Peace and stability, good governance, democracy and human rights as foundations for development and stable societies promoted
Peace, security, stability and good governance are pre-requisites for development and social cohesion. Resolving the continent’s many conflicts has been a top priority for the Commission and its partners over the last decade. The pay-off from these efforts is that Africa has witnessed a dramatic decline in the number of conflicts. The AUC has also been actively involved in post conflict reconstruction and development–but ratings on the fragility of respective African countries show that although conflicts have subsided, fragility remains high in many post-conflict countries. As recent events show, it is still far too easy and frequent for violence and conflict to return, and there are still many long-drawn and protracted conflicts that have for years defied political solutions; for example, Somalia (notwithstanding the significant progress recently) and the Eastern DRC. There are in addition, several emerging threats such as piracy, waste dumping, illegal fishing, the drugs trade, terrorism, narco-terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism, criminalization of ransom seekers and any other criminal networks. Rising urbanization and large proportion of unemployed youth adds to the volatility.
Undoubtedly, on the governance, democracy and human rights front, the continent continues to register good progress. At national level, the number of countries holding free and fair elections is increasing. Political pluralism is now the norm and there are in many countries robust civil society engagements in governance and democratic processes
African women’s political participation and decision-making is second only to developed countries and Latin America, although this has not kept pace with economic empowerment. At the continental level many instruments and processes have been developed to promote democracy and good governance. Yet many challenges remain: corruption, weak public services, poor service delivery linked to weak local governance, etc.
The Commission will through the Strategic plan, continue to take a holistic and integrated approach to addressing the issues of peace and security on the continent. Among others, the Commission will draw the attention of Member States on the importance of addressing the root causes of conflict, such as underdevelopment, high levels of poverty, inequitable access to resources, youth unemployment, poor governance, human rights abuse, climate change, weak governance institutions, lack of free and unfair elections, etc. It will also speed up the implementation PCRD policy in order to consolidate peace and prevent relapse into violence in post conflict countries.
The Commission will work to strengthen capacities for peace building, conflict prevention and response, based on consolidation of gains/achievements realized with the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The Commission envisages strengthened and improved consultations between the AU Peace and Security Council, the UNSecurity Council and other peace and security structures and increased harmonization of its actions with those of the RECs. In this regard, more vigorous efforts will be made to support regional conflict prevention, resolution and management.
Women, youth, children, and PWDs continue to suffer most from the consequences of violence and conflict on the African continent, including the issue of child soldiers. The Commission will work aggressively with Member States, United Nations and civil society, women and youth groups to reduce and/or mitigate the effects of conflicts on children, women and youth, and to strengthen their involvement in peace building, conflict prevention and mitigation efforts.
Measures will be put in place to address emerging peace and security issues, such as maritime security and safety, border tensions/disputes (triggered by struggles over resources), the illicit drugs trade, terrorism, extremism, piracy and criminal networks, with the view to enhanced peace, security and stability on the continent.
The Commission will work to better understand the root causes of conflict, so as to better inform its peace building and conflict prevention efforts, including a deliberate policy to promote and encourage the more systematic use of traditional/community-based conflict mediation/resolution mechanisms and practices.
Africa has witnessed a resurgence of disputes over borders (both maritime and land) due to conflicts over resources (oil, gas), water and rivers. Establishing accepted processes to resolve such disputes and facilitating border demarcation is therefore critical for conflict prevention. The Commission will work with Member states, RECs and other institutions to ensure that disputes over borders do not lead to open conflict, and that there are modalities in place for the peaceful resolution of such disputes.
In view of the fragility of many post-conflict situations, the Commission will work to consolidate its efforts in post-conflict recovery and reconstruction, paying particular attention to strengthening the role of women, youth and civil society, before, during and after conflicts. In this regard, the Commission will design and promote implementation of specific programmes aimed at strengthening the involvement of women and youth in conflict prevention, response and post-conflict recovery efforts, as foundations to rebuild healthy and stable societies. The Commission will also pay attention to issues of Transitional Justice which is an important issue in post-conflict dispensation.
Recognising that conflicts result in large numbers of citizens and soldiers with disabilities in their aftermath, the Continental Plan of Action on the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2010-2019) makes provision for the following priority actions, among others, which will be implemented regarding conflict situations in the implementation period of the Third AUC Strategic Plan: to evacuate PWDs in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters;
a. To ensure that PWDs participate fully in peace building and reconstruction of their communities by promoting disability mainstreaming in development plans;
b. To put in place protection mechanisms for the safety and the rights of PWDs in emergency and conflict situations based on the AU Peace and Security Architecture;
c. To promote full and equal access to humanitarian relief for PWDs;
d. To protect PWDs from all kinds of exploitation and violence during situations of conflict, including Gender Based Violence (GBV);
e. To encourage and support the establishment and functioning of organizations of veterans and disabled ex-combatants;
f. To ensure the participation of PWDs through their representative organizations, including organizations of ex-combatants in the prevention, resolution and reconstruction of post conflict areas;
g. To introduce a systemic land-mine clearance program, where mines exist, or strengthening of existing programs;
h. To assist disabled war veterans and ex combatants with disabilities to access services for inclusive development, that they are not neglected after the sacrifices they made.
The Commission over the period of the Strategic Plan will work to consolidate progress and deepen democratic governance, respect for the rule of law and respect for human rights through active promotion of the Shared values instruments adopted by the AU Policy Organs.
On the governance front, the Commission will pursue the following strategies: promote full Implementation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA); public sector reform through implementation of the AU Convention on Prevention & Combating Corruption, the African Charter on Public Service & Administration, as well as the AU’s Norms and Policies on Decentralization. The Commission will continue to support and encourage participation of African countries in the African Peer Review Mechanism process. Importantly also, the Commission will adopt robust measures to prevent and address unconstitutional changes of government.
With respect to Human rights, the Commission will promote the full implementation of the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as the implementation of the Africa Human Rights Strategy. The capacity of Africa Human Rights Commission will be strengthened. Increased efforts will be deployed in terms of advocacy and sensitization of ordinary citizens on these African Human rights instruments, including the African Charter on the Rights of the Child (ACERWC), and strengthen work with civil society organizations.
Peace, security and good governance will also be strengthened through promotion of culture. In this regard, the Commission will support ratification and implementation efforts by Member Sates of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance.
To implement these strategies and actions under this outcome, the Commission's department of Political Affairs will take the lead. For each output under this outcome the lead AUC departments, the cooperating departments and the external partners have been identified.
RECs and Member States' institutions are the principal actors in the implementation and monitoring of actions on the ground, working closely with the NPCA.