The European Union and Africa: developing partnerships for peace and security

"Peace and security are the greatest challenges facing the African continent as it strives to achieve its Millennium Development Goals and to build stable and well-functioning societies that will foster the economic development of its citizens. Since the end of the colonial era, Africa has been racked by conflicts. Since the late 1990s a growing sense of the need to develop institutions that will enable Africa to deal with its conflicts has emerged among African heads of state. The establishment of the African Union (AU) in 2002 signalled the culmination of this recognition.The European Union (EU) has played a prominent supportive role in the development and consolidation of the new peace and security architecture in Africa. In October 2005 a conference entitled 'Towards Peace and Security: The European Union and Africa' was held by the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the South African Institute of International Affairs. Its aim was threefold:to reflect on the experiences of conflict resolution and peace and security in Europe and Africa; to share lessons derived from each region's experiences; and to explore how the partnership between the European Union and Africa on matters concerning peace and security could be further strengthened. This report is based on the proceedings of that conference. It does not attempt to investigate every aspect of the extant instruments of the AU and EU but aims to provide an overview. It also focuses on some aspects of peace and security initiatives in Africa, such as standby forces and demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration procedures"