The following are areas of thematic focus for the Peacekeeping Unit and TfP Programme at ACCORD.
Support to AU long term capacity building and short term operational support
The AU is currently working to strengthen its capacity and capability to plan, manage and implement peacekeeping operations on the continent. This is being done through the development and implementation of policies that will help to further the ASF development processes, and through efforts aimed at ensuring the successful implementation of the AMISOM mandate. Within this context, the Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme will support the AU in the development of conduct and discipline guidelines to help regulate the conduct of AU peacekeepers. Increased understanding of the role, functions and contributions of civilians in AU peace operations remains significant. The need for skills transfer is thus paramount to increase the capacity and capability of civilians that are already deployed within AMISOM, UNAMID and civilians that will participate in ASF exercises particularly those that are expected to be placed on the ASF Roster for future AU deployments. This is based on the AU's goal to ensure that personnel deployed in peace operations have the necessary and required expertise and experience that will foster successful implementation of AU mandates.
Contribution to the AU PoC Policy process
As one of the core aspects in contemporary peacekeeping, PoC is currently a main benchmark used to evaluate most peacekeeping operations. Notwithstanding this, and despite the notable achievements by DPKO on the development of a UN PoC strategic framework, training modules and case studies in 2010 and 2011 respectively (with support from TfP/ACCORD and TfP/NUPI), there is still a need for further clarification of the concept for the role of peacekeepers in ensuring its successful implementation on the ground, particularly in Africa.
As with the UN, the AU has been challenged to give full meaning to the concept of PoC, even though it is viewed as being firmly entrenched in its legal principles and norms and embedded in its work. The current context of conflicts continues to remind us that the protection of civilian populations has increasingly become a key driver in decision-making processes - more specifically in the conduct of international interventions. Thus, the Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme will focus on the need to strengthen the AU's understanding and implementation of PoC in peacekeeping through supporting the development of an AU draft guidelines on PoC and will encourage due reference to the work done by the UN on the same.
The Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme also intends to capture the experience of the implementation of PoC in Africa. As a result, it has dedicated the TfP special issue of the ACCORD Conflict Trends magazine to PoC in Africa. The Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme will also support the AU and AMISOM In Mainstreaming PoC Considerations into the Operations of the AMISOM, as directed by the AU Peace and Security Council.
Support to the AU Conduct & Discipline (C&D) Guidelines development process
The AU has recognised the need for comprehensive guidelines to regulate the general conduct and professionalism of its peacekeepers. This is currently a priority for the AU to ensure the professional conduct of its peacekeepers. This is based on the fact that any challenge on the conduct of peacekeepers in countries and communities they are deployed can affect the credibility of a mission. Thus, the Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme is supporting the AU in ensuring the establishment of a conduct and discipline mechanism to ensure proper guidance for AU peacekeepers to regulate their professional conduct whilst serving under the AU umbrella.
Contribution to the UN Civilian Capacity process
The roles and functions of civilians in post-conflict situations have become a central issue in relation to the implementation of mandates and in supporting host populations in building sustainable peace. As a result of its long standing peacekeeping experience and the numerous lessons, the UN is currently undertaking an initiative that aims to further strengthen the role of civilians in UN peacekeeping operations. Developing countries, including South Africa, Brazil, and India, which are also troop and police contributing countries, have taken the lead in this process to ascertain how they can contribute to the provision of the needed civilian capacities for UN peacekeeping operations. The Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme is part of a Civilian Capacity Network that aims to assess the potential role of these countries in the development and contribution of the much needed civilian capacities and in clarifying how Member States will facilitate the deployment of their civilian personnel for UN peacekeeping operations. The network includes institutions from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Norway, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.
Contribution towards the provision of clearer guidance for Civil Affairs Officers in the field
Civil Affairs are currently one of the main civilian components within peacekeeping operations. Its relevance has increased in various missions as a result of its strategic positioning in the field at the local level and its roles and functions in conflict management, confidence building and support to the extension of state authorities. In missions like the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Civil Affairs gained a central role in leading the mission's work on conflict management to manage and resolve the protracted conflicts in some communities. There is a strong need for clarity of the contexts within which Civil Affairs operates. The Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme thus see it necessary to respond to the needs of Civil Affairs in terms of gaps identified both by the DPKO within the context of their needs assessment and by the Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme in previous interactions to enhance the professionalism of Civil Affairs Officers. As a result, the Peacekeeping Unit and its TfP Programme conducts specialized tailored in-mission conflict management support training that aim to respond to the specific training needs of field missions.