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Addis Ababa, 10 September 2018: From 5 to 7 September 2018, the Commission of the African Union (AU) hosted a training workshop for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the theme “Security Sector Governance and Management (SSGM): Toward Defining Entry Points for a CSO SSR Influencing Strategy”. The training workshop aimed to deepen the understanding of CSOs of the structures and processes of security sector governance and management.

The workshop comes within the framework of a project entitled “Engaging Civil Society in Security and Justice Sector Reform” that was launched in 2017 in partnership with the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) and Oxfam. At the level of the AU, the project is led by the Peace and Security Department, the Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (CIDO) and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC).

The project is designed to enhance the capacity of CSOs to participate more meaningfully in the formulation and implementation of security and justice sector reform policies and programs and to foster people-centered security governance across Africa. The project further provides an opportunity to forge dialogue and a working partnership between CSOs, the AU and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The project is anchored on the relevant provisions of the Constitutive Act of the AU, the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU, the Livingstone Formula on interaction between the PSC and civil society organisations, and the AU Policy Framework on Security Sector Reform (SSR), all which underscore the critical role of civil society in efforts aimed at promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.

The training workshop brought together thirteen CSOs drawn from the Central African Republic, Niger, Somalia, Tunisia and South Sudan. Also present at the workshop were representatives of the relevant RECs, namely, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Partners, including the United Nations Office to the AU, the Netherlands and Norway also attended the workshop.

The workshop enhanced the understanding of participating CSOs on a range of topics relating to security and justice governance, including armed forces, policing and intelligence oversight; national security policy and strategy; security budgeting and expenditure oversight; and gender and SSR. Discussions focused on how CSOs can advocate for, and contribute to the different processes, and on identifying context-specific entry-point for effective engagement.

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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