The Regionalisation of Peace Operations in Africa: Advantages, challenges and the way ahead


  • Cecilia Hull Wiklund
  • Gabriella Ingerstad

Publish date: 2015-02-19

Report number: FOI-R--4031--SE

Pages: 82

Written in: English


  • regionalisation
  • peace operations
  • regional operations
  • African Union
  • AU
  • United Nations
  • UN
  • African Peace and Security Architecture
  • APSA
  • Africa
  • African security


Since the inauguration of the African Union (AU) in 2002 and the establishment of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), a new norm of regional peace operations on the African continent has been set. This report analyses regional peace operations launched by the AU and sub-regional organisations, identifying advantages, challenges and trends. It argues that there is currently an international division of peacekeeping, whereby African operations have come to act as a first responder, providing initial stabilisation missions in operational environments where the UN cannot yet go, or to allow the UN time to mobilise a broader operation. While regional missions have been an important tool for burden sharing, they suffer from a lack of predictable and sustainable funding. The dependency on external funding is one of the main challenges facing regional peace operations and will most likely affect how these develop in the future. Other issues of great contention include the division of roles and responsibilities between the AU and the UN, as well as between the AU, which holds the formal decision making rights, and the sub-regional organisation, which has the capacity to act. These three issues are analysed in this report. The report also highlights some considerations for partners. These include taking the consequences of impartiality on longer-term stability and peace-building into account when choosing which troop contributors to support; reviewing the necessity of the support provided to the building of AU multidimensional peacekeeping capacities, given that the AU has come to play largely a military role in the current division of labour; and considering evening out the balance of support provided to AU peacekeeping operations capacity and to its pre-emptive conflict resolution capacity. This balance is currently significantly distorted towards the former.

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