- We, the members of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security (STCDSS) of the African Union (AU) met at the 12th Meeting in Cairo, Egypt and considered the Conclusions of the African Chiefs of Defence Staff and Heads of Safety and Security (ACDSS).
- Our meeting was preceded by the 15th Meeting of the ACDSS, held respectively from 18 December 2019, and a Meeting of Experts held from 15 to 17 December 2019.
3. On the basis of our deliberations, we declare as follows:
a. In respect of the AU flagship project on “Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020” and implementation of the African Union Master Roadmap (AUMR) of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa, the timeframe for its full implementation should be extended to give additional time for Member States and Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanism (RECs/RMs), with the support of relevant stakeholders such as civil society organisations and the private sector, as well as the United Nations (UN) system, to continue implementing the various aspects in the AU Master Roadmap. This extension should be informed by a review of what has been done on this issue thus far. In addition, within the framework of the ongoing laudable efforts on silencing the guns in the Continent, there is need to create conducive conditions for sustainable development, promotion of inclusive political dialogue for the settlement of disputes using AU mechanisms on mediation, good neighbourliness, dialogue, reconciliation and pacific settlement of disputes provided for within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and African Governance Architecture (AGA). In this regard, the efforts towards silencing the guns should ensure the rejection of all forms of external military intervention and interference in the continent’s affairs. Therefore, looks forward to the report of the Peace and Security Council on Silencing the Guns, in which stocktaking of the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap since its adoption by the Assembly in January 2017 will be embedded, to be submitted to the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union to be held on 9 and 10 February 2020. Welcome the offer by the Republic of Kenya to host a meeting on the review of the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap.
b. Encourage Member States to continue implementing the Africa Amnesty Month in the context of Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020. To this effect, Member States are encouraged to further intensify their efforts towards ensuring the Africa Amnesty Month and its opportunities are popularised on their national territories.
c. Adopt, provisionally, the AU Doctrine on Peace Support Operations (PSO), as a strategic working document, and requests the AUC to gather inputs by 1 March 2020, from the RECs/RMs and Member States in order to further enrich the document and resubmit the enriched document for consideration in the next STCDSS meeting in 2020.
d. Adopt the African Standby Force (ASF) Pledged Capabilities Verification Guidelines with the proposed amendments. In this regard, Member States to continue with self-verification of these pledged capabilities and report to RECs/RMs to conduct annual verification and report to the African Union Commission (AUC), whilst AUC should conduct verification every three (3) years. Additionally, interoperability should be incorporated as a criterion in the evaluation/verification of the readiness of pledged capabilities.
e. Adopt the Report of the 11th ASF Training Implementation Workshop and reconfirms that the ASF Planning Elements (AU, RECs/RMs) shall meet at least once a year to enhance cooperation, coordination and complementarity of efforts.
f. Adopt the AU Policy on the Management of Recovered Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in PSO with the following amendments, and encourages Member States to domesticate the policy.
i. Marking of arms should not be optional but mandatory;
ii. Sharing of information and data on recovered weapons amongst the mission, host government, other Member States, RECs/RMs and the AUC should be mandatory;
iii. Implementation of the policy should be harmonised with host government, Member States and RECs/RMs policies on SALW;
iv. The policy should reflect the Host Country as the key stakeholder, with the first responsibility on the implementation of the policy;
v. PSO should ensure proper management of recovered arms and ammunition to include storage, transportation, marking, recycling and disposal;
vi. The policy should incorporate a sanctions regime against any actors that violate these regulations.
g. Express deep concern over the intensification of terrorism and violent extremism, which are causing enormous loses of human lives and widespread destruction, especially in the most affected regions of the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin and the Horn of Africa. Further express concern that this phenomena are fast outspreading to many other parts of Africa, particularly to Western, Central and Southern Africa. In this context, agree to rapidly and fully operationalize the ASF as part of the comprehensive approach being implemented in the continent against terrorism and violent extremism. Also urge all Member States, as well as RECs/RMs, to proactively engage to ensure that the efforts against terrorism are deployed in tandem with practical steps to promote socio-economic development, especially employment for youths; eradicate poverty; mitigate effects of climate change and uproot causes of inter-communal violence, doing all these in a setup of renewed African solidarity and inter-state cooperation on all fronts.
h. Direct the AUC to conduct a second phase of the Mapping Study on Small Arms and Light Weapons focusing more on illicit weapons flows as linked to terrorist activities, working in close cooperation with Member States and the RECs/RMs.
i. Adopt, in principle, the “Cairo Roadmap on enhancing peacekeeping Operations: from mandate to exit”, and provide Member States a two month period to communicate their inputs to the AUC, in order to be presented to the AU Policy Organs.
j. Direct the AUC to review the 1977 Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism and submit to the next STCDSS for consideration.
k. Encourage Member States to continue supporting implementation of the mandates of current AU-mandated and authorised PSO and urge the UN to provide additional resources towards achievement of PSO mandates.
l. Adopt the draft Regulations on Data Processing for the African Police Communication System (AFSECOM) and submit to the next meeting of the Specialised Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs (STCJLA).
m. Direct the AUC to develop a draft Five Year (2021-2025) successor plan to the Maputo Workplan on the Enhancement of the ASF 2016-2020. Welcome the offer by the Republic of South Africa to host a meeting to this effect.
n. Encourage Member States to support the AU’s efforts in mobilizing funding for preventing and combating terrorism and extremism in Africa, including endowing the AU Special Fund created for this purpose. Further recall the overall responsibility of the UN Security Council on peace and security and call on it to provide the requisite support and resources for restoration of peace, security and stability and for implementing post-conflict reconstruction and development activities.
o. Adopt the African Union Strategy for a Better Integrated Border Governance with amendments. Member States are encouraged to ratify the Niamey Convention, adopted on 27 June 2014. Furthermore, implementation of the Border Governance Strategy should take cognizance of the AU Constitutive Act, particularly its Article 4(b) which provides for the respect of borders existing on achievement of independence.
4. Express gratitude to the Arab Republic of Egypt for hosting the 12th meeting of the STCDSS, including the hospitality accorded to the AU Commission and delegates as well as the excellent facilities provided for the meeting.
5. Appreciate the efforts made by AU Member States in providing support to the ASF Continental Logistics Base (CLB), including secondment of additional officers and renewal of tenure by the Republic of Cameroon, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe respectively.
6. Thank all delegations for their participation and the AUC for facilitating the meeting.
7. Encourage the Commission to continue to provide regular updates and reports on progress towards the implementation of our decisions in the next meetings of the STCDSS.
8. Further reiterate the role of the STCDSS as per Assembly/AU/Dec. 227 (XII) and in line with the provisions of Article 15 of the Constitutive Act of the AU (2000). In this regard, we hereby submit this Declaration to the 36th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU for onward transmission to the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, scheduled to take place on 9 and 10 February 2020.