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Building the African Union's capacity in security sector reform

Posted: Wednesday, 23 January 2013, New York | Author: Department of Peacekeeping Operations


The African Union's Policy Framework on SSR and its capacity-building programme are major steps in fostering African ownership in current SSR activities With support from the SSR Unit of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the African Union (AU) Commission recently finalized the drafting of an AU Policy Framework on SSR, which has been submitted to the relevant AU organs for adoption during this week’s Summit.

The success and sustainability of the Policy Framework will in large part depend on the degree to which the AU Commission has the capacity for implementation. The AU Commission and DPKO have therefore designed a multi-year programme aiming at building AU capacities on SSR, which will be implemented with support from the UN Office to the AU (UNOAU), the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) and UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and with funding from the European Union.

“These initiatives will strengthen our ability to effectively respond to requests from AU Member States for support to national SSR processes,” says Dr. Tarek Sharif, Head of the Defence and Security Division of the AU’s Peace and Security Department.

While the programme will officially be launched later this spring, key activities are already underway. Representatives from the AU Commission, EU, DPKO, UNOPS and ASSN in Addis Ababa during the start-up of the AU capacity-building programme on SSR Last week, a team from DPKO’s SSR Unit and UNOPS deployed to Addis Ababa to work with colleagues from UNOAU to assist the AU Commission in starting-up the programme.

“Over the past five years, the AU has developed a close partnership with DPKO and the UNOAU in order to improve our collective response to SSR challenges on the continent,” says Dr. Norman Mlambo, SSR Focal Point in the Defence and Security Division of the AU’s Peace and Security Department.

The AU Policy Framework on SSR and the capacity-building programme are major steps in fostering African ownership in current SSR activities and lending an African character to prevailing SSR approaches, in peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building contexts.