Addis Ababa, 12 May 2022 (TDI): The Political Affairs Peace and Security (PAPS) department of the African Union (AU) witnessed the 17th Ordinary Meeting of the African Chiefs of Defence and Staff and Heads of Safety and Security Services on Wednesday. The AU meeting began with a minute of silence in honor of African Peacekeepers and victims of violence in Africa.

AU-PAPS Works on Regional Peace and Security Issues

PAPS has been working hard on regional peace and security issues. The ability to gather African chiefs of defense and security services offers PAPS a platform to coordinate regional resources. Moreover, the peace support operations of the AU have a comprehensive policy structure with professional operating agencies.

For instance, the African Union Commission’s Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) was a part of the AU’s peacekeeping work. PSOD aims to respond to the Peace Support Operations (PSOs) matters within the Peace and Security Department. Thus, the specialized agency can work under the umbrella of a more macro department and continental policies.

AU-PAPS does not only work with agencies belonging to AU but also cooperates with other regional organizations. For example, the AU has been working with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on peace and security.

On October 29, 2021, senior ECOWAS and AU-PAPS met in Abuja, Nigeria. Both sides called for an exchange of knowledge in early warning and conflict prevention. Moreover, both sides agreed on the need for conceptual, promotional, and operational ownership by all regional economic communities (RECs).

UN Peacekeeping in Africa

The moment of silence before the meeting showed that many peacekeepers have given their lives for peace and security on the African continent. Until 2021, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was the most dangerous. 19 peacekeepers were killed in Mali in the last 8 years. Also, following Mali, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) is the second most dangerous. Four fatalities sacrificed their lives in the Central African Republic.

Besides military missions, the UN’s peacekeeping work also includes humanitarian aid. Areas with conflicts always have severe humanitarian crises. To cope with such crises, UN agencies work on offering food aid, medical assistance, and funding. For instance, in February 2022, the UN launched its humanitarian response plan for 2022, seeking 686 million USD from donors to help more than 5 million of Mali’s most vulnerable citizens.

Conflict zones in the African continent often have complex political and social situations. Peacekeeping operations are not only challenging but often dangerous. Fortunately, with the joint contribution from the UN, AU, and other regional and national support, the security situation in Africa has the potential to become safer and safer.

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