Select Committee on European Union Thirty-Fourth Report

CHAPTER 7: Peace and security

Peace and security as an enabler for development

291.  The EU Strategy for Africa commits the EU to: "Work with the African Union (AU), sub-regional organisations and African countries to predict, prevent and mediate conflict, including by addressing its root causes, and to keep the peace in their own continent."[154]

292.  The Strategy draws attention to the fundamental links between peace and stability and development, asserting that "[w]ithout peace there can be no lasting development."[155]

293.  Security and development interact in a number of ways: insecurity and instability undermine long-term development in many African states, while a lack of development, poverty and inequality are themselves major causes of instability in Africa; at the same time, support for peace and stability and good governance can act as drivers for sustainable development.

294.  Challenges of environmental degradation also interact with those of underdevelopment, disease and insecurity in what Kofi Annan's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change described as a "deadly cycle". The Panel's report stated that disease and poverty are linked to environmental degradation, while climate change exacerbates the occurrence of a number of infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever; also, environmental pressures, resulting from large populations and shortages of land and other natural resources, can contribute to civil war.[156]

BOX 12

Impact of Conflict in Africa

As part of its Governance, Peace and Security Cluster, the Support to NEPAD programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published a January 2006 report on "Humanitarian Response, post-conflict recovery and reconstruction: unaddressed consequences of conflict—major impediments to socio-economic progress."[157]

The report noted that violent conflict and its unresolved consequences are among the most significant factors hampering a large number of African countries from achieving their aspirations for socio-economic progress.[158] The major points found were:

  • Around half of countries emerging from war lapse back into violence within five years;

  • Of Africa's estimated population of around 875 million people, more than 281 million (over 32 per cent) live in countries which are either currently undergoing conflict, are in transition from conflict to peace, or are in post-conflict situations;

  • More than half of African countries experienced varying degrees of political violence and armed conflict between 1989 and 2002;

  • Estimates suggest that the economic cost of a conflict for an affected state, its neighbouring states and the region can reach up to three times its initial GDP; the average income of most low-income countries is $19.7 billion, and so averting violent conflict could save an average of $49 billion; health costs and the increased risk of a return to conflict bring the total cost to an estimated $64.2 billion;

  • Out of a total of 63 low-income countries in the world in 2002, 38 (over 60 per cent) were located in sub-Saharan Africa. A large number of these countries were also either in active conflict or in a post-conflict situation;

  • More than 4 million refugees and over 13 million internally displaced people are located in Africa.

EU peace and security activities in Africa

295.  EU involvement in African peace and security predates the EU Strategy for Africa. As noted in Chapter Two this is partly a response to the desire of certain EU Member States to avoid charges of colonial interference. It is partly a response to the lack of capacity of most EU Member States individually to deal with Africa's internal conflicts.

296.  France in particular has, over the past decade, been reducing its direct presence in Africa. Though it has more troops in Africa than any other outside nation (14,700 at the end of 2005),[159] the country is hesitant to act unilaterally, as demonstrated recently by its involvement in the DCR only through the EU,[160] and its presence in Ivory Coast alongside UN forces and under UN mandate. In October 2005 newspaper reports cited the French Minister of Defence talking of a Paris-Brussels-London axis[161] whilst the French Foreign Minister has been quoted as saying that France would no longer be "the gendarme of Africa."[162]

297.  Given the unwillingness of Member States to act unilaterally, it is particularly important to implementation of the EU Strategy that the EU fulfils its commitments under the peacekeeping and security chapter.

298.  The European Development Fund (EDF) and the EU's Rapid Reaction Mechanism (RRM) come within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and have been supporting a broad range of peacebuilding activities in Africa, including mediation, negotiation and reconciliation efforts, and initiatives for the demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants and child soldiers.

299.  The EU Council Secretariat provides support for building African peace and security capacity, operating under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSFP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).

300.  On 3 March 2005, the Council of the European Union agreed a Common Position concerning conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa.[163] The Common Position supports the notion of "African solutions to African problems" that has been promoted by NEPAD and the AU, noting that Africans maintain primary responsibility for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa. It acknowledges that African peace and security has been the subject of dialogue with the AU, and that the AU and African sub-regional organisations constitute the central actors in the achieving these aims.


301.  The EU has also increasingly been developing an operational capacity to support African peace and security on the ground. The first autonomous EU-led military operation outside Europe was deployed within the framework of the ESDP to the Ituri region in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in summer 2003, to support the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (MONUC).

302.  In late 2004, the EU agreed to launch a 30-strong Police Mission in Kinshasa (EUPOL KINSHASA) to assist the DRC's establishment of an Integrated Police Unit (IPU). Following an official request by the DRC government, the EU decided to establish an EU advisory and assistance mission for security reform in the DRC (EUSEC—R.D. CONGO). The mission was launched on 8 June 2005 to cover a period of 12 months. The mission provides advice and assistance to the Congolese authorities in charge of security while ensuring the promotion of policies that are compatible with human rights and international humanitarian law, democratic standards, principles of good public management, transparency and observance of the rule of law.

BOX 13

EU Military Deployment to the DRC (2006)

In June 2006, the EU agreed to deploy a small military operation to DRC (EUFOR DR Congo) to support the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC).[164] The proposal had been delayed due to Member States not being willing to provide sufficient troops for the mission: Germany had agreed to lead the operation but had spent a number of weeks in negotiations to ensure the provision of additional troops. Delays also occurred waiting for UN Security Council authorisation for the deployment. The United Kingdom will supply a minimal contribution of personnel to the mission, but will provide an estimated €2.9 million financial support.

The EU operation will involve the deployment of an advanced element to Kinshasa of 400-450 military personnel and the availability of a battalion-sized "on-call" force "over the horizon" outside the country, but quickly deployable.

EUFOR DRCongo will provide support to MONUC during elections in the DRC, although it will not act as a substitute for MONUC, nor operate in areas where MONUC already has sufficient resources. The mission is due to be terminated four months after the date of the first round of elections in the DRC (expected in July 2006).


303.  The EU has been assisting the AU's peace and security efforts in Darfur. The AU has taken a lead role in trying to establish peace in the region, primarily through the deployment of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), and through leading negotiations to agree a political solution to the crisis. On 5 May 2006, the government of Sudan and the largest of the three rebel movements signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA); the two remaining rebel groups communicated their commitment to the agreement on 8 June.

304.  The humanitarian crisis in Darfur was sparked by the political conflict that erupted in the region in March 2003, led by dissenting groups unhappy with their perceived marginalisation and the neglect of the Darfur region by the central government in Khartoum.

305.  The Sudanese government, Janjaweed militia groups and rebels have all been complicit in the ensuing violence.[165] Attacks by militias on unarmed civilians have been widely regarded as the most serious problem and both the UN and EU have criticised the government for failing to disarm the Janjaweed.[166] The N'Djamena ceasefire agreement signed on 8 April 2004 has been flagrantly ignored by all parties. At the time of writing of this report, violence had caused the deaths of more than 200,000 people, with at least 2 million forcibly displaced.[167] Key developments in the Darfur peace process are outlined in Box 14.

306.  In 2004, the AU agreed to deploy a small observer force to Darfur in response to the deteriorating security situation and escalating humanitarian crisis in the region. Subsequent decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), on 20 October 2004 and then 28 April 2005, led to an expansion of the mandate and strength of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan (AMIS). The enhanced mandate tasked AMIS with:

  • overseeing compliance with the 8 April 2004 ceasefire agreement and subsequent agreements;
  • a limited role in protecting civilians under imminent threat, within the boundaries of mission capability; and
  • helping to establish a secure environment for humanitarian assistance.

307.  As of 20 March 2006, AMIS had a total of 6,898 personnel in Darfur, of an authorised 7,731, comprising 715 military observers, 1,385 civilian police, 27 international civilian staff, 11 Ceasefire Commission personnel and a protection force of 4,760 troops.

308.  The efforts of AMIS have been welcomed in many circles: a 9 March 2006 report by the UN Secretary-General on Darfur acknowledged AMIS' "remarkable" achievements. However, severe resource constraints and other limitations have seriously hampered the capacity of the mission to maintain security and fulfil its other mandated tasks, given the scale of the crisis and the magnitude of the operational area—Darfur is roughly the size of France.

309.  Consequently, in response to a request from the AU, on 24 March 2006 the UN Security Council called on the Secretary-General to expedite planning for a transition of AMIS to a UN force.

310.  On 6 June, a UN Security Council mission visiting Khartoum announced that it had failed to persuade the government of Sudan to endorse the transition of AMIS to a UN mission. Despite statements from the AU Peace and Security Council supporting such a transition, the Sudanese government declared that it would continue to evaluate the proposed transfer according to on-going developments. A joint UN-AU technical assessment mission arrived in Khartoum on 9 June to evaluate options for the size and mandate of the proposed UN mission and modalities for the transfer from AMIS. The mission was headed by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Said Djinnit, reportedly the first time that such a high-level delegation had led such an operation.

311.  The EU has provided significant support to AMIS, primarily in the form of considerable financial support through the EU African Peace Facility.[168] The EU has also provided technical support to the AMIS military component, including equipment and assets, planning and technical assistance and some airlift, and additional military observers.

312.  The EU has further supported the civilian police capacity of AMIS, providing assistance and training to the AMIS police chain of command, seconding advisors from EU Member States and supporting the development of a policing unit within the AU Secretariat in Addis Ababa. The EU support mission comprises 16 EU police officers, 19 EU operational and logistic planners and 11 military observers.

BOX 14


AU-led political negotiations

The AU is leading the political process to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement in Darfur, facilitating negotiations between the parties to the conflict, which are taking place in Abuja, Nigeria. The 7th Round of the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on the Conflict in Darfur opened in Abuja on 29 November 2005.

On 5 May 2006, the Government of Sudan and the main rebel group the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, designed to bring about a comprehensive settlement to the conflict in the region. On 8 June, Abdelwahid Mohamed al-Nur's faction of the SLA and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) signed a declaration of commitment to the agreement on 8 June, effectively pledging to abide by its terms.

The DPA contains protocols for sharing wealth and power, as a means to form a political solution to the conflict. Concern has been expressed over the ceasefire protocol contained within the agreement, however, which bestows responsibility for disarming the Janjaweed on the Sudanese government, despite the latter's failure to live up to earlier commitments to do so.

The EU has given more than €4 million to support the AU and has also assigned two senior diplomats to assist peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria. Other international actors have also supported the political process.

UN Security Council: sanctions and the International Criminal Court

UN Security Council resolution 1556, adopted on 30 July 2004, imposed an arms embargo on all non-governmental entities and individuals operating in Darfur, including the Janjaweed militia.

Resolution 1591, adopted on 29 March 2005, expanded the embargo to include all the parties to the N'djamena Ceasefire Agreement and any other belligerents in Darfur. It further imposed an assets freeze and travel ban on individuals to be designated by a Committee established under the resolution, which also set up a Panel of Experts to assist the Committee.

A 21 March report by the Expert Panel to the Committee made a series of recommendations to tighten the sanctions regime, including establishing a verification component, requiring end-use certification for the sale of all military goods and services to Sudan and expanding the arms embargo across the country. Security Council resolution 1672 adopted on 25 April 2006 designated four individuals against whom sanctions would be imposed.

The situation in Darfur has also been referred to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), under UN Security Council Resolution 1593 of 31 March 2005. The resolution provided the Prosecutor with the necessary authority to investigate and prosecute serious crimes committed in Darfur since 1 July 2002. A referral from the Security Council presented the only way for the ICC to have jurisdiction over crimes committed in Darfur, as Sudan is not a party to the treaty establishing the court.

Humanitarian response

The January 2006 Situation Report of the Office of UN Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sudan stated that, at that time, almost 14,200 national and international humanitarian workers were operational in Darfur, comprising 84 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Red Cross/Crescent Societies, and 13 UN agencies on the ground.

However, insecurity continued to present a major impediment to delivery of humanitarian relief in many parts of Darfur. In May 2006, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland noted that there remained an overall shortfall of $389 million for humanitarian relief in Darfur.[169]

Also in May 2006, in view of progress in reaching the DPA, the European Commission announced the provision of a €100 million package for a humanitarian and initial recovery package for Darfur.

The United Kingdom is the second largest bilateral donor involved in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, after the US. As at 14 March 2006, the United Kingdom had, since September 2003, allocated more than £93 million to UN agencies and non-governmental organisations operating in Darfur, and had provided a further £45m to support the UN's 2006 Sudan Workplan and its Eastern Chad appeal. The United Kingdom was the first cash donor to the AU ceasefire monitoring mission in Darfur, providing nearly £32 million to the mission by March 2006, with a further £20 million pledged.

313.  The deployment of AMIS has presented a major challenge for an organisation as young and as under-resourced as the AU. The transferral of AMIS to a UN operation underscores the AU's limited capacity to deploy a peacekeeping mission at present. Javier Solana's 21 November 2005 Contribution to the EU Strategy for Africa noted that a lesson to be learned from EU support for AMIS has been the difficulties experienced in working with an institution like the AU, which is only at the beginning of its capacity-building process.

314.  Nevertheless, the fact that the AU has been able to deploy a comparatively sizeable force to Darfur represents a major achievement, which has built the credibility of the organisation both in Africa and in the wider international community. The capacity of the AU to deliver the Darfur Peace Agreement in May this year is further testimony to its efforts and growing capability.

315.  We commend the AU's various initiatives to promote peace in Darfur, which should be helpful in providing the political context for a peace process in the region but, sadly, we acknowledge that the violence continues in many areas and that the AU has suffered from severe resource and logistical constraints. The EU should urge the AU to co-operate with the UN in planning a UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur.


316.  In 2004, the EU also decided to enhance its rapid reaction capabilities by agreeing to establish 13 Battlegroups. A Battlegroup is based on a battalion-sized force of 1,500 troops, formed by a framework nation or by a multinational coalition of EU Member States. Each Battlegroup is to be associated with a Force Headquarters and pre-identified transport and logistics elements. It is intended that decisions to launch an operation are to be taken within five days of the approval by the Council. In response to a crisis or to an urgent request by the UN, the EU envisages developing the capacity to undertake simultaneously two Battlegroup-size operations sustainable for a maximal period of 120 days, with forces on the ground no later than ten days after the EU decision to launch the operation. Full operational capability is scheduled to be reached in 2007.

317.  We believe that ESDP missions have been an effective means of promoting peace and security in Africa and should continue to be deployed where appropriate. EU Battlegroups have the potential to play a significant role in supporting peace operations in Africa.

EU co-ordination with other organisations

318.  The EU Strategy for Africa notes "the importance of working more closely with Africans in multilateral fora, and in co-ordination with multilateral partners."[170]

319.  The EU has for some time been developing its relationship with the UN, and with NATO, both of which have been active operationally in Africa—although UN engagement has been on a much greater scale and over a much longer period of time than either the EU or NATO. Through its Africa Action Plan the G8 has also become increasingly active in African peace and security activities, with a focus on supporting African initiatives and on developing African capacity.[171] The EU also has relationships with a number of bilateral partners.

320.  In September 2003, the EU and the UN agreed a Joint Declaration on EU-UN co-operation in Crisis Management, which identified tracks to implement EU commitments to support the UN. A joint consultative mechanism (the Steering Committee) was subsequently established at working level, and regular meetings have been held between staffs from both organisations. Two main practical mechanisms for co-operation have been identified: the provision of national military capabilities in the framework of a UN operation; or an EU operation in answer to a request from the UN.

321.  On 16 December 2002, the EU and NATO agreed a joint declaration for closer co-operation in the areas of crisis management and conflict prevention, outlining political principles for EU-NATO co-operation and giving the EU assured access to NATO's planning and logistics capabilities. The EU has liaison cells in place at NATO's Supreme Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) headquarters in Brussels. Attempts at EU-NATO co-operation in Darfur have revealed difficulties in managing the relationship in practice, however, as disagreement between the institutions over who should lead airlift assistance to AMIS led to delays.

322.  The EU should continue its efforts to develop integrated approaches to peace and security initiatives in Africa, developing more systematic co-ordination with the UN, with NATO and with other operational partners.

323.  Donor interaction in support of AMIS provides insights into donor co-ordination for AU peace and security initiatives more broadly. All donors, including the EU and its Member States, the UN, the G8 and bilateral partners, co-ordinate within the framework of the Partnership Technical Support Group (PTSG), chaired by the European Commission. The EU is also a member of the Liaison Group, which manages the relationship between donors and the AU, along with the Darfur Integrated Task Force (DITF).

324.  The AU has experienced problems dealing with the large number of bilateral relationships at multiple levels, brought about by the sheer volume of donors involved in Darfur, all of whom have different, but comparably burdensome, reporting requirements. Inconsistency between the various parts of the EU, for instance between the Commission, the Council Secretariat and the Member Sates, has also created confusion and, at times, conflicts of interest.[172]

325.  Despite these problems, operational interaction between the AU and donors to provide support for AMIS has taught vital lessons over co-operation and co-ordination. Nicholas Grono of the International Crisis Group stated that AU interaction with NATO and EU officers over the AMIS deployment to Darfur has been an effective process, although he stressed that this collaborative model is unlikely to offer a very rapid response capacity. (Q 270)

326.  The EU should build on lessons learned from Darfur to improve co-ordination with other partners in providing assistance to AMIS and to the AU's peace and security activities more broadly. Co-ordination and policy cohesion between various European structures should also be improved.

327.  It is likely that, once established, the new UN Peacebuilding Commission will play a key role in co-ordinating various agencies involved in post-conflict efforts in Africa.

The African Peace Facility[173]

328.  The primary European institutional mechanism for supporting African peace and security is the African Peace Facility (APF). The Strategy for Africa pledges to "strengthen the Africa Peace Facility with substantial, long-term, flexible, sustainable funding."[174]

329.  The APF evolved from a request made at the AU Heads of State Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, in July 2003,[175] requesting that the EU explore modalities for setting up a Peace Support Operation Facility (PSOF) to fund peace support and peacekeeping operations conducted under the authority of the AU, thereby enhancing the AU's capacity to carry out its role in promoting continental peace, security and stability.

330.  The APF was established in 2004, representing a €250 million commitment from the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) to support African-led peace operations. The APF has been built around three core principles of African ownership, solidarity and partnership between Africa and Europe, and it is one of the most concrete aspects of EU-AU co-operation. The APF strategy is based around the dual objectives of supporting African peacekeeping operations, and building African institutional capacity to manage operations. Of the €250 million APF budget, €35 million is ring-fenced for long-term capacity-building, as distinct from €215 million for operational support.

331.  The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), at its meeting of 10 April 2006, agreed that the APF would continue to be funded from the 10th EDF for three years from 2008, amounting to €300 million for the three year period of the EDF. The GAERC agreed to review the APF in 2010 in relation to sources of funding and modalities for the facility.

332.  A significant amount of APF funds have gone to support AMIS. As at May 2006, €162 million had been spent on the mission. The 10 April 2006 GAERC further agreed that the Commission should propose a short-term replenishment for 2006-2007 of up to €50 million to pay for the extension of EU support for AMIS.

333.  APF funds can be accessed by the AU after a request has been endorsed by the EU Council at the working group level. RECs can also access APF funding, with the condition in principle that the AU approves the REC's request.

334.  The terms and conditions of the APF state that peace operations supported by it must be consistent with UN principles and objectives, and that endorsement in the broadest sense should be sought from UN institutions in accordance with the UN Charter; in this context peace enforcement operations require a UN mandate.

335.  The APF is financed from resources allocated to African ACP countries under existing co-operation agreements with the EU, initially supplemented by an equivalent amount of unallocated EDF resources. Funding the APF through the EDF affords the AU greater input into spending decisions than if funds were to come from the CFSP or the EU budget. This arrangement supports the AU principle of ownership, which our witnesses saw as essential to the effectiveness of the programme and to the strengthening of genuine co-operation between the EU and the AU, not least as the AU would be unlikely to accept what it might view as excessive EU conditions.

336.  Javier Solana saw the APF as creative because its financial design meant that it used money that already belonged to the countries of the region, representing a deal between donors and recipients. He stressed the significance of the flexibility of the fund, stating that that it was important that the money was available quickly in response to demand, since the value of late money is greatly reduced. (Q 162)

337.  Representatives of the Belgian government, in their evidence to us, supported keeping APF funding within the EDF to avoid diverting resources away from the under-funded CFSP, and to ensure that the EU remains fully involved in the process, thereby maintaining a coherent approach between the different European institutions and the EU Member States. (Q 225) Witnesses also considered the CFSP budget too small to support the minimum level of funding required for an effective APF. (QQ 162, 225)

338.  The fact that the APF is drawn from European development funding places restrictions on what type of support it can provide. Notably, the APF cannot fund direct military assistance, but rather has to be used for personnel and logistical needs. This complicates the AU's capacity to use the APF effectively to support peacekeeping operations.[176]

339.  It is important to establish a number of key principles for continued EU financial support to African-led peace support operations, including: ownership, sustainability, longer-term funding, predictability and the value of an integrated approach.

340.  Assessments of the effectiveness of the APF have broadly been very positive. Jakkie Cilliers of the South African Institute for Security Studies stated that the APF has made a remarkable contribution to building peace in Africa, adding that the AU had not previously embarked on anything of the scale of the Darfur operation, and that the only reason why it was able to mount a relatively credible mission in the region was because of EU support. (Q 110) Witnesses have pointed to room for improvement in terms of efficiency, but have stated that the fundamental structures that are needed to manage the APF are in place.

341.  We believe that the African Peace Facility has made a very significant contribution to African-led promotion of peace and stability in Africa and welcome its renewal as part of the 10th EDF. The review process for the APF should evaluate the status of the African Standby Force and the other elements of the African peace and security architecture, in deciding how to take the APF forward beyond 2010. If necessary, the EU should be prepared to supplement the current APF in the meantime.

Capacity-building and the African Standby Force (ASF)

342.  The EU Strategy for Africa states that the EU will "help develop African [peace and security] capabilities, such as the AU's African Standby Force, and will build on existing activities by Member States to provide training and advisory, technical, planning and logistical support."[177]

343.  Ministers attending the 8 May 2006 EU-Africa Ministerial Troika Meeting in Vienna welcomed progress made by the AU and sub-regional organisations in developing the African peace and security architecture. Ministers underlined the importance of capacity-building, and expressed their appreciation for the progress made in the establishment of the African Stand-by Force (ASF) and the co-operation between the AU and the EU and other donors.

344.  The EU informed the meeting that it was in the process of elaborating a framework for support to Africa's conflict prevention, management and resolution (CPMR) capabilities. Before being finalised, this framework was to be discussed with the AU and the relevant sub-regional organisations. Ministers attending the meeting acknowledged the necessity to harmonise any support by the international community for regional training centres and centres of excellence for the ASF, and also the importance of continuing to support the African Centre on the Study and Research for Terrorism.

345.  Notwithstanding the progress made in developing the AU's CPMR capacity, the severe problems experienced by the AU in deploying AMIS underscore the major capacity-building shortfalls that the AU faces across the breadth of its peace and security architecture.[178]

346.  Witnesses suggested that building the AU into a credible and solid institution is a 15 to 20-year project. Nicholas Grono was sceptical of the AU's ability to have the ASF operational by 2010, which leaves a lack of capacity to intervene in conflicts like the DRC and Darfur in the meantime, as demonstrated by the "re-hatting" of AMIS to a UN mission in autumn 2006. (Q 269)

347.  Human resource shortfalls are a particular problem in African institutions and they continue seriously to undermine African strategic management capacity at the continental and sub-regional levels, hampering both African ownership of capacity-building processes and African capability to absorb donor assistance.

348.  As mentioned above, Javier Solana's 21 November 2005 Contribution to the EU Strategy for Africa noted the challenges of working with an underdeveloped AU. He urged that capacity-building for the AU and sub-regional organisations be put at the heart of EU policy in Africa, including in relation both to military and civilian capacity-building and decision-making, mediation, early warning and planning in Headquarters.[179]

349.  AU member states' attitudes to capacity-building at the AU have been mixed. A number of influential African leaders are strongly committed to achieving major progress in establishing an effective AU. However, a significant number of African countries are wary of the implications of the development of a powerful institution.

350.  Witnesses suggested that long-term donor commitments to support institutional capacity-building with minimal conditions would deliver the most sustainable progress in this area. They saw developing the capability and credibility of the African Commission as a particularly important component of the capacity-building process, as well as identification by the AU of areas in which it can add most value in relation to the activities of other African institutions. (QQ 61, 75, 81, 87, 126, 303, 359)

351.  Support for building the AU's peace and security capacity is key component of the EU's engagement with Africa. EU funding for the AU budget and capacity-building should recognise and accommodate the need to develop African financial, political and technical support.

352.  Although it is important to support capacity-building across the breadth of the AU's CPMR capability, development of the ASF is a particularly significant facet of the capacity-building process, as the ASF is a fundamental implementing mechanism for the whole African peace and security architecture.

353.  Despite the scepticism noted above of the AU's ability to have the ASF fully operational in the near future, AMIS has demonstrated the important peacekeeping role that the AU can play in Africa, as part of the broader international architecture. AMIS has been significant both in terms of its capacity to support stability in Darfur, but also in its role as a catalyst for encouraging external support.

354.  A key challenge in developing the ASF is to pinpoint its precise function in relation to the broader international peace and security architecture, including the respective operational roles of the EU and the UN. The Millennium Review Summit recognised the contribution to peace and security by regional organisations and the importance of establishing predictable partnerships and arrangements between the UN and regional regional bodies, highlighting the importance of a strong African Union.

355.  Careful analysis of exactly how and where the ASF can add most value to an integrated system of peacekeeping will help to maximise the effectiveness of the capacity-building process. The transferral of AMIS to a UN operation and other examples of African missions being "re-hatted" as blue helmet operations indicate the relevance of thinking about the ASF in a wider context.

356.  Jakkie Cilliers stated that building the peacekeeping capacity of the AU does not represent building an alternative to UN peacekeeping. Rather, what needs to be built was what Kofi Annan's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change referred to as an interlocking system of peacekeeping, in which the AU can help establish a comprehensive ceasefire and can then handover to a UN mission; in this way, the UN represents the exit strategy for AU peacekeeping operations. However, the practicalities of fitting diverse peacekeeping components together remain a key challenge.

357.  The EU must continue to assist in operationalising the African Standby Force by supporting the establishment of its key components in Addis Ababa and in the RECs. Capacity-building programmes for the ASF should pay careful attention to the specific functions of the AU relative to other operational partners active in Africa, based on a broader process to develop a more rationalised, interlocking and integrated international peacekeeping system; this will help to maximise the effectiveness both of African capability and of donor support for capacity-building.

Conflict prevention

358.  The AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the Peace and Security Directorate of the AU Commission both have a mandate for conflict prevention. The primary AU conflict prevention instruments are the Panel of the Wise (POW) and the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS). When fully functional, the POW will comprise five highly respected African personalities for three year periods, appointed by the AU Assembly according to regional representation. The POW will meet regularly to assist the PSC in the promotion and maintenance of peace, security and stability on the continent, particularly focusing on preventive actions.

359.  The CEWS will advise the PSC on potential conflicts and recommend appropriate responses. It will comprise a Situation Centre, linked to similar bodies in the RECs, as well as the UN and other international bodies.

360.  The RECs also have a preventive function. For instance, the 1999 ECOWAS Summit agreed a Protocol for the Establishment of a Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, Peace and Security. The institutions of the Mechanism include the ECOWAS Authority; the Executive Secretariat; and a Mediation and Security Council.

361.  Civil society has a major role to play in conflict prevention in Africa. Saferworld argued that the EU should ensure effective civil society participation in human security-related projects funded by the Commission for the period 2007-2013, and in projects in all African country and regional strategy papers. Saferworld complained that the APF and the donor community placed too much emphasis on peacekeeping and intervention, at the expense of preventive measures, peacebuilding and human security. Saferworld further urged stronger support for non-military efforts to prevent conflicts in Africa. (pp 163-164)

362.  Jakkie Cilliers also stressed that the types of resources that the AU could offer favoured prioritising support for its conflict prevention capacity, whereas the APF primarily concentrates on intervention and reconstruction. However, he added that conflict prevention is about issues of governance, democracy and human rights, which are also the most difficult areas for a politically weak organisation like AU and African countries to address, because they deal with sensitive issues of sovereignty and interference in the domestic affairs of African countries. (Q 106) Witnesses further argued that a significant percentage of the APF should be devoted to capacity-building, technical assistance and preventive action.

363.  Despite these obstacles, conflict prevention remains an area where the AU can add real value to peace and security in Africa. The EU is well placed to provide institutional support to build the AU's preventive capacity and should ensure that capacity-building programmes support the preventive components of the African peace and security architecture effectively, paying particular attention to civilian and police elements.

Direct operational support and capacity-building

364.  The EU Strategy for Africa pledges to "help develop African capabilities" and to "[p]rovide direct support to African Union, sub-regional or UN efforts to promote peace and stability through Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) activities, and military and civilian crisis management missions, including potential deployment of EU battlegroups".[180]

365.  Balancing the provision of direct, operational support with support for building African capacity presents a challenge for the EU. AMIS illustrates the tensions between these two priorities, as the scale of the AU's operational commitments in Darfur has tended to overwhelm the organisation and its efforts to develop its institutional capacity. At the same time, however, the effectiveness of AMIS has been seen by many donor partners as indicative of the AU's competence as the primary African agency.

366.  Mr Frederiksen of the European Centre for Development Policy Management stressed that, for the EU, it should not be a question of choosing between operational support or capacity-building, but rather simultaneously balancing the two. They added that there is still some way to go before there was a synergy between indirect support and direct support, provided by the EU through the APF and through the CFSP/ESDP, as well through bilateral assistance. (Q 196)

367.  Witnesses identified institutional capacity-building for human resources at the AU and sub-regional organisations as the weaker of the two policy priorities of the APF. Nicholas Grono stressed that the AU's lack of capacity underlined the importance of EU and Western operational support for African interventions where appropriate. (Q 269)

368.  As with EU efforts to help build the ASF, so EU direct operational support should acknowledge other peacekeeping elements within a broader system, and should work to develop a more coherent international structure. Better ways are needed to integrate the comparative advantages of the different organisations involved in peace and security activities in Africa. The AU might have a greater capacity to provide troops, for instance, but it has less capability in terms of logistics or in civilian expertise than the EU. The EU can also provide rapid response, while NATO can support logistical aspects and no-fly zone enforcement. The UN is still the lead player in deploying multidimensional peacebuilding operations.

369.  We believe that the EU has a key role to play both in helping to build the peace and security capacity of the AU and in providing direct, operational support in Africa where necessary. Achieving an appropriate balance between the provision of operational support and longer-term support for indigenous, African structures should be a key component of EU policy, taking into account the roles of other key partners in this area.

370.  One area in which the EU can play a more active role is supporting security sector reform in Africa. Nicholas Grono of the International Crisis Group stressed that tackling the root causes of conflict needs to involve addressing the security apparatus of countries affected by instability, which requires direct involvement in security sector reform. This embraces a variety of issues which the EU supports strongly, including in relation to the rule of law, but also incorporates other essential areas where the EU has traditionally been more wary of involvement, such as supporting the development of effective, responsive military chains of command.

371.  The EU should find ways to engage across the whole spectrum of activities supporting security sector reform initiatives in Africa.

Post-conflict activities and EU efforts to support the Peacebuilding Commission

372.  Post-conflict reconstruction in states emerging from war and instability involves a major input of resources and finances. Peacebuilding missions are multidimensional and complex, requiring the involvement of a wide range of actors over an extended period of time.

373.  Effective peacebuilding presents a huge challenge for the AU, which will continue to require considerable interaction and assistance in this area, from the EU, the UN and elsewhere. This in turn presents major challenges of co-ordination, and of sustaining international political interest in the longer-term.

374.  The High-Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change identified a key institutional gap at the UN in responding to the challenges of peacebuilding.[181] In response to a recommendation by the Panel, in December 2005 the UN General Assembly and Security Council formally established the new UN Peacebuilding Commission (UNPBC), as agreed by heads of State attending the Millennium Review Summit.[182] The Peacebuilding Commission is intended to marshal resources and offer advice on post-conflict recovery, bringing together UN capacities in conflict prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, human rights, the rule of law, humanitarian aid, reconstruction and long-term development. It is further hoped that the Commission will help to maintain international political interest over longer periods in relation to peacebuilding operations.

375.  The UNPBC seeks to bridge the gap between peacekeeping and sustainable development. Its Organisational Committee comprises 31 member states: seven from the Security Council, including the permanent five members; seven from the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); five of the top ten financial contributors to the UN budgets; five out of the top ten contributors of personnel to UN missions; and seven extra members, elected by the GA based on geographical balance and post-conflict experience.

376.  Membership of country-specific committees of the Commission will be tailored for each case—involving country representatives, regional organisations and international financial institutions (IFIs). The involvement of IFIs is designed to help secure sustainable funding for peacebuilding activities.

377.  Javier Solana's October 2005 Contribution to the EU Strategy for Africa recommended that EU policy towards Africa should be solidly based on UN principles and should aim for a trilateral partnership between the EU, the UN, and the AU in Africa, with the UN Peacebuilding Commission becoming an important tool in this respect.[183]

378.  The final configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission only provided for a very limited preventive role, in a political concession to concerns raised by a number of states. This is in contrast with the original recommendation of the High-Level Panel, which had suggested that the Commission be explicitly designed to avoid state collapse and the slide into war, as well to assist countries in their transition from war to peace.

379.  The EU and AU must work with the new UN Peacebuilding Commission to make a genuine difference to countries emerging from conflict, by drawing together and co-ordinating the activities of the key peacebuilding actors in Africa, including the UN and the AU, and by developing a close working relationship with the International Financial Institutions.

154   The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership Council of the European Union, Brussels, 19 December 2005 15961/05, paragraph 4(a).  Back

155   The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership Council of the European Union, Brussels, 19 December 2005 15961/05, paragraph 4.  Back

156   Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change, 2 December 2002, A/59/565, paragraph 22. Back

157   Humanitarian Response, post-conflict recovery and reconstruction: unaddressed consequences of conflict-major impediments to socio-economic progress UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Support to NEPAD, January 2006. Back

158   Humanitarian Response, post-conflict recovery and reconstruction: unaddressed consequences of conflict-major impediments to socio-economic progress; Annex: Interesting facts on the economic impact of conflict, poverty, forced population displacement and underdevelopment in Africa UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Support to NEPAD, January 2006. Back

159   Error! Bookmark not defined..  Back

160   Box 14.  Back

161   Error! Bookmark not defined.. Back

162   Interview given by Michel Barnier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Politique Internationale, Paris, 24 May 2005: Back

163   Council Common Position concerning conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa, 12 April 2005, 2005/304/CFSP. The Common Position builds on previous Common Positions adopted by the Council in 2004 (2004/85/CFSP) and 2001 (2001/374/CFSP), as well as the Council's 22 November 2004 Action Plan for ESDP support for Peace and Security in Africa, and Conclusions on Peace and Security in Africa, and also its 13 December 2004 Guidelines for implementing this Action Plan. More broadly, the Common Position further evolved from the European Security Strategy, adopted on 12 December 2003. Back

164   General Affairs and External Relations Council, Luxembourg 12 June 2006, Council of the European Union 9946/06; United Nations Security Council on 25 April 2006 of Resolution 1671, authorising the deployment of EUFOR RD Congo during the election period in the DRC. Back

165   EU Presidency Statement on Sudan 23 September 2005: Back

166   General Affairs and External Relations Council, Brussels, 26 July 2004, Council of the European Union 11593/04; Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations pursuant to paragraphs 6 and 13 to 16 of Security Council Resolution 1556 (2004), 30 August 2004.  Back

167   Darfur's peace plan: the view from the ground International Crisis Group, 24 May 2006, Back

168   See paragraphs 328-341.  Back

169   'Darfur Relief effort said to Face Collapse' New York Times, 19 May 2006. Back

170   The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership Council of the European Union, Brussels, 19 December 2005 15961/05, paragraph 9(b). Back

171   G8 Africa Action Plan, section 1, Kananaskis Summit 2002: Back

172   Darfur's peace plan: the view from the ground International Crisis Group, 24 May 2006, Back

173   The African Peace Facility (APF) falls under Article 11 of the Cotonou Agreement: Peacebuilding policies, Conflict and Resolution. Back

174   The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership Council of the European Union, Brussels, 19 December 2005 15961/05, paragraph 4(a). Back

175   Decision on the Establishment by the European Union of a Peace Support Operation Facility for the African Union (Assembly/AU/Dec.21 II), Assembly of the African Union, Second Ordinary Session, 10-12 July 2003, Back

176   Darfur's peace plan: the view from the ground International Crisis Group, 24 May 2006, Back

177   The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership Council of the European Union, Brussels, 19 December 2005 15961/05, paragraph 4(a). Back

178   The Implementation of the Joint Africa/G8 Plan to Enhance African Capabilities to Undertake Peace Support Operations joint report, UNA-UK, Chatham House, Institute for Security Studies, April 2005. Back

179   Contribution by EU High Representative, Javier Solana, to the EU Strategy for Africa, Brussels, 21 November 2005 S377/05. Back

180   The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership Council of the European Union, Brussels, 19 December 2005 15961/05, paragraph 4(a). Back

181   Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change, 2 December 2002, A/59/565, paragraph 22. Back

182   UN General Assembly, 60th Session, 2005 World Summit Outcome United Nations, 24 October 2005, A/Res/60/1. Back

183   Contribution by EU High Representative, Javier Solana, to the EU Strategy for Africa, Brussels, 21 November 2005 S377/05. Back

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