Informal lunch seminar on Africa-EU cooperation on Peace and Security in Africa

The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) together with Institute for Security Studies , Addis Ababa Office (ISS) held a small informal lunch seminar on Africa-EU cooperation on Peace and Security in Africa and its implications for other areas of Africa-EU relations on Thursday of last week. Policy-makers and officials from Europe and African representations in Brussels participated in this meeting along with other experts.

Africa-EU collaboration in Peace and Security in and outside the framework of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy is routinely cited as one of the most successful areas of continental interaction. This is particularly the case when compared to the seven other thematic partnerships associated with the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. For many in Africa and Europe involved in day-to-day implementation of Peace and Security collaboration, the identification of this as a “success” is greeted with some degree of incredulity given the significant challenges that remain. As the Second Action Plan of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy is currently under negotiation to be presented to the 3rd Africa-EU Heads of State Summit in November 2010 it is worth reflecting on the successes and dilemmas of the Peace and Security cooperation in the past three years and the lessons we can draw from them.

The lunch seminar provided a good opportunity to discuss African and European perspectives on Peace and Security issues with a small group of key stakeholders in Brussels. Dr. Solomon A. Dersso (ISS) provided insights on current developments at the in terms of the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture. ECDPM’s Andrew Sherriff presented some background on to the role of the EU in supporting the African Union in this area and what interests underpinned progress in this area.

The discussion focused on proposals and ideas for political issues to be raised at the Africa-EU Summit to improve cooperation in the framework of the JAES, an on the issue of peace and security in particular. Several key concerns were brought to the table. It was called to ensuring AU ownership of the JAES’ 2nd Action Plan and its implementation. One proposal was for a “code of conduct” for stakeholders to ensure that any plans and priorities had appropriate levels of involvement and engagement from both Africa and European stakeholders. Within the discussion it was proposed to reconfirm that Peace and Security in Africa are UN responsibility. Hence it was deemed necessary to keep EU support for sustainable funding for African-led Peace Support Operations within the UN framework a priority. Moreover the continued support to the implementation of the APSA which should be based on participatory needs assessment and consultation about priorities with all relevant actors was also discussed.

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