AU Mediation Support Unit, Building African Capacity for Mediation
AU Mediation Support Unit, Building African Capacity for Mediation


Article 4(e) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) provides for the “peaceful resolution of conflicts among AU Member States through such appropriate means as may be decided upon by the Assembly.” This principle is elaborated in Article 3 of the Protocol Relatinog to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council, which outlines the anticipation and prevention of conflict, and peacemaking, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction, as part of its cardinal objectives. Mediation is at the heart of this process.

During the past five years and due to the emergence and resurgence of conflicts in many parts of the continent, the AU has stepped up its mediation activities. There are currently about 20 AU special envoys, representatives and mediators deployed in conflict and post-conflict countries across the continent. These envoys are appointed by the Chairperson of the Commission, often pursuant to a decision of the Peace and Security Council or the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments, or with their endorsement. To do their work properly, special envoys, special representatives and other mediators need technical support.

Therefore, the mandate of the newly created Mediation Support Unit is to provide capacity support to mediators, including through serving as the secretariat for the annual retreat of African mediators and special envoys, and providing the necessary briefing materials for mediators and their staff. The Unit is further tasked with establishing an analytical and early-warning capacity for armed conflicts, in collaboration with other PSD units, AUC departments and external institutions, including think tanks and research centers.

The Mediation Support Unit shall also provide technical expertise in designing, supporting and conducting mediation and related activities, and serve as a center for documenting African peace-building efforts, including archiving records and making such records available to mediators and researchers. It shall maintain a roster of mediation experts and support staff, with due diligence to ensure that experts on the roster are suitably qualified to help meet the challenges of contemporary mediation. 

Given the nature of its mandate, it has been deemed appropriate to administratively place the Mediation Support Unit within the PSD Division in charge of Crisis Management and Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (CMPCRD).

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Kwaku Asante-Darko, to serve as the first Coordinator of the AU Mediation Support Unit.

I am confident that the CMPCRD will successfully operationalize the MSU, so as to provide enhanced and predictable support to our mediators, facilitators and special envoys.

Ambassador Smail Chergui
Commissioner for Peace and Security


Statement by H.E. Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security during the MSU Meeting held on 29 September 2016

2. MSU Intervention of H.E. Haile Menkerios, SRSG remarks at AU mediation workshop - 6 Sept 2016

 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Guidelines
1.  AU Standard operating procedures for mediation support
2 AU Mediation Support Handbook