessary tools to the various divisions of the AUC to be efficient in delivering and enhancing the AUC’s capacity and engendering the peace processes. All peacekeeping personnel are mandated to safeguard the human rights of all those whom they are called upon to protect and, in so doing, to integrate gender perspectives into their work in compliance with the United Nations Charter, international human rights instruments and Security Council Resolution mandates, including resolution 1325 on women, peace and security as well as in compliance with the AU frameworks on gender.
The TfP programme will prioritize activities and work to integrate a gender perspective in analytical work, policy support and capacity development as a cross-cutting issue. Priority is given to ensure women’s participation in decision-making and implementing activities. Particular focus will be given to ensure that a gender perspective is included in analysis of new threats and violent extremism, in the strategic planning of peace operations and capacity development activities.
The AU-UN partnership is today considered imperative to confronting and resolving current global peace and security challenges. TfP partners will support the AUC in its on-going partnership with the UN. This support entails providing technical advice on important issues such as, burden-sharing of security challenges on the African continent; financing of African peace operations; development of an AU mission support concept, and AU-UN doctrinal exchanges.
The AUC has recognised the role of youth in contributing to the vision of an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa. This is reflected in the African Youth Decade, 2009-2018 Plan of Action, which seeks to promote multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional engagement of all stakeholders towards the achievement of the goals and objectives of the African Youth Charter. Recent development of the Ten-year Implementation Plan of the Agenda 2063 goals also situates the role of youth as important actors in the peace, security and development agenda. TfP’s work will focus particularly on de-radicalisation and countering violent extremism, youth participation in governance and the role of youth in post-conflict reconstruction and development.