THE AFRICAN PEACE AND SECURITY ARCHITECTURE. Conference Report Addis Ababa, September 2009

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1 THE AFRICAN PEACE AND SECURITY ARCHITECTURE Conference Report Addis Ababa, September 2009

2 Securing Stability in Africa: Unconventional Threats, Conventional Responses? The Observatoire de l Afrique held its fourth seminar (and its second in Africa) in Addis Ababa on September The event was organised by the Egmont Institute (the Royal Belgian Institute for International Affairs) together with the Institute for Security Studies (Pretoria and Addis Ababa offices) as the local partner. The theme of the seminar was Securing Stability in Africa: Unconventional Threats, Conventional Responses? The challenge of collective security in Africa: a comparative and reality based assessment The seminar began by looking at the development of security and regional integration structures around the world, and comparing those with the experiences of the AU and the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). It was noted that the development of regional security structures depends very much on the history and culture of the region in question. Europe, a region of strong, well-established states which have frequently fought wars, opted for a progressively more unified structure, sacrificing a degree of sovereignty for the objective of increased collective security. ASEAN, on the other hand, which counts a number of former colonies and weak states among its members, opted for a structure that would enable the nations collectively to strengthen their autonomy and sovereignty. There was some discussion of the African choice, of a model which represents a blend of EU and United Nations (UN) practice, and whether this was altogether appropriate, considering the relatively large number of weak states among its membership. There was particular discussion of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the concern, in the face of conflict and atrocity on the continent, to replace the traditional non-intervention stance of the OAU with a stance of non-indifference to events elsewhere by the AU. But it was difficult to see this principle being applied against larger and more powerful African states. (It was noted in passing that the EU, and Western states as a whole, for all that they supported this idea, would under no circumstances accept such a stance applied to themselves). Several speakers stressed the need to adopt an intelligently critical attitude to external models for regional structures, rather than simply imitating them wholesale: A number of participants noted that theory is to some extent running ahead of practice in the development of the APSA. It was true that AU deployments in both Sudan (AMIS) and Somalia (AMISOM) had materially helped in each case, and had reduced the level of violence. Despite some clear shortcomings the APSA machinery was becoming better articulated, with frequent meetings of the PSC, and the level of expertise in Addis Ababa was increasing. However, despite some of these generally positive elements, the high-level structure of the AU and the APSA is not always supported, either by effective and cooperative sub-regional organisations, or by the practical and financial implementation of what has been agreed in Addis. For international organisations to function well, high-quality staff have to be seconded from national capitals, without in turn producing a shortfall in capability in those capitals themselves. Attracting such staff remained a fundamental human resources problem, notably within the Peace and Security Department. In addition, the quality of troops and commanders so far assigned to the African Standby Force, the most visible operational arm of the APSA when it is fully P ag e 2 The Af r i can Peac e an d S ecurit y A rchit e ct ur e Re po rt

3 operational in 2010, was very variable. That said, good progress in the actual construction of the Force was being made in a number of regions. Some participants noted that Africa is a continent where leaders still feel insecure, and frequently rely upon a politicised - military to protect them from enemies at home. They thus expressed doubt that the current APSA and ASF approach, which called for multinational military deployments outside the national territory, could fully succeed. A willingness to engage in regional security operations implies a perception of mutual self-interest between states in the region, which is often economic in its origins. But in Africa this consciousness of common interests is not always present at the regional level. In the economic area, borders are major economic assets for states, and free trade can be construed as a threat. One traditional dynamic of regional integration is thus lacking. In addition, Africa faces a potentially tragic paradox: increasing domestic pressure for nation-building at home, combined with outside pressure to build regional organisations. Potentially, at least, a movement towards more federal, regional structures could actually undermine the stability of states that were already fragile, and bring about even more conflict. Three test-cases for Africa s ability to manage its problems Three panels considered the security challenges facing respectively the Sahel/Sahara region, the Horn and Eastern Africa, and the Great Lakes. A number of common themes emerged from the presentations and the discussion which followed. First, the conflicts were generally intrastate and trans-national, often at the same time. They were seldom conflicts between states as such, but frequently overlapped the boundaries of the subregions of the continent. There was not always an obvious mechanism for dealing with them. Unconventional threats, such as organised crime, drug use and trafficking, water shortages and resource conflicts, tended to predominate. In the future, the consequences of climate change could also be a factor for insecurity. Where formal conflict did exist, it was often at a low level of intensity, but at the same time time and again disregarded national borders. In some regions, trans-national organised crime was a threat to the integrity of states themselves, not least because of the problems of a number of states in controlling the whole of their territory in the first place. Criminals were often better armed and equipped than the forces of these states. External actors, such as China and the United States, were habitually present also, with their own agendas. In some cases co-ordination between the international actors has proved to be very difficult. In the case of the DRC, this is particularly clear in the domain of SSR. Different parts of the DRC s armed forces are being trained by different states, according to different procedures. More generally, there were questions about the ability of the states and institutions to absorb the aid offered: some senior officials, in Addis and in capitals, spent much of their time simply receiving delegations offering P ag e 3 The Af r i can Peac e an d S ecurit y A rchit e ct ur e Re po rt

4 advice and help. The priorities and extent of the external funding (especially from the EU) are regularly decided for internal political reasons, without much reference to the situation on the ground: much of the money is therefore not spent. It was clear that there was a mismatch between the concept of the APSA/ASF and the nature of the actual tasks and challenges on the ground. It was noted that the security problems in the Sahel, for example, do not really fit into any of the six scenarios for ASF deployment. Mandates of the current African PSOs are also often unrealistic, given the situation on the ground and the forces available. The ASF, once operational will be a conventional military force, and its concept implies a judgement that security problems in Africa could, in general, be addressed by the deployment of a multinational light brigade for a period of six months. There was some scepticism that this was in fact so. It was accepted that conventionally organised forces regularly carry out unconventional operations, but here, the gap between the ASF force structure and the nature of current African conflicts was thought to be especially large. These questions also arise with the use of a regional force in a conflict within the same region. The political interests of participating countries are likely to impose serious constraints, as is clearly the case in the context of the Horn of Africa. Finally, just as the conflicts were unconventional, so perhaps were the solutions. Traditional concepts of justice, traditionally based transitional justice mechanisms, and local conflict resolution methods, all needed to be explored. Whilst it was recognised that traditional concepts were not unproblematic, and could be manipulated, it was clear that they needed more attention. Likewise, it was clear that the resolution of some conflicts necessarily involved ad-hoc groupings of parties involved, outside the existing APSA architecture if necessary. This issue also needed further investigation. Are we doing the right thing? The final panel considered the lessons to be drawn from the exchanges during the seminar. It was clear that, whilst the APSA was making progress, and good results had been achieved in certain cases, there was room for adaptation and improvement. One area which needed specific attention was that of anticipating future crises, and seeing what preventative diplomacy could do to avert them. The 2011 referendum in Sudan is an obvious case. Nor should we neglect the promotion of local mechanisms for conflict resolution, nor the importance of local democracy and the involvement of civil society. Likewise, in working with the AU, we should not forget bilateral aid and cooperation programmes. On the other hand, it was not clear that DDR programmes, and programmes to retrain military forces (as in Somalia) were necessarily always appropriate. Equally, it was important to learn from relative successes, such as Burundi. That episode featured a number of special factors, such as the strong involvement of South Africa (both politically and militarily), long-term and vigorous international mediation, an African framework nation, and a recognition (from the Rwandan crisis) of what failure might entail. Although the situation was improving, there was still too much rivalry and too many demarcation disputes, especially in Brussels. More coordination was needed. It was also important to remember the particular circumstances of Africa: it would take time to develop structures (as indeed it had in Europe) and to absorb the advice and support offered. International actors should not be too impatient. External models could be helpful, but no model should be taken over uncritically: lack of African capacity could lead the AU and P ag e 4 The Af r i can Peac e an d S ecurit y A rchit e ct ur e Re po rt

5 states to adopt outside models without adequate consideration. Moreover, states were not necessarily prepared to send some of their best people to Addis: they preferred to deploy them either at home or in international organisations outside the continent, such as the UN. We also had to recognise the multi-tiered structure of the AU and the RECs (not found in other regions) and the complexity of the relationship between the AU, the RECs and individual nations. We should not lose sight of the complex relations between states, outside and beyond regional groupings, and the foreign policy priorities of the larger African states. Finally, we had to recognise and allow for the role played by outside actors such as China (which is developing into a real partner) as well as regional rivalries (such as that between Algeria and Libya) and (would-be) regional hegemons, such as South-Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Ethiopia, etc. Recommendations for policymakers The opportunity of the review of the EU/AU partnership in 2010, as well as the upcoming EU/AU summit, should be used as opportunities to reassess priorities and objectives... Preventive diplomacy and early warning systems should be a key priority for all African institutions and external partners in order to avoid escalation of potential crises. The case of the 2011 referendum in South-Sudan is of particular interest in this regard. The risk of violence resulting from disputed or stolen elections also had to be recognised. International funding should be more targeted to the real priorities of African organizations and less to "technocratic priorities". The EU should be more flexible in its financing mechanisms and criterias. In addition, international partners should better co-ordinate in order to avoid the de facto overloading of AU/REC staff capabilities to deal with them and also to avoid unnecessary duplication and competition. The structures of the AU and RECs are sometimes poorly adapted to deal with specific security challenges that are not typical peacekeeping issues. The case of the Sahelo-Sahara illustrates that some issues need an ad hoc approach in order to deliver realistic solutions. This should be taken into account by the EU and likeminded states in their co-operation policies P ag e 5 The Af r i can Peac e an d S ecurit y A rchit e ct ur e Re po rt

6 but also by Africans (including the AU, RECs, and other institutions) who themselves need to enhance their mutual relationships. Africans need to improve their human and organisational capability to handle peace and security cooperation issues at AU and REC level, and to commit politically to providing high-quality staff to the AU. The AU should take better account of some of the language-related lessons learnt by UNDPKO, notably in the case of the MONUC deployment. APSA and the ASF would be more effective, both in operations and at HQ, and more able to relate to local populations, if the Francophone component were strengthened, and if Anglophones received training in French and vice versa. AU and REC's should continue to improve their co-operation protocols. The process of prevention, management and resolution of crisis should also take into account, when possible and useful, traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, and the need to involve civil society. We should recognise and welcome the expanding role that China is playing in peace and security cooperation in Africa. P ag e 6 The Af r i can Peac e an d S ecurit y A rchit e ct ur e Re po rt

7 14 september 2009 Programme I WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION Dr. Koen Vlassenroot (Egmont, Director of the Central Africa Programme) M. Ramdane Lamamra (AU Peace and Security Commissioner) M. Koen Vervaeke (EU Special Representative to the AU) M. Jean-Christophe Belliard (French ambassador to Ethiopia / AU) M. Gunther Sleeuwagen (Belgian ambassador to Ethiopia / AU) Div.-General Major-General Bazin (Deputy Director, Delegation Directorate for Strategic Affairs, MoD, France) Panel 1: REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND SECURITY, LEARNING THROUGH EXAMPLE? Chair: Brig-Gen (Res) Jo Coelmont (EGMONT, former Belgian Permanent Representative to the EUMC) Dr. Daniel Bach (Sciences Po, Bordeaux) Emmanuel Fanta (United Nations University Comparative Regional Integration Studies) Capt. (Navy) Johan Potgieter (ISS Pretoria, SSR Programme) Dr. Thomas Jaye (KAIPTC, Ghana) M. Jocelyn Coulon (Université de Montréal) LUNCH Panel 2 : TRANSNATIONAL AND TRANSREGIONAL THREATS TO AFRICAN PEACE AND SECURITY: THE CASE OF THE SAHEL-SAHARA REGION Chair: Dr. David Ambroseti (CEAN, Bordeaux) Col. Yoro Koné (Director, Early Warning and Monitoring Centre ECOWAS) General Maïmanga (Military Chief of Staff to the President, of Niger) Mrs. Marie Audouard (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France) P ag e 7 The Af r i can Peac e an d S ecurit y A rchit e ct ur e Re po rt

8 Panel 3 : EXPERIENCES FROM THE AFRICAN GREAT LAKES REGION Chair: Dr. Koen Vlassenroot (Director of the Central Africa Programme, Egmont/Ghent University) Général Jean-Paul Michel (Head of Mission EUSEC DRCongo) Mr. Hans Hoebeke (Central Africa Programme, Egmont Institute, Brussels) Mr. Henri Boshoff (ISS Pretoria) Evening: Official diner hosted by Ambassador Jean-Christophe Belliard (Ambassador of France to Ethiopia / African Union) 15 september Panel 4: OPERATIONALISING THE APSA: LESSONS FROM THE HORN AND EASTERN AFRICA Chair: Mr. Thomas Cargill (Chatham House) Mr. Richard Todwong (Special Presidential Advisor on Northern Uganda, Office of the President, Uganda) Dr. Adawa Hassan Ali (University of Djibouti) Mr. Simon Mulongo (former director of EASBRIG coordination mechanism) Conclusion: CONCLUSION ARE WE DOING THE RIGHT THING? Discussant: Dr. Damien Helly (EU-ISS) Ambassador Stéphane Gompertz (Africa Director, MFA France) Ambassador Renier Nijskens (Africa Director MFA, Belgium) Mr El-Ghassim Wane (African Union, Deputy Commissioner for Peace & Security) Col. Daniel Venturi (Military Advisor, Delegation of the EU to the AU) Conluding remarks : Dr. Koen Vlassenroot (Director of the Central Africa Programme, Egmont/Ghent University) Evening: Cocktail hosted by Ambassador Gunther Sleeuwagen (Ambassador of Belgium to Ethiopia / African Union) P ag e 8 The Af r i can Peac e an d S ecurit y A rchit e ct ur e Re po rt

9 Mission Statement The 'Observatoire de l'afrique' is a network of independent institutes and experts coordinated by the Central Africa Programme of the Brussels based EGMONT Royal Institute for International Relations. The network aims at encouraging discussion between African and European experts on African security and political issues. This project was initiated to remedy the non-existence of a comprehensive forum for academic and professional exchanges on African issues of relevance for CFSP (Common Foreign and Security Policy) and the ESDP (European Security and Defense Policy), including a wide range of African stakeholders. The overall aim is to create a forum for open, constructive dialogue and debate, and provide useful conclusions to a wide range of policy makers. The Observatoire is based on two types of meetings. Two policy-relevant major conferences are held each year. Of these seminars, one is to be held in the EU and another in Africa. In addition, a number of punctual meetings (Africa Briefings) are organized that aim at providing insights into relevant political and security issues in Africa. The Observatoires website (www.obsafrique.eu) provides permanent space for debate, publications and relevant information. The target audience for these debates include: policy makers at different levels, including the EU institutions, the AU, diplomatic staff, MFA and MOD officials and representatives of key think tanks and academia. The Observatoire is developed in association with the Délégation aux Affaires Stratégiques (DAS, Ministry of Defence France). EGMONT is an independent think-tank based in Brussels. Associated Members Center for Policy Research Dialogue - CPRD (Addis Ababa), Centre d'alerte et de Prévention de Conflits - CENAP (Burundi), Centre d'etude d'afrique Noire - CEAN (Bordeaux), Chatham House (London), Clingendael Conflict Research Unit - CRU (The Netherlands), Conflict Research Group - CRG (Ghent University), Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management - IFK National Defence Academy (Austria), Institute for Security Studies - ISS (Pretoria), Instituto de Estudos Estratégicos e Internacionais - IEEI (Lisbon), Pole Institute (Goma, DRC), University of Bologna.

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