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I.    INTRODUCTION

1.    The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) held its Eighth Retreat on Enhancement of Cooperation between itself and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RMs) in Abuja, Nigeria from 14 to 16 September 2015. The Retreat came as an additional important step by the PSC in its efforts to enhance its relationship with the RECs/RMs in the area of peace and security within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) as embodied in the Protocol Rerating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council (PSC Protocol). The Retreat was officially opened by His Excellency Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ambassador Mull Katende, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the African Union and Chairperson of the PSC for September 2015, chaired the Retreat.

2.    After extensive deliberations, and building on the outcomes of its Retreat held from 21 to 23 May 2015, in Swakopmund, Namibia, the Abuja PSC Retreat reached the following Conclusions with a view to enhancing cooperation between the PSC and the RECs/RMs in the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa:
 
II.    CONCLUSIONS ON ENHANCING COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE PSC AND RECs/RMs IN CONFLICT PREVENTION, MANAGEMENT AND RESOLUTION

a)    On Strengthening Participation of RECs/RMs in PSC Meetings:

3.    In implementation of the Swakopmund PSC Retreat Conclusions and Article 16 (6) of the PSC Protocol, and to enable the PSC to have adequate time for real interaction with the RECs/RMs, during its meetings, the PSC adopts the following approach on proceedings in its meetings:

i)    Immediately after the PSC adopts the agenda, the Member States and the REC/RMs concerned with an item on the agenda of a given PSC meeting are invited to join the meeting;

iii.    After making its statement on the issue concerning it, the invited Member State concerned takes leave of the meeting, while the PSC and the REC/RM stay on to interact on the item under consideration and share ideas on elements to constitute the outcome;

iv.    At the conclusion of the interaction, the REC/RM takes leave of the meeting;

v.    Thereafter, the PSC enters into a closed session, which should conclude with a summary by the PSC Chairperson, of the essential elements for the outcome (communiqué/press statement) of the meeting of the Council;

vi.    Thereafter, the meeting addresses items under Any Other Business (AOB) and then adjourns.

b)    On the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity, Complementarity and Comparative Advantage:

4.    Taking into consideration the overall responsibility of the PSC as stipulated in its Protocol, the PSC and the RECs/RMs shall apply the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantage on a case by case basis, taking into account the peculiarities of each conflict/crisis situation. In cases where the REC/RM concerned does not have a common approach on how to address a specific conflict/crisis situation, the peace-making responsibility shall revert to the PSC.

5.    The RECs/RMs need to enhance and strengthen RECs/RMs-RECs/RMs collaboration and coordination at all levels in order to streamline and enhance cooperation with the PSC.

c)    On participation in statutory meetings on peace and security within the RECs/RMs:

6.    The RECs/RMs shall extend separate invitations to both the Chairperson of the AU Commission and the Chairperson of the PSC to participate in their statutory and other key meetings on peace and security issues.

d)    On meetings between the PSC and the RECs/RMs:

7.    The meetings between the PSC and the RECs/RMs shall be held twice a year. Hosting of these meetings shall be rotational between Addis Ababa and the respective RECs/RMs headquarters. The Chairperson of the PSC and the respective RECs/RMs focal points shall set out the agenda of such meetings.

8.    The annual calendars of work of the PSC and the RECs/RMs shall be mutually shared and harmonized in advance, to facilitate their meetings.  

e)    On RECs/RMs Contribution to the Reports of the PSC on its Activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa:

9.    The RECs/RMs shall provide inputs to the PSC Report on its Activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa to the Assembly of the Union. The inputs shall be received by the PSC Secretariat by early May for the mid-year AU Summit and, by end of November for the January AU Summit in line with the Maseru February 2014 PSC Retreat Conclusions.

f)    On Building Collective Dissuasive Capability within the Context of APSA:

10.    The PSC shall operationalize its Sanctions Committee to support implementation and monitoring of sanctions measures imposed by the AU;

11.    The RECs/RMs shall put in place effective mechanisms for implementing and monitoring sanctions imposed by the AU;

12.    The PSC shall provide clear guidelines for elaboration of mandates, command and control for AU Peace Support Operations.

13.    The PSC and RECs/RMs shall hold monitoring, evaluation and implementation sessions during their meetings mentioned at paragraph 7 above,  to draw lessons from AU Peace Support Operations and other joint initiatives and address challenges at hand.

g)    On enhancing Africa’s funding for peace efforts:

14.    The PSC shall ensure revitalization of the Peace Fund and mobilize internal resources to fund its activities. Following the model in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the PSC should endeavor to mobilize efforts towards installation in the AU Peace Fund and in the funding mechanisms of the RECs/RMs of levies as additional sources of funding for peace and security.

h)    On sharing of early warning information:

15.    The AU Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) should broaden its focus to include non-traditional/military threats to peace, security and stability, including natural and human disasters, economic, social and environmental threats, to keep Africa prepared for different types of emergency situations.

16.    The RECs/RMs shall strengthen their capacity for early warning and early response. In this regard, the AU Commission will appraise the PSC on these issues.

i)    On Management of the Silent Procedure for adoption of Draft PSC Communiqués/Draft Press Statements:

17.    PSC outcomes, once adopted, shall be disseminated in real time and PSC Member States shall provide their inputs within 24 hours following the conclusion of the PSC meeting. In cases, where the silence procedure is applied, the process used by the UN Security Council shall apply, including interruption of this procedure, if a PSC Member has made observation within 24 hours on a given draft communiqué/draft press statement.

j)    On PSC Subsidiary Bodies:

18.    The PSC shall operationalize its subsidiary bodies at the earliest possible time and keep them functioning.

k)    On PSC Follow-Up on Strategic Partnership Issues:

19.    The Commission shall designate a focal point with a dedicated staff officer in the Peace and Security Department to facilitate PSC’s follow-up on peace and security issues relating to strategic partnership.

20.    In view of the need to have adequate time to debate issues and situations on its agenda, the PSC will hold informal consultations with the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and other relevant invitees once every month.

21.    These informal consultations shall take place after the adoption of the monthly provisional programme of work. In this regard, the PSC shall determine the agenda of and list of invitees for each meeting.

22.    Council will invite, on a case by case basis, the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council to the open session of its meetings on particular situations. The PSC shall continue exploring ways to streamline the list of invitees to its meetings.

l)    On PSC participation in meetings of AU-led International Contact Groups:

23.    The PSC, through its Chairperson, shall be invited to participate in the meetings of the AU-led International Contact Groups (ICGs).

III.    CONCLUSION


24.    The PSC moved a Vote of Thanks delivered by H.E. Anne Namakau Mutelo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the African Union, addressed to the Government and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for hosting the Retreat and for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to its members, RECs/RMs, other invited guests and to the participants from the AU Commission.   

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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