By Philip Emase*
The African Union (AU) has unveiled a multi-year programme to build its Security Sector Reform (SSR) capacity. The programme, themed 'Building African Union Capacities in Security Sector Reform (SSR): A joint United Nations-European Union support action' will be implemented in partnership between the African Union (AU) Commission, the European Union (EU), the UN Office to the AU (UNOAU), the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the SSR Unit in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO SSR Unit) and the African Security Sector Network (ASSN). It was unveiled on January 12-18 at the AU Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Representing the six implementing partners were Tarek Sharif and Norman Mlambo from the AU Commission; Francesco Carboni from the EU; Mody Berethe from UNOAU; Kristiana Powell and Thorodd Ommundsen from the DPKO SSR Unit; Eboe Hutchful and Medhane Tadesse from the ASSN; and Andrew Reese from UNOPS. The SSR capacity-building programme was first elaborated in 2009 by the AU Commission and the DPKO SSR Unit. This was followed by the incorporation of several other partner organisations, including UNOPS as the implementing partner, UNOAU as a substantive partner and the EU as the financial partner. In November 2010, the AU Commission, the UN and the ASSN signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to partner in the operationalisation of the AU SSR policy Framework with funding support from the EU. This capacity-building programme builds on this MOU, as well on two subsequent agreements, one between the AU, the EU and the UN; and another between the EU and UNOPS.
For the most part, the multi-year programme will seek to build the AU's capacity to successfully implement its continental SSR Policy Framework, developed by the AU Commission, with technical support from the ASSN, in a highly consultative process that began in 2006. The resulting AU Policy Framework on SSR, adopted at the January 2013 AU Summit, is designed to bolster African ownership in the policy and practice of SSR, peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. The agreement signed by the six implementing partners places overall responsibility for the programme with the AU Commission, while committing the ASSN to provide technical support for the implementation of the AU Policy Framework on SSR in close
collaboration with the DPKO SSR Unit and UNOAU.
*Philip Emase is the Information and Communications Officer of the African Security Sector Network(ASSN). This article first appeared in the January 2013 edition of The ASSN Quarterly newsletter.