The Eastern Africa Standby Force is a regional organization whose mandate is to enhance peace and security in the Eastern Africa region. It is one of the five regional multidimensional Forces of the African Standby Force (ASF) consisting of Military, Police and Civilian components. EASF was established as a regional mechanism to provide capability for rapid deployment of forces to carry out preventive deployment, rapid intervention, peace support/stability operations and peace enforcement.
To contribute to regional and continental peace, security, stability and enhance regional integration.
To maintain and sustain a fully operational and multidimensional integrated standby force ready to respond to emerging crises.
The need for a common African Defence and Security mechanism was a key feature of the Inaugural Summit of the African Union (AU), held in Durban, South Africa, in July 2002. The African leaders felt compelled to develop African solutions that would respond to the multifaceted challenges threatening stability, security and cooperation on the continent.
Consequently, through the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC), the African Standby Force (ASF) was established as part of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The Peace and Security Council Protocol (PSCP) covers a comprehensive agenda for peace and security. This includes conflict prevention, early warning and preventive diplomacy, peace-building, intervention and humanitarian action, and disaster management. The other components of APSA set up by the PSC Protocol include the Continental Early Warning System; the Panel of the Wise; and the Peace Fund.
The ASF comprises multi-national and multi-disciplinary Civilian, Police and Military components held on standby in their countries of origin in the five regions of the African Union. These regions are:
- Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF)
- Northern Standby Brigade (NARC)
- Western Africa Standby Brigade (ECOWAS)
- Central African Standby Brigade (ECCAS)
- Southern Africa Standby Brigade (SADC)
These components stay on standby for rapid deployment at appropriate notice as provided for in the six peace support operations scenarios of the ASF.
The establishment of EASF follows the decision of the Summit of the African Union held in July 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to create the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade (EASBRIG). The MOU, signed in April 2005 (and as amended in January 2011) expressly establishes the EASF as a constituent organization of the African Standby Force (ASF).
In March 2007, the Council of Ministers for Defence and Security established a Coordination Mechanism called EASFCOM (formerly EASBRICOM). The establishment is based on past experiences of conflicts in Africa, such as the Rwanda Genocide, war in Sudan, war in Somalia among others. The Eastern Africa region continues to be faced with challenges of conflict and internal problems impacting on peace and security.
in 2014, the Council of Ministers for Defence and Security elevated EASFCOM's status to a full secretariat, the Eastern Africa Standby Force Secretariat (EASFSEC).
The Eastern Africa Region, represented by the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) , is one of five regions of the African Peace and Security Architecture and is, as such, developing the standby force, as a component of the ASF. Currently, the EASF draws its membership from 10 active Member States including Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, which are signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (MOU).
The Republic of South Sudan enjoys the status of observer in EASF since April 2013 and is expected to become a full member any time soon.