This chapter uses the concept of ‘informal international practices’ (IIPs) to explore the relational nature and origins of the African Peace and Security Architecture. It argues that ‘outinsiders’, actors who have one foot outside the door of public offices and the other foot inside official circles, have used IIPs to develop the specific elements of APSA and to get the leadership of the African Union, in particular African Heads of State and Government, to accept them as the main African peace and security framework. More specifically, the chapter describes how, on the one hand, African leaders have found appeal in and helped to shape a collectivist trait of the informal relational order underlying APSA. On the other, it analyses how outinsiders have used informal channels to introduce, adapt and consolidate specific norms and procedures. The chapter argues that, although tensions sometimes have existed (and continue to do so) between the primary objectives of the two groups of actors, the results have been narratives, policies, and practices that while influenced by larger, global discourses clearly reflect African agency with an impact on discourses beyond the continent. The chapter therefore offers a telling example of the importance of informality in international affairs.
This article examines impacts of luxurious perks, such as paid daily allowances on peace talks. It draws on the case of the Burundian peace processes held in Arusha, Tanzania and the Seventh Round of the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks held in Abuja, Nigeria to show that perks can unintentionally prolong peace talks. Perks bestowed on delegates to the talks seduced the conflicting parties away from whatever interest they might have had in actually reaching an agreement. For some, living free of charge in five-star hotels and receiving the equivalent of five months’ pay in one week of per diems made continued talks more attractive than achieving peace. Many of the feuding parties found the perks of greater value for their effort – or rather, lack thereof – and they shared an incentive to keep the talks going.
This article explores the working relationship between the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in mediating conflicts in West Africa and the Sahel regions. We argue that through the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), the UN, ECOWAS and the AU are working on mediation efforts to transcend traditional conceptualizations of the relationship between the world body and regional organizations. We show that the partnership is grounded on the logic of subsidiarity, informality, elite networks, technical competence, soft skills, and robust social trust. For heuristic purposes, we call the six principles the Chambas Formula, with reference to the centrality of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the emergence and consistent application of the principles in the mediation setting in West Africa and the Sahel regions.