Peace and Security
The partnership between the African and European Union and their Member States aims at building a peaceful, safe, and secure environment, which fosters:
- human security
- political stability
- effective governance
- sustainable and inclusive growth.
The AU - EU summit in Abidjan of November 2017 confirmed that Africa and EU face common security threats, which have an impact on the stability of our two continents.
The African Union leads efforts across the continent to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. The EU is a key partner for the AU on peace and security issues. Work in these areas has strong political backing and financial support from the EU’s African Peace Facility (APF) as well as other financing instruments.
The EU also supports the ongoing AU reform efforts which will make the African Union a stronger and more effective organisation. The increased self-financing through the 0.2% levy and the revitalisation of the Peace Fund will enable both Unions to put more emphasis on a strategic partnership, focusing on political coordination and cooperation.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Peace, Security and Governance
An AU-EU Memorandum of Understanding was signed in May 2018 to provide a solid and structured basis for the two Unions' partnership on peace and security.
Through the MoU, the AU and the EU envisage to promote an integrated approach to conflicts and crises through the better use of joint strategies and of early warning systems, focusing on fragility, human security, human rights, and recognising the need for increased coherence and greater synergies between development, humanitarian, governance and peace-building activities.
Specifically, the MoU intends to:
- ensure the regular exchange of information
- foster closer cooperation and coordination of activities
- promote the development and implementation of joint activities
- facilitate coordination and enhance cooperation between the AU, EU and UN and its agencies, as well as other relevant international organizations.
As part of the implementation of the MoU, it is foreseen to hold yearly Ministerial meetings, and to hold regular consultations at Senior Officials level twice a year.
EU PSC and AU PSC Cooperation
Cooperation between the EU Political and Security Committee (EU PSC) and the AU Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) is a key element of AU-EU peace and security dialogue. The objective is to address international issues, reach common positions and implement joint approaches on challenges to peace and security of common interest to Africa and Europe.
The EU PSC and AU PSC meet on an annual basis in Brussels or in Addis Ababa. The Permanent Chair of the EU PSC and the monthly Chair of the AU PSC are in regular contact and their teams ensure the flow of information between the two organisations.
African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) of the AU is a rules-based mechanism that provides the necessary political oversight, legitimacy and legal foundation for interventions in Peace and Security to take place. The EU is the leading supporter of APSA.
In response to a request by African leaders, the APF was created in 2004 as an innovative instrument which provides the main source of funding to support APSA. Substantial EU funding has been committed under the APF to support a range of actions including:
- peace support operations
- capacity building
- conflict prevention.
The EU provides assistance to African institutions in the area of crisis prevention and peace building through exchange of technical guidance, training and equipment.
The AU Continental Early Warning System is benefiting from the EU's support and cooperation. The EU also backs other flagship initiatives of the APSA such as the Panel of the Wise and the PanWise Network. All these actions work towards the AU objective of Silencing the Guns by 2020 in Africa.
Counter Terrorism, Organised Crime, Drugs and Maritime Security
Europe and Africa are increasing their cooperation to address issues of common concern, such as:
- terrorism and related threats;
- transnational organised crime including trafficking of human beings, drugs and weapons;
- the illegal trade in wildlife.
The EU, AU and their respective Member States are developing a coordinated approach to the issue of maritime security including counter-piracy efforts, and the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. These actions are carried out under the African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 and the EU Integrated Maritime Policy.
The AU-EU Maritime Ministerial Meeting which took place in the Seychelles at the end of 2015 helped to raise awareness of threats posed by criminality at sea.
Human Rights and Conflict
The EU and the AU are committed to strengthening cooperation to improve human rights. The focus is on protecting civilians and on ending sexual violence, in particular with regard to women and children. The full and effective participation and representation of women in peace and security processes is a key priority.
The EU and its countries are among major providers of assistance to children affected by armed conflict. This means:
- offering substantial help to demobilise and reintegrate child soldiers;
- helping child victims through psycho-social and socio-economic reintegration;
- supporting transitional justice;
- involving children in prevention activities.
EU-Africa cooperation on the fight against illicit proliferation of SALW
In 2010, the EU launched a project which addresses the proliferation of firearms and explosive materials in Africa. The project aims to establish regional and continent-wide coordination on small arms and light weapons (SALW).
Results achieved so far include:
- development of action plans to reduce SALW;
- increased cooperation between law enforcement agencies;
- improvements in record keeping.
See also: EU strategy to combat proliferation of SALW
Governance and Human Rights
The Joint Africa-EU Strategy identifies Democratic Governance and Human Rights as a priority area for dialogue and joint action. Both parties believe that democracy can only be attained through the establishment of strong accountable institutions as well as an active and organized civil society.
The November 2017 Abidjan Declaration by African and European Heads of State and Government recognizes the need to increase confidence in democratic processes and to pursue cooperation on effective, inclusive and accountable governance at all levels as well as combatting corruption. It also recognizes that civil society, media and democratic institutions have an important role to play.
African Governance Architecture
The overall political and institutional framework for the promotion of democracy, governance and human rights in Africa is called the African Governance Architecture (AGA). The AGA is composed of three principal pillars:
- AU legal commitments, treaties, charters, protocols and other instruments.
- AU organs and institutions which have responsibilities and mandates on governance, democracy and human rights.
- The African Governance Platform, which is the coordinating arm of the AGA — established in 2012.
EU support to the AGA and the deployment of AU instruments are being provided via:
- the Programme on 'Strengthening the African Human Rights System' (€10 million of funding);
- the 'AU Support Programme' (with €4 million earmarked for the AGA);
- the 'Civil Society Programme' (€20 million).
Africa’s Human Rights System
The African Human Rights System is composed of the following elements:
- legal commitments and treaties;
- state bodies that administer different instruments;
- supervisory bodies that monitor, interpret, decide and offer recommendations regarding human rights violations;
- non-governmental organisations that bring cases, provide information, and make recommendations to the system.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) is mainly responsible for promoting and protecting human rights. The EU has supported the ACHPR’s special mechanisms in areas such as women’s rights and freedom of information.
The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights is a judicial body that can adjudicate human rights complaints and issue binding decisions. The Court has become increasingly significant as the main African body to protect human rights.
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child promotes and protects the rights and welfare of children. It also assesses specific country situations and regional/continental problems, makes field visits, and produces reports and general comments.
The Pan-African Parliament is the AU's legislative body with advisory and consultative powers. The Parliament’s primary role is to promote the ratification and implementation of the AU treaties and legislative acts.
Civil society is the primary catalyst for the African human rights system. As civil society develops expertise on particular issues, it can play an advisory role and offer technical and legal expertise to AU institutions.
AU-EU Human Rights Dialogue
The AU-EU Human Rights Dialogue is an annual meeting dating back to 2008. The event is a high-level forum for sharing experiences and best practices on human rights issues with a view to enhancing AU-EU cooperation and coordination.
News from recent Dialogues:
The Abidjan Declaration highlights the integrity of elections, abiding by national constitutions as important democratic parameters and the need to pursue our significant cooperation on election observation.
The adoption of a number of legal instruments has confirmed the commitment of the AU to strengthening its role in promoting and protecting the integrity of elections at the regional level. In 2006, the African Union Council’s Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU) was established with a mandate to:
- coordinate and organise the AU’s observation of elections;
- implement the African Union Commission's (AUC) programme for the promotion of democracy and democratic elections in Africa;
- provide technical and capacity-building support to AU members.
The AU has a standing mandate to observe all elections in AU countries. Since 2013, and in addition to short term observers, the AU has also deployed several long-term observer missions as well as pre-election assessment missions.
Through the Pan African Programme, the EU has provided €6.5 million to support AU election observation.
The Abidjan Declaration recognizes culture as a powerful tool to build bridges between people, notably the young, and an engine for sustainable economic and social development. The AU and the EU will promote policies to support intercultural dialogue as well as emerging and innovative arts and cultural production, while promoting and preserving all art forms in their respective societies. We will support young people working in creative industries.
Environment and Climate Change
Identified as clear common interests in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, environmental sustainability and combatting climate change continue to be priorities for the AU and EU, and key factors in building resilience.
On the eve of the 2014 EU-Africa Summit, a Joint Ministerial EU-Africa Statement on Climate Change was adopted. In this Statement, African and EU leaders confirmed their resolve to seek common positions in negotiations taking place in forums like the Paris Climate Summit.
Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev) is a joint initiative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). ClimDev was established by the EU in 2007 to foster cooperation on climate change with developing countries.
Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) and Global Monitoring of Environment & Security (GMES) are EU-AU programmes funded through the European Development Fund, with the aim of increasing the information management, decision-making and planning capacity of the African institutions responsible for environment, climate and food security. Jointly implemented with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), these programmes foster collaboration between European and African specialized centers to use the European Copernicus programme as a major source of data, information, and technological know-how for delivery of climate services across the entire African continent.
Building Disaster Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRR) is an EU initiative which aims to accelerate the effective implementation of the African Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy and the Sendai Framework Programme of Action for Africa.
Finally, the Action Against Desertification (AAD) Programme contributes to the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative, a flagship programme of the African Union to restore degraded African drylands. Implemented in six countries, the project aims to strengthen links between the resilience of the natural resource base and livelihoods.