Africa in the Global Peace and Security Architecture: Overcoming Gridlocks to Peace
Peace and security underpin sustainable development. Indeed, the General Assembly of the United Nations has stated that the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will only be realized in a world of peace, security and respect for human rights. The African Union (AU) has likewise given peace and security due prominence. “A peaceful and secure Africa” is one of the key aspirations of the AU’s Agenda 2063 with the goal that “by 2020 all guns will be silent.” To achieve this goal, the continent has put in place the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), a set of structures for the prevention, management and resolution of crises and conflicts, as well as post-conflict reconstruction. Achieving sustainable peace and security in Africa will not only require on-the-ground efforts across the continent, but also a re-balancing/re-positioning of Africa within global peace and security frameworks. Many of these frameworks require reform to keep pace with emerging challenges. Such issues range from the roles and responsibilities of national, regional and continental peace and security frameworks and forces in the African context, to the United Nations Security Council, and the global arms manufacturing and trade structures. Therefore, this follow-up meeting was called to examine how Africa’s position in the global peace and security architecture enhances and/or impedes progress in preventing and resolving conflicts with reference to two specific conflict areas in Africa: the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The event featured an opening address by Dr. Admore Kambudzi, the Acting Director for Peace and Security of the African Union, followed by plenary discussion, and two sessions that focused specifically on the conflicts in Somalia and the DRC. Each session commenced with an overview of the conflict/crisis. H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, former President of Somalia, provided the background for the situation in his country, and Amb. Zachary Muburi Muita, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, provided the context for the Democratic Republic of Congo. The presentations aimed to inform delegates on the most recent developments in those countries, and highlight key challenges and opportunities for resolving the conflicts within the present global security architecture. Following the focus sessions, the group shifted its focus on how the global context, and in particular the peace and security arrangements, impacts on African conflicts and crisis. This session formed the basis for the meeting’s recommendations for African leaders to advance the continent’s position in the global security architecture.