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RETREAT OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL OF THE AFRICAN UNION (AU-PSC) ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONCLUSIONS OF SUCCESSIVE PSC RETREATS AND RELATED PSC DECISIONS FROM 2007 TO 2016

3rd - 5th MAY 2017, KIGALI, RWANDA

I.    INTRODUCTION

a)    The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) held its Tenth Retreat from 3 to 5 May 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda. The Retreat was dedicated to the review of the status of implementation of the conclusions of successive PSC Retreats and related PSC decisions from 2007 to 2016.
b)    The Retreat was officially opened by H.E Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda. Ambassador Mull Sebujja Katende, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of May 2017, chaired the Retreat.
c)    The Acting Director of the Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission, Dr. Admore Kambudzi, delivered remarks on behalf of the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui.
d)    After extensive deliberations, the Retreat reached the following Conclusions:

II.    ISSUES RELATING TO PSC WORKING METHODS AND EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF PREVIOUS PSC DECISIONS

A.    Implementation of collaborative Articles of the PSC Protocol (Art. 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20)

1.    The PSC agreed to:

a.    Hold an annual consultative meeting with all AU organs/entities whose mandates include issues relating to the promotion of peace and security in Africa;
b.    Hold separate annual consultative meetings with RECs/RMs and ECOSOC (on behalf of CSOs) and;
c.    Automatically include the annual consultative meetings, above, in the Indicative Annual Programme of PSC Activities.

B.    Sustaining the functioning of PSC Subsidiary Bodies/Sub-Committees (Military Staff Committee (MSC), Committee of Experts (CoE), Committee on Sanctions, Committee on Counter-Terrorism and Committee on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Africa):

2.    The PSC agreed:

a.    To reactivate the functioning of PSC Subsidiary Bodies/Sub-Committees and ensure that they function continuously;
b.    That the Committee of Experts and the Military Staff Committee shall be composed of all the 15 Members of the PSC and shall be chaired by a representative of the country holding the PSC chairmanship of the month;
c.    That PSC Members will urgently nominate their representatives to the PSC Sub-Committees (Committee on Sanctions, Committee on Counter-Terrorism and Committee on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Africa) on the basis of regional representation, one from each of the five regions;
d.    To use all the four (4) working languages of the Union. However, in extreme circumstances where the use of all four (4) languages is not possible, English and French will be used, in line with the adopted Generic Terms of Reference of PSC Subsidiary Bodies/Sub-Committees;
e.    That the PSC Sub-Committees (Committee on Sanctions, Committee on Counter-Terrorism and Committee on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Africa ) will determine their methods of work including the selection of their chairpersons, taking into account the principles of consultation and regional rotation; and
f.    That Subsidiary bodies/Sub-Committees shall determine their respective monthly work programmes.

C.    Briefing to the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) by the  PSC Chairperson on the activities of the PSC of each month

3.    The PSC agreed that:

a.        Each outgoing PSC Chairperson shall brief the PRC at the end of each month in accordance with the PSC Protocol. This briefing shall be automatically included in the PSC monthly programme of activities;
b.    The Secretary of the PSC and the Secretary-General of the AU Commission shall coordinate to ensure successful briefing by the PSC Chairpersons to the PRC, under the guidance of the PRC Chairperson;
c.         The Secretary of the PSC will coordinate with the Secretary General of the Commission to ensure that the PSC briefing to the PRC is included in the regular monthly programme of the PRC, in the last week of the month. However, in the event that the PRC has no space in its monthly programme, the PSC Chairperson shall consult with the Chairperson of the PRC to determine a convenient date for the briefing.
d.    The PSC Secretariat shall compile all relevant working documents from PSC meetings during the month for the briefing to the PRC and circulate them to all AU Member States, at least three working days before the briefing; and
e.    Each PSC Chairperson shall prepare his/her own briefing report to the PRC and submit it to the PSC Secretariat, so that it is circulated as part of the relevant working documents for the briefing to the PRC.

D.    Legal standing of outcomes of PSC Retreats

4.    The PSC agreed that:

a.    All conclusions of PSC retreats shall be formally adopted through a communiqué in a formal meeting of the PSC.
b.    After their formal adoption by the PSC, the core elements of the conclusions will subsequently be submitted to the Assembly of the Union in the form of a draft decision for adoption.

E.    Presence of the Chairperson of the PSC during the Month
    
5.    The PSC agreed that In line with the provisions of the PSC Protocol, it is mandatory for     the PSC Chairperson to always be available at the AU Headquarters to steer the     activities of the PSC during the course of the month. However, in cases where the     substantive PSC Chairperson may be compelled by circumstances beyond his/her     control to be absent from the AU Headquarters, the next Member in line (incoming     Chairperson) shall assume the acting chairmanship, in accordance with rule 24 (3) of     the PSC Rules of Procedure.

F.    Implementation of Swapping Arrangements

6.    The PSC agreed that:

a.    Swapping should not be a norm. However a PSC Member who is not able to chair the PSC during his/her designated month, shall formally communicate to the PSC Secretariat in time for necessary arrangements to be made to ensure normal, smooth and continuous functioning of the PSC. PSC Member States intending to swap their months of chairing shall inform the PSC Secretariat in good time; at least one month in advance. Such a swapping arrangement  will be on the basis of the next Chair in the queue in accordance with the English alphabetical order;
b.    The PSC Secretariat shall formally inform all PSC Member States, through a Note Verbal, on the agreed swapping arrangements; and
c.    In the event that no swapping arrangement can be put in place, the PSC Member concerned shall forfeit their turn to Chair the PSC.

G.    Preparation for PSC Retreats

7.    The PSC agreed that it shall determine its agendas, work programmes and working documents for its retreats.

H.    Elaboration of Annual Indicative Programme of Activities

8.    The PSC agreed that:

a.    The PSC Secretariat shall prepare a Draft Annual Indicative Programme of Activities of the PSC;
b.     The Committee of Experts shall ensure alignment of the Draft Annual Indicative Programme of Activities with the Monthly Provisional Programme of Work;
c.    The PSC shall consider, for adoption, the Draft Annual Indicative Programme of Activities; and
d.     In view of the dynamic nature of the peace and security issues and in line with the provisions of the PSC Protocol, Ad-hoc activities may be included in the PSC Annual Indicative Programme of Activities.

I.    Elaboration of Provisional Monthly Programmes of Work of the PSC

9.    The PSC agreed that:

a.    The incoming PSC Chairperson shall submit, for consideration and adoption by the PSC, the draft Provisional Programme of Work of the PSC for the month, at least two weeks before assuming the chairmanship; and
b.    The Committee of Experts, in collaboration with the PSC Secretariat, shall support the incoming chairperson of the month in aligning the Programme and ensuring that mandatory and previously agreed activities are accommodated.

J.    PSC working documents

10.    The PSC agreed that the PSC Secretariat shall circulate all working documents to the PSC Members in all the four (4) AU working languages, at least three (3) working days before a PSC meeting.

K.    Outcomes of PSC meetings

11.    The PSC agreed that:

a.    It shall be guided by the provisions of the PSC Protocol to determine the appropriate format of outcome of its meetings;
b.    The PSC Committee of Experts shall meet, by end of August 2017, to make proposals on the appropriate format of outcomes of PSC open meetings and PSC closed meetings for consideration by Council;
c.    The current format of outcomes of PSC meetings, that is, Communique and Press Statement will, for the time being, remain in use;
d.    The PSC shall continue to use the Silence Procedure on outcomes of meetings. Where the silence procedure is broken and there is no understanding reached, the PSC shall reconvene to resolve any outstanding matters;
e.    The outcome of PSC meetings shall be based on consensus reached during the PSC meetings; and
f.    Where consensus cannot be reached, the matter shall be resolved through voting in accordance with Article 8 (13) of the PSC Protocol.

L.    Publicity of Outcomes of PSC meetings

12.    PSC agreed that:

a.    The power to authorize the publication of agreed PSC decisions and outcomes shall be a prerogative of the PSC Chairperson;
b.    The outcomes of PSC meetings shall continue to be posted on the AU Websites, AU Commission Tweeter and Facebook accounts;
c.    AU Commission shall provide outcomes of PSC meetings to relevant national news agencies of AU Member States to publicize in their respective countries and in accordance with the AU communication strategy;
d.    Missions should be encouraged to upload PSC documents/outcomes on their respective mission websites, as well as websites of their respective ministries of Foreign affairs; and
e.    The PSC Chairperson will brief the media, when deemed necessary by Council, at the end of each PSC meeting.

M.    Implementation of various PSC decisions

13.    The PSC agreed that the Committee of Experts shall, every six months, before the     Ordinary Session of the Assembly, submit a matrix of implementation of all PSC     decisions for consideration by the PSC.

N.    Interaction with RECs/RMs

14.    The PSC agreed that:

a.    It shall hold consultations with all relevant RECs/RMs on matters of peace and security. In this regard, the PSC shall re-launch the annual consultative meeting with the RECs/RMs, in line with the Abuja Retreat Conclusions; and
b.    It shall maintain the practice of inviting all RECs/RMs concerned with an issue under discussion by the PSC to participate whenever necessary on specific country/conflict situations; and
c.    It shall programme annual consultative meetings with the RECs/RMs.

O.    Criteria for Effective Membership of the Peace and Security Council

15.    The PSC agreed:

a.       That the PSC Committee of Experts will make proposals for consideration by Council to  review  the compliance of  Members in meeting the  requirements for effective membership to  the PSC in accordance with Article 5(2) of the PSC protocol; and
b.    That those Members of the PSC who may not  meet some of the above mentioned requirements due to circumstances beyond their control or any unforeseen reasons, will accordingly inform the Council.

P.    Interactions with AU Special Envoys/Representatives

16.        The PSC agreed that:

a.       All AU Special Envoys/Representatives will attend/participate in PSC meetings and provide briefings on their specific areas as may be required by the PSC;
b.        The chairperson of the PSC will attend all retreats held by the Commission with AU Special Envoys/Representatives to consider matters of peace and security;
c.    There shall be monthly consultations between the PSC Chairperson and the Chairperson of the AU Commission to discuss matters related to the promotion of peace and security. In this regard, the PSC Chairperson shall brief the PSC on outcomes of his/her consultation with the Chairperson of the Commission;
d.    The PSC will hold its consultative meetings with AU Special envoys/Representatives back to back with consultations held between the Special Envoys/Representatives and the AU Commission; and
e.       The Secretary of the PSC shall consult with the relevant officials of the AU Commission on possible dates for convening the back to back interactions with the Special Envoys/Representatives, and report back to Council for necessary action.

Q.    Cooperation and Coordination between the PSC and the African Members of the UN Security Council (A3)

17.    The PSC agreed to implement the decisions already adopted by the Assembly on this matter.

R.    Cooperation with the United Nations and other International organizations

18.    Annual Joint Consultative meetings

The PSC agreed to:

a.    Ensure adequate and timely preparations including effective follow-ups and timely responses. The PSC Secretariat shall support Council in this undertaking;
b.    Ensure that all relevant working documents for the joint consultative meetings/ interactions between the PSC and the UN Security Council are directly communicated between the PSC Chairperson and the President of the UN Security Council and copied to the PSC Secretariat;
c.    Ensure that all PSC Member States speak with one voice during the joint consultative meetings; and
d.    Ensure assertiveness in promoting and defending Africa’s common positions.

19.    Informal Interactions with the Representatives of the P5 based in Addis Ababa

The PSC agreed:

a.    That informal interactions with the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council (P5) shall be organized twice a year;
b.    To utilize its Joint consultative meetings or the purpose of   enhancing the understanding of African peace and security issues by the P5;
c.    On day to day issues, the P5 Members based in Addis Ababa will be invited to participate in PSC meetings whenever necessary.

S.    The AU Peace Fund

20.    Revitalizing the AU Peace Fund

The PSC agreed that:

a.    The Peace Fund Task Force, put in place by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, should work closely with the Committee of the Ten Ministers of Finance (F10) on revitalizing the AU Peace Fund;
b.    The Peace and Security Department shall develop two reports for consideration by the PSC: The first report, to be submitted to the UNSC,  shall focus on the issue of 75% to be funded from UN assessed contributions while the second  report shall focus on  alternative options of funding Africa’s peace and security;
c.    The Peace Fund Task Force will submit its reports to the PSC for consideration in May 2017. The report on the 75% UN contribution will be submitted to the UN Security Council in time for consideration in September 2017;
d.    The AU Commission shall develop transitional mechanisms for managing the Peace Fund and shall accordingly report to the PSC in September 2017; and
e.    Africa must endeavour to raise the 25% contribution for peace support operations as committed.

T.    Human Resources challenges faced by the Peace and Security Department in providing support to the PSC

21.    The PSC agreed that:

a.    The AU Commission should urgently recruit interpreters and translators dedicated specifically to PSC work;  
b.    The restructuring of the Peace and Security Department, including the PSC Secretariat, should be done on the basis of a scientific study;
c.    The PSC Committee of Experts shall study the Report on Peace and Human Resource Outlook and Gaps/Needs submitted during  the PSC retreat in Kigali and the Report commissioned by the AU Sub-Committee on Structures in 2015/2016 and submit recommendations for consideration by the PSC;
d.    The Peace and Security Department - working together with Finance Department, Strategic Planning Department and Administration and Human Resource Department -shall work closely together in preparing and submitting to the PSC, a report on the restructuring of the Peace and Security Department; and
e.    The study on restructuring of the AU Peace and Security Department should be guided by the AU Assembly decisions on institutional reform which are aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the African Union.

U.    Interaction between the PSC and relevant AUC Departments

22.    The PSC agreed that:

a.    The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security will hold regular and exclusive briefing sessions with PSC Ambassadors on sensitive peace and security matters; and
b.    The PSC shall receive quarterly briefings from the Department of Political affairs and other relevant AUC Departments on issues relating to peace and security in Africa.

III.    GENERAL PEACE AND SECURITY ISSUES

23.    Implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)

The PSC agreed that:

a.    The PSC Secretariat will undertake a  study  on the implementation of APSA and submit a report by the end of September 2017 for consideration by the PSC; and
b.    Regular reporting on operationalization of APSA to Council should be included in the PSC Annual Indicative Programme of Activities.

24.    Operationalization of the African Governance Architecture (AGA)

The PSC agreed that:

a.    Briefings by the Department of Political Affairs on Elections, Democracy and Governance will be included in the Annual Indicative Programme of Activities of the PSC.

25.    Compliance with the Lome Declaration on the Framework for OAU/AU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government

The PSC agreed that:

a.    The Office of the Legal Counsel should provide an update to Council on the implementation of the AU Assembly decision requiring the Specialised Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to elaborate on a definition for `Popular Uprisings’ in relation to the Lome Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Government.

26.    Participation of the PSC in AU Election Observer Missions

The PSC agreed that:

a.    The AU Department of Political Affairs should provide to the PSC an annual calendar for elections in Africa;
b.    The AU Department of Political Affairs should provide the PSC with modalities for selection of AU Election Observers/Monitors and the AU criteria for evaluating the outcome of elections;    
c.    The list of AU Election Observers and Election Monitors to be deployed in AU Member States should include members of the PSC who  shall specifically focus on peace and security issues relating to the elections; and
d.    A roaster for participation of PSC members in election observation/monitoring should be developed by the PSC Secretariat for approval by Council.

27.    On Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development

The PSC agreed that:

a.    The AU Commission should prepare a report for consideration by the PSC on the review of the PCRD Architecture including the establishment of the PCRD Centre;
b.    Those Member States that are interested to host the PCRD Centre should expedite the consultations regarding its location and report to Council by October 2017; and
c.    The PSC Department should provide a progress report on the issues relating the PSC Committees on PCRD for Burundi, the DRC and South Sudan.

28.    Training of AU Mediators and Development of a Database of African Mediators

The PSC agreed that:

a.    The training of African mediators should be prioritized in order to enhance preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention efforts for Africa;
b.    Criteria and standards should be developed on the calibre of personnel to be deployed for mediation and conciliation, and the criteria should include gender sensitivity;
c.    An AU Mediation Support Unit (MSU) and a roaster of mediators should be established and run by competent professionals; and
d.    A database and a roaster of AU mediators should be established at the AU Commission in order to ease the process of selecting and assigning African mediators to conflict situations around the continent.
29.    Efficient undertaking of Humanitarian Activities by the PSC

The PSC agreed:

a.    To improve its efficiency in undertaking humanitarian activities in accordance with Article 6(f) and Article 15 of the PSC Protocol; and
b.    That Council shall make recommendations for financial contributions to alleviate humanitarian situations. In this regard, the Department of Political affairs shall develop and make available to the PSC, guidelines for the provision of humanitarian assistance by the Union.
30.    Guidelines on Mandate, Command and Control of AU Peace Support Operations

The PSC agreed:

a.    On the need to establish a multi-disciplinary Committee to develop guidelines for     elaboration of the mandate, command and control of AU Peace Support operations. In     this regard, Council tasked the PSC Secretariat to organize a workshop of the multi-    disciplinary committee by 30 September 2017 and subsequently report to the PSC.

31.    Budget of the PSC

The PSC agreed that:

a.    The PSC Secretariat should provide a detailed annotated budget, including earmarked funding by partners as well as a report on execution levels, by 30 May 2017; and
b.    The PSC Secretariat should urgently work on the PSC budget for 2018 and present it to Council before submission to the PRC Sub-Committee on General Supervision and Coordination on Budgetary, Financial and Administrative Matters for consideration.

IV.    CONCLUSION

32.    The PSC expressed appreciation to H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, for granting a courtesy to members of the Council, and for the words of wisdom that he shared with them.

33.    Additionally, H.E. Mull S. Katende Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the African Union thanked the Government and people of the Republic of Rwanda for hosting the Retreat, and for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to PSC members and to the participants from the AU Commission.    

Kigali, Rwanda: 5 May 2017.

Posted by Limi Mohammed

Last updated by Abraham Kebede

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