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7/2010: African Union approaches to conflict management

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Paper by Captain Kobus Maasdorp from CMIS2010.

Paper by Captain Kobus Maasdorp from CMIS2010.


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  • 1. C I V I L - M I L I TA R YW O R K I N G PA P E R S7/ 2 010AFRICAN UNION APPROACHES TO CONFLICT MANAGEMENTCaptain Kobus Maasdorp w w w.c i v m i l co e . gov. au
  • 2. Disclaimer:The views expressed in this Civil-Military Commentary/Civil Military Working Paper/Civil-Military Occasional Paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflectthe position of APCMCOE or of any government agency. Authors enjoy the academicfreedom to offer new and sometimes controversial perspectives in the interest offurthering debate on key issues.The content is published under a Creative Commons by Attribution 3.0 Australia(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/) licence. All parts of this publicationmay be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, and transmitted by any means withoutthe written permission of the publisher.ISBN: 978-1-921933-06-6Published 2011.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS ii
  • 3. ABSTRACT The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) transitioned to the African Union (AU) on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa. During the Maputo Summit in July 2003 the Peace and Security Department (PSD) of the AU Commission was established. This new department was charged with the responsibility of managing peace and security on the continent. It was also a major shift in how the African Union would conduct its business, as opposed to how it was done by the OAU. Whereas the OAU pursued a policy of non-interference, the AU made its intentions clear that peace and security on the continent would be a priority. The AU has established the African Standby Force (ASF) to advance peace and security on the continent. Once fully operationalised, the ASF will enable the AU to better manage peace on the continent. The AU standby arrangement will be discussed in detail further in the paper. Key Words: Africa, conflict management, African Union, Peace and Security Department, African Standby Force Capt Kobus Maasdorp Capt (Navy) Kobus Maasdorp is a serving officer in the South African Navy. Presently he is on seconded duty to the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He served as mission commander of a South African peace mission in Côte d’Ivoire in 2006. He is married to Silvia and they have two children. He considers himself a compulsive reader and is a rugby union supporter.African Union Approaches to Conflict Management 1
  • 4. BACKGROUNDAt the transition of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU)1 on 9 July 2002 inDurban, South Africa, the Heads of State and Government adopted the Constitutive Act to addresses conflicton the Continent as follows:• Article 4 (h) ‘the right of the African Union to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity;’• Article 4 (j) ‘the right of Member States to request intervention from the Union in order to restore peace and security;’During the Maputo Summit in July 2003 the Peace and Security Department (PSD) of the AU Commissionwas established. This new department was charged with the responsibility of managing peace and securityon the continent. It also represented a major shift in how the African Union would conduct its business asopposed to how it was done by the OAU. Whereas the OAU pursued a policy of non-interference, the AUmade its intentions clear that peace and security on the continent would be a priority.Another bold step the AU took in regards to peace and security on the continent was to establish the AfricanStandby Force2 (ASF). Once fully operationalised, the ASF will enable the AU to manage peace onthe continent.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 2
  • 5. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT DEFINEDConflict management is a series of activities aimed at stabilising a given conflict situation. It can be defined asfollows: ‘A small group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performancegoals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable3’AU MECHANISMS FOR PEACE AND SECURITYIn order to effectively manage peace and security on the continent, a model has been developed to assist theAU. This mechanism is known as the African Peace and Security Architecture4 (APSA).The functions of the APSA have to be explained in a hierarchical order. However, it does not always mean thatthe prevailing circumstances would allow for linear actions to be carried on the completion of the previousfunction. Some of the functions will happen concurrently, while some functions could happen in a linearfashion. The functions of the pillars of the APSA can be briefly explained as follows: Common African Defence and Security Policy African Peace Military Staff Funt (APF) Committee (MSC) Peace and Security Council (PSC) African Panel of the Standby Force Wise (PW) (AFC) Continental Early Warning System (CEWS)Schematic representation of the APSAAfrican Union Approaches to Conflict Management 3
  • 6. CONTINENTAL EARLY WARNING SYSTEMOpen source software programmes is used by dedicated analysts to study trends, patterns and anomalieson the continent. The Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) are connected to Regional Early WarningSystems (REWS) that act as feeders to the CEWS. Information gathered and analysed by the CEWS can beused to draw conclusions that will become useful during the planning process that would precede the potentialdeployment of peacekeepers.PANEL OF THE WISEA panel of influential Africans representatives of the five regions in Africa5 are at the disposal of theChairperson of the Commission6 to deal with conflict diplomatically. The Chairperson of the Commissioncould activate the Panel of the Wise to try and deal with conflict on his behalf. If the Chairperson of theCommission were to decide that the appointment of a Special Envoy could be more beneficial under thecircumstances, he could well appoint such an envoy to try and get the conflicting parties to agree on peace.AFRICAN PEACE FUNDThe African Peace Fund (APF) is a fund established from Member State contributions and donor funds to actas a predictable source of funding for (AU) peace support operations (PSO). During the Summit of Headsof States and Government it was decided that 12% of the annual budget will be allocated towards the APF.It is hoped that future AU PSO would have a certain percentage of the money within the APF ring-fenced toensure a predictable source of funding for PSO. However, finances present the biggest challenge to the AU toconduct its day-to-day business, so it is not foreseen that this is achievable in the short to medium term.COMMON AFRICAN DEFENCE AND SECURITY POLICYIn terms of this mechanism peace and security has been elevated to a regional priority as opposed to anational priority, and in this respect, the Chiefs of Staffs of armed forces meets at least quarterly to discusscommon security issues. This pillar mainly aims to deal with conflict management through dialogue instead ofviolence. Since the inception of the Common African Defence and Security Policy7 few transnational borderviolations have been observed.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 4
  • 7. MILITARY STAFF COMMITTEEThe body of military personnel seconded to all African Permanent Representative Missions in Ethiopia of theMember States are current members of the PSC. This body regularly meets on peace and security issues andadvises the Peace and Security Council (PSC) accordingly.AFRICAN STANDBY FORCEA regional standby arrangement8 is available to the Chairperson of the Commission to deploy in supportof peace on the continent. The African Standby Force (ASF) can only be deployed by the PSC and by theAssembly of Heads of State and Government of the Union. (This pillar will be discussed in more detail furtherin the paper.)PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCILThe PSC is made up of 15 Member States elected to serve on the PSC for a period three and two yearsrespectively. The overlap in terms of time is a build-in mechanism to allow for continuity within the workingsof the Council. This organ is the decision making body on all matters relating to peace and security on thecontinent. This organ is the African equivalent of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but with majordifferences. These differences relates to the following aspects:• The PSC has no permanent membership.• No Member State has a right to veto PSC decisions.• Decision based on consensus, but in the case of division, decision taken by majority vote, or two thirds majority for serious issuesAfrican Union Approaches to Conflict Management 5
  • 8. AFRICAN UNION STANDBY ARRANGEMENTThe same Protocol9 adopted at the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Union on 9 July 2002also made provision for the establishment of the African Standby Force. In terms of the Protocol, the ASFwould be established in five regions that would act as force generation entities in the event of the activationof the ASF for deployment. The force generating regions recognised by the AU are located as follows:• Northern African Regional Capability (NARC) with the Regional Headquarters located in Tripoli, Libya.• East African Standby Forces (EASBRIG) with the Brigade Headquarters located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the planning element in Nairobi, Kenya.• Central African Standby Forces (ECCAS) with the Regional Headquarters located in Libreville, Gabon.• West African Standby Forces (ECOWAS) with their Regional Headquarters located in Abuja, Nigeria.• Southern African Standby Forces (SADC) with their Regional Headquarters located in Gaberone, Botswana.Understanding that the ASF would require a common approach, planning capability and doctrine that relatesto PSO, the ASF Continental Planning Element was established to develop the ASF’s future capabilities. Thesame planning capability was also created at regional level.Conceptually the ASF could be deployed not only to do peace enforcement, but it can also be deployed insupport of political processes such as security sector reform (SSR), or to assist countries with capacity building.This type of deployment would be in line with Art 4(j) of the Constitutive Act.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 6
  • 9. COMPOSITION OF THE ASFThe ASF is a multi-dimensional force that consists out of the following dimensions:• A military component: The military component is well developed at both the Continental level and the Regional level. This component’s capabilities have also been well developed at the two levels. It is envisaged that with the activation and deployment of the ASF that the military and the police component will have the main responsibility to restore the security situation in the country.• A police component: The police component consists of civilian police as well as military police/ gendarmerie officers. Like the military component, the police component is well staffed and its capabilities well developed at both Continental and Regional level. The concept allows for greater police involvement in law enforcement activities soon after the security situation has been stabilised by the military component. The concept also further allows for the increase of the police component to fulfil their Rule of Law functions.• A civilian component: Unfortunately, the Civilian Component is not well staffed at both levels. However, this does not mean that the capabilities of the Civilian Component have been lagging. Partner Organisations such as the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) has been instrumental in developing some civilian dimension capabilities of the ASF. The Coordinator of the Civilian Component at present is a seconded official from ACCORD. During the initial deployment of the ASF, the Civilian Component will be relatively small compared to the other two components, but as the situation is stabilised, the numbers in this component will increase and the numbers in the military component will decrease. At the time of maturity of the mission, the numbers of the three components should only have marginal differences in their numbers.African Union Approaches to Conflict Management 7
  • 10. AFRICAN UNION APPROACH TO CONFLICT MANAGEMENTIn order to understand what conflict management is, it should be unpacked and discussed briefly. Thefollowing activities are seen as actions to manage conflict, bearing in mind that conflict management is only atemporary arrangement to relief the misery of the people caught up in conflict:• Humanitarian Relief: These activities relate to supplying much needed aid to people in conflict areas. These activities will be carried out by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and supported by the AU mission. These activities would also include the establishment and maintenance of safe corridors for relief convoys.• Cease Fire Agreements: These are brokered for various reasons, but mainly to stop the killing of innocent civilians.• Creation of Safe Zones: AU peace missions have sufficient language in them to ensure the Protection of Civilians (POC). It is in line with the POC mandate that these safe zones are created to ensure that civilians are protected.• Promulgation of States of Emergency and Curfews: This is done to assist the mission to stabilise the security situation in order to return to Rule of Law as soon as possible.• Peace Enforcement: Those mechanisms are employed to enforce the negotiated agreement that preceded the deployment of the peace mission. Ceasefire Deploy PSO Diplomatic Intervention Agreement Violence Normalisation Political Stalemate Post-Conflict Reconstruction Development DifferenceCIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 8
  • 11. AFRICAN UNION APPROACH TO CONFLICTMANAGEMENT DIAGRAMUntil the Continent has reached a sustainable level of political maturity, it will be beset with violence inall types of manifestations. Depicted above is the process designed and adopted in the Peace SupportOperations Division1 (PSOD) to deal with conflict effectively. It is a process that differs largely from theprocesses of the UN in that it is a process that embodies the approach of ‘African solutions for Africanproblems’. This approach of the AU is being nurtured in the Peace and Security Department (PSD) as theyprogress towards the operationalisation of the ASF. This approach will be implemented as follows in theunfortunate event of conflict in an AU Member State:• Activation of the Conflict Management Task Force: The Commissioner Peace and Security will activate the Conflict Management Task Force2 (CMTF) to use the analysed information obtained from the CEWS to develop an Initial Draft Mission Plan for the possible deployment of a peace mission. The analysed information received from the CEWS will be augmented with desktop analysis from open source information available on the specific country. The information will be used to draw conclusions that will be helpful during the planning process.• Diplomatic Intervention: The Chairperson of the Commission could also deploy the Panel of the Wise, or a Special Envoy in an attempt to prevent further conflict and loss of life. On completion of the mission the Chairperson of the Commission, the PSC as well as the CMTF is briefed on the success or failure of the mission.• Preparations for Deployment: In the event of failure of diplomatic intervention, the planning process will continue within the PSD. The region that will supply the ASF for deployment is activated to facilitate force generation. During this time many of the activities will happen concurrently at the AU and the activated region. Some of these activities are the constitution and deployment of an in-country technical assessment mission (TAM), the re-alignment of the initial plan with the information gathered during the TAM, joint training is conducted as soon as the regional forces arrive in the assembly area, final briefing of the PSC prior to the issuance of the mandate for peace mission deployment and finally, mission specific training to be carried out by the activated force.• Deployment of the Mission: The AU peace support operation12 (PSO) is deployed within 14 days after the PSC passed a mandate. This is achieved because of the concurrent activities planned and carried out prior to the mandate is issued. The present challenge in regards to AU PSO is the lack of predictable funding to undertake and maintain peace missions. During the lifespan of the mission it will be responsible to ensure the safety of the population with the assistance of the host government, will assist with capacity building at all levels of government and finally, develop and keep its Exit Strategy current.• Post-Conflict Activities: It is not envisaged that an AU PSO would be actively involved in post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD). However, the mission will assist with the planning, development and initial coordination of all PCRD activities to be undertaken in the country.African Union Approaches to Conflict Management 9
  • 12. CO-OPERATION WITH EXTERNAL ACTORS IN THEMISSION AREAThe AU has no capacity to deal with any humanitarian related issues in its mission area and would thereforesupport the UNCT to coordinate all humanitarian related issues such as protection of convoys whenrequested, information sharing and capacity building projects. The Head of Mission (HOM) will direct this co-operation with the UNCT through the Civilian Component.IS THIS UNTRIED AFRICAN APPROACH FEASIBLE?This conceptualised approach was recently tested in a Continental Exercise AMANI AFRICA13 . A LessonsLearnt workshop was scheduled to take place within the next few working days to rectify any shortcomingsthat may have been identified during the exercise. It is planned that this approach will be submitted foradoption by the African Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of Security Services at their next meeting in May2011. It is anticipated that the approach will be endorsed and will become an integral part of policy procedurein the PSD.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 10
  • 13. CONCLUSIONThe PSD has developed an African unique approach to solving problems on the continent, but has also testedthe approach to ensure that one day the approach is capable of being rolled out. It is a known fact that noplan or no approach ever survives the first contact with the enemy, but the important aspect is that the AUhas an approach and it can only be made better with time. Endnotes1 Transition signifies a significant change in AU involvement in domestic issues of Member States. OAU followed principle of non-interference in domestic issues of its Member States.2 Establishment of the ASF adopted July 2004 at Summit of Heads of State and Governments, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia3 Understanding Conflict and Conflict Management, The Foundation Coalition, http://www.foundationcoalition.org/teams4 APSA is presently evaluated and updated as needed to operationalise its functionality.5 Members are Ms. Brigalia Bam (Southern Africa), Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim (Eastern Africa), Mr. Ahmed Ben Bella (North Africa), Mr. Miguel Trovoada (West Africa), and Ms. Elizabeth Pognon (Central Africa).6 Elected and appointed by Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Union to oversee the day to day activities of the African Union Commission.7 Adopted at the 2nd Extraordinary Session of Heads of State and Government of the Union, Sirte, Libya 28 February 2004.8 Adopted at the 2nd Extraordinary Session of Heads of State and Government of the Union, Sirte, Libya 28 February 2004.9 The Protocol on Peace and Security as adopted on 9 July 2002.10 AU Dynamic Decision Making Process.11 The CMTF is a multi-disciplinary team assembled to conduct the initial planning for the possible deployment of a peace mission.12 AU will deploy PSO in support of existing peace agreements between conflicting parties. UN deploy peacekeeping operations (PKO) as they do not deploy to a country where there is no peace to be kept.13 An exercise designed to test systems developed to support AU PSO deployments.African Union Approaches to Conflict Management 11