Discussions highlighting the need for greater flexibility to support the AU through the Peace Fund.
The AU held a workshop from 6-7 September 2016, entitled ‘Strategic Perspectives on AU Mediation in the 21st Century’ centred towards the operationalisation of the AU’s Mediation Support Unit (MSU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop focused on preventive diplomacy, mediation support, special political missions and establishing and maintaining liaison offices that provide an AU field presence in countries emerging from conflict. The participants who attended the workshop included various AU divisions, the RECs, the United Nations (UN) and other AU partners including ACCORD, who was represented by the Peacemaking Unit.
The workshop looked at specific issues such as; UN-AU Partnership in Peace-making and Mediation; key AU Mediation Instruments: Typologies of Crisis and Types of mediation Approaches: Electoral, Constitutional, Armed Conflicts, Terrorism, etc; Mediation Contingencies: Splintering of Actors, Organized Crime and Transitional Justice; Supporting Mediators on the Field: A Practical Needs Assessment; Women in Mediation – addressing the Gender challenge in Peace Processes, to name a few.
These discussions elaborated on the specific expertise required for mediating in the different types of conflicts in Africa. The workshop identified key challenges which require predictable and sustainable financing to support the African led mediation efforts. Experience has shown that mediation support requirements are unique and necessitate a high degree of flexibility, speed and ability to adapt both during the start-up phase and throughout the mediation process. The session discussed the feasibility of funding from the Peace Fund to facilitate the rapid establishment of mediation initiatives, peace processes or deployment of envoys and their staff, and the provision of operational support. The discussions highlighted the need for flexibility in terms of funding, and the modalities for supporting the AU MSU through the Peace Fund.