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Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) at its 1107th meeting, held on 23 September 2022, on the theme – Strengthening Regional Organizations for the Maintenance of Peace and Security in Africa: Preventing and Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Continent:

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling the Declaration and Decision [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.(XVI)] adopted during the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa held on 28 May 2022, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, which decided, amongst others, the establishment of a Ministerial Committee on Counter-Terrorism to give impetus to the Continental fight against terrorism;

Committed to the implementation of its previous decisions and pronouncements on preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism in Africa and related themes, particularly, Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM.1048(2021)] adopted at its 1048th meeting held on 15 November 2021; and Communiqué [PSC/MIN/COMM.1040 (2021)] adopted at its 1040th meeting held at the Ministerial level on 22 October 2021;

Emphasizing the cardinal principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantage, which guide the significant role played by the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), who, on many occasions, are primary responders to crises and conflict situations in their respective geographic areas of jurisdiction;

Noting the opening remarks by H.E. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana and PSC Chairperson for September 2022, the remarks by H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, the presentation by H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, and Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism; also noting the statements made by the representatives of the RECs/RMs;

Reaffirming the solidarity of the AU with the people of the Continent, particularly those adversely impacted by the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism; and

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:

1. Expresses grave concern over the expanding and worsening scourge of terrorism and violent extremism on the Continent, exacerbated by the influx of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs), mercenaries and private military enterprises, and deplores the growing linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime, including illicit exploitation of, and trade in minerals, and illicit financial flows with debilitating impact on the economies of the Continent;

2. Strongly condemns the barbaric acts of terrorism and their attendant adverse impact on ordinary citizens and civilians, committed on the Continent by terrorist groups; reiterates the AU’s determination to rid Africa of the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances, and expresses AU’s full solidarity with the affected countries and the victims of terrorism;

3. Underlines the imperative of enhancing comprehensive national, regional and continental approaches to address the growing scourge of terrorism and the underlying root causes and structural drivers associated with youth participation in violence including redressing the socio-economic imbalances that exist, with the view to economically empowering the people, especially the women and youth, while recognizing that terrorism, radicalization and recruitment have been attributed to many causal factors such as democratic governance deficits, porous borders, ungoverned spaces, economic deprivation and marginalization, and lack of effective and legitimate governance structures for the provision of sustainable political and socio-economic infrastructure; and in this regard, stresses the need to prioritize political solutions alongside military and security interventions;

4. Underscores the need to further enhance cooperation, coordination and complementarity of regional and continental efforts, strengthening synergy and harmonization of interventions, as well as information and intelligence sharing and lessons arising from countering terrorism to reinforce the overall response to the threat of terrorism; underlines the importance of further enhancing cooperation and the requisite capacity to prevent and trace the illicit financial flows, curb the flow of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons;

5. Highlights the need for context-specific interventions tailored to address the security, governance, development and humanitarian needs of the affected countries and regions with the participation of local community leaders, faith-based leaders, youth, women and the representatives of children;

6. Emphasizes the need to leverage the pivotal role of the Traditional, Cultural, Religious and Community Leaders in an effort to de-radicalize the youth, given the enormous respect and influence these leaders command in the communities they lead;

7. Underscores the need to strengthen the oversight role of the PSC to ensure effective coordination and collaboration between all stakeholders, including Member States, RECs/RMs, the AU Commission, notably the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), and Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), as well as other relevant AU Organs and institutions;

8. Encourages the RECs/RMs, who are yet to do so, to establish policy organs on peace and security, to ensure that all regions have the appropriate architecture to respond to conflicts and crises, as well as terrorism and violent extremism; further encourages RECs/RMs with policy organs on peace and security to share expertise with those who are yet to establish theirs, and requests the AU Commission to provide the requisite support, where required and upon request;

9. Urges the RECs/RMs to fully utilize the cooperative mechanisms established to address country- and region-specific issues, most notably the Sahel Fusion and Liaison Unit (UFL), the Nouakchott Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation and the Operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan Region, the Djibouti Process and the Accra Initiatives established to respond to growing insecurity linked to violent extremism in the region;

10. Urges international partners to ensure zero tolerance for terrorism regardless of the motives, and to take appropriate practical measures to ensure that their respective territories are not used by terrorists for the organization and or financing of terrorist acts to be committed against other States or their citizens;

11. Reiterates the need to further enhance collaboration between the AU Commission and RECs/RMs; in this regard, requests the AU Commission to support the RECs/RMs to undertake the following:

i. Explore options to further improve the implementation of policy interventions aimed at addressing the root causes and drivers of terrorism and violent extremism, especially the democratic governance deficit and the absence or weakness of governance structures in peripheral and remote territories, as well as political, social and economic marginalization;

ii. Support Member States affected by the scourge of terrorism through mobilization of requisite resources, including funding needed for strengthening institutions for delivery of social services, such as education, justice, health care and entrenching democracy, good governance and the rule of law;

iii. Mobilize funding to prevent and combat terrorism, and ensure sustainable and predictable funding for AU Peace Support Operations;

iv. Promote the development of economic opportunities, in particular trade facilitation and cross-border infrastructure and cooperation, to strengthen regional integration for the consolidation of peace and security;

v. Strengthen existing mechanisms at the level of RECs/RMs, to compile a list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, including FTFs, as well as those sponsoring them; with a view to tracking, monitoring, reporting on, and proposing policy responses to prevent the expansion of the threats of terrorism and violent extremism with the support of the AFRIPOL, CISSA and ACSRT;

vi. Establish regional counter-terrorism centres to support national efforts in preventing and combating terrorism;

vii. Put in place mechanisms for supporting initiatives of local communities both for deradicalization, reconciliation, inter-communal dialogue and for implementing measures for addressing the humanitarian and socio-economic needs of affected populations;

viii. Harness the comparative technical advantages of Africa’s governance and development institutions, including the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the African Development Bank (ADB), and the relevant AU Commission Departments, in developing and implementing peace enhancing development projects, including quick impact projects, in areas liberated
from terrorist groups, that are aimed at promoting the provision of social services and support the livelihoods of people in marginalized regions;

ix. Convene inter-RECs/RMs policy coordination meetings horizontally among RECs/RMs, including at ministerial and Heads of State and Government levels taking note of the best practices of the Joint Summit of ECOWAS and ECCAS on peace, security and stability and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism held in Lomé, Togo in July 2018;

x. Use existing platforms and mechanisms, including the inter-regional knowledge platform (I-RECKE) for early warning and experience sharing, joint planning and collective action, launched in July 2022, in Lusaka, Zambia;

xi. Undertake to scale up support for more research and studies at national, regional and continental levels, including using the existing AU research centres, focusing on the nature and scope of terrorism in the Continent and provide recommendations on strategies for Member States and RECs/RMs to address the phenomenal spread of terrorism and violent extremism;

xii. Support national Governments in investing in community policing and civil military relations in order to mobilize and sensitize the population against terrorism and violent extremism; and

xiii. Harmonize counter-terrorism and related laws at the regional level to facilitate greater regional integration and effective response mechanisms to terrorism, violent extremism and other related crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and maritime piracy.

12. Underscores the need for RECs/RMs to be adequately financed, well-resourced and equipped to ensure that the Regional Standby Forces (RSFs) of the African Standby Force and security institutions engaging in conflict management and counter-terrorist operations have the capacity for early and effective response;

13. Agrees to utilize the AU Peace Fund and Crisis Reserve Facility (CRF) to rapidly respond to peace and security matters in Africa and ensure Africa’s ownership of the peace and security agenda in the Continent;

14. Calls for strengthening protection measures into maritime domain at national,  regional and continental levels, and ensure inter-regional cooperation and coordination, in preventing and detecting terrorism threats, as well as combating acts of terrorism at ports and on the sea;

15. Looks forward to the convening of the first meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Terrorism as established by the Decision [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.(XVI)] adopted during the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa in May 2022;

16. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by PSC Secretariat
Last updated by Abraham Kebede

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