The African Union Peace Support Operations Division (AU PSOD) hosted a seminar to commemorate the African Standby Capacity’s (ASC’s) 5th year anniversary focused on exploring the journey of the ASC from its inception to present day. Launched in June 2015, the ASC is coordinated by the African Union Commission (AUC) at continental level, and represents an important operational platform through which the AU and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), both acting individually and collectively, can plan, deploy and manage operations. The seminar was hosted virtually due to COVID 19 travel restrictions on the 4th of August 2020.
The platform provided the space to share best practices of the deployment of civilian personnel in Peace Support Operations (PSO); highlight the versatility of the civilian component for the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and to increase awareness of the importance of the ASC at strategic and political level at the AUC and RECs/RMs. In his opening remarks, Mr Sivuyile Bam, the Head of the AU PSOD highlighted that other departments of the AU such as the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) and the AU Department of Political Affairs showed interest in using the ASC roster for their deployments.
The panellists reflected on the process that the AUC has followed over the years to move from the initial African Standby Force (ASF) Policy Framework; the key challenges and gaps of the ASC roster; training as a tool of the roster’s capacity development; and they also shared suggestions on ways the operationalization of the ASF and the ASC can be enhanced. Panellists included Mr Eustace Chiwombe, Chief of the Capability Development Unit of the AU PSOD; Mr Zinurine Alghali, Chief of the Policy Development Unit of the AU PSOD; Dr Walter Lotze from the Office of the UN SRG, MONUSCO; Yvonne Akpasom, Head, Conflict Prevention, GIZ ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations Project ; Mr Kenneth Abosti, Senior Policy Officer at the Capability Development Unit of the PSOD; Mr Sebastian Dworack, Head of Operations at the Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF); and Dr Linda Darkwa, Coordinator of the Training for Peace (TFP) Programme.
Representatives from AU PSOD, the UN SRG-DRC, GIZ, ZIF, TfP, ACCORD and other various stakeholders in the peace and security landscape attended the seminar. ACCORD was represented by Dr Cedric de Coning, who moderated the seminar, Mrs Karishma Rajoo in her capacity as General Manager of the Operations Division, Ms Sibusisiwe Nkosi in her capacity as Programme Officer, PSO Cluster and Ms Rumbidzaishe Matambo, intern in the PSO Cluster.