1 March 2012
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - The Peace and Security Department (PSD) of the African Union Commission, in collaboration with the African Security Sector Network (ASSN), held a four-day exercise to harmonise the draft African Union (AU) Policy Framework on Security Sector Reform in the four official AU languages - Arabic, English, French and Portuguese.
The exercise took place at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa from 27 February to 1 March 2012, with the objective of finalising the draft Policy Framework and conforming it to the AU language policy.
It will be recalled that the development of the AU Policy Framework on SSR started in 2009, following a January 2008 AU Assembly decision mandating the AU Commission "to develop a comprehensive AU Policy Framework on Security Sector Reform (SSR), within the context of the Policy Framework on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development adopted by the Executive Council in Banjul in June 2006.”
The ASSN's facilitation was in line with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the ASSN and the AU Commission in 2010, in which the ASSN committed to provide technical support to the PSD in the development of a policy framework on SSR for the AU member states. The ASSN has since worked very closely with the AU Peace and Security Department, providing support at every stage of the development of the policy framework. In particular, the ASSN, together with the SSR Unit of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Training (DPKO), assisted the AU in organising an African Regional Conference on SSR in March 2009.
After this workshop, the AU Commission contracted the ASSN to write nine policy briefs on various aspects of SSR as background papers to inform the writing of the Zero Draft of the AU Policy Framework on SSR. In October 2010 the ASSN further hosted a second SSR experts meeting in Accra, Ghana, to review the draft Policy Framework. The ASSN is additionally sponsoring one Senior SSR Advisor and two assistants who have been working in the AU SSR Office.
It was on the basis of this long and mutually beneficial relationship that the Head of the AU Defence and Security Division of the PSD, Dr. Tarek A. Sharif, requested the ASSN to assist in the language harmonisation of the draft Policy Framework.
Following this request, the ASSN sponsored a team of experts to conduct the exercise. These were Professor Boubacar N'Diaye for the French version, Ms. Anicia Lalà for Portuguese version, as well as Ambassador Hussein Mubarak and Mr. Moaaz Elzougby for the Arabic version. The harmonisation of the English version was facilitated by Dr. Norman Mlambo (the AU Focal Point on SSR) and Professor Medhane Tadesse (the Senior SSR Advisor based at the AU on secondment from the ASSN). Professor N'Diaye, Ms. Lalà and Professor Tadesse are all members of the ASSN.
During the exercise, the logistical arrangements were facilitated by the ASSN Chair, Professor Eboe Hutchful, with assistance from the two ASSN staff members attached to the African Union, Eleni Tafesse and Lina Imran. The draft AU Policy is now ready for deliberation and probable adoption by the AU Summit.