PEACE RESEARCH GRANTS
GRANT AWARDEE: Jude Cocodia (Nigeria) 2014
The African Union as Peacekeeper: An Evaluation on Effective Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping has often been used to prevent conflict from degenerating further and the African Union, since its inception has been in the thick of this exercise. Providing security on a continent where conflict abounds and where belligerents are often non-state amorphous groups and the formal rules of engagement often do not apply is no easy task (Muggah 2006). This proliferation of nasty little wars (Gettleman, 2012) which has characterised the post cold war era has often necessitated a robust approach to peacekeeping.
The latin adage nemo dat quod non habet (you cannot give what you do not have) applies to the AU in this case. With most African states possessing small, ill equipped and poorly trained armies, and battered economies (Adebajo, 2011, Coleman, 2011), from where would she procure the expertise and wherewithal to intervene, stop conflict and revamp post conflict societies? This question necessitates the need for collaboration with better resourced IGOs like the United Nations and European Union despite the inherent problems in such partnerships. There are also the issues of the AU mustering the political will of its member states to arrest conflict (May and Cleaver, 1997; Olonisakin, 2010), leadership in the field which relates to training of peacekeepers (Oliver, 2002; Lauria, 2009), acceptance by the target population and the cooperation of the host government and conflict parties (Bellamy et al, 2010; Paffenholz and Spurk, 2006). Through all these, how much impact can the AU make where impact is determined by the ability to save lives?
Providing answers for a study of this magnitude and importance, goes beyond a strictly theoretical and arm chair approach. As such, to validly evaluate the AU’s role and methods at conflict resolution, a visit to the AU’s headquarters in Addis-Ababa Ethiopia becomes necessary in order to get first-hand knowledge of its workings, and to better understand its obstacles and appreciate its gains. Interviews with AU staff, diplomats, military personnel, civilian field operatives are pivotal to this research.
Among Regional IGO’s, the African Union has been longest and most involved in peacekeeping (Brosig, 2012; Murithi, 2008). Surprisingly, works dedicated to AU peacekeeping are few. With this research, I aim to set a standard on African Peace Studies as well as provide a template against which peacekeeping organisations, irrespective of their regions, can examine their approaches and operations with the hope of making them better.
Why this Project Is Necessary:
The African Union has been involved in peacekeeping since its rebranding from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). It has paid much more importance to conflict resolution such that it would not be wrong to say, it exists to resolve conflicts on the continent. Despite its efforts, little has been done in adulation, criticism or evaluation of its approaches and performance in the field. That this has not been given much attention by African scholars does not help the AU’s cause in its bid to preserve lives and promote peace. There is no doubt that the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) are the organisations most involved in peacekeeping. Being well resourced, it is no surprise that the majority of works on peacekeeping focus on the operations of these organisations. These works which cover both theory and practise have no doubt contributed to the developments in peacekeeping approaches adopted by these institutions. A good example is the UN’s peacekeeping doctrine which is encapsulated in the published Principles and Guidelines for UN Peacekeeping Operations (Langholtz, 2010). For the AU on the other hand, the organization has laid so much emphasis on policy and practice in relation to specific missions to the slow growth of conceptualizing peacekeeping as a whole. So this research is one among a few that promotes and assesses AU peacekeeping with the intention of providing a theoretical basis for its operations. The content of this research therefore should make it a reference point for regional peacekeeping. This study aims to set a standard for African Peace Studies as well as provide a template against which peacekeeping organisations, irrespective of their regions, can examine their approaches and operations with the hope of making them better.
In effect therefore, depending solely on texts for this project would largely imply writing about conflict and conflict resolution in Africa by Africans through the ideologies and context of Western scholars whose works abound. A field research conducted at the AU headquarters where peacekeeping decisions emanate from should provide the needed African perspective to how these conflicts are conceived, approaches decided, and the factors that promote or hinder actions. This creates within my research, a balanced and rich source of information.
On a personal level, it serves as a solid form of training and enhances my skills as a researcher. It also would provide the exposure needed in view of managing events in the field, building and managing networks to facilitate future researches which might be spinoffs from this one, or entirely different issues on conflict prevention.
This is a case study qualitative research (Bryman, 2012: 66) which examines what peacekeeping requires to succeed and how the African Union has been able/unable to adapt to the role of the continent’s peacekeeper. The African Union serving as case study is influenced by the fact that it has the unenviable task of overseeing a region fraught with conflict, and of which to foster development on the African continent and improve the quality of life, the effective management of conflict is a foremost objective.
For the collection of data, the study relies on secondary texts which include text books, news-papers, magazines and journals. It also uses documentary analysis (Bryman, 2012) which incorporates the use of official documents such as those from the United Nations and African Union, documents from private sources such as Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, and (virtual) documents on the internet such as news clips, news and academic websites.
The official documents sourced from the UN would mainly be reports on the framework for peacekeeping, peacekeeping mandates, peacekeeping operations and resolutions of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly obtained from its website. Since the AU often seeks the permission of the UN to undertake peacekeeping missions, documents sourced from the AU would focus more on the reports of peacekeeping operations. Recourse would also be made to the AU online and real-time archives.
For a study of this magnitude and to further facilitate the results of this research, semi-structured interviews would be conducted with officials of the African Union Peace and Security Council at the AU headquarters in Addis-Ababa. Through these officials, links would be made with peacekeeping field operatives. Achieving this would help provide a balanced view of both the political/bureaucratic and field/military dimensions of AU peacekeeping.
The successful completion of this research, with the assistance of the IPRA Foundation, would surely enhance my career as a scholar in conflict resolution. This would enable me contribute effectively to reducing human suffering through influencing and pointing organisations in the right direction on what matters most in peacekeeping.
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Aning, Kwesi and Edu-Afful, Fiifi (2013) ‘Unintended Impacts and the Gendered Consequences of Peacekeeping Economies in Liberia’, International Peacekeeping, 20(1), 17-32.
Bellamy, Alex J. et al (2010) Understanding Peacekeeping, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Brosig, Malte (2012) ‘The African Union a Partner for Security’, in Biscop and Whitman, Routledge Handbook of European Security, 292-301.
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Coleman, Katharina (2011) ‘Innovations in African solutions to African problems’: The Evolving Practice of Regional Peacekeeping in Sub-Saharan Africa’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 49(4), 517-545.
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Dorn, Walter (2013) ‘Human Security: An Overview’, Paper presented at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre for use in courses, http://www.walterdorn.org/pub/23. Accessed 7 April, 2013.
Gettleman, Jeffery (2012). ‘Africa’s Dirty Wars’, The New York Review of Books, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/08/africas-dirty- wars/?pagination=false. Accessed, 8 February 2013.
Jennings, Kathleen M. (2008) ‘Protecting Whom? Approaches to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Operations’, Fafo-Report, 36, Oslo.
Langholtz, Harvey J. (ed)(2010) Principles and Guidelines for UN Peacekeeping Operations, Virginia, USA: Peace Operations Training Institute, United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Lauria, Wilson Mendes (2009) ‘Strategic Leadership Competencies for Peacekeeping Operations’, Peacekeeping and Standard Operations Institute Bulletin, 3(1) https://www.pksoi.org/document_repository/Lessons/Strategic_Leadership% 20Competencies_in_Peacekeeping_Operations-LMS-435.pdf. Accessed 10th January, 2014.
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Muggah, Robert (ed) (2006) No Refuge: The Crisis of Refugee Militarization in Africa, London: Zed Books.
Murithi, Tim (2008) ‘The African Union’s Evolving Role in Peace Operations: The African Union Mission in Burundi, The African Union Mission in Sudan and the African Union Mission in Somalia’, African Security Review, 17(1), Institute of Security Studies.
Oliver, George (2002) ‘Peace Enforcement, the Other Side of Peacekeeping’, in, Harvey Langholtz et al (eds) International Peacekeeping: The Yearbook of International Peace Operations, Vol.8, Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill N.V., 99-117
Olonisakin, Funmi (2010) ‘Regional Mechanisms and African Peacekeeping: ECOWAS, IGAD and SADC’, in de Benjamin de Carvalho et al (eds.) Peacekeeping in Africa: The Evolving Roles of the African Union and Regional Mechanisms, ACCORD, 57-64
Paffenholz, Thania and Spurk, Christoph (2006) ‘Civil Society, Civic Engagement and Peacebuilding’, Social Development Papers: Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction, Paper No. 36, October, http://www.worldbank.org/conflict, date accessed, 28 February, 2013.
Siaroff, A. (2007). ‘Following in Europe’s Footsteps: The African Union and Integration in Africa’. Bi-Annual Conference of the European Union Studies Association. Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Zanotti, Laura (2006) ‘Taming Chaos: A Foucauldian View of UN Peacekeeping, Democracy and Normalization’, International Peacekeeping, 13(2), 150-167.
African Union (2003) ‘Policy Framework for the Establishment of the African Standby Force and the Military Staff Committee (Part 1)’. Document Adopted by the Third Meeting of African Chiefs of Defense Staff, 15-16 May, Addis Ababa.
Kilpatrick, Stephen, via Skype, at 18.30hrs, 28 November, 2013