Making policies work

African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)

Peace and security continues to be a priority for both the European Union and the African Union (AU). Since the establishment of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which coincided with the transition from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to the AU in 2000, a wide range of actors have contributed and supported the APSA, with the objective of managing and preventing (violent) conflicts in Africa more effectively.

Since then, the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (REC) and Regional Mechanisms for peace and security (RMs) have come a long way with many lessons learned and successes, while serious challenges remain. In 2015, the African Union launched the APSA Roadmap 2016-2020, building on previous roadmaps and review process, and setting out a new course for the operationalisation of the APSA.

In this framework, since 2013 the SECURE team has engaged – with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) – in monitoring the activities and the impact of the APSA regarding conflict management, conflict transformation and conflict prevention on the continent.

The objective of our work is to inform both African and European policy makers about the operationalisation of the APSA, and the extent to which it has contributed to addressing conflict situations throughout the African continent. Our work has directly contributed to GIZ’s annual APSA Impact Reports. The results and findings of these annual reports have been presented at the African Union in Addis Ababa by ECDPM and GIZ in April 2015 and jointly by ECDPM, GIZ and the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) in November 2016 respectively.

Conflict management under the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)

This Discussion Paper focuses on interventions in the areas of diplomacy, mediation and Peace Support Operations (PSOs) under the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The research has brought to surface a number of interesting findings. For instance, the various models of coordination and cooperation between the African Union and Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (REC/RMs) and with international partners show a diverse and broadening cooperation. Yet, there is still room for improvement. The study also addresses the unresolved questions of subsidiarity, comparative advantages and division of labour between the AU and REC/RMs and how these factors impact AU and REC/RM interventions in violent conflicts. This study is rooted in a longer-term engagement of ECDPM through the APSA Impact Analysis project, supported by the German government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at the University of Addis Ababa.

The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
This background note, accompanied by a shorthand, sheds light on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and makes reference to the work of the SECURE programme on peacebuilding, conflict prevention and conflict monitoring in relation to the APSA. It also informs how we connect with other ECDPM work regarding conflict prevention, governance and political economy analysis of regional integration in Africa.

Open session of the AU Peace and Security Council
IPSS, the GIZ African Union Office and ECDPM presented their core findings on the impact of the 2015 APSA Impact Report at an Open Session of the AU Peace and Security Council. The report assesses the interventions of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). You can read the full article by IPSS on the Open Session to know more about the event. Read the APSA Impact Report online.