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ECDPM works with African institutions and initiatives at both the continental and regional levels towards better peace and security management and resilience in Africa.

The creation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) – involving both the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Regional Communities (RECs) – affirms the African Union’s (AU) commitment to addressing the continent’s evolving security challenges. The APSA, while heralded as one of the AU’s most successful frameworks, still faces considerable challenges of ownership, effective delivery and sustainability, particularly in view of the substantial financial support it receives from international partners, including the EU.

Peace and security has repeatedly been singled out as the most pressing challenge to good governance and sustainable development in Africa.

A transition from conflict and fragility to stability, social resilience and broad-based development in Africa, is only possible with African-led solutions. In terms of continental responses, it would also require stronger linkages between response to peace and security, and issues of governance through the African Union’s African Governance Architecture (AGA). Further, post-conflict recovery needs to be further integrated in pan-African and regional responses to conflict, which at times includes peacekeeping and peace enforcement missions. To contribute to sustainable peace and development, our work includes:

  • Connecting various African, European and international actors involved in conflict prevention, security management, peacebuilding and resilience to catalyse integrated policy frameworks
  • Partnering with African institutions to support African-led initiatives for peace and development. Monitoring and analysing the impact of AU efforts to promote conflict prevention, crisis-recovery and peacebuilding and the support provided by EU actors
  • Monitoring intra-European political and social dynamics and analysing their influence on EU-Africa partnership in peace and security. Providing timely analysis of various thematic and geographic issues on peace and security to deepen policy debates and contribute to ongoing policy dialogues in Africa
  • Documenting, analysing and synthesising innovative practices in conflict prevention, mediation, peacebuilding, cross border security management, and effective institutional partnerships to help better understand the dynamics of regional integration on peace and security


For our work on conflict and crisis in Africa we closely cooperate with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies in Addis Ababa.



Women, peace and security
Women play crucial roles before, during and following conflicts, yet their participation and the acknowledgement of that role has been with mixed results and slow progress. In 2017, we started looking more closely at the role of women in conflict prevention and management initiatives in Africa. The African Union and regional organisations have adopted several policies to promote the global agenda on women, peace and security and UN Security Council resolution 1325. But our research into the topic showed that women continue to be underrepresented in mediation efforts led by the AU and regional organisations, despite policies in place and a commitment by the AU to advance the women, peace and security agenda. In April that year, we published our first study on the topic of women and mediation in Africa, looking in particular at the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA). We presented this paper at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) in Addis Ababa, during a briefing in May 2017.

Evaluation of the implementation of the African Peace Facility 2014-2016
The EU-funded African Peace Facility (APF) supports Peace Support Operations led by the African Union (such as AMISOM in Somalia), as well as capacity-building support to the African Union Commission and regional organisations in Africa. ECDPM’s Security and Resilience programme, together with Particip GmbH and Cardno, upon request of the European Commission, has carried out an evaluation of the implementation of the APF throughout the period 2014-2016, taking into account experiences from APF support prior to 2014.

In April 2018, we wrote a blog for the European Think Tanks Group analysing the lessons learned from the implementation of the African Peace Facility to support peace and security in Africa.

The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
This background note 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.

AU and RECs Effectiveness on Peace, Security and Resilience
There are numerous regional organisations and policies in place to support regional integration in Africa. In some sectors and regions real progress has been made in the past years. By and large, however, the reality on the ground does not match political ambitions. But what blocks or drives regional integration in Africa? A multi-disciplinary team at ECDPM looked at six of Africa’s largest regional organisations: the African Union (AU), COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS, IGAD and SADC. The Conflict, Security and Resilience programme focused on issues of peace and security.

Promoting Comprehensive Approaches in the Sahel
Instability and then humanitarian crises in the Sahel have become a regional, continental and international issue; a shared challenge for Africans from all over North-West Africa. The Sahel matters for Africa-Europe relations and the EU has played a role in the regions politics and security in recent years, more so since the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011 and the NATO intervention in Libya. What policy and operational developments in the Sahel are geared towards a transition from conflict to stability, resilience and development? And how can the EU respond comprehensively to this crisis?