CEN-SAD - Peace, Security, Stability and Governance

CEN-SAD Community is the region where instability is the most endemic in Africa. In effect, due to its geographical positioning between Western Europe, the Sahel-Saharan space has long been subject to a strong migratory turbulence. In addition to this, it has become the place of most of intra-African conflicts and the sanctuary of all of the continent’s jihadist movements. Thus, peace, security and stability have become essential topics within the Community.

Peace, security and stability in the Sahel-Saharan region is supported by the provisions of the CEN-SAD Security Charter (2000) and the Niamey Declaration[1] that was adopted in May 2003. The maintenance of peace and stability is derived through a process of normalization of relations with countries affected by conflict. In the event of armed conflicts or political instabilities, the convention regulates that a number of procedures are followed: Protocol on Prevention Mechanism, Management and Resolution of Conflicts; Convention on Cooperation on security issues; and the realization of the Security Charter.[2] The procedures are intended to function in cooperation with the United Nations protocols and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.

There were a number of conflicts where CEN-SAD member States have had difficulties fulfilling the protocols, including conflicts in the Central Africa Republic, South Sudan and the Sudan, post-conflict developments between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the uprisings and aftermath of the Arab Spring.[3] The latter conflicts have had a direct impact on the implementation of activities and programmes of the regional economic community – thus, hampering operational functions in general, and peace and security matters in particular, causing overall devaluation of CEN-SAD activities.

More recently however, at the fifth CEN-SAD Defence Ministers meeting, held on 25 March 2016, in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. Delegates from CEN-SAD member States adopted the 2009 Sharm-el-Sheikh Declaration to reinforce cooperation in the field of anti-terrorism and security. It was decided that a regional counter-terrorism centre had to be created for the member States with its headquarters in Egypt. The participants also approved a revised draft for a conflict prevention, management and resolution mechanism of CEN-SAD. A draft protocol for future establishment and operation of the Permanent Peace and Security Council of CEN-SAD was likewise agreed on.[4]

[1] The strong political resolve and determination of CEN-SAD member States in regard to peace was again displayed by the Security Charter of the Community signed on 5 February 2000, in N’djamena, Chad, which reaffirmed the need to promote peace and security. This Charter led to the Niamey Declaration on Conflict Prevention and Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, adopted during the fifth CEN-SAD Summit in Niger (14-15 March 2003).

[2] For an example of a summit engaged in peace talks between Chad and Sudan in 2006, see http://minurcat.unmissions.org/Portals/MINURCAT/Tripoli%20Agreement.pdf.

[3] Abdalla Bujra and Hussein Solomon, Perspectives on the OAU/AU and Conflict Management in Africa Edited (African Centre for Applied Research and Training in Social Development, CEN-SAD and Development Management Policy Forum, 2004, pp. i–9).

[4] Galal Nassar, “CEN-SAD unites against terror”, Al-Ahram Weekly, 31 March 2016. Available from http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/15936/17/CEN-SAD-unites-against-terror.a...