From 5-7 September, 2018, the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) in partnership with the African Union (DSD/PSD, CIDO and ECOSOCC) and with the support of Oxfam Novib, held a capacity enhancement training for selected African Civil Society Organisations from Central African Republic (CAR), Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Tunisia. Also present at the workshop were representatives of RECs – ECCAS, IGAD, EAC, COMESA and AU partners from Norway, Netherlands and the UNOAU. The workshop was hosted by the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Themed, Security Sector Governance and Management (SSGM): Toward Defining Entry Points for a CSO SSR Influencing Strategy, the workshop sought to strengthen the CSOs’ understanding of structures and processes of Security Sector Governance and Management (SSGM), building on the introduction to key SJSR concepts at the Inaugural workshop in November 2017 also hosted by the African Union.
Prof Eboe Hutchful, Executive Secretary of the ASSN chaired the opening session of the workshop where Ms Einas Osman Mohammed Abdalla, Ag. Head of the AU Peace and Security Department welcomed all participants to the workshop and expressed her pleasure at the launch of phase two of the larger project which commenced last year. Ms Mohammed acknowledged that the choice of the venue for the workshops for the project is not a coincidence, but also, a measure of how the AU values the role of civil society in enhancing peace and security in Africa as enshrined in Article 4(c) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and in the relevant sections of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. Whilst noting the challenges that confront the development of the expertise of CSOs in SSR, Ms Mohammed urged CSOs to demonstrate professionalism and political neutrality before advocating for the de-politicization of the national security institutions.
Thereafter, a presentation on the AU SSR Policy Framework and AU support to Member States and RECS on SSR, with focus on achievements and challenges was delivered by DSD/PSD, followed by another on the Role of CSOs in the Livingstone formula on the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa by the Chairperson of ECOSOCC’S Peace and Security Cluster. This set the tone for experts from the ASSN to engage participants in the main topics of the workshop covering Armed Forces and Defence Oversight, Policing and Policing Oversight, Intelligence Oversight, National Security Decision-Making: Understanding National Security Policy and Strategy, Security Budgeting and Security Expenditure Oversight in Africa: Processes and Lessons and Gender and SSR. The main crux of ensuing discussions was how CSOs can contribute to all of these processes.