Support to the African Union for the Operationalisation of The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)

Project description

Title: Support to the African Union for the Operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Member states of the African Union (AU)
Lead executing agency: Peace and Security Department (PSD) of the African Union Commission (AUC)
Overall term: 2009 to 2021


For decades, Africa has been plagued by crises and conflicts, which present the greatest obstacles to economic, political and social development on the continent. However, since the emergence of the AU from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 2002, the continent has had a politically significant organisation which is able to take on the numerous tasks in the field of peace and security. Its member states have granted the AU a broad mandate for crisis intervention to put an end to war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity – even, where necessary, by military means and against the will of the relevant government.

With the comprehensive APSA, the AU and African regional organisations aim to find ‘African solutions’ for peace and security that will provide the continent with a better basis for the prevention, management and transformation of conflicts and crises.

The five key pillars of the APSA are:

  1. Peace and Security Council (PSC)
  2. Continental Early Warning System (CEWS)
  3. Panel of the Wise
  4. African Standby Force (ASF)
  5. African Peace Fund (APF)

To successfully fulfil its complex mandate, all elements of the APSA must work effectively together. Despite significant progress in the development of individual instruments, this is not yet the case across the board and the elements need to be improved further still.


Decision-makers in the AU, in consultation with the African regional organisations, use functional instruments for the prevention and transformation of conflicts and post-conflict peacebuilding.


The programme is assisting the AU in building and strengthening sustainable peace and security structures for Africa. The support provided focuses on crisis prevention by strengthening the continental early warning system, structural crisis prevention and the Panel of the Wise. Further priorities are the development of the civilian dimension of the African Standby Force and AU peace missions to protect the civilian population, as well as implementation of the policy framework for post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction for crisis prevention. In this regard, particular emphasis is placed on strengthening the Peace and Security Department at an institutional level and enabling it to work more effectively with African regional organisations. Gender issues are also taken into consideration in all activities.

Results achieved so far

The programme’s biggest achievement to date is that the partners are now better able to prevent and sustainably manage crises and conflicts. The relevant institutions have improved capacities for the effective use and further development of instruments for the African Peace and Security Architecture.

The technology for the continental early warning system is almost fully functional, which means that the AU’s decision-making bodies – primarily the Peace and Security Council – increasingly have access to their own reliable information sources and analytical tools to monitor conflict situations in Africa. At the same time, strengthening the work of the Panel of the Wise is also having a positive effect on the AU’s mediation and management of key issues such as the protection of children and women in violent conflicts.

A concept for a continent-wide roster (database and personnel development strategy) has been developed for training and recruiting civilian experts in AU peace missions and for mediation and post-conflict peacebuilding measures. This is being implemented in consultation with the regional organisations. Furthermore, concepts and guidelines on protecting the civilian population are facilitating the implementation of the various mandates of AU peace missions.