2016 Background Paper “Africa in the Global Security Agenda” 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa

Rethinking Africa’s role in the global security agenda (architecture) is an urgent task. Some of the key questions focused on by the Fifth Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, are : 1)What is the state of knowledge about “global security” beyond the dominant state-centric and militarized conceptions of security? 2)Is there a common understanding of the notion; and, if yes, what are its common denominators or specificities? 3)If there are several (competing) notions of global security, is an African strand different from those applicable in other parts of the world? While those questions are contemplated, as well as their consequences, there are no doubts that the past decade has witnessed fundamental - perhaps even irreversible - changes in the global security arena; including those resulting from the shift from a state-centric perspective to a more human-centred conception of security. Indeed, one of the most important changes in the global peace and security landscape has been the emergence of new actors that contest the primacy of the state in the management of peace and security issues. The activities of these new actors, many of them with vast- and increasingly vicious- transnational networks, are challenging, the raison d’être of the state. Even more, they are also contesting the legitimacy and political relevance of mainstream global security actors that seems to privilege the military element of security to the detriment of interventions linked to sustainable peace and development.