List of panels

(P163)

Defining peace, security and democratization: the African Union and multi-layered arenas

Location C4.07
Date and Start Time 28 June, 2013 at 10:30

Convenors

Antonia Witt (Goethe University Frankfurt) email
Ulf Engel (University of Leipzig) email
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Short Abstract

The panel looks into the political struggles and the state of implementation in relation to the two most important fields of the African Union's political agenda: peace and security as well as democracy promotion.

Long Abstract

During the last decade the most important development in African inter-state relations has been the creation of an African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). While APSA remained the focus of both academic attention and political prioritization in the first decade after the establishment of the AU, the continental organization has more recently broadened its agenda towards the promotion of democracy and good governance. In parallel to this change in focus, one can also observe that the African continental project has become an increasingly 'crowded arena' in which a multitude of African and international actors engage over the definition of the most fundamental terms of continental integration.

The panel scrutinizes the state of the art of the AU's double agenda on peace/security and democratization. It focuses on the multiple actors involved and arenas in which the content, form and future of competing approaches to peace, security and democratization become negotiated. This means identifying key stakeholders to these processes, taking account of their changing interests and diverse strategies, as well as analyzing the driving forces of and impediments to implementing and matching the AU's double agenda.

In particular the panel invites contributions which have an empirical and/or theoretical interest in: intra-AU Commission dynamics with regard to peace, security and democratization; policy approaches to the AU by its member states; the impact of the Arab Spring on the AU; emerging African mediation practices and divisions of labor therein; or the AU and international partners (for instance, in international contact groups).

Chair: Prof. Ulf Engel
Discussant: Dr. João Gomes Porto; Prof. John W. Harbeson

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

The AU, protection and Libya

Author: Linnéa Gelot (Gothenburg University)  email
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Short Abstract

The paper discusses how the AU Commission and the AU state members, during the conflictual process of defining protection for the African context, may experience unforeseen challenges to other dearly held values such as self-determination.

Long Abstract

There is a tendency to analyse the evolving and increasingly professionalised and codified approach to protection of civilians in the African Union (AU) as a normative step forward, and a way of making credible and legitimate some of the Union's peace and security objectives among them the commitment to African ownership.

However, and something aptly illustrated in the case of the various claims to how best protect the people of Libya in Africa and by Western powers/NATO, the protection discourse is inherently political and evokes a mix of security and civilian components. The paper discusses how the AU Commission and the AU state members, during the conflictual process of defining protection for the African context, may experience unforeseen challenges to other dearly held values such as self-determination. It will thus give examples of negotiation and tensions produced by the AU's double agenda of peace and security and democratization.

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Regionalisation of security policy: cooperation between the United Nations the African Union

Author: Martin Welz (University of Konstanz)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper explores the cooperation between the AU and the UN in peace and security questions.

Long Abstract

The African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) cooperate in several fields, including peace and security questions as well as democracy promotion. Focussing on the peace and security aspect, the paper provides insights into the relations and cooperation of the UN and the AU. It starts with a brief overview of how the relations between the two organizations emerged since the 1990s. This is followed by an analysis of the status quo. This exploration covers well-known actions such as the AU-UN cooperation in and around peacekeeping missions like in Burundi and Somalia as well as the hybrid mission in Darfur. In addition, the analysis also covers activities that sparked less academic interest, such as the UN Ten-Year Capacity Building Programme for the African Union, signed in 2006, and regular meetings of UN-AU Joint Task Force on Peace and Security. Using this appraisal, the paper asks why both organizations have an interest in working together, how they organize their cooperation, what has been achieved so far, and which challenges lie ahead.

Mediation and the AU policy on unconstitutional change of government: the Madagascar case

Author: Laurie Nathan (University of Pretoria)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper investigates the problematic relationship between the AU policy on unconstitutional change of government and the strategy of mediation. It focuses on the external mediation undertaken in response to the 2009 coup in Madagascar.

Long Abstract

This paper investigates the problematic relationship between the AU policy on unconstitutional change of government and the strategy of mediation. It examines the complications that arise when the AU or an African sub-regional body responds to a coup by embarking on mediation while simultaneously demanding, in accordance with the policy, that the putschists must give up power. The paper discusses the complications in relation to the 2009 coup in Madagascar, which led to mediation by the UN, the AU and SADC. The demand that the coup-makers relinquish power caused them to resist mediation; it generated tension between the different mediating bodies; it was ignored at the outset or abandoned at a later stage by the mediators; and it posed a significant impediment to effective peacemaking. These complications arose not simply because of the particular dynamics of the case but also because, at a more general level, the goals and orientation of mediation and the AU policy are inherently antithetical. This contention is explained and motivated with reference to the UN Secretary-General's 2012 Guidance for Effective Mediation.

Presidential term limits as a policy area to bridge between the African Union's security and governance norms

Author: Issaka Souaré (African Union Commission)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper contends that there is a relationship between presidential-term limits and some security situations in Africa.

Long Abstract

Of the 54 Member States of the AU in 2013, the constitutions of 36 States contain the provision of presidential term limits, ranging from four (e.g. Nigeria and Egypt) to seven (e.g. Cameroun, Rwanda and Congo Republic) years, with the majority having a two five-year tenure. Only 10 countries have never had term limit provisions in their constitutions, while eight ohter countries had this provision in their constitutions but their leaders later abolished it despite popular resistance in most cases. The term-limit provision is primarily a governance issue. However, because it removes what can be called as the shadow of the future in the eyes of many opposition figures vying for the highest political office, and because competition over this office and other politicla positions is an important triggering factor for conflicts in Africa, this paper contends that there is a relationship between this governance-related norm and some security situations in Africa. It thus aims to highlight this relation, engage with the arguments for and against the provision, and formulate suggestions as to how, once found to be generally a plausible norm, a continent-wide binding norm could be reached and how this could contribute to the amelioration of peace and security situation in some regards on the continent. But prior to engaging in these debates, the paper will put the subject matter in the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Governance Architecture.

Rather turbulence than wave: the development of continental norms on democratic governance

Author: Antonia Witt (Goethe University Frankfurt)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper reconstructs the development of continental norms on democratic governance from the beginning of the 1990s. It thereby seeks to highlight the diverse actors that have shaped this process as well as the contested meanings that became negotiated as part of this development.

Long Abstract

Against the background of the AU's mandate to "consolidate democratic institutions" and its rejection of coups d'état as stipulated in the 2002 Constitutive Act, this paper traces the historical development of continental governance norms. This is done from a perspective that stresses the non-linear and contested character of these processes by scrutinizing the diverse normative sources and the variety of actors that come together behind a seemingly uncontested trend towards a pro-democratic African Union. The debates that preceded and followed the 2000 Lomé Declaration as well as those preceding the adoption of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance constitute the core of this paper. This is supplemented by an analysis of the broader discourses on political order and democratic governance found inter alia in the reports of the OAU Secretary-General from the early 1990s, the Conference on Stability, Security, Development and Cooperation, or the communications of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

This paper seeks to offer three insights: firstly, that both the AU's anti-coup norm and its normative foundations are still contested and 'in-the-making', a process in which both concrete interventions by norm entrepreneurs and challenges in practice contribute to the continuous re-negotiation of its meanings. Secondly, it highlights the dynamics between the AU Commission and the organization's member states. Thirdly, by reconstructing more broadly the continental discourses on democratic governance and political order, it becomes visible that certain meanings have become sidelined or entirely excluded in the course of the past two decades.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.