Surveying the current state of the peace and security landscape in Africa is a complex task. The drivers of conflict and violence include young populations, high unemployment, lack of equal opportunities, urbanization, poverty, inequality, too many guns, bad governance and corruption.AU Watch’s Peace and Security Council Unit works to understand and prevent conflicts in Africa. It sounds alarms to prevent violent conflicts and come up with policies and models that will build a more secure and peaceful Africa.
What the Unit Does
a. Conflict analysis and risk assessment
Today’s conflicts have mutated into complex systems that are driven by multiple and competing interests. These conflict dynamics have the potential to generate considerable and lasting turbulence across political and socio-economic spheres, undermining peace and sustainable development. A deeper understanding of the drivers of unrest and conflict and the capacities for peace in an ever-changing world is crucial for UNDP to identify and support national capacities in sustaining peace. Conflict analysis provides an evidence base to enable strategic and targeted responses to better manage new forms of transition and turbulence, and reduce the likelihood of a (re-)emergence of violent conflict.Sound analysis is not only central to understanding the causes and drivers of conflict, indigenous capacities for peace, and key stakeholders, but it is also critical to developing strategic approaches for the UN system to comprehensively support national efforts to address conflicts and protect development gains.
(b) We are developing the ‘African Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project’ which is a mapping and analysis project on political violence in Africa, and Report that flags serious developing conflicts that the AU and its Members should not ignore. The Unit also publishesthe ‘Regional Insecurity Index’ magazine, outlining how fragile and conflict-affected countries are combating human insecurity.
(c) The Unit is also developing a conflict-related risk assessment tool. The tool will be applied on an on-going basis to track and monitor changes in key risk sectors of society, whether they pertain to conflict, natural hazards, or economic shocks. This information is then used to update scenarios and inform subsequent strategic and programmatic interventions, as well as institutional risk management and mitigation.
Our journalists, war correspondents, researchers and expert analysts work on the field and many times are embedded within a force, where they have the opportunity to engage directly with all parties to a conflict. Our research and analysis help the AU and AU Member States strengthen the fragile administrations of Member States and to address the underlying causes of conflicts between and within them. We also aim to advise governments as they work to mitigate the risk of insecurity.
Media and advocacy
The Unit engages directly with the African Union’s peace and security organs in terms of policy and advocacy, research and information, building on its work in this area. No area of the AU’s work is more urgent than its work on security issues. The Unit has a permanent television crew to cover the programs and activities of the AU in this area. Working in partnership with local broadcasters and other CSO’s, our media coverage gives the African people reliable, timely and useful information about the state of (in)security and what the AU is doing in that field.