Enhancing Peace and Security in the Eastern Africa Region

31st Ordinary Policy Organs Council Meeting

The 31st Ordinary Policy Organs Meetings of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 9 to 14 February 2023. After the Experts Working Group (EWG) on 9-11 February, followed by the Eastern Africa Chiefs of Defense and Security (EACDS) on 12-13 February, the Council of Ministers of Defense and Security was held on 14 February 2023, under the chairmanship of H.E. Dr. Abraham Belay of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The Chairperson of the Council of Ministers commended the work done by the Experts and the Chiefs of Defence and Security in setting the agenda with “critical issues such as the need for organizational reforms, activity plans, budget, among others, to enable the EASF to fulfill its mandate”. Dr. Abraham Belay emphasized “the need to undertake collective approaches to find solutions to these regional security challenges, which is also the reason why EASF was created”. He emphasized that “despite past collective efforts to develop our Organization to the levels it has reached, there is still a need for informed recalibration and consensual alignment among Member States that corresponds to the significant challenges already faced and anticipated”.

The Director of the EASF Secretariat, Brigadier General Getachew Shiferaw Fayisa, reviewed the implementation of the decisions of the Council and the status of the implementation of activities in 2022, centered on the four pillars of the EASF 2021-2025 strategic plan. The Director acknowledged the major role played by the African Union through the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the “Friends of EASF” for their immense financial and technical support in the EASF mandate.

“Meeting the challenges”

The Chairperson of the “Friends of EASF”, Colonel Jens Gynther Lindvig, assured that “the partners will continue to support EASF”. He said he was “ready to continue the strong partnership for the next four years to promote peace and security in East Africa and beyond”. “Denmark is in the process of consolidating the peace and stabilization program for the years 2023 to 2026,” he announced tentatively. Colonel Jens Gynther Lindvig also highlighted “the important work done by the EASF in peace and security capacity building, including humanitarian and natural disaster response, as well as mediation and conflict prevention, through the new Panel of Elders (PoE).

The Chairperson of the EASF PoE, H.E. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, reiterated “the importance of the diplomatic role of the members of the Panel of Elders in conflict prevention and resolution of inter- and intra-state conflicts. The former President of the Republic of Burundi gave “assurances on his positive contribution to the intensification of the synergistic implementation of the EASF to address regional peace and security challenges and finally wished the meeting fruitful deliberations”.

Rotation of the Bureau

The Council approved the recommendations of the EACDS Committee, on the 2023 activity plan and budget, as well as the deliberations on the main requirements and qualifications of the management staff composed of the Director, Heads of Department, Heads of Structure and Heads of Components.

The Director expressed his gratitude to the EASF Policy Organs Meetings for providing exemplary leadership, guidance and continuous direction, which ensure that EASF operations are successfully executed, thus making the Organization viable and visible within the region and beyond.

The Defence Cabinet Secretary of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Aden Duale, was appointed as the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers for the year 2023. The Republic of Rwanda will be the Vice Chair while the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia will serve as Rapporteur. The next Policy Organs Meetings will be held in Nairobi, Kenya.

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