|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
210th Meeting (PM)
IF AFRICAN UNION EXPECTED TO ASSUME LARGER SHARE OF PEACEKEEPING, WORLD COMMUNITY
MUST HELP REGIONAL PARTNER FINANCIALLY, MATERIALLY, SPECIAL COMMITTEE TOLD
Head of Panel on Support for African Union Peacekeeping Briefs;
Says Report ‘First Step’ in Broader Effort, Recommendations Need Detailed Follow-Up
If the African Union was to take on an even larger share of the continent’s peacekeeping activities, the international community must help the United Nations evolving regional partner secure the financial and material resources to support future short-term deployments and boost its capabilities for the long term, former Italian premier Romano Prodi told the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations today.
Mr. Prodi, head of the United Nations-African Union Panel on modalities for support to African Union peacekeeping operations, said conflict prevention was equally vital to Africa’s long-term stability and development. The panel had, therefore, taken a broader than usual view of “peacekeeping”, one which aimed to enhance the African Union’s response capacities, as well as help African nations to promote continent-wide dialogue and better organize themselves to work towards sustainable solutions.
Briefing the Special Committee following an earlier address to the Security Council, Mr. Prodi said the panel’s report had stressed, among other things, that funding mechanisms to support capacity-building in the African Union should be focused at the continental level and that United Nations assessed contributions to Security Council-mandated African Union operations should be on a “case-by-case basis”. Further, the panel recommended that after limited a time ‑‑ perhaps 6 months ‑‑ such operations should be transferred to the United Nations.
“We see the panel as a significant step forward,” he said, noting, however, that it was a “first step” in a broader effort to bolster the ability of the African Union to respond to crisis more quickly; build up sustainable peacekeeping capacity, and make sure the African Union could contribute to “the wider concept of collective approach to peace and security”. Enhancing the United Nations-African Union strategic relationship would create a “shared vision” for peace operations in Africa, he added.
He went on to say that, since the six-member panel had issued its report this past December, many diplomats and Heads of State and Government had responded positively. At the same time, such a warm reception did not necessarily mean “positive engagement”, especially since foreign ministers were always likely to be more receptive than ministers of finance.
That brought Mr. Prodi to the critical issue of financing. The panel had recommended that long-term capacity-building be financed by a multi-donor trust fund governed by an 11-member board made up of perhaps five African Union representatives, five main donors, and one Secretariat official, so as to be “broadly representative”.
Overall, he said that, while ownership of the process must belong to Africa, all Member States must be committed to supporting the process. He called for renewed political will from, among others, the European Union, United States, China, Russian Federation, Brazil and India. Peace in Africa affected not only Africa’s future, but the future of all. Finally, he stressed that the process would require detailed follow-up to assess both the practicality and implications of the recommendations.
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