|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6092nd Meeting (AM & PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL UNDERSCORES IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORTING AFRICAN UNION’S
EFFORTS TO IMPROVE REGIONAL PEACEKEEPING CAPACITY
Members Hear Briefings, Joint Panel’s Recommendations in Day-long Meeting
Following a day-long debate on modalities to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union in matters of peace and security, the Security Council today welcomed the regional body’s continuing important efforts to settle conflicts on the continent, and underscored the importance of supporting and improving, in a sustained way, its capacity in that regard.
According to a presidential statement read out by Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham ( Libya), Council President for March, the Council noted with interest the report of the African Union-United Nations Panel established pursuant to Council resolution 1809 of 16 April 2008 to consider the modalities of supporting peacekeeping operations established under a United Nations mandate.
In that regard, the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit a report, no later than 18 September 2009, on practical ways to provide effective support for the African Union when it undertook peacekeeping operations authorized by the United Nations. Such a report would include a detailed assessment of the recommendations contained in the Panel’s report, in particular those on financing, and on the establishment of a joint African Union-United Nations team to examine how best to implement those recommendations.
Further by that presidential statement (document S/PRST/2009/3), the Council emphasized the importance of establishing more effective strategic relationships between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, and between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission. It called on the Secretariat and the Commission to collaborate further on issues of mutual interest, including by developing a list of the military, technical, logistic and administrative capacities that needed developing; by supporting regular follow-up missions, experience sharing and staff exchanges; and in the financial and logistical areas.
At the outset of today’s debate, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said many of the challenges facing the African Union resulted from difficulties in securing the necessary resources to support the deployment of peacekeeping operations. The Panel’s recommendations had far-reaching implications and would require detailed analysis. Its proposal on assessed contributions in particular must be considered by the requisite United Nations legislative bodies and processes.
He said the development of the African peace and security architecture was crucial to an effective long-term approach to conflict prevention and resolution. It would require the international community’s sustained support, including that of the European Union and many bilateral partnerships. The strategic relationship between the United Nations and the African Union was at the heart of that evolving framework and had the potential to affect millions of people in Africa.
Introducing the Panel’s findings, Romano Prodi ( Italy), its Chairman, said: “The responsibility of regional actors to address issues of peace and security in their own regions is indisputable,” stressing that, if the African Union was to play its full part, it must have the means to support future short-term deployments and the capacity to develop capabilities for the long term.
He said improved coordination must be supported by the institutional capacity that would increase African ownership of the process. Peace on the continent could not be achieved through military force alone, and there was a need to develop capacity across a wide range of activities, such as intelligence, early warning, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction. Hence the need for a “shared vision”, the implementation of which, however, required partnership underpinned by credible capability, which in turn required resources. The Panel had therefore recommended that United Nations legislative bodies approve the use of assessed contributions.
Regarding long-term capacity-building, he said the Panel had recommended the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund with its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The support of African Union member States was as critical as the material support of United Nations Member States. While ownership must belong to Africa, all Member States must be committed to supporting the process.
Speaking on behalf of the African Union, Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security, said the future of peacekeeping and international security required boldness and creativity, a heightened level of realization, the harmonization of global and regional efforts and cohesiveness. Financing for African peacekeeping must be viewed as a shared responsibility.
Speakers in the ensuing debate agreed on the need to enhance cooperation between the world body and the regional organization under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, voiced support for most of the Panel’s recommendations, including the one concerning the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund based on voluntary contributions to enhance the African Union’s long-term capacity in the areas of peace and security. They stressed that Africa’s peace and security architecture not only included peacekeeping operations, but also conflict prevention, early-warning mechanisms and peacebuilding and reconstruction. Many speakers underlined that, without peace and security, social and economic development would be impossible, and that the root causes of conflicts must be addressed, as well.
However, there were divergent views regarding the proposal to finance United Nations-mandated African Union peacekeeping missions from assessed contributions, with most delegates preferring to wait for the Secretary-General’s assessment, to be included in his upcoming report. They stressed that the proposal also needed to be taken up by the General Assembly, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).
Norway’s representative said that support through assessed contributions should be provided on a case-by-case basis, adding that the Council’s green light to use assessed contributions in financing a logistics support package for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) could be an interesting test case. It was also necessary to develop the African Union’s institutional financial management structures in order to ensure its ownership and accountability.
Benin’s representative said that African Union peacekeeping operations mandated by the world body should turn into United Nations operations after six months. Financing by assessments would then be fully justified.
Several speakers cautioned against the use of assessed contributions, with Japan’s representative pointing out that Security Council authorization for regional peacekeeping operations did not automatically qualify for financial support by the United Nations. Practical, legal, administrative and financial aspects should be clarified in order to determine what support might be available. Article 17 of the Charter clearly stated that only the expenses of the Organization itself should be borne by Member States through assessed contributions. It would be important to examine how to ensure accountability and transparency.
France’s representative said that, while predictable and sustainable financing for African Union peacekeeping operations must be found, assessed contributions were not the solution. A promising avenue would be the establishment of a global comprehensive trust fund financed by voluntary contributions and designed to attract additional resources.
Eduardo Aho-Glele, Chairperson of the African Union Peace and Security Council, said there were situations in which the United Nations Security Council had not responded to appeals by its regional counterpart. Last year, the Peace and Security Council had called on the Security Council to defer the International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant against the President of Sudan, but the latter had not yet reacted to that request, and the Court’s inappropriate action endangered peace and security in Sudan.
The Council also heard a statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa.
Also speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Uganda, United States, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Austria, Turkey, Mexico, Costa Rica, China, Viet Nam, United Kingdom, Libya, Cuba (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Brazil, Czech Republic (on behalf of the European Union), Italy, Egypt, Canada, Congo, Algeria, Kenya, Nigeria, Argentina, Australia and Bangladesh.
The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and suspended at 1:10 p.m. Resuming at 3:15 p.m. it ended at 5 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2009/3 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reiterates its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and recalls that cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in matters relating to the maintenance of peace and security and consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, can improve collective security.
“The Security Council recalls its previous relevant resolutions and statements which underscore the importance of developing effective partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the relevant statutes of the regional organizations, in particular the African Union.
“The Security Council welcomes the continuing important efforts of the African Union to settle conflicts in the African continent, and expresses its support for peace initiatives conducted by the African Union.
“The Security Council reaffirms its resolution 1809 (2008) which recognizes the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations when they undertake peacekeeping under a United Nations mandate.
“The Security Council recognizes that regional organizations have the responsibility to secure human, financial, logistical and other resources for their organizations.
“The Council underscores the importance of supporting and improving, in a sustained way, the capacity of the African Union, and welcomes recent developments regarding cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and international partners, including the enhancement of the African Union capacities.
“The Security Council welcomes the efforts of the African Union-United Nations panel in producing a report on modalities to support African Union peacekeeping operations (document A/63/666–S/2008/813). The Security Council notes with interest the Panel’s report.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to submit a report, no later than 18 September 2009, on practical ways to provide effective support for the African Union when it undertakes peacekeeping operations authorized by the United Nations, that includes a detailed assessment of the recommendations contained in the report of the African Union-United Nations Panel, in particular those on financing, as well as on the establishment of a joint African Union-United Nations team.
“The Security Council further requests the Secretary-General to take into account in his report the lessons learned from past and current African Union peacekeeping efforts, in particular the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the efforts to provide a logistical support package for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the establishment of a trust fund called for by Security Council resolution 1863 (2009).
“The Security Council underlines the importance of implementing the 10-year capacity-building programme for the African Union on peace and security, in particular the operationalization of the African Union Standby Force and the continental early warning system. The Council stresses its support for ongoing efforts to strengthen the African peace and security architecture and reiterates its call for the international community, particularly donors, to fulfil their commitments in the 2005 World Summit Outcome document.
“The Security Council emphasizes the importance of establishing more effective strategic relationships between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council and between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission, and encourages further joint efforts in this direction focusing on issues of mutual interests. The Security Council calls on the Secretariat and the African Union Commission to further collaborate on issues of mutual interests, including through developing a list of the military, technical, logistic and administrative capacities that need developing, supporting regular follow-up missions, experience sharing, staff exchanges and in financial and logistical areas.
“The Security Council expresses its intention to further consider this issue following the report of the Secretary-General.”
Security Council members had before them a letter dated 24 December 2008 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council (document A/63/666-S/2008/813), transmitting the report of the African Union-United Nations Panel established pursuant to Council resolution 1809 of 16 April 2008 (see Press Release SC/9301) to consider the modalities of supporting peacekeeping operations established under a United Nations mandate. The Panel, chaired by Romano Prodi ( Italy), was established on 12 September 2008 and comprises also Monica Juma ( Kenya), James Dobbins ( United States), Jean-Pierre Halbwachs ( Mauritius), Toshiyuki Niwa ( Japan) and Behrooz Sadry ( Iran).
The Panel emphasizes that establishing a more effective strategic relationship between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, as well as between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission, is fundamental to long-term success. A shared strategic vision is essential for the regional organization’s ability to provide a rapid response and the world body’s capacity for sustained operations, and will reduce duplication of effort. The Panel recommends the establishment of a joint strategic assessment.
Although a good relationship already exists in many areas between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission, those areas often relate to specific issues, according to the report. The Panel therefore recommends the establishment of a more formalized process along the lines of the United Nations-European Union Steering Committee, and the pursuit of staff exchanges, particularly in the financial and logistical areas.
Given that Africa has the greatest need for peacekeeping yet faces the biggest challenges in matching its willingness to act with the resources needed, the Panel states, it makes sense for the international community to establish arrangements to support peacekeeping in Africa without setting precedents for other regions. The need to develop institutional capacity commensurate with the demands placed upon the African Union is crucial to the ability to implement the African peace and security architecture. There is also a need for appropriate training to support the development of the African Standby Force.
Regarding financing, the Panel recommends that funding mechanisms to support capacity-building should be focused at the continental level, and that the requirements of the African Union subregions and member States should be met through bilateral and multilateral arrangements. It also recommends the establishment of two new financial mechanisms, the first based on voluntary funding and focused on capacity-building, and the second based on United Nations-assessed funding and designed to support specific peacekeeping operations on a case-by-case basis to support Security Council-authorized African Union peacekeeping operations for a period up to six months. Another recommendation calls for the African Union to establish its own system of financial contributions to support peacekeeping operations through assessed contributions and gradually augment the African Union Peace Fund. A joint United Nations-African Union team should be established to examine detailed modalities in support of the recommendations made.
ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM ( Libya), President of the Security Council, opened the meeting by saying that the debate would focus on strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, including the African Union, in order to address the issue of peace and security, which was of concern to all regional bodies. Wherever disputes arose, they had severe consequences for human suffering and internally displaced persons. In Africa, they imposed grave responsibilities on the African Union, which continued to seek ways to strengthen its capabilities to maintain peace and security.
It was important to promote cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations, particularly since most United Nations peacekeeping operations were in Africa, he said. It was also necessary to respond rapidly to crises on the continent and to provide predictable and strengthened capacity for the African Union. Today’s meeting was a follow-up to the 16 April 2008 Council debate that had seen the adoption of resolution 1809, recognizing the need for predictable financial resources in United Nations peacekeeping. That resolution also welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to set up a joint African Union-United Nations Panel, comprising prominent personalities, to make recommendations in support of peacekeeping. Established in September 2008, the Panel had provided the Council with its report.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the Panel’s report on the modalities for support to African Union peacekeeping operations presented several ideas on strengthening that partnership, with a view to improving the collective response in addressing conflicts in Africa. The Secretariat was encouraged by the progress made in cooperative endeavours with the African Union Commission towards achieving peace and security in Darfur and Somalia. The lessons learned from those endeavours would strengthen cooperative work in the future.
The African Union continued to develop its peacekeeping capacity and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was supporting those efforts with a dedicated capacity and through specific programmes, he continued. The Panel’s report outlined significant remaining challenges and made various recommendations in that context, drawing on lessons of the past while looking to an enhanced relationship in the future.
Central to that analysis was the strategic relationship between the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, which was supported by the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission, he said. Both relationships had been expanded, but had yet to develop the responsiveness needed to prevent conflicts rather than just responding to crises. The Department of Political Affairs had instituted a series of desk-to-desk meetings with African Union counterparts, which should be built upon in order quickly to develop a more comprehensive approach for the future.
Many of the challenges facing the African Union resulted from difficulties in securing the necessary resources to support the deployment of a peacekeeping operation and its long-term development, he said. An underresourced peacekeeping mission could imperil the initial benefits gained through deployment and raise expectations without providing the means to carry them out. In that context, the Panel had made recommendations to address issues of funding and resources. Those had far-reaching implications and would require detailed analysis, particularly in the case of assessed contributions that must be considered by the requisite United Nations legislative bodies and processes.
Notwithstanding the complexities, the report offered a first step in a process through which those issues could be examined comprehensively while allowing for the development of a more effective partnership, he said. The development of the African peace and security architecture was crucial to an effective long-term approach to conflict prevention and resolution. That required the international community’s sustained support, including that of the European Union and many bilateral partnerships. The strategic relationship between the United Nations and the African Union was at the heart of that evolving framework and had the potential to affect millions of people in Africa.
ROMANO PRODI (Italy), Chairman of the African Union-United Nations Panel on modalities for support to African Union peacekeeping operations, said that the complexities inherent in the statement “no peace means no development” were such that it was often difficult to reconcile the need for regional engagement with the capabilities available. “The responsibility of regional actors to address issues of peace and security in their own regions is indisputable.” Regional organizations, however, should not replace the United Nations, and a framework should be developed in which the collective response could ensure an appropriate answer to any given circumstance. If the African Union was to play its full part, it must have the means to support future short-term deployments and the capacity to develop capabilities for the long term.
“We are in a new era in which the scale and complexity of the challenge demands increased cooperation between all actors,” he said, adding that enormous progress had been made by the African Union and the regional economic communities. However, the African Union’s ability to respond to continental crises required significant capabilities, the development of which required the permanent support of the international community, including less traditional partners and donors. That must be done in spite of the present competition for scarce resources. “Achieving this objective requires improved coordination, new mechanisms and brand new instruments.”
Thanks to the African peace and security architecture, significant progress had been achieved in such fields as conflict prevention, deployment of peacekeeping missions and the development of long-term capacity, he said. However, the African peace and security architecture could not operate in isolation. The Panel’s report therefore emphasized the importance of establishing a “shared vision” between the United Nations and the African Union, which implied strong coordination between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. Great progress had been made in that regard, but there remained “significant room” for improvement. The two bodies must be able to work together in a more structured way. The Panel therefore recommended the creation of a mechanism through which the two organizations could exchange views on a regular basis. That could be done without creating new structures.
The improvement of coordination must be supported by the institutional capacity that would increase African ownership of the process, he stressed. Although the development of the African Standby Force caught the headlines, peace in Africa could not be achieved through military force alone. There was a need to develop capacity across a wide range of activities, such as intelligence, early warning, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction. Hence the need for a “shared vision”. The implementation of such a vision, however, required partnership underpinned by credible capability, which in turn required resources. The Panel had therefore recommended that United Nations legislative bodies approve the use of assessed contributions. Due to the wide range of different views on that proposal, it was time the Organization deepened all aspects concerning the role of the African Union in resolving peace and security issues, in coordination with the efforts of the United Nations.
The Panel’s recommendations concerning the necessity of logistic support required much closer examination, he said. “There is an opportunity to break with some of the traditional approaches of the past and take advantage of more innovative ideas that avoid the need to stockpile large quantities of equipment, something that is increasingly important in the present economic climate.” Regarding long-term capacity-building, the Panel had recommended the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund, the start-up phase of which would involve the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Its headquarters should be in Addis Ababa and the African Union would be expected to take over full responsibility in a short period of time, and thereafter have full ownership of the fund. The African Union would also be in charge of defining priorities and projects in the area of capacity-building.
He said that, in meetings with Heads of State and Government he had found a generally positive attitude towards that proposal. It was necessary to examine how the fund could work in synergy with existing mechanisms, such as the Africa Peace Facility, with support from the European Union. It was important to increase support for the African Union despite the current economic downturn. The support of African Union member States was as critical as the material support of United Nations Member States. While ownership must belong to Africa, all Member States must be committed to supporting the process. Peace in Africa affected not only Africa’s future, but the future of all.
RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, said the Prodi report accurately reflected the high quality of work built upon the experiences of peacekeeping in Africa, which paved the way for better efforts to obtain the requisite predictable financing for peacekeeping. The need to strengthen the African Union’s institutional capacities, increase its resources and stabilize peacekeeping financing was quite accurately highlighted in the report’s recommendation on strengthening operational cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations. The creation of new financing mechanisms was also necessary in order to back specific peacekeeping operations, whether through United Nations assessed funding or the creation of a multi-donor trust fund financed by voluntary contributions. That was a timely, innovative measure worthy of everyone’s attention.
For several years, the African Union had created momentum for efforts to meet the continent’s present peace and security challenges, he said. On the basis of the provisions concerning the creation of the African Union Peace and Security Council, a continental peace and security architecture had been born, but much work remained to make it fully operational. However, significant progress had been achieved, as evidenced by the setting up of a continental early-warning system and measures aimed at launching the African Standby Force in 2010.
The African Union was committed on a daily basis to prevent, manage and settle conflicts, he said, describing the challenges as “huge”. However, Africa had strong political will to face up to the difficulties through mediation and prevention in order to keep crisis from escalating into open armed conflict. African Union forces were active in that regard, as had been seen in Burundi and Sudan in the recent past and in Somalia today. Forces deployed in Burundi and Sudan were striving to keep the peace process going, which was eloquent proof of Africa’s yearning to be proactive and its desire to have other African States stand by Somalia in its ordeal. By promoting peacebuilding, the African Union was also acting on behalf of the international community, particularly the Security Council.
The report under consideration was an important step in building capacity and meeting peace and security challenges in the field, he said, highlighting the particular importance of the Panel’s recommendation on the financing of peacekeeping operations carried out by the African Union. The future of peacekeeping and international security required boldness and creativity, a heightened level of realization, harmonization of global and regional efforts and cohesiveness. The African Standby Force must be a rapid and effective tool, financing for African peacekeeping must be viewed as a shared responsibility and the Prodi report should stand as a decisive, positive step in that direction.
NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, said the need to strengthen and enhance the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations was now more important than ever before, given the increased reliance on regional organizations in addressing conflicts. Notwithstanding that need, however, the Security Council remained the main international body entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security. Council resolution 1809 (2008) recognized the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations when they undertook peacekeeping under United Nations authority.
Welcoming the “bold” recommendations of the report, in particular its recommendation relating to the use of United Nations-assessed contribution, she said that was the first important step towards addressing the most important constraint limiting Africa’s capacity to resolve conflicts. While the African Union remained committed to resolving African conflicts, that commitment was not matched by the resources at its disposal. The United Nations, particularly the Council, should augment its efforts in a concrete manner.
Since the issue of capacity-building was equally important, she said, South Africa welcomed ongoing efforts by various stakeholders to provide support to the African Union in that area, in particular those of the European Union’s Africa Peace Facility. Because the Panel’s recommendations were only an initial phase in a long-term process of developing and supporting African Union capacity, South Africa endorsed the proposed establishment of a joint African Union-United Nations team to examine detailed modalities to support the Panel’s recommendations.
IGOR N. SHCHERBAK (Russian Federation), describing the report as a significant contribution in efforts to settle African conflicts, proposed a broad selection of practical steps to bolster cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations in that regard. Priority attention should be paid to developing an African peace and security architecture and establishing the African Standby Force. The international community should give coordinated assistance to the African Union in capacity-building as part of a strategic partnership.
He said the peacekeeping efforts of the African Union and subregional organizations had contributed significantly to progress in regional stability, including through preventive deployment in “hot spots”. However, no organization could resolve the issues on its own, and cooperation with regional partners should therefore be stepped up. The provisions of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter provided a legal basis for Council-sanctioned African Union peacekeeping operations. The report’s recommendation on support from assessed contributions should be carefully analysed by both the Council and the General Assembly.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said the many conflicts that had devastated the African continent, apart from causing untold human suffering, had also aggravated poverty and created breeding grounds for new security threats, including international crime and terrorism. Many of those conflicts had escalated because of the poor and inadequate way in which they had been handled in the first place. Preventing such conflicts was critical to saving lives and reducing the cost of eventual intervention.
It was significant that, in the last decade, Africa had shown great resolve and stronger political will to end its conflicts, he said. The unprecedented decision by African Union leaders, at their Durban Summit in 2002, to give the regional body a clear mandate in conflict resolution was remarkable. Going a step further in 2004, the African leaders had set up the Peace and Security Council, modelled on the United Nations Security Council, with the specific task of resolving conflicts throughout the continent.
Since the creation of that organ, he said, the African Union had developed its own capacity to respond to crises, as evidenced in the Comoros, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Burundi. Also, the regional body had demonstrated African ownership through its contribution in terms of troops and logistics, as well as its political management of conflicts and finances, according to its capacity. For those reasons, there was a need for clarity in the relationship between the United Nations and the African Union -- specifically between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council, and the Secretariat and the Commission, as the basis for a more effective partnership on peace and security.
SUSAN RICE ( United States) said her country steadfastly supported the further deepening of cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations in peace and security, and looked forward to further efforts to ensure that both organizations worked together in drawing on their own unique strengths. In the past, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had helped to end conflicts and protect civilians. The question today was how best to build upon that. Africa’s needs were great and the United States saluted African countries that had contributed troops, while recognizing the courage of the forces deployed in Darfur, where the situation was so risky, as illustrated by this week’s loss of life. The United States also acknowledged the Governments of Uganda and Burundi for their support of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
She said the Prodi report suggested several steps forward: working together to enhance the African Union Commission’s capacity to plan, manage and sustain peacekeeping capacity in the field; encouraging the African Union and the United Nations to share the burden of planning operations; and better coordinating joint missions. The African Union should also have increased capacity for conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict peacebuilding and stabilization. The Panel recommended the creation of a trust fund to coordinate donor assistance as part of an ongoing project for stronger African peacekeeping.
Encouraging donors to give money through a trust fund or bilateral programmes, she cautioned that peacekeeping in Africa could be undermined by a lack of funding and it was therefore necessary to seek ways to do a better job in the future. The United States had taken a role in that regard, starting with the creation of the African Crisis Response Initiative in the 1990s, in addition to training and supporting troops in Sierra Leone. Since 2005, the United States had trained thousands of peacekeeping troops in more than 20 countries and, through the $7 million global peace operations initiative programme, provided funding and advisory and technical assistance to help ECOWAS build up peacekeeping.
MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said that, despite Africa’s commitment to safeguard peace, its actions remained restricted to independent peacekeeping missions, while conflict situations required multilaterally supported missions. While the Security Council bore the principal responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, the complexity of conflicts required a collective response. The African Union and subregional organizations must act together. The lessons learned illustrated the political commitment of such responsibility, but also showed the difficulty of supporting long-term missions.
However, that handicap was not insurmountable, he said, stressing the importance of real political resolve. Since regional and subregional organizations could be considered decentralized, within the framework of peacekeeping, it was necessary to consider how to enhance them, in addition to giving the necessary support to the African peace and security architecture and the African Standby Force so they could respond to urgent conflict situations.
He said the African Union and the United Nations must act in partnership to prevent and mediate conflicts. They should also take advantage of the work of subregional and regional organizations in order to prevent peacekeeping expenditures from getting out of hand. It was necessary to pursue effective partnerships and to enhance the regional mediation and conflict-settlement capacities, in line with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.
NEVEN JURICA ( Croatia), while recognizing the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security, said that global task could be more effectively implemented with cooperation at the regional and subregional levels. The African Union was set to build a more permanent architecture to confront the continent’s challenges and achieve peace and stability. The question was how to maximize the organization’s competitive advantages.
Noting that any true partnership must have a common vision based on realistic goals, he said the strengthening of ties between United Nations and African Union structures seemed a good step in that regard. The concept of conflict prevention should be strengthened, and the African Union had already created its own preventive mechanisms. Capacity-building was a way to enhance the organization’s effectiveness in conflict prevention, management and resolution. Croatia supported the establishment of a voluntary fund in that regard, and called for viable ways to be found to fund United Nations-mandated African Union peacekeeping missions.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING ( Austria) said that, given the shortage of operational resources at the United Nations, there was a need to find ways to enhance cooperation with regional organizations. United Nations peacekeeping had changed over the years and must be updated. Strengthening the capacities of the African Union was essential in enabling the regional body to take on the burden of peacekeeping. The Panel had recommended the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund that could develop synergies among donors, but African ownership should be the guiding principle, with the European Union’s Africa Peace Facility serving as an example.
The Panel had also outlined the possibility of assessed contributions to United Nations-mandated peacekeeping operations of the African Union, he said. All possible options to support the African Union-led peacekeeping missions under United Nations mandate must be discussed. A “one-size-fits-all” solution, however, would not be effective, as every case might require different support packages. Austria looked forward to the Secretary-General’s assessment of the various options to support African peacekeeping. It would also welcome proposals on transparency. Cross-cutting issues such as protection of civilians should also be an integral part of the approach.
BAKI İLKIN ( Turkey) said that, while there was no doubt about the responsibility of the United Nations for effective peacekeeping and leading efforts for the maintenance of international peace and security, many of its peacekeeping missions worldwide faced human, material and financial constraints. The ever-growing demand for peacekeeping, coupled with increasingly robust and demanding mandates, implied that those constraints would persist. The Organization must enhance its peacekeeping capabilities by creating new coalitions and partnerships.
Expressing support for more effective arrangements between the United Nations and regional organizations, he concurred with the basic findings of the Prodi report and the thrust of its recommendations. Turkey particularly supported the Panel’s visionary recommendations aimed not only at developing a more effective partnership between the United Nations and the African Union on peacekeeping, but on conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. It also supported the enhancement of African peacekeeping capabilities. Predictable and sustainable funding in support of the African Union’s peacekeeping efforts was necessary for their success, and the Panel’s recommendations on funding merited due and in-depth consideration. Hopefully, a joint United Nations-African Union team could soon be set up to examine the report’s recommendations and how best to implement them.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said internal conflicts generally had regional consequences and it was important to design strategies focusing on regional coordination to ensure compliance with international law, the peaceful resolution of disputes, respect for human rights and upholding of the rule of law. Cooperation with regional organizations was particularly important and fruitful, a point that must not be overlooked. Different organizations served different purposes in each region of the world. To build and maintain peace in Africa, it would be necessary to find solutions to conflicts, as well as to promote economic development and institution-building, respect for human rights and conflict prevention.
The United Nations and the African Union unquestionably had a shared responsibility to achieve those objectives, he said. To achieve that, they must build on the experiences of United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa. They must have a common strategic vision, clear and viable mandates and ensure coordination with United Nations specialized agencies and programmes in the field, as well as with regional and subregional organizations. The link between the African Union and the Council could be strengthened through better information and periodic reports on regional peace operations. Mexico supported mechanisms to strengthen the African Union’s capacity-building so it could take timely action to attack the causes of conflict and achieve long-term peace.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) concurred with the need to reinforce practical cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter, recognizing that the Security Council bore primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. In particular, when peacekeeping operations led by regional organizations were considered for transfer to a United Nations mandate, consultations, coordination and information sharing should start at the earliest possible stage. Japan had promoted the enhancement of the peacekeeping capabilities of African countries, the African Union and other regional organizations. The importance of capacity-building could not be overemphasized, but African ownership was the most crucial factor for effective action.
He said one of the major constraints facing the African Union was securing predictable, sustainable and flexible resources. However, Security Council authorization for regional peacekeeping operations did not automatically qualify for financial support by the United Nations. Practical, legal, administrative and financial aspects should be clarified in order to determine what support might be available. Article 17 of the Charter clearly stated that only the expenses of the United Nations itself should be borne by Member States through assessed contributions. How to ensure accountability and transparency should also be examined. As for a trust fund based on voluntary contributions, there would be a need to examine the relationship of such a fund with existing mechanisms, as well as modalities for effective management, planning, implementation and evaluations.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said the international system of collective security could not ensure respect for international law without the effective help of regional and subregional organizations. The most important contribution of regional operations was the cooperation of all their members to providing international guarantees for the sovereignty of States. The value of their participation in the prevention and management of conflicts had been proven. They had geographical proximity and cultural affinity, as had been proven in Kosovo and Kenya, among other situations. The decision to abolish the Costa Rican army had been taken after the region had guaranteed protection. Regional bodies could also take early action as the cumbersome United Nations machinery lacked the flexibility to intervene early.
The issue was not easy, and required new forms of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, he said. The report was an important step forward on a long road of creative thinking about how to resolve new problems. Cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations should go beyond “packages of support” to enhancing the quality and quantity of communication. The Panel’s recommendation on financial cooperation was one of the most intractable areas and there were considerable differences among Member States. Costa Rica would await the Secretary-General’s recommendations in that regard. An enhanced relationship must go hand in hand with effective and flexible mechanisms that included subregional organizations.
ZHANG YESUI ( China) said the Security Council had invested an enormous amount of energy in Africa, with African issues making up 60 per cent of the Council’s agenda items. Half of all United Nations peacekeeping operations were deployed in Africa, and it was therefore in the Organization’s interest to further strengthen cooperation between the world body and the African Union. That cooperation should be built on a stable but flexible basis. The Council should give priority to and ensure a key role for the regional organization while paying more attention to African Union voices on Darfur, Sudan and Somalia. That partnership should be mutually complementary.
The African Union and the United Nations had comparative advantages in addressing hot spot issues in Africa, he continued. China supported more reliable means and funding for African Union peacekeeping operations to ensure predictability. It was hard for the African Union to play its role fully due to logistical and financial constraints. China supported enhancing the regional body by scaling up personnel, institutional training and logistical support in order to implement the United Nations 10-year capacity-building programme for the African Union. It encouraged donors to make a similar commitment since United Nations peacekeeping was grappling with overexpansion, low efficiency and inadequate resources.
LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam), emphasizing the need to enhance the partnership between the world and regional bodies, said the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the creation of a peacekeeping mission to follow up AMISOM showed the necessity and viability of their cooperation. Viet Nam strongly supported the objectives of the Council and the African Union to enhance regional organizations operating under a United Nations mandate. Recent developments in African conflict areas showed that much work remained before peace and stability could be achieved on the continent. It was necessary to enhance the African Union’s ability to carry out peacekeeping mandates.
Noting that peacekeeping operations in Africa accounted for 75 per cent of United Nations peace operation worldwide, and that 40 per cent of peacekeepers were from African troop-contributing countries, he called for the enhancement of the principles of African ownership. Capacity-building, logistical assistance, funding and regional responsibility must also be enhanced. In defining shared peacekeeping responsibilities, the perception that the United Nations was subverting the African Union should be avoided and overlap prevented. The root causes of conflicts in Africa -- including political and social injustices and human rights violations -- must be tackled in a coherent, comprehensive manner.
JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said there had been a rapid growth in the scale and number of United Nations peacekeeping missions while regional and subregional organizations had played an increasing role. The African Union had done most in that regard, as demonstrated by its crucial role in mediation efforts following the post-election violence in Kenya. Many African countries, such as Sudan, faced problems of governance and lack of respect for national and international law. The African Union deserved support in addressing those problems. The United Nations-African Union strategic partnership was an important contribution to improving the global peace architecture.
The United Kingdom was contributing to the development of the African Standby Force through training, among other things, and supported African missions in the field, he said. Council resolution 1809 (2008) stressed the need to develop effective partnerships and there was a need to enhance the relationship between the African Union and United Nations. Funding was an important element in that regard and a pragmatic approach was needed in order to arrive at a workable solution. A multi-donor trust fund might be a good idea and could help support an African Union rapid deployment capability.
JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) recalled that President Nicolas Sarkozy had hosted a Council meeting devoted to Africa and challenges to peace and security, which had underscored the key role played by the African Union in preventing and solving crises. France and the European Union had been involved in assisting the African Union, through financial and other resources, to meet those challenges. The European Union was the foremost contributor to the African organization, helping it build the African peacebuilding architecture and providing training.
Describing the report as a stepping stone in a process, he said the Council would have to study the Panel’s recommendations on issues of organization and financing. The necessary support to the African Union must be reconciled with the general principles of the United Nations. Predictable and sustainable financing for African Union peacekeeping operations must be found, but assessed contributions were not the solution. While constraints on United Nations financing mechanisms must be borne in mind, a promising avenue was the establishment of a global comprehensive trust fund financed by voluntary contributions and designed to attract additional resources.
Council President SHALGHAM ( Libya), speaking in his national capacity, said peacekeeping challenges, especially in relation to African Union operations, must be dealt with quickly. The greatest challenge was handling the growing demand for peace operations at a time when peacekeeping was facing significant shortages of equipment and financing. Many African countries were ready to contribute troops if the requisite financing and weapons needs were met, in accordance with United Nations standards. The African Standby Force was expected to be formed by the middle of 2010 and it would be necessary to begin providing it with steady support in order to help it quickly and efficiently address crises and events arising suddenly. Africa faced many social and political ills, but the money spent to finance wars worldwide was many hundreds of times greater than the amount needed for peace and development in Africa.
Expressing disappointment that AMISOM had not been able to win sufficient support from the international community for full deployment, he noted that, despite promises, troops had not received the weapons and equipment they needed under United Nations standards. One troop-contributing country was seriously considering withdrawing from AMISOM because it could not sufficiently protect its troops. The United Nations must step in to rectify that situation. It must not fail to carry out its peacekeeping mission in Somalia when millions of Somalis were suffering from hunger and disease. It was important that Mr. Prodi remain involved in the process leading up to implementation of his Panel’s recommendations to strengthen the peacekeeping capacity of the African Union. The best way to achieve that was to carry out the terms of the report’s paragraph 90.
ABELARDO MORENO FERNÁNDEZ (Cuba), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated its support for continuing efforts to strengthen African peacekeeping capabilities, noting that the non-aligned countries currently provided more than 80 per cent of peacekeeping personnel in the field, including from African countries. In that context, the Movement emphasized the importance of implementing the Joint Action Plan for United Nations Support to African Union peacekeeping in the short, medium and long term, focusing primarily on collaboration in conflict prevention and peacekeeping, in particular assistance to the development of the African Standby Force.
He said the Non-Aligned Movement shared the view that resources should be made available to peacekeeping operations undertaken by the African Union in a sustainable and predictable manner and without undermining the value of flexibility associated with its ability to respond quickly to unfolding crises. The Movement also recognized the need to support the African Union in developing its institutional capacities, which would enable it to implement its mandate in a coordinated and appropriate manner. While primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rested with the United Nations, the role of regional arrangements should not in any way substitute the Organization’s role or circumvent the full application of the guiding principles of United Nations peacekeeping operations.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said the report was a powerful instrument with which to build a shared strategic vision, with each organization drawing from its respective advantages. African countries and regional organizations had repeatedly stepped forward to shoulder increased responsibility in peacekeeping efforts, a commendable attitude that must be met by equal disposition on the part of the United Nations. Proposals on the funding of African Union peacekeeping missions deserved thorough consideration, not only in the Council, but also in the Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). Peacekeeping missions could not be deployed into uncertain scenarios without the necessary resources.
Sustainable peace could not be achieved through the deployment of military forces alone, she stressed, adding that United Nations-African Union cooperation should also focus on sustainable development, and that the inclusion of a peacebuilding dimension in the early stages of peacekeeping was most relevant. Additionally, subregional organizations which often went the extra mile to ensure peace on behalf of the Council needed support in their efforts. Brazil currently had military and police deployed in several missions in Africa. Its contribution to support African peacekeeping focused less on financial resources and more on training and the transfer of expertise. That modality of South-South cooperation was based on a shared perspective of conflict resolution as a holistic experience resting on the three pillars of security, political reconciliation and development.
MARTIN PALOUŠ ( Czech Republic), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, expressed the regional bloc’s appreciation for recent endeavours by African regional and subregional organizations to deliver peace on the continent, the most visible demonstrations of which were AMIS, AMISOM and efforts to create the African Standby Force. The immensity of those tasks required substantial institutional and operational capacity. Among those tasks, the European Union attached high importance to the protection of civilians and the attainment of the highest standards in peacekeeping, including the principle of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse.
He said the European Union supported the idea of a multi-donor trust fund to finance long-term capacity building for the African Union. There was a need to address the specific modalities of such a fund and its relations to existing funding mechanisms, including the European Union’s Africa Peace Facility. Sustainable and predictable funding mechanisms should reflect the different scope and nature of the United Nations and its regional partners while avoiding restraints on the independence of the respective partners in their specific spheres of competence.
Describing security as a precondition for development, he said the European Union was the biggest donor of development aid to Africa. A cornerstone of the European Union-African Union partnership was the joint Africa-European Union Strategy, agreed in 2007, which was accompanied by an ambitious and concrete three-year action plan for the period until 2010. It focused on important objectives ranging from security to democratic governance, human rights and development.
He said the European Union’s Africa Peace Facility represented a major source of predictable, sustainable and flexible funding for African-led peace support operations, and for building the required capacity to plan, lead and manage operations. The European Union had allocated €300 million to the Facility for the next three years, which would allow for the funding of African-led mediation efforts and post-conflict stabilization activities. That support package was reinforced with a further €200 million for peace and security activities and missions of African subregional organizations.
EDUARDO AHO-GLELE, Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, stressed the importance of regional arrangements as a basis of partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, and thanked the Secretary-General for his initiative to establish the Panel to support African Union peacekeeping operations. The Panel’s report would make it possible to take the correct decisions. While not wanting to act as an advocate, the Peace and Security Council wished to encourage the Security Council to take responsibility for a series of necessary decisions as part of its responsibility regarding the maintenance of international peace and security.
While welcoming the good relationship between the two bodies, he said there were situations in which the Security Council had not responded to appeals by the Peace and Security Council. Last year, the Peace and Security Council had called on the Security Council to defer the International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant against the President of Sudan, but the Security Council had not yet reacted to that request. The Court’s inappropriate action endangered peace and security in Sudan. The Security Council should listen more carefully to African concerns.
GIULIO TERZI ( Italy) said his country ranked first among European Union countries in terms of troop contributions to United Nations peacekeeping and sixth in terms of contributions to the peacekeeping budget. The Prodi report was well focused, balanced and rich in practical recommendations and proposals. Its main political objective was a clear, defined strategy for improved cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations, a vision that implied much closer interaction between the two organizations.
Regional actors, namely the African Union, had a better knowledge of internal dynamics in their regions and greater legitimacy with local Governments and the public, he said. About 70 per cent of United Nations peacekeepers and 73 per cent of the United Nations peacekeeping budget went to Africa. The regional dimension was therefore a key to ensuring effective and coherent responses to peace and security challenges. Regional ownership meant a common vision and shared responsibility. In the spirit of the Africa-European Union Strategy, the African Union’s empowerment in managing regional crises must be upheld.
He stressed the need to enhance the regional dimension in a reformed Security Council which would have a larger crisis-management role for Member States of a given region. The Prodi report rightly referred to the principle of cooperation among the United Nations and regional, subregional and other international organizations to maintain peace and security, while underscoring the United Nations-European Union structured relationships, such as the United Nations-European Union Steering Committee, as an effective model for the African Union.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) highlighted the importance of enhancing and developing the African Union’s institutional capacity, thereby increasing its ability to respond to crises and promoting a sustainable African capacity that would contribute to the continent’s long-term stability. The development of such capacity must be done within a framework that complemented the Security Council’s role with respect to its responsibility to maintain international peace and security under the Charter.
He said there was a need to establish a strategic and more effective relationship between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, and between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission in order to achieve long-term success and ensure a shared vision of how to address Africa’s peacekeeping activities. Such a vision would enhance the regional organization’s ability to provide rapid response and invigorate the world body’s capacity to sustain operations.
There was also a need to enhance and expand areas of common interest between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission, particularly in peacekeeping, with the United Nations-European Union Steering Committee serving as a model. For its own part, Egypt supported training programmes designed to develop African capacities in the peacekeeping field, including support to regional training centres in Africa. Egypt backed the recommendation to establish two new financing mechanisms, as well as the proposed establishment of a multi-donor trust fund to support African Union capacities to prevent and settle conflicts.
HEIDI HULAN ( Canada) said it had become increasingly clear that ad hoc donor funding for African Union missions were not sufficient and lacked the required predictability and accountability. There was a need for improvements and a more comprehensive approach to the provision of support to African-led operations if effectiveness and efficiency were to be improved. The Panel’s report opened the door to some possibilities which required more study. Further consideration should also be given to the complexity of transition planning. Canada supported the development of an effective strategic United Nations-African Union relationship, particularly between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council, which should be strengthened.
She said her country took note of the new ideas stated in the report regarding mechanisms to address sustainable funding for both operational and capacity-building activities. While the African Union was stretched to respond to crises across the continent, the need for overall organizational capacity-building efforts could not be forgotten. The cost of United Nations peacekeeping had tripled over recent years. While supportive of mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations in Africa, one should be conscious of the overall costs of United Nations operations. In that regard she urged that all missions be reviewed regularly to identify areas of success where United Nations presence might be reduced in order to preserve global capacity to respond to new and urgent crises.
RAYMOND SERGE BALÉ ( Congo) noted that Africa found itself once again on the Council agenda while peace and security on the continent remained a major challenge. Through African Union actions, however, some progress had been achieved. Peace and security were the preconditions for any economic development and the African Union therefore endeavoured to construct a peace and security architecture, including rapid deployment mechanisms. However, its commitment to peace and security collided with a dearth of resources. Congo called upon the United Nations to set up the architecture for African Union peacekeeping, including funding for subregional organizations.
The challenges Africa was called upon to meet must lead to more dynamic and coordinated cooperation with the United Nations, he said. Such cooperation must focus on strengthening complementary efforts in prevention and peacebuilding. The recommendations contained in the Panel’s report lit the path towards peacebuilding mechanisms. The process was in its infancy and merited follow-up through in-depth analysis of the recommendations to ensure that the African Union would have predictable and sufficient resources to carry out its peace and security tasks.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) lauded the Prodi report for focusing on the need to strengthen the relationship between the African Union and the United Nations on an equal, harmonized basis by making the most of each organization’s comparative advantage. It was necessary for Africa to take ownership of its future, and Algeria paid tribute to South Africa’s initiative of April 2008, which had led to the Panel, its recommendations and today’s debate. The African Union had invested considerable resources to ensure peace and security in the region, but it lacked sufficient resources to respond to crises and increase development at the same time.
Welcoming the Panel’s recommendations for financing mechanisms, he noted that most delegates had spoken of the need for predictable, sustainable financing. The report also stressed the need for Africa to move from being a beneficiary of assistance to being a full-scale actor on the peacekeeping stage. It identified areas in which United Nations assistance was needed and the need, at the same time, for support from other international actors. It was a complex undertaking to put the United Nations in charge of financing and administrative decisions, but transferring them to an African context risked placing the African Union at a negative comparative advantage, limiting its ability to respond quickly to crisis situations. Algeria supported the creation of a joint African Union-United Nations team to examine the recommendations of the Prodi report.
ZACHARY D. MUBURI MUITA ( Kenya) said new threats emanating in the shift from inter-State to intra-State affairs had changed the nature and character of the security framework. The causes and consequences of instability in Africa were linked to global developments and the international community must have a commensurate response to the continent’s crises. In the past, support had often been delayed and insufficient. Initiatives to contain threats to peace and security must be diverse and promote long-term development and security, build the early-warning capacity of African institutions and enhance their ability to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts.
Voicing firm support for the multilateral approach to conflict resolution, he reiterated his unflagging commitment to support for regional and subregional organizations. The Peacebuilding Commission’s efforts to mobilize international resources served to enhance integrated strategies for post-conflict recovery and supplement regional efforts, and had resulted in meaningful peace. Still, concrete steps were needed to address the root causes of conflicts and to install mechanisms to prevent their recurrence. Kenya urged greater Security Council involvement in efforts to resolve the conflict in Somalia, particularly by deploying United Nations troops in that country. Kenya had offered to train Somalia’s young men and women to join the core of their country’s security structures, to provide institutional facilities, instructors and a detailed training curriculum.
MORTEN WETLAND ( Norway) said the African Union had a commendable record on mediation, crisis management and peacekeeping, but it was challenging to sustain such work over time, which was why the international community must assist by providing funding, logistics, equipment and other means. Norway supported the proposal to create a multi-donor trust fund to finance long-term capacity-building, as well as a mutually agreed and standardized system of reporting on that. Such a fund could encourage greater support and better coordination of donor contributions. However, it was necessary to differentiate between projects that qualified as official development assistance (ODA) and those that did not. That could be done by creating a separate window in the trust fund for ODA funding of non-military and civilian purposes.
Turning to the Panel’s recommendations on the use of assessed contributions in support of United Nations-authorized African Union peace operations, he said such support should be given on a case-by-case basis. The Council’s green light to use assessed contributions to finance a logistics support package for AMISOM could be an interesting test case. It was also necessary to develop the African Union’s institutional structures for financial management in order to ensure African Union ownership and accountability. Norway supported the proposal to set up a joint United Nations-African Union team to examine detailed modalities to support the Panel’s recommendations. One of the first tasks of such a team should be to define the strategic relationship between the two organizations. Regional organizations also had an important role in augmenting Africa’s peacekeeping capacity and the African peace and security architecture. When regional organizations acted in crisis situations under Chapter VIII of the Charter, their efforts should be mandated and coordinated by the Council.
BUKUN-OLU ONEMOLA ( Nigeria) said Africa had assumed its responsibility in peacekeeping operations with utmost seriousness, recognizing that peace and stability were precursors of social and economic development. The African Union had engaged in several missions involving protection of humanitarian aid, disarming of factions, cantonment, mediation and peace enforcement. It had also undertaken capacity-building and election monitoring in various countries. For Africa to continually undertake those responsibilities effectively and efficiently, it needed robust support for its existing peace and security architecture, as well as sustainable, flexible and predictable funding of peacekeeping operations.
Expressing support for the Panel’s recommendations, he said they constituted a concrete basis for immediate action and a foundation for the future. The use of assessed funding to support United Nations-authorized African Union peacekeeping operations and the establishment of a voluntarily funded multi-donor trust fund had been canvassed for a long time as a panacea for the lingering problems of peacekeeping in Africa. Proposals for capacity-building, development of the African Union’s logistics capacity and the establishment of a joint United Nations-African Union team to examine implementation of the Panel’s proposals were needed to revitalize the organization’s capacity to implement peace and security on the continent. Nigeria urged the Security Council to take up the responsibility and challenge of implementing the report within a reasonable period.
JEAN-FRANCIS R. ZINSOU (Benin) said the report was in line with the efforts his country had made during its term on the Council in 2004-2005 to focus international attention on the need to strengthen cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations, which had resulted in the adoption of resolution 1625 (2005). Benin, currently the President of the African Union Peace and Security Council, shared assessments of the report as a realistic approach to mandating African Union peacekeeping under Chapter VIII of the Charter. United Nations-mandated African Union peacekeeping operations should change into United Nations peacekeeping operations after six months. United Nations financing by assessments would in that regard be fully justified.
While expressing support for the proposed establishment of a multi-donor trust fund to support the African Union peace and security architecture, he said it would be very useful to include subregional organizations. The trust fund should devote special attention to setting up a standing logistic capacity to enable the African Standby Force. Benin also supported strengthening of the African Union’s complementary conflict-prevention functions. Resolution 1625 (2005) set forth a pragmatic approach, advocating strengthened monitoring of States where the risk of conflict was clear in order also to address underlying root causes. Hopefully the recommendations contained in the report would enjoy a rapid follow-up.
JORGE ARGÜELLO ( Argentina) said the Panel’s report contained valuable proposals, several of which were closely connected with his country’s analysis. Political conflicts in some areas of Africa were a clear hindrance to economic development. The continued cycle of poverty was a trap that clearly triggered harmful, long-lasting results. It was clear that those challenges should be faced in a holistic way, with a focus on the establishment of peacekeeping operations. The necessary capacity must be built up to ensure a global approach to the key tasks of conflict prevention and management.
It was highly desirable and indispensable in Africa to keep the peace and rebuild after a conflict ended, he said, calling for a collective approach based on different types of cooperation, including in terms of strategies and programmes. It was essential to make the most of the comparative advantages enjoyed by the respective organizations and to build regional capacity within them in order to ensure consistent responses and a strategic vision for keeping the peace and rebuilding after conflict. As for the financing of peacekeeping operations, an issue addressed in the report, a far-reaching analysis was needed.
ANDREW GOLEDZINOWSKI ( Australia) said the report raised interesting proposals regarding new financial mechanisms aimed at strengthening the African Union capability both in peacekeeping and capacity-building, which demanded further reflection by Member States, both in the Council and in the General Assembly. Australia commended the African Union for its increasing engagement in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction activities, and encouraged it to learn from the good and bad experiences of the United Nations and other regional organizations. With 40 per cent of global peace operations taking place in Africa, the need to strengthen the African Union’s peacekeeping capacity was self-evident.
Voicing support for United Nations assistance in developing the African Union’s conflict-prevention and peacekeeping capacity, he said that because more than 70 per cent of United Nations military personnel were deployed in Africa, there was a need to establish more effective strategic relations between the world body and the regional organization. Australia’s engagement with and support to Africa included addressing issues and challenges mentioned in the report. “ Australia has been pleased to contribute to UN initiatives aimed at strengthening the relationship between the AU and the UN, and at developing more effective conflict-prevention mechanisms in Africa, both at the regional and subregional levels.”
ISMAT JAHAN ( Bangladesh) said regional organizations must play only a complementary role in United Nations-mandated peacekeeping operations but not substitute the world body in keeping the peace in conflict areas. United Nations peacekeeping operations must maintain a true international character to uphold their universality, impartiality and neutrality. Notwithstanding the need for enhanced cooperation between the Organization and regional bodies, Bangladesh supported the Panel’s recommendations, including one stating that, in defining the division of responsibility, the United Nations must not create the perception that it was subcontracting peacekeeping to the African Union.
She said the prime objective of the two organizations’ strategic partnership should be to maximize the African Union’s capacity to contribute to conflict prevention and mediation while carrying out peacekeeping operations in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter. The African Union must be given the necessary support to develop its institutional capacities so it could implement in a coordinated, appropriate way the planning, management and support of conflict prevention and peacekeeping activities in Africa, in close cooperation with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
As a leading troop-contributing country, Bangladesh attached utmost importance to the safety and security of troops in the field, she said, emphasizing the need for more action in that regard. An adequate number of troops must be deployed on a mission, in accordance with its mandate and the situation on the ground. Contingents should only be tasked to cover the areas of responsibilities within their capabilities and agreed mandates, based on Memorandums of Understanding. Bangladesh had been providing approximately 10 per cent of all peacekeeping troops for more than a decade and was the largest contributor of United Nations police personnel.
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