On 24 June 2016, a policy seminar was held in Brussels on the future of EU support to peace and security in Africa – What implications for the African Peace Facility beyond 2020? The seminar was co-organised by ECDPM’s Conflict, Security and Resilience Programme and the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The policy seminar brought together some 40 experts and stakeholders from Europe and Africa. Two panel discussions were held during the seminar, with experts’ inputs, followed by Q&A sessions, moderated by ECDPM’s Volker Hauck.
In line with the aims of the seminar, inquiries looked back at the past achievements of and lessons learned from the African Peace Facility (APF)since 2004. It also offered a forward look to the longer-term strategic aspects and priorities for future EU support to peace and security in Africa, in a context characterised by a growing interdependence between Europe and Africa concerning peace and security.
The following report summarises the outcomes of the discussions that took place during the seminar. it also incorporates information from background interviews conducted with representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission and EU member states.
- There is a need to rebalance short-term and long-term support by EU actors away from Peace Support Operations (PSOs) and towards longer-term African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and PSO capacity-building, while taking into account the tensions that this shift can create.
- Nevertheless, a need for PSO support will persist in the medium term until more sustainable alternatives are designed and being implemented at the AU level.
- The EU’s responsiveness should be enhanced by exploring innovative ways such as introducing standing financing decisions.
- APF funding should emphasise human security and conflict prevention, both through rapid response and longer-term engagement, rather than only military operations.
- The APF is to consider how it can complement existing EU tools in its quest for more conflict prevention and mediation.
- There are doubts about the appropriateness of using the European Development Fund (EDF) for peace and security activities, although it could foster development for long-term capacity building.
- The European Commission is exploring ways to improve its tools to monitor and evaluate APF support, but, measuring impact on peace and security remains challenging. Civil society has a specific role to play in monitoring PSOs and could contribute to accountability and inclusiveness.
- To strengthen the strategic foundation of the Africa-EU Partnership on Peace and Security, a stronger political dialogue is needed, working towards a common understanding of joint strategic objectives shared by the EU, the AU and their respective member states.
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