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Brussels, 31 August 2011

The African peace and security agenda

When establishing the African Union (AU) in 2002, its Member States entrusted the organisation with a broad political mandate in the area of conflict prevention, management, resolution and peace building. Promoting peace, security and stability on the continent has since become one of the main objectives of the AU.

As a structural, long-term response to the peace and security challenges on the continent, a comprehensive African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) has been set up. The APSA consists of several components and structures, in particular:

  • AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), which works as the central AU decision-making body

  • a Continental Early Warning System (CEWS)

  • a 'Panel of the Wise', with a mandate in conflict prevention and resolution

  • African Standby Forces (ASF) to be deployed in peace support operations

The African regional organisations (Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms - RECs/RMs) are the pillars of the overall security architecture.

Since 2002, the AU has gradually emerged as a major political and security actor, engaging in concrete actions. In parallel with political initiatives leading to the prevention and resolution of conflicts, a number of African-led peace support operations have been deployed, often in a very hostile environment and sometimes in an extremely sensitive political context. The AU missions in Sudan (AMIS) and in Somalia (AMISOM) and the ECCAS mission in the Central African Republic (MICOPAX) illustrate the important role played by the AU and the RECs.

The EU response

The resolve of the African side to take responsibility for peace and security on the African continent has been strongly supported by the EU from the outset, both politically and financially.

In 2004, the African Peace Facility (APF) was established in response to a request by African leaders at the AU Summit in Maputo (2003). Through the APF, the EU has been at the forefront of international support to the African Peace and Security agenda, providing, in parallel to EU political backing, substantial and predictable funding to African peace support operations (PSOs) and relevant capacity building activities at the regional and continental level. Financial support of nearly €440M, channelled through the APF, was provided under the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) and through additional voluntary contributions from EU Member States. Under the 10th EDF €300M were committed in 2008 and it is foreseen that these funds will be exhausted by mid/end 2011. For this reason it was decided in 2011 to replenish the Facility with an additional €300M.

The financial support provided by the APF has enabled the African partners to strengthen their respective roles in peace and security, take responsibility for the stability of the continent and emerge as an internationally recognized, major player in the political and security areas.

The close EU-AU cooperation on peace and security has become a driving force for the development of a true partnership between Africa and the EU. Leaders from both continents adopted a Joint Africa-EU Strategy and an action plan in December 2007 in Lisbon. This was followed by a second action plan at the Tripoli Summit in November 2010. In the post-Tripoli strategic context, the APF is one of the major financing tools to support the implementation of the Joint Strategy and the Second Action Plan in the area of Peace and Security.

The African Peace Facility


The general objective of the African Peace Facility is to contribute to the African peace and security agenda through targeted support at the continental and regional level in the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution, and peace building. APF specific objectives are to provide a response to all three priorities of the Africa-EU partnership on Peace and Security, which are designed to mutually reinforce each other, namely:

  • enhance dialogue on challenges to peace and security

  • support the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture

  • predictable funding for Africa-led peace support operations


The direct beneficiaries of the APF are the African Union, African regional organisations and relevant institutions/national structures within or related to the African Peace and Security Architecture. Peace in Africa also means a more secure environment for Europe – the consequences of conflicts do not stop at continental borders. Finally, the peoples of Africa are gaining from the work of the APF: strengthening the capacities for peace and security also benefits the victims of insecurity such as refugees and internally displaced persons.


Capacity Building programmes

Capacity building is a major component of the African Peace Facility. The objective is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the African Union and the African regional organisations as regards planning and conduct of peace support operations in Africa and the implementation of the APSA. €100M (9th and 10th EDF) have been allocated for this purpose.

Current priorities are to:

  • enhance synergies built between the African Union Peace and Security Council, the core organ of the APSA, and regional entities dealing with conflict prevention, management and resolution;

  • increase the capacity of the Continental Early Warning System to anticipate and prevent conflicts;

  • contribute the optimal functioning of the Panel of the Wise and mediation structures;

  • provide support to the operational capability of the African Standby Force;

  • enhance the capacity to develop and implement strategies and policies in related peace and security areas;

  • build project and finance management capacity in support of APSA.

Peace Support Operations

The EU support enables the African Union and African sub-regional organisations to plan and conduct peace support operations: €840M (€400M under the 9th EDF and €440M under the10th EDF) have been earmarked for Peace Support Operations (PSO).

Ongoing Operations financed by the APF include the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Mission for the consolidation of peace in Central African Republic (CAR) –MICOPAX.

Through the APF the EU also supported the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in Darfur from 2004 until 2008 when AU forces where incorporated into a hybrid UN/AU mission.

Early Response Mechanism (ERM)

The purpose of the Early Response Mechanism is to endow the African Union and Regional Economic Communities with a source of immediate funding for the first stages of mediation actions or fact finding missions aimed at the prevention, management or resolution of crises.

To date a number of initiatives have been financed by the APF including:

  • Mediation operation in Madagascar

  • The AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan

  • The Office of the IGAD Facilitator for Somalia Peace and National Reconciliation

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