The Training for Peace in Africa Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) was requested by the African Union (AU) Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) to conduct an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Protection of Civilians Strategy Implementation Plan Workshop for the development of a mission – specific Protection of Civilians Strategy for AMISOM's peace support operations. With a view of operationalising the AMISOM PoC strategy, the workshop provided an opportunity to develop an implementation plan that will support the mainstreaming of PoC activities within AMISOM operations.
The workshop was held from 12 – 13 November 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. It was attended by international partners such as The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Office to African Union (UNOAU), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Center for Civilians in Conflict Somalia (CCCS), United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR), United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support (UN DPKO/DFS), United Nations Support Office for Somalia (UNSOA), United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), representative from the Ministry of Education from the Government of Somalia, representatives from AMISOM and the AU. The Programme was represented by Ms. Seun Abiola – Peacekeeping Unit Coordinator and Olivia Victoria Davies – Peacekeeping Unit Programme Officer.
While AMISOM does not have an explicit PoC mandate, it nevertheless has an obligation to respect and uphold International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in its operations, and the responsibility to contribute to the protection of the civilian population at risk in its areas of operation, in coordination with other PoC actors. The development of the mission-specific PoC strategy which was approved by the Commissioner for Peace and Security in June 2013, is the result of the workshop on Mainstreaming PoC Considerations into AMISOM Operations in 2012 which the TfP/ACCORD facilitated. Recognizing the protection of civilians as a collective responsibility amongst partners, in this workshop the focus was to develop a draft implementation plan based on the AU four-tier approach for the protection of civilians, which aims to protect civilians from harm resulting from the conduct of military operations, as well as strengthen civilians from harm resulting from the conduct of other actors in AMISOM's Operations. The Programme provided substantive and technical expertise in the development of the Implementation Matrix, and in the facilitation of an exercise to ascertain accurate situational analysis of the protection threats, vulnerabilities and the risk of attack, as well as identification of the protection needs by location, for the identification of the protection priorities and the appropriate response strategies.
The PoC Strategy and its attendant Implementation Plan draws from broad frameworks to guide AU missions in the strategic direction for the implementation of PoC mandates such as the the Draft AU PoC Guidelines and other policy documents being developed under the PoC project, as well as provide contextual and specific guidance for AMISOM, contributing towards the mainstreaming PoC considerations into its operations. The engagement is part of the Programme's Short-term Operational Support aimed at enhancing the policies, systems, capacity and capability of the AU and its field missions to successfully implement current AU mission's mandates. In particular, this engagement is linked to TfP/ACCORD's current joint work with AU PSOD on the PoC project, and follows on from the Programme's support to the AU PoC policy process, which has included developing the AU's draft guidelines on PoC, facilitating the AU Strategic Retreat on PoC for the AU Inter-Departmental Working Group on PoC in 2011, and the workshop on mainstreaming PoC considerations into the operations of AMISOM in 2012.
The Training for Peace (TfP) in Africa Programme is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.