In order to assist the AU in strengthening its capacity to plan, manage and implement Peace Support Operations (PSOs) on the continent, the Training for Peace in Africa at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) organised a consultative visit to the African Union (AU), to discuss joint initiative with African Union Peace Support Operations Division (AU PSOD). The meetings reflected ACCORD's continued support and collaboration with AU PSOD, other stakeholders within the AU Department of Peace and Security, and United Nations Office for the African Union (UNOAU).
The consultative meetings were held at the African Union (AU) from 4 to 8 March 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Programme met with the AU PSOD Civilian Planners, as well as the Capability Development, Policy Development, and Plans and Operations Units, the Amani Exercise team, and the Head of AU PSOD Mr Sivuyile Bam, to discuss areas of joint-work. The Programme also met with other relevant stakeholders within the AU's Peace and Security Department (PSD) and the AU at large, such as the Head of Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD), Dr Takwa-Zebulon Suifon; Political Analyst in the Conflict Management Division (CMD), Ambassador Rodney Kiwa; and representatives of the UNOAU, including Chief of Staff Mr Colin Stewart, to enhance synergy on common areas of support to the AU for current missions and the development and operationalization of the ASF. The Programme was represented by Ms. Seun Abiola – Peacekeeping Unit Senior Programme Officer, and Dr. Martha Mutisi - Interventions Department Manager.
TfP/ACCORD utilised these consultative meetings to identify priority areas within AU PSOD in order to provide relevant support, especially given recent developments in the field with the formation of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA,) and the increase in civilian capacity at the AU PSOD to strengthen the progress made in the planning, management and implementation of Peace Support Operations (PSOs) through their roles within the Division.
The Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme's support to the AU on the African Standby Force (ASF), since the inception of the ASF civilian dimension project in 2006, has been on Staffing, Training, Rostering and Recruitment (STRR). This is aimed at ensuring the conceptualisation and implementation of a comprehensive approach for the development of the civilian dimension of the ASF from the onset. As well as long-term capacity-building support aimed at contributing to the strengthening of the AU's capacity and capability to plan, manage and implement peace support operations on the continent through the development of the ASF. The Programme also provides short-term operational support, aimed at contributing towards enhancing the policies, systems, capacity and capability of the AU (as well as its field missions) to successfully implement current AU missions' (AMISOM and UNAMID) mandates, in areas such as the Protection of Civilians (PoC), Conduct and Discipline (C&D), and Security and Contingency planning.
Through this consultative visit, TfP/ACCORD presented its continued commitment to supporting the realization of the objectives of AU PSOD, in-line with TfP/ACCORD's strategic focus on the civilian dimension. The Programme was also able to meet with Yvette Ngandu, ACCORD's secondee to the AU's Conflict Management Division (CMD), and furthermore, participated in the AU's celebration for Ghana's Independence, and activities related to Health Week, as well as being present during International Women's Day.