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De-securitising conflict responses in Africa: What prospects for a structural conflict prevention approach?

Discussion Paper 209

January 2017

Aggad-Clerx, F., Desmidt, S. 2017. De-securitising conflict responses in Africa: What prospects for a structural conflict prevention approach? (Discussion Paper 209). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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This discussion paper builds on the increasing importance of regional approaches to conflict, which have been gaining traction, reflected in the role of the African Union and of its African Peace and Security Architecture. The authors explore current approaches towards conflict resolution in Africa. Taking into account the issues of authority as well institutional and financial capacity, they assess the feasibility of a more de-militarised approach of the African Union and the various African Regional Economic Communities and mechanisms to promote peace and security on the continent.


Key messages


  • Lessons on the implementation of the African security agenda, new challenges to stability in Africa (e.g., constitutional coups d’état) and changing global security agenda are factors to move beyond a responsive approach to conflicts.
  • There are competing narratives and approaches on what the African security agenda should focus on. The result is a limited commitment, in practice, to a preventive agenda.
  • There is merit in strengthening current processes aimed at conflict prevention especially as evidence shows that the AU’s prevention efforts have been successful.

This interactive map illustrates the estimated assessed contribution of each AU Member State

Click on “Read now” to access the interactive features.


Read Briefing Note 95

Download (PDF, 932KB)


Photo: Cleaning up in Monrovia after War. Credits: United Nations Photo via Flickr.

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Africa’s Change DynamicsConflict, Security and ResilienceResponses to Violent Conflict and Crisis in AfricaDiscussion Papers (series)ConflictGovernanceAfrica