The African Private Security Governance Observatory (Observatory) held its Annual Conference from 8th to 9th October 2018 at the Golden Tulip Westlands Hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya under the theme: “Promoting oversight and accountability of the private security sector in Africa.” The conference was hosted by the Usalama Reforms Forum, a local partner member of the Observatory, and coordinated by the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF).
This was the Observatory’s first Annual Conference and brought together its vast network of civil society organisations (CSOs) from both the Anglophone and Francophone Observatories. Approximately 50 participants deliberated on challenges and opportunities in the private security sector, reflected on the Observatory’s activities in 2018 and national initiatives within its framework, discussed various tools and available capacity building opportunities, and considered current structures and governance processes in each section of the Observatory, and planned for the upcoming year.
Representatives of the Anglophone and Francophone Steering Committees presented experiences from their regions and the status of their governance structures. An overview on the perspectives of the tools developed within the Observatory along with international initiatives such as the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, the Montreux Documents and the Voluntary Principles was provided to demonstrate how civil society can benefit from these documents.
The Conference underscored the engagement and commitment of members to improving security. The Conference further highlighted the need to conduct awareness campaigns and capacity building exercises through training and training of the trainer (ToT) programmes for sustainability and improving communication among the membership. During the closing of the event, the importance of maintaining a spirit of constructive engagement was stressed.