13 October 2010
Thirteen security experts met recently to put the finishing touches to a draft SSR Policy Framework that the African Union (AU) is developing with technical assistance from the African Security Sector Network (ASSN). The experts spent three busy days at the Qliz Hotel in Accra, re-examining the document for the final time at a meeting facilitated by the ASSN Secretariat on 11-13 October 2010. The draft now awaits deliberation by the AU Peace and Security Council as it begins its journey towards implementation.
The quest for an African SSR policy framework originated from wide-ranging discussions between security experts and the AU, including an October 2007 workshop in Addis Ababa that came up with concrete steps towards the development of an SSR strategy for Africa.
These efforts bore fruit when the AU Assembly took the cue and made a monumental decision in February 2008, instructing the AU Commission to develop a comprehensive Policy Framework on SSR. The outcome was the establishment of the AU SSR Project in which the ASSN has become an important partner.
As part of its collaboration with the AU, the ASSN provides office space and equipment for the AU SSR project in Addis Ababa. The network has also seconded one of its foremost members, Prof. Medhane Tadesse, as a Senior Advisor to the AU SSR effort. Prof Tadesse’s role involves rallying the financial and technical support needed for the actualisation of the draft AU SSR plan.
The zero draft of the AU SSR policy document was first reviewed by a team of 29 experts on 17-19 May 2010 in Addis Ababa. It was this team that recommended a final re-examination by a smaller team of experts to give it greater coherence.
The refined document will now go through the AU Peace and Security Council, which will deliberate on it – in close consultation with the AU Member States, regional economic blocs, partners like the UN, and civil society groups - before finally presenting it to AU Summit.