On 5 September 2019, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) convened an open session on the progress made on the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns by 2020: challenges and perspectives, with a particular focus on the Security Sector Reform (SSR) in Africa. The open session was also held on the occasion of Africa Amnesty Month.
IPSS was represented by Michelle Mendi Muita, Content Coordinator in the Africa Peace and Security Programme (APSP). Other panellists included Hanna Tetteh, Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU); Ambassador Mohammed Arrouchi, Ambassador of Morocco to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU and UNECA; and Mr. Gustavo de Carvalho, Senior Researcher, Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
Michelle’s presentation centred on the need for SSR to undergo a transformation given the rising nature and number of security threats. “The traditional drivers of security threats have changed. Today, we are faced with new and more complex threats such as the youth bulge, migration, and climate change. These threats have had a multiplier effect on the typology and dynamics of conflicts on the continent, such as civil war and communal conflicts. It is within this context that silencing the Guns can only be achieved through a true reform of security institutions in Africa,” she said.
At the heart of AU Agenda 2063 is the aspiration for a peaceful and secure Africa. To this end, the framework specifically targets the year 2020 as the deadline by which all guns will be silent in Africa. It also envisages that there will be functional mechanisms for peaceful resolution of conflicts at all levels to nurture a culture of peace and tolerance among the peoples of Africa. Vision 2020 is, therefore, part of a broader framework postulated by the 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration of the African Union. “The future of security sector reform should be linked to transformation. This means no longer working on reform only, given the current challenges of asymmetric and interconnected threats at the global and local levels,” Michelle noted.
Countries with functioning security sectors have not yet reached a level of rapid response to terrorism and disaster management, because professionally trained armies need adequate funding and equipment to perform at their best, reads the AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns. Therefore, redefining SSR processes will have a major impact on how the AU and member states silence the guns on the continent.
For more information about Agenda 2063 and Silencing the Guns by 2020, visit https://au.int/en/flagships/silencing-guns-2020.