Adaption of the traditional peacekeeping methods to produce more flexible and realistic solutions to emerging threats in Africa by the South Government’s foreign military and diplomatic involvement

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 2700 (NW3197E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 32-2013 OF 11 OCTOBER 2013

Mr L S Ngonyama (Cope) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

(1) Whether the Government’s foreign military and diplomatic involvement need to adapt its traditional peacekeeping methods to produce more flexible and realistic solutions to emerging threats in Africa; if not, how was the conclusion reached; if so,

(2) Whether the Government’s foreign military and diplomatic involvement is in line with the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA);

(3) Whether the Government will meet with the United Nations or the African Union on revising its approach; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?  

REPLY:

(1) NO

Having realised the complexity of peacekeeping missions on the ground as they evolve, the Government of South Africa in 2008 sanctioned a study on “Experiences and Lessons Learnt from South Africa’s Participation in International Peace Missions”. This was an interdepartmental project that involved all relevant stakeholders.

The study was meant to assess South Africa’s participation and its impact, compile lessons learnt while highlighting best practices and challenges and make recommendations that would improve participation, policies and practices. Hence the review of the White Paper on South Africa’s Participation in Peace Missions.

One more critical element that compelled South Africa to look into its policy and review were the pronouncements at United Nations level that was emulated by the AU and SADC on peacekeeping methods. The nations at UN level agreed that the traditional peacekeeping methods no longer sufficed due to the nature of contemporary conflicts, which call for Multidimensional Peace Support Operation, which comprises three pillars, Military, Police and Civilian. South Africa guided by these mandatory authorities, the UN, AU and SADC subscribe to the new approach.

The Multidimensional approach to peace support operations gave rise to the international commitment to address the root causes, consequences of conflict and the creation of a conducive environment for human security and development. At international level, these changes were informed by, amongst others, the Report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations (Brahimi Report) of 2000, Report of the UN Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, UN Panel on Threats and Challenges (2004), UN Report In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All (2005), the UN Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines (2008) and the African Union’s African Peace and Security Architecture.

(2) YES

South African fully supports and embraces the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which endeavours to find African Solutions for African Problems in collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

As members of SADC and the AU we are guided and aligned with the APSA. The AU as the mandating authority in this field guides South Africa’s participation, contribution and engagement through its Constitutive Act and the Protocol relating to the AU Peace and Security Council, which are instruments that South Africa has ratified.

Through SADC we contribute to the AU Organ for Peace and Security which comprises of organs such as the African Union Peace and Security Council, the Panel of the Wise, the Early Warning System, the African Standby Force, the Military Staff Committee as well as the Peace Fund. We have contributed as members in some and as AU affiliates in some. We have contributed towards operationalisation of these organs and rendered training for some staff members of the AU Early Warning Centre. Our Foreign Policy as well as the White Paper on Peace Missions prioritizes the AU in its peace efforts.

South Africa reinforces the APSA in areas of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peace-building and post conflict reconstruction and development.

(3) NO

At the United Nations level, South Africa participates in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34). This is the United Nations policy formulating forum on peace support operations. The Committee undertakes a comprehensive review of the whole question of peace support operations in all its aspects. On the other hand, at African Union level, South Africa participates in the African Chiefs of Defence Staff. This is the AU’s policy formulating forum when it comes to matters relating to the African Peace and Security Architecture, Continental Early Warning System and the development of a multidimensional African Standby Force. At SADC level, South Africa participates in the Organ for Politics Defence and Security Cooperation which undertakes multidimensional conflict prevention, management and resolution which includes: preventive diplomacy, negotiations, conciliation, mediation, good offices, arbitration and adjudication. One of the elements of the Organ is the Inter-State Politics and Diplomacy Committee which considers issues related to politics and diplomacy in the region. The Organ is also responsible for the development of a multidimensional SADC Standby Force which is part of the Continental Multidimensional African Standby Force.

Thus, South Africa has ensured that her approach to international peace support operations is consistent with international standards and practices. South Africa further continuously monitors international and continental peace support operations and conflict developments, in terms of policy and practice and causes of conflict, to ensure that her participation in conflict resolution and peace support operations will be consistent with international practice and on the other hand ensure the development of flexible and realistic solutions to emerging threats in Africa and the world.

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