November 26, 2010

Ensuring Peace and Security in Africa. Implementing the New Africa-EU Partnership

Posted: 12:57 PM CEST

by ECDPM Editorial Team

in Africa Change Dynamics

Chatham House hosted a conference entitled “Ensuring Peace and Security in Africa: Implementing the New Africa-EU Partnership” on 27-28 October. The conference discussed the motivations and objectives of cooperation between the EU and Africa on peace and security, took stock of progress made over the past couple of years and analysed and drew lessons from case studies. ECDPM’s Eleonora Koeb gave a presentation to the meeting highlighting some successes and progress made by the African Union in the areas of conflict prevention, mediation and development of an African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). Stressing that APSA is a system of norms, policies and institutions, rather than only about organizational structures, she argued that a key innovation in EU-Africa cooperation in peace and security under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy is the EU’s pledge for political support for the specific lead role of the African Union in peace and security matters on the African continent. This includes for example: the elevation of political dialogue to a new strategic level; EU recognition of the African Union (AU) and Regional Economic Community mandates, lead roles and competencies in mediation in Africa; EU alignment to the AU positions, for example on unconstitutional change; and EU support on the issue of sustainable funding of African-led peace-keeping operations. Yet, progress at this political level is difficult and slow according to Koeb because the EU does not speak with one voice or act as one when it comes to critical situations. And fundamental disagreements and grievances persist between the EU and Africa which are insufficiently discussed, let alone resolved, through political dialogue at the necessary high level (grievances ranging from colonialism to the topics of Zimbabwe, the ICC’s work in Africa and the current hot topic of Economic Partnership Agreements). Hence, attention is often focused on EU funding for AU capacity development in relation to APSA. Here, in the development and operationalisation of APSA, impressive progress has to be recognized and the EU’s support was instrumental to this progress. Yet, there is a need to ensure that high financial dependency of the AU in the area of capacity development and institution building does not undermine the AUC’s accountability towards African member states says Koeb.

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