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I. INTRODUCTION

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) and the African Members of the United Nations Security Council (A3), in collaboration with the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission (AUC), the Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), organized the 9th High-Level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa: Assisting Incoming African Members of the United Nations Security Council (A3) in Preparing to Address Peace and Security Issues on the Continent, from 7 to 9 December 2022, in Oran, Algeria. The Seminar was held pursuant to Communique [PSC/AHG/COMM/1.(CCCXCVII)] adopted by the PSC at its 397th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government in New York, on 23 September 2013, which reviewed the partnership between the AU and the United Nations (UN) in the area of peace and security, and decided, inter alia, on the need for “greater consultations between the Peace and Security Council and the African members on the Security Council, to ensure that decisions adopted by Council are effectively promoted and defended in the Security Council”.

II. MAIN OBJECTIVE

2. In line with the previous Seminars since the Inaugural Seminar held in 2013, the 9th High-Level Seminar sought to contribute towards further strengthening the capacity of the A3 to effectively promote, articulate and defend common African positions on peace and security issues concerning the Continent, within the decision-making process of the UN Security Council, as well as, in this regard, to further strengthen the collaboration between the AU PSC and the A3.

3. The Seminar focused on the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons; terrorism and violent extremism; the imposition of sanctions by international organizations and partners on AU Member States; as well as enhanced PSC and A3 coordination for strengthening Africa’s voice within the United Nations Security Council.

III. PARTICIPATION

4. The Seminar was chaired by H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of December 2022 and brought together the representatives of the following fifteen PSC Members, namely: Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria (as Chair) Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The following current A3 Members also attended the Seminar, namely: Kenya, Gabon, and Ghana. The Republic of Mozambique attended the Seminar as an incoming A3 Member.

5. The AU Commission was represented at the highest level by H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed, the AU Permanent Representative to the United Nations and staff from the AU Commission.

6. The United Nations (UN) was represented by H.E. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and H.E. Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the AU and Head of the UN Office to the AU (UNOAU), as well as by officials from UNITAR and SCAD.

7. Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia and Niger also attended as Friends of the Seminar while the Republic of Chad attended the High-Level Seminar as a ‘Guests of the Seminar’.

8. Furthermore, the representatives of Norway and Switzerland attended the Seminar as partners, while the representative of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) attended as a facilitator.

IV. OPENING CEREMONY

9. During the Opening Ceremony, remarks were delivered by H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his capacity as the PSC Chairperson for the month of December 2022. H.E. Ramtane Lamamra, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and of Algerian Community Abroad, delivered the welcoming remarks as the host of the Seminar. The Key Note address was delivered by H.E. Dr. Alfred N. Mutua, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, as Coordinator of the A3. Remarks were also delivered by H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security. Last but not least, a goodwill message was jointly delivered by H.E Ambassador Thomas Guerber, UN Director in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and H.E. Ambassador Theresa Loken Gheziel, the Norwegian Ambassador to Algeria, as partners of the Seminar.

V. FORMAT

10. The agenda of the Seminar focused on following thematic issues:

a) Session 1: Disarmament and Control of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons: Silencing the Guns in Africa;

b) Session 2: African Responses to Emerging Threats to Peace and Security in Africa;

c) Session 3: Imposition and Application of Sanctions by the International Organizations and Partners on AU Member States;

d) Session 4: Better Coordination for strengthening Africa’s voice within the United Nations Security Council;

e) Session 5: Consideration of the Conclusions of the Seminar and Closing.

VI. SUMMARY OF KEY ISSUES RAISED DURING THE SEMINAR

A. On Disarmament and Control of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons: Silencing the Guns in Africa

11. Participants acknowledged the efforts deployed by Member States, Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), the AU Commission, the United Nations and other specialized organizations and institutions to curb illicit circulation of weapons. Participants expressed deep concern over the continued intensification and proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons in the Continent. They noted that the scourge was a result of a combination of national, regional continental and global dynamics, which are fueling conflicts in the Continent thereby undermining AU noble goal of effectively silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030. They specifically singled out the Sahel-Sahara region, the Lake Chad basin area, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa region, as well as the northern part of Mozambique, as particularly of concern. They also noted, with deep concern, the increasing number of violent conflicts in the Continent, State fragility, the continued existence of ungoverned spaces in some Member States, the limited capacity by some Member States to effectively manage their national weapons stockpiles, the existence of porous borders, poorly governed maritime spaces, systemic corruption, the loopholes in global arms trade, organized crime syndicates, the proliferation of jihadist, armed and terrorist groups; and the persistence of inter-communal violence.

12. Participants acknowledged that effective arms control and disarmament programs are naturally complex, technical and political processes, which should be implemented comprehensively. They also acknowledged the existence of credible national, regional, continental efforts and international instruments, which are collectively indicative of Africa’s unwavering commitment to effectively address the scourge of proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons.

13. In this context, participants recalled the SADC Protocol on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the Nairobi Protocol, the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the ECCAS (Kinshasa Convention). They also recalled the aspirations of AU Agenda 2063, particularly aspiration number 4; the Arms Trade Treaty; the 2002 Common African Defence and Security Policy; the 2006 AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) Policy Framework, the AU Peace and Security Architecture (APSA); the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and AU Master Roadmap for Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2030. They further acknowledged the efforts of the Regional Centre for Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA); as well as the sustained implementation of the AU Africa Amnesty Month.

14. As recommendations on the way forward, participants:

a) Member States to continue to redouble efforts in addressing the underlying root causes, drivers and factors that facilitate the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Continent;

b) Member States, which have not yet done so, to sign, ratify and domesticate the relevant regional, AU and international instruments on small arms and light weapons, including the Arms Trade Treaty;

c) Member States to continue to further strengthen inter-State cooperation, including through enhanced information and intelligence sharing, as well as joint operations;

d) Highlighted the essense for enhanced cooperation and collaboration between the AU and UN, the RECs/RMs and other related institutions, including the Regional Centre of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, Horn of Africa (RECSA) ;

e) Reiterated the request in PSC Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.1085 (2022)], for the AU Commission to urgently elaborate a continental strategy for effectively addressing the scourge of proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons and, in this regard, called for urgent development of a common African position as part of the preparation for the 4th Review Conference for the UN Plan of Action to be held in 2024;

f) Underscored the importance of scaling up advocacy for the universal observance of the Africa Amnesty Month (AAM) and emphasized the need for active and meaningful participation of civilians during the AAM;

g) Member States to continue to make voluntary and more generous contributions to the AU Peace Fund, in order to endow it with more predictable and sustainable funding for the AU peace and security Agenda, and called for the use of Peace Fund based on the rules and regulations to address peace and security challenges facing the Continent;

h) Member States to redouble efforts in addressing governance deficits, the consolidation of effective state authority throughout the national territories, in order to avoid the creation of ungoverned spaces, as well as to more positively respond to the legitimate grievances of the population;

i) Also underscored the need for reviewing national, regional and continental early warning, conflict prevention, management and resolution capacities in the Continent in order to address the new security dynamics; and

j) Encouraged Member States to continue to further enhance their national capacities for law enforcement and effective management of national weapons stockpiles. In this regard, requested the AU Commission to continue to provide the required technical support.

B. On African Responses to Emerging Threats to Peace and Security in the Continent: Addressing the Scourge of Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa

15. The participants noted with deep concern that, the entire African Continent is facing the ever-growing and ever-expanding existential threat of terrorism and violent extremism. This is despite the existence of various instruments that include the Malabo Decision on Terrorism adopted by the 16th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in May 2022; the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism adopted by the 35th OAU Ordinary Summit held in Algiers, Algeria, in July 1999; the 2001 Dakar Declaration Against Terrorism; Plan of Action for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism of 2002; the Protocol to the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism of 2004; and the various regional mechanisms and arrangements to combat the scourge, which include the G-5 Sahel Force; the Regional Cooperation Initiative against the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA), the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against the Boko Haram, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the Southern Africa Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), as well as the Nouakchott, Djibouti Processes and Dakar Initiatives.

16. Member States; Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms; the various regional ad-hoc arrangements; the AU Commission, particularly, the African Centre for the Research and Study on Terrorism, the AU Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) and the United Nations were commended for the sustained efforts being deployed towards effectively combating the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa.

17. Participants also expressed appreciation to H.E. Abdelmadgid Tebboune, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and AU Champion for Counter-Terrorism, for his personal dedication, commitment, and strategic leadership and guidance to continental counter-terrorism efforts.

18. Participants identified the following as some of the challenges facing counter-terrorism efforts in the Continent, namely: abject poverty, destitution and underdevelopment; youth unemployment; marginalization of some communities; the existence of ungoverned spaces; lack of required capacities at national and regional levels; unpredictable, unsustainable and inadequate funding; lack of information and intelligence sharing; unilateral and uncoordinated efforts; porous borders; new information and communication technologies including digital platforms; the use of crypto currencies; proliferation of small arms and light weapons; proliferation of foreign terrorist fighters; as well as the existence of multiple sources of funding for terrorist activities, including payments for ransom, illegal exploitation of naturalresources, as well as drug-trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substances and the nexus between trans-national organized crime and terrorism.

19. In this context participants made the following recommendations:

a) Member States to adopt integrated, multidimensional and development-oriented holistic approaches that comprehensively and more directly address the underlying structural root causes and factors that facilitate terrorism and violent extremism;

b) Robust responses that are also grounded in the affected communities, promote inclusivity of all relevant actors, namely, women and the youth, as well as community leaders and leaders of various religious sects; in this regard, recalling the provisions of the Bujumbura Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security, the participants reiterated the key role of African youth in the implementation of Agenda 2063 in terms of peace and socio-economic development in Africa and underlined the importance of supporting the annual process of the Continental Dialogue on Youth, Peace and Security;

c) The need for sustainable strategic synergies and partnerships among all relevant actors;

d) Member States to further strengthen national peace and security capacities, including through effectively regulating new digital technologies that facilitate terrorism;

e) The need for enhanced coordination, harmonization and complementarity of efforts to prevent and counter terrorism, among the various actors on the ground, including through intelligence and information sharing and joint operations;

f) Enhancing and establishing platforms, where it dos not exist, for Member States and RECs/RMs to share their experiences and lessons, and in this context, revitalizing and replicating the Nouakchott and Djibouti Processes in the other regions of the Continent;

g) Effectively cutting off the terrorist and extremist organizations' access to resources and funding, including by regulating the cyber-space and constructively engaging the identified sponsors, as well as naming and shaming those who assist terrorist groups;

h) The necessity to redoubled efforts in the mobilization of predictable, adequate and sustainable support for all counter-terrorism efforts;

i) Expedite the establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Unit within the African Standby Force pursuant to the relevant decisions of the AU Assembly; and

j) The AU Commission to expedite the establishment of the Ministerial Committee on Terrorism pursuant to the Decision [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec. (XVI)] of the 16th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government held on 28 May 2022, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

C. On Imposition and Application of Sanctions by International Organizations and Partners on AU Member States

20. Participants acknowledged the relevant provisions of the UN Charter, the AU Constitutive Act and the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the AU and recalled Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.1100 (2022)] adopted by the PSC at its 1100th meeting held on 15 August 2022, as well as the Joint Communique of the 16th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting between the AU PSC and the UNSC held on 14 October 2022 in New York, United States of America, in relation to the imposition and application of sanctions by international organizations and partners on AU Member States.

21. Participants expressed deep concern over the propensity of some sections of the international community to unilaterally impose sanctions against AU Member States. They also expressed deep concern over the imposition of sanctions by the United Nations and some international organizations against Member States struggling to protect their sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity.

22. As recommendations participants proposed:

a) The necessity of fact finding missions and extensive consultations with the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms and the AU prior to the imposition of sanctions against any AU Member State;

b) The essence of ensuring that sanctions are measured, proportionate, context-specific, applied objectively, smart and strictly targeted at the perpetrators of violence and instability, as well as peace spoilers;

c) Developing review mechanisms and to establish clear benchmarks for sanctions, in order to ensure that the sanctions are meeting the intended purposes, as well as to avoid the socio-economic impact of sanctions on the general population and collateral damage on the neighbouring countries;

d) Member States to support the call for the lifting of unilateral sanctions imposed by some international organization against some AU Member States;

e) Member States to refrain from recognizing unilateral coercive measures or legislation imposed on any State across territorial boundaries which contravene the recognized principles of international law, pursuant to the decision adopted by the UN General Assembly at its 31st meeting;

f) Undertaking comprehensive technical assessments before blanket lifting of arms embargoes imposed on Member States;

g) The United Nations and concerned international organizations to always ensure that the sanctions imposed against AU Member States do not negatively impact on the capacity of the affected Member States to effectively defend their sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity;

h) The need for the expedited establishment and operationalization of the PSC Sub-Committee on Sanctions and capacity building to the PSC Committee of Expert on sanction matters.

D. On AUPSC and A3: Better Coordination for Strengthening Africa’s Voice within the UN Security Council

23. Participants took note of the presentation of the Draft Manual on Engagements and Coordination of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the African Members of the United Nations Security Council and, in this regard, requested the AU Commission to circulate the Draft to all AU Member States for their inputs before the consolidated Draft is re-submitted for consideration by the PS, as soon as possible;

24. Participants also took note of the work of the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the UN, in New York, as the Secretariat and Repository of the A3 institutional memory. They expressed appreciation to the AU Permanent Observer Mission for its sterling work as the A3 Secretariat and noted, with concern, the institutional capacity challenges facing the Permanent Observer Mission. In this context, they expressed appreciation to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria; the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco for deploying, at own cost, staff to further strengthen the human resources capacity of the AU Permanent Observer Mission.

25. Participants further noted, with satisfaction, the significant achievements registered by the A3 since the launch of the 1st High-Level Seminar in 2013, in Oran, Algeria. They commended the current A3 Members (Gabon, Ghana and Kenya) for these achievements and encouraged the new A3 to continue strengthening their unity and coordination with a view to more effectively amplifying and spearheading the African voice and common position on African peace and security issues in the UN Security Council agenda;

26. In particular, the Republic of Kenya, outgoing A3 Member, was commended for its exemplary contribution and as A3 Coordinator, and encouraged the remaining and incoming A3 Members to continue strengthening their unity and coordination with a view to more effectively amplifying and spearheading the African voice and common position on African peace and security issues in the UN Security Council agenda.

27. Participants formally congratulated the Republic of Mozambique on its election as non-permanent member of the Security Council and expressed Africa’s hope for the country’s contribution in championing the Common African Positions within the UN Security Council.

28. With regard to the way forward, participants made the following recommendations:

a) Revitalization of the monthly coordination meeting between the PSC Chairperson and the A3;

b) The A3 to continue to strengthen its relations with the wider Africa Group accredited to the UN in New York , as well as with other regional groupings;

c) The A3 to continue reflecting on the modalities for undertaking joint field missions, between the AUPSC and the UNSC;

d) The need to continue to further enhance the capacity of the A3 Experts, both those in New York and those in Addis Ababa, as well as PSC Committee of experts; and

e) Commended the Commission for the compilation of the draft Manual on engagement and coordination between the PSC and A3; and requested the Experts of the PSC and the A3, with the support of the AU Commission, to review the draft Manual and resubmit to the PSC and A3, at ambassadorial level, for consideration and approval;

f) Establishing a credible knowledge management system and a digital repository for the A3 Institutional Memory;

g) Developing matrix on the status of implementation of outcomes of the Conclusions of the High-Level Seminar;

VII. CLOSING CEREMONY

29. During the Closing Ceremony, statements were delivered by H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security; HE. Ramtane Lamamra, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria; and lastly from H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union for December 2022.

30. The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the AU, H.E. Ambassador Emilia Ndinelao Mkusa and the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Ghana to the UN, H.E. Ambassador Harold Adlai Agyeman delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of the PSC and the A3. Participants expressed gratitude to the Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and, in particular, to the Oran authorities for the generous hospitality and the excellent facilities put in place to ensure the smooth and successful organization of the 9th High-Level Seminar. They also expressed gratitude to UNITAR, Norway and Switzerland, for their continued support towards the successful organization of the High-Level Seminar and looked forward to the successful holding of the 10th High-Level Seminar in Oran, Algeria.

Posted by PSC Secretariat
Last updated by Limi Mohammed

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