During the Eleventh Extraordinary Session held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 17-18 November 2018, the AU Assembly rationalised and established six (6) portfolios, among which Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) was created as a merger of two separate departments namely (i) Political Affairs and (ii) Peace and Security.

The new department focuses on one of the four key priorities of the African Union, in particular, (i) political affairs, (ii) peace and security, (iii) economic integration and (iv) Africa's global representation and voice.
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PAPS’ mandate has been developed from the larger Pan-African vision of the AU as defined in the aspirations of Agenda 2063: Aspiration 3 envisions "an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law“ while Aspiration 4 envisions "a peaceful and secure Africa".
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The mandate of this portfolio is to contribute to the efforts of Member States and Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) towards the prevention, resolution and management of conflict and disruptive crises. In line with the principles of the Constitutive Act, the new Department shall promote peace and stability, good governance, democracy and human rights as a foundation for inclusion, security and the development of the continent and its people.
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The core functions of the Department include:
• Continuous monitoring of Africa’s political, peace and security trends
• Timely assessment, analysis & reporting on political, peace & security trends through early warning systems
• Support conflict prevention through the development and dissemination of legal and policy frameworks on governance, political, peace and security issues
• Capacity building and training on relevant political, peace and security issues involving participants of Member States and RECs/RMs
• Co-ordinate the development of Common African Positions (CAP) on relevant political, peace & security issues as well as the provision of technical support/assistance
• Ensuring complementarity and synergy in the implementation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) &  the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
• Support conflict management efforts, including peace- support operations as well as mediation and dialogue interventions
• Support post-conflict reconstruction and development policy and strategy development