Peace Support Operations Programme

Peace Support Operations Programme (PSOP)

Though peacekeeping in Africa began in Congo in the 1960s there are still considerable gaps in the manner in which Peace Support Operations (PSOs) are conducted. These limit the success and speed of exit of the mission.

In addition, though peacekeeping training has been conducted for the past 15 to 20 years in Africa, it has been difficult to establish the impact that it has had on peace and security in the region.

The PSOP enhances research and training in the wide range of subjects that come under peace support operations.

The three main areas are:

  • Peacekeeping: the deployment of civilian, police and military personnel to conflict-affected countries
  • Mission support: specific demand-driven operational support to facilitate success in mission theatres
  • Post-conflict peacebuilding:  the transition between peacekeeping, stabilization, and democratic governance

Some of the areas explored by the programme include: peace agreements and mandates, troop contributions, deployments and exit strategies, conflict-related sexual violence, the protection of civilians, standby forces and security sector reform, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU). A special area of interest is mission support.

Another critical dimension the programme explores is the gendered impact of peacekeeping. How are women, men, girls and boys affected by conflict and how can peacekeeping missions respond appropriately to the needs of these groups?

Specific Projects for 2016/2017

The PSOP manages the Annual Review of African Peace Support Operations. This publication provides a critical understanding and explanation of existing and past PSOs across the continent. It analyses the background to the missions; their mandates and operations.

It is intended to inform sound policymaking and enable students of conflict and security studies to access information about these missions.

The Mission Watch Newsletter is produced quarterly to provide relevant and current information about peacekeeping missions in Africa. It delivers concise information to policy-makers, academics, security services, civil society organisations and students of peace and security on issues of concern to missions in the region.

The PSOP also chairs the Civilian Working Group (CWG) of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF). The CWG aims to increase awareness of, and support for, the civilian component of ESF activities, including among ECOWAS member states. CWG comprises the National Defence College (NDC) Abuja, the Ecole de Maintien de la Paix (EMP) Mali and the KAIPTC.

The ECOWAS and AU Policing in Guinea-Bissau project examines the nature, approach and role of the police in AU and ECOWAS PSOs. Particular attention is paid to the protection of civilians, provision of security, mentoring, capacity-building and the development of policies and procedures in Guinea Bissau.

The objective of the Hybrid Security Mechanisms project is to explore the nature and form of hybrid security mechanisms and their contributions to security in peace missions. It investigates the nature of engagement and interaction between these actors in providing effective security services.

The Conflict Related Sexual Violence project aims to draw the attention of policy-makers and security sector entities to sexual violence in conflicts. It helps build the capacity of senior security officials and regional policy makers in preventing CRSV in West Africa.

The PSOP works through research, advocacy and development of training curricula.

  • Emma Birikorang– Head of Programme
  • Susan Nelson