The Peace and Security Council (PSC) is one of the main pillars of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) established in 2004. In 2014 the PSC commemorates its 10th anniversary. During the past decade, Africa has made significant strides in preventing, containing and resolving conflicts across the continent. However, there is no gainsaying that during this decade of the PSC’s existence, Africa has been confronted with several inter- and intra-state peace and security challenges.
The international community is increasingly recognising this challenge, with the consequence that many bilateral and multilateral actors have taken steps to improve support to conflict-affected countries. Cognisant of the achievements and challenges, the African Union Commission (AUC) felt that, as the PSC celebrates its 10th anniversary, it was time to pause and take stock of how the PSC has responded to challenges as it established itself as a central institution in conflict management on the African continent. This was the focus of regional consultations hosted across the continent by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD, for southern Africa), Institute for Security Studies (ISS, for Central and East Africa), OXFAM International (for North Africa) and the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP, for West Africa). The consultations brought together representatives of leading civil society organisations (CSOs), media practitioners, academics, political analysts and researchers to reflect on how the PSC responded to some of the peace and security challenges that plagued the continent in its first 10 years. Facilitation of these events is part of the contribution of the convening institutions to the year-long celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU which end on 25 May 2014. The events aimed to ‘…encourage non-governmental organisations to participate actively in the efforts aimed at promoting peace, security and stability in Africa’ as prescribed under Article 20 of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. Moreover, efforts towards achieving a war-free Africa by 2020 require the collective engagement of state and non-state actors.
The ACCORD-hosted southern Africa consultation focused on this drive and resulted in participants committing to working with the PSC to achieve its noble objective. A call was also made for CSOs to engage with other AU organs and members states, rather than to disengage, so as to have highest possible interaction and impact in our common pursuit of peace, security and stability in Africa.