Security Council Commits to ‘Effective Steps’ to Enhance Relationship with African Union in Conflict Prevention, Resolution, with Unanimous Adoption of 2033 (2012)

12 January 2012
SC/10519

Security Council Commits to ‘Effective Steps’ to Enhance Relationship with African Union in Conflict Prevention, Resolution, with Unanimous Adoption of 2033 (2012)

12 January 2012
Security Council
SC/10519
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6702nd Meeting (AM & PM)

Security Council Commits to ‘Effective Steps’ to Enhance Relationship with African

Union in Conflict Prevention, Resolution, with Unanimous Adoption of 2033 (2012)

Secretary-General, South Africa’s President, African Union Commissioner

For Peace and Security, Nine Ministers Address Council at High-level Meeting

Following a high-level meeting of the Security Council that underscored the imperative to assist countries and shattered communities to turn the page of violence and conflict — including in Africa where much of the attention was focused — and consolidate peace where it had been achieved, the 15-member body today committed to taking “effective steps” to enhance the relationship between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, particularly the African Union. 

Unanimously adopting resolution 2033 (2012), the Council reiterated the importance of establishing a more effective relationship between it and the African Union Peace and Security Council, including in the area of conflict prevention, resolution and management, electoral assistance and regional conflict prevention offices.

It decided, in consultation with the African Union Peace and Security Council, to elaborate further ways of strengthening relations between the two Councils, including through achieving more effective annual consultative meetings, the holding of timely consultations, and collaborative field missions of the two, as appropriate, to formulate cohesive positions and strategies on a case-by-case basis in dealing with conflict situations in Africa.  It stressed the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations when they undertook peacekeeping under a United Nations mandate. 

In the debate that preceded adoption of the text, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that, as Secretary-General, his remit was global, but he attached great importance to the role of regional and subregional organizations, as recognized in the United Nations Charter’s Chapter VIII.  Regional organizations had comparative advantages, but so did the United Nations — not least the weight of international law and the primary responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Over the last decade, he said, the African Union and subregional organizations had significantly bolstered their own role in building architecture for peace and security on the continent, though there was room for improvement.  The United Nations partnership with the African Union at the Secretariat level had been strengthened in several concrete ways.  But, as both often faced complex and fast-moving crises, they were establishing mechanisms to build common understanding and approaches. 

However, he acknowledged, organizations with different mandates, membership, and perspectives would occasionally have differences in approach; that was natural.  The question was how to manage those and work together.  Flexibility must be ensured and innovative arrangements promoted.  Collective efforts and limited resources must be maximized, and each partnership arrangement should have a clearly defined division of labour and responsibilities for each organization.

Having convened today’s meeting, South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, whose delegation holds the Council’s rotating presidency for January, speaking in his national capacity, said the African Union had contributed immensely to improving peace and security, as well as to promoting democracy and respect for human rights in Africa.  It had sought to give practical meaning to the vision of the United Nations Charter on cooperation with regional organizations.  That cooperation was advantageous, as those organizations were closer to the situation and familiar with the issues at hand. 

He noted that the African Union had developed a political road map that would have helped resolve Libya’s political conflict, but he said that had been ignored in favour of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) bombing, with consequences that had spilled over into other countries.  “The lessons we should draw from the Libyan experience is that greater political coherence and a common vision between the African Union and the United Nations are critical in the resolution of African conflicts”.  He added:  “Africa must never be a playground for furthering the interest of other regions ever again”. 

Like many speakers that followed, President Zuma offered several proposals for strengthening the strategic cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union.  He called for greater strategic political coherence between the two in resolving, preventing and managing African conflicts, particularly as it concerned the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.  He also called for developing and defining methods for cooperation and decision-making.  A clear division of labour was also crucial.  Both bodies must discuss capacity-building and sustainable resource allocations. 

The African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, said the turbulences experienced by that partnership last year only added to the urgency of more clearly defining that relationship.  Innovative modalities, such as the hybrid operation in Darfur, had been devised to meet the fast-evolving realities on the ground.  The Union’s Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council had sought to deepen their partnership.  Yet, “we are just at the beginning of our journey towards a more strategic relationship between the African Union and the United Nations in the area of peace and security.” 

Operationally, said Moses Wetang’ula, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, Africa was demonstrating renewed determination to deploy peace support operations in fragile and even insecure environments.  That called for a shift in the United Nations doctrine on peace operations.  The practice that the United Nations could only engage where there was a “peace to keep” translated into the Organization’s abandonment of some of the most challenging crises, leaving those situations in the hands of those least able and with the least resources.  Such a situation resulted in “less, not more, security in the world”. 

The prevailing view expressed by Council members was that the United Nations needed a strong African Union and the African Union needed a strong United Nations.  But, it also emerged that the Union sometimes felt the United Nations had not provided enough leadership and the United Nations sometimes felt that the Union had been slow to act.  Some delegates said there “can be no blank check politically or financially”, while others urged adequate and predictable funding.  Most speakers stressed the value of moving forward together, to better meet the urgent challenges that confronted all.  The opportunities to work together, they agreed, were considerable, in an arrangement based on comparative advantages, complementary mandates and optimal use of resources and capacities. 

Also participating in the deliberations were the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Colombia, and Guatemala; the Minister of State at the Federal Office of Germany; Minister of State with responsibility for French nationals abroad; Minister of State for Foreign and Cooperation Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Portugal; Special Representative of the Chinese Government for African Affairs; and the Minister, Special Advisor to the President, of Togo.

Statements were also made by the representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Pakistan, India, Morocco, Ethiopia (as Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development), and Nigeria.

A representative of the United Kingdom took the floor to explain his delegation’s position after adoption of the resolution. 

The meeting was called to order at 10:41 a.m. and suspended at 1:24 p.m.  Resuming at 3:44 p.m., it adjourned at 4:36 p.m.

Background

Meeting this morning on its item “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations”, the Council had before it a letter dated 4 January from the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, Baso Sangqu, to the Secretary-General transmitting a concept note for the day’s meeting (document S/2012/13), which provides background on the deepening relationship between the African Union and United Nations and the motivation for its strengthening.  It states, for example, that more than 60 per cent of Security Council deliberations are concerned with Africa and that six of 14 United Nations peacekeeping operations and nearly 80 per cent of its peacekeepers are deployed on the African continent, which, it states, “is sometimes marginalized”. 

The note goes on to say that today’s debate will be an opportunity to address, at the summit level, ways in which greater strategic political coherence between the United Nations and the African Union can be consolidated and enhanced in the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution of conflicts on the African continent.  In particular, the meeting could address the following questions, among others:  how the Council can support African Union political processes; how coherence can be improved; how it will be possible to ensure complementarity of efforts and avoid competition and/or duplication; how coordination can be improved on the institutional level; and how it will be possible to take advantage of the complementary capacities between the two.

Also before the Council is a letter dated 9 January from South Africa’s Ambassador to the Council’s President forwarding a copy of the “Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Partnership between the African Union and the United Nations on Peace and Security:  Towards greater Strategic and Political Coherence”, as well as the communiqué of the African Union Peace and Security Council issued on 9 January 2012 in relation to this report (for background, see Press Release SC/10516 of 11 January).

The report of the Secretary-General on United Nations-African Union cooperation in peace and security (document S/2011/805), dated 29 December 2011, was also before members.  It provides an update since his last such report of 14 October 2010 (document S/2010/514) on cooperative efforts between the two organizations under the peace and security umbrella:  conflict prevention; mediation; peacekeeping; peacebuilding; human rights; and humanitarian affairs.  The present report also contains lessons learned and recommendations on ways to strengthen cooperation between the two within the context of a “highly dynamic peace and security environment in Africa”.

The Secretary-General notes in the report that regional organizations had made a growing contribution in complementing the United Nations work in maintaining international peace and security.  The role of the African Union and subregional organizations over the last two decades had proven critical in addressing such issues in Africa under the Charter’s Chapter VIII.  The Union and United Nations share the same objectives of pacific settlement of disputes and, says the Secretary-General, they must build on what has been achieved to devise and strengthen practical tools in order to “successfully face our common peace and security challenges in Africa together”.

Noting that the African Union remains the only regional body with which the Council meets at regular intervals, he says there is a need to develop agreed principles governing the modalities of cooperation and decision-making more fully.  In this connection, he welcomes the Council’s intention to hold informal interactive dialogues with regional and subregional organizations.  More informal communication between it and the Union’s Peace and Security Council and their Member States is “critical in developing a common vision and coordinating action prior to the finalization of respective decisions”. 

Partnerships, the Secretary-General says, work best when there are common strategic objectives and a clear division of responsibilities, based on shared assessments and concerted decisions of the two organizations, and he is committed to ensuring closer interaction between the two.  Building on best practices and lessons learned, it is important to establish “pre-agreed mechanisms” for consultation that would allow the Secretariat and African Union Commission to act and proceed together when a new crisis erupts.

At the operational level, the report finds, lessons and experience indicate that there is no generic model for cooperation between the two organizations that can be applied to every situation; each requires innovative solutions.  It is important, therefore, to ensure that the conceptualization, mandates, rules of engagement and institutional arrangements for each peacekeeping operation are based on the strategic and operational requirements to support a peace process or the effective implementation of a peace agreement.  Such arrangements should be predicated on a shared vision of the political process and to preserve unity of command and strategic direction, while ensuring the provision of critical resource and capability requirements.  The United Nations is committed to working with the African Union to harmonize peacekeeping standard operating procedures, including with respect to force generation, planning and mission start-up.

As for financing African Union peace support operations, including the Union’s Standby Force, the report urges such efforts to continue, taking into account the Union’s own financing mechanisms and special conditions when it undertakes peace support operations under United Nations authorization.  The Secretary-General welcomes the establishment of an African Union high-level panel on alternative financing sources and echoes the Union’s appeal concerning the urgent need for Member States to contribute more significantly to the funding of its peace support operations and, more generally, to efforts geared towards the prevention, management and resolution of conflict, as well as peacebuilding.  The Secretary-General reiterates the Union’s call for voluntary contributions to its Peace Fund and welcomes the funding meeting for the Standby Force scheduled for this year.

Noting that throughout 2011 the United Nations and the African Union faced many challenges, including political developments in North Africa, electoral disputes in West Africa and the conflicts in Somalia and the Sudan, the Secretary-General says he felt confident of “the synergy of our collective efforts”.  He adds:  “We have come a long way, and we may still have a long road ahead, but overall, the progress made through our collective efforts is commendable”.

Statements

JACOB ZUMA, President of South Africa, said that although 70 per cent of the Council’s agenda items pertained to Africa, the continent still did not have permanent representation on that body.  That failure pointed to the urgent need for fundamental Council reform to make it more representative and legitimate.  The African Union had contributed immensely to improving peace and security as well as to promoting democracy and respect for human rights in Africa.  It had also sought to give practical meaning to the vision of the United Nations Charter on cooperation with regional organizations.  Close cooperation with regional bodies was advantageous, as those bodies were closer to the situation and familiar with the issues at hand.  Neighbouring countries also often bore the burden and consequences of conflict in their neighbourhood.  For those reasons, he supported the principle of complementarity between the African Union and the United Nations.  Adoption of resolution 1809 (2008), in particular, was a significant development in strengthening their cooperation.

It was critical to build a stronger relationship in order to avoid the situation that occurred during the conflict in Libya last year, he said.  The African Union had developed a political road map that would have helped resolve that country’s political conflict, but it was ignored in favour of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) bombing of Libya.  The consequences had a spill-over effect into other countries.  Council resolution 1973 (2011) was largely abused in some specific respects.  “The lessons we should draw from the Libyan experience is that greater political coherence and a common vision between the African Union and the United Nations are critical in the resolution of African conflicts,” he said, stressing that the African Union’s views must be listened to, in order to strengthen the relationship and prevent further conflict.

The United Nations, African Union and the League of Arab States must work together to help the Libyans, he said.  Moreover, those who implemented the Council’s decisions must interpret them correctly and they must be held accountable for their actions towards that end.  Africa could prosper and remain stable if what happened during the Cold War, in which destabilization and conflict was condoned by some, was avoided.  “ Africa must never be a playground for furthering the interest of other regions ever again,” he said.  African conflicts would become manageable if they were not promoted or aided from the outside.

He then made several proposals for strengthening the strategic cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union.  He called for greater strategic political coherence between the two organizations in resolving, preventing and managing African conflicts, particularly as it concerned the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.  He also called for developing and defining methods for cooperation and decision-making.  A clear division of labour would be crucial.  Both bodies must discuss capacity-building and sustainable resource allocations.  Africa was working hard to move the continent onto a path of sustainable socio-economic development and prosperity, he said.  He thanked the Secretary-General for the recent High-level Symposium on South Africa’s Contribution to the Fight against Racism and Xenophobia.

Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said the African Union was a vital strategic partner to the United Nations — and South Africa was utilizing its presidency to deepen that relationship.  He welcomed its continued engagement.  As Secretary-General, his remit was global, but he attached great importance to the role of regional and subregional organizations, as recognized in the Charter’s Chapter VIII.  Here at the United Nations, activities to enhance stability in Africa took up a significant part of the Council’s agenda and they were among the Secretary-General’s leading priorities.

Over the last decade, he said, the African Union and subregional organizations had significantly bolstered their own role in building an architecture for peace and security on the continent.  Of course, there was room for improvement.  “We often face complex and fast-moving crises — and we are establishing mechanisms to build common understanding and approaches.”  The annual meetings between the Council and the Union’s Peace and Security Council were one important example.  There would be differences, he said, adding that that was natural.  Organizations with different mandates, membership, and perspectives would occasionally have differences in approach.  The question was how to manage those, how to work together.  His report was about building on the successes, improving coherence, and harmonizing decision-making from a firm foundation of shared values and principles.

In the past few years, the United Nations partnership with the African Union at the Secretariat level had been strengthened in several concrete ways, he said.  For example, the African Union-United Nations Task Force had proven to be an effective mechanism for consultations on an array of issues, including Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan.  Also, the United Nations Office in Addis Ababa had been revamped, and regional offices, peacekeeping operations and special political missions were cooperating closely with the Union and subregional organizations.  Examples abounded in that regard, he said, citing the joint-hybrid peacekeeping operation and mediation efforts in Darfur, among others.  In addition, joint assessment missions had been essential in ensuring a common understanding of emerging issues.  And, under the Union’s leadership, work had been undertaken, together, to develop a strategic concept for a future African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operation, which was now under the Security Council’s consideration. 

The Secretary-General said he was greatly encouraged by the concrete progress made in recent years.  “Let us pledge to do more to enhance our partnership,” he urged.  More could be done by learning new lessons and developing new tools — and by intensifying engagement with civil society and women’s groups active in mediation and conflict prevention.  Looking ahead, he said flexibility must be ensured and innovative arrangements promoted.  “Let us strive to maximize our collective efforts and limited resources, and ensure that each partnership arrangement has a clearly defined division of labour and roles and responsibilities for each organization,” he said.  Regional organizations had comparative advantages; so did the United Nations — not least the weight of international law and the primary responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security.

RAMTANE LAMAMRA, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, said today’s debate came at a time of renewed recognition of the importance of building a strong partnership between the African Union and the United Nations, in order to enhance their efforts to promote peace, security and stability on the African continent.  The turbulences experienced by that partnership last year only added to the urgency of more clearly defining that relationship.  The strategic relationship had been growing steadily, and cooperation between the Commission and the United Nations Secretariat had recorded commendable achievements.  Innovative modalities, such as the hybrid operation in Darfur and the United Nations support package to AMISOM had been devised to meet the requirements of fast-evolving realities on the ground.  The Union’s Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council had also endeavoured to deepen their partnership.

Yet, he said, “we are just at the beginning of our journey towards a more strategic relationship between the African Union and the United Nations in the area of peace and security”.  Such an approach was made more compelling by the fact that Africa, despite the significant progress made over the past few years, still accounted for the highest number of conflicts worldwide.  In addition to traditional threats, the continent was now facing a new series of risks, which included:  governance-related intra-State conflicts and violence, including election-related ones; terrorism and transnational crimes; maritime piracy in both its east and west coasts; border disputes; and climate change.

Clearly, those challenges required concerted responses by the two organizations and a much closer partnership, he said.  The Union and its regional mechanisms were particularly well-placed to make a significant contribution to collective security, in view of their proximity and familiarity with the issues at hand.  In addition, they had developed comprehensive architectures covering the whole range of security challenges facing Africa, including those related to governance.  It was critical to provide more effective support to the continent and its institutions and to provide the necessary leadership.  Nowhere had that “proactiveness” been more evident than in the area of peacekeeping, where the Union had shown a strong willingness to take risks to seize the opportunities, in order to advance the peace agenda.  However, it was constrained by a lack of resources, particularly in terms of flexible, sustainable and predictable funding.

That, he said, was the background that informed the report of the Chairperson of the Commission and the subsequent decision of the Peace and Security Council regarding the need for the Union and the United Nations to develop a stronger partnership based on an innovative strategic and forward-looking reading of the Charter’s Chapter VIII.  More specifically, the two organizations should agree on a set of principles aimed at clarifying their relationship and anchoring it on a more solid platform.  From the Union’s perspective, those should revolve around, among others, support for African ownership and priority setting, consultative decision-making, division of labour and sharing of responsibilities.  The Union was committed to engaging in an earnest dialogue with the United Nations on such principles.

“As we forge ahead, we need to draw appropriate lessons from our past experiences, both from our shortcomings and our successes,” he said.  “We ought to be pragmatic and result-oriented, driven, as we should be, by the imperative to respond to the needs on the ground, assist countries and shattered communities to turn the page of violence and conflict, consolidate peace where it has been achieved, and ultimately help Africa to fully exploit its potential for the good of its people and that of the larger humanity,” he concluded.

MOSES WETANG’ULA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya and Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council, said the quest for peace and security was a pressing challenge today.  Africa had witnessed several crises and violent conflicts with huge negative consequences for its people, as well as for its aspiration for a peaceful and prosperous continent.  The challenge, therefore, was to resolve protracted conflicts, such as those in Darfur and Somalia; and facilitate reconstruction and development in countries that had emerged from conflicts, such as Burundi, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, and more recently, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt — societies that had undergone radical transformation.

He said that the need to prevent conflicts and de-escalate fragile situations called for proactive engagement.  Additionally, growing threats of transnational crime, including terrorism and piracy, posed serious challenges to the consolidation of peace and security.  For some time, Africa had dominated the Security Council’s agenda because those threats impacted international peace and security and their causes and dynamics spurned beyond the affected countries, regions and continent.  Thus, the need to maintain a strong and well-structured strategic partnership between the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council “cannot be overemphasized”.  That that relationship was gaining momentum was commendable and that both sides demonstrated a willingness to improve the relationship should be further encouraged.

As an example, he said, the opportunity to turn Somalia around depended almost entirely on the extent to which the strategic and operational relationship between the Union and the United Nations could be elevated and improved.  However, that relationship was not without challenges.  Several issues required improving, including the process of decision-making.  In that, the last two years had shown an undesirable trend towards selectivity on the part of the Security Council, which “seems to disregard full consideration of the position and/or recommendations of the African Union or its organs”.  A second significant area was the gap between requirements for operation and available resources.  Institutionally, there had been progress, but the relationships in that regard needed further clarification, particularly of the roles and responsibilities of the actors involved. 

Operationally, Africa was demonstrating renewed determination and willingness to deploy peace support operations in fragile, even insecure, environments, he said.  That called for a shift in the United Nations doctrine on peace operations.  The practice that the United Nations could only engage where there was a “peace to keep” translated to the Organization’s abandonment of some of the most challenging crises, leaving those situations in the hands of those least able and with the least resources.  Such a situation resulted in “less, not more, security in the world”.  The African Union-United Nations relationship also depended on building the capacity of the Union’s institutions. 

He said that today’s session followed an unprecedented window of opportunity to finally restore security, peace and stability in Somalia.  His expectation was that the joint efforts would translate into better international and Security Council support, as well as an effective operation.  He hoped that the decisions on Somalia would be expeditious.  “We must note that time is of absolute essence.  This Security Council must therefore act swiftly in order to protect and expand the current gains,” he urged.  In the area of mediation, it was crucial to draw upon lessons learned, such as in Sudan, where a good mix had been attained in a vital lesson on complementarity, comparative advantage and strategic convergence. 

In conclusion, he said that the African Union looked towards a more innovative interpretation of Chapter VIII.  Key among the principles it cherished in that regard were:  support for African ownership and priority setting; flexible and innovative application of the principle of complementarity; and mutual respect and adherence to the principle of comparative advantage.  Finally, he re-emphasized the significance of this agenda and underscored Africa’s hope that today’s deliberations would lead to greater coherence between the two organizations, with cooperation governed by the “basic and cardinal” rules of mutual trust and respect.

MARÍA ÁNGELA HOLGUÍN CUÉLLAR, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, said that peacekeeping operations, in and of themselves, did not produce the changes that countries needed in the long-term to consolidate their stability and development.  Colombia highlighted the great contributions of the provisions of Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter in that regard, adding that the chapter allowed the United Nations and the Security Council to support the search for lasting solutions based on negotiation, mediation and agreement.  Without those practices, she said, no action carried out in the interest of global balance would have the local effects to improve the situation on the ground.  Indeed, that type of coordination had concrete actions, such as the common guidelines that supported a mediation framework in Africa based on the cases of Kenya, Darfur, Somalia and Guinea-Bissau.  Colombia hoped that those actions would be deepened and further mechanisms would be found.

The success of the 25 operations authorized by the Security Council in Africa since 1990 highlighted the importance of the work carried out by the African Union and other subregional organizations.  However, the presence of some of those operations for extended periods of time brought attention to the issue of exit goals in evaluating joint work.  The experience of the African Union also highlighted the necessity of having an integrated approach to conflicts.  That regional organization was in a privileged position to contribute and define elements and establish strategies on how to strengthen conflict resolution in its region.

The fact that the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union met annually was an indication of the greater awareness that existed with regard to the need to coordinate policies and actions in the search for solutions.  “Chapter VII of the Charter envisions the contribution of regional organizations as an integral part of collective security and values their vision, actions and initiatives to find solutions within their range of competence,” she said.  The Security Council could help ensure that the application of chapter VII made way more frequently for chapter VI, thus strengthening peaceful agreements and diplomatic channels in conflict resolution.

ELMAR MAHARRAM OGLU MAMMADYAROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, said that over the last decade, the role of the African Union and subregional organizations had increased significantly.  Indeed, not all regional organizations could boast of their ability and political will to understand the root causes of armed conflicts and to contribute effectively to their resolution.  Azerbaijan, as a country suffering from the occupation of almost 20 per cent of its territory and the forcible displacement of hundreds of thousands of its citizens, fully realized the threats and challenges affecting countries with unresolved conflicts, including in Africa.  The African Union had made great efforts with regard to peace, security and stability on the continent and demonstrated its ability to take the lead.  Of particular note were the launch of the African peace and security architecture and the establishment of its constitutive elements, as well as its peace support operations authorized by the Security Council.

He said that in recent years there had been progress in developing the strategic relationship between the African Union and the United Nations, but, “we have to admit that challenges still remain and more should be done to further strengthen this relationship to effectively address common collective security concerns in Africa”.  It was critical that joint efforts be strengthened to prevent conflicts before they occurred.  Development of common guidelines by the two organizations as a framework for mediation in Africa would contribute to that goal.  All Member States must adhere strictly to their obligations under the Charter with respect to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States.  Also important was to recognize women’s role in preventing and resolving conflicts, and in peace negotiations and peacebuilding.  In that, the two organizations should ensure that women and gender perspectives were fully integrated into all related processes.

Annual meetings and more intensified informal communications should also take place between the two entities, he said, and efforts to ensure sustainable financing for African Union peace support operations should continue.  His country was actively participating in implementing various assistance programmes for Africa, and it contributed support to the institution and capacity-building programme of the African Union Commission, and offered scholarships for diplomats from African countries to study in the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy.  His country had also joined the work of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configurations and begun consultations with the relevant stakeholders, in order to apply in Africa its rich experience in the field of mine clearance.  In closing, he stressed the importance for the Security Council to monitor implementation of its resolutions, in particular, those related to prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

ROGER HAROLDO RODAS MELGAR, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, speaking in his country’s first participation in a Security Council debate since takings its place as an elected member of the body last week, said the link between the Security Council and regional entities was not limited to preventive actions and mediation, such as those contemplated in the relevant articles of the United Nations Charter, but increasingly because those entities participated in peacekeeping operations, and by extension, in peacebuilding activities.  In both those endeavours, Guatemala felt a community of interest with the African continent in its double capacity as a troop-contributing country and a country that had experienced a post-conflict situation of peacebuilding on the heels of the signing of its own peace accords at the end of 1996.

He said he was also aware that cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union had at times faced divergent positions on particular issues, including those regarding complementarities and burden sharing.  However, he was of the impression that the consensus-building mechanisms between both parties that had already been put in place would facilitate resolving those issues.  In more general terms, Guatemala believed that the partnerships between the Security Council and regional institutions in the areas of peace and security contained the conceptual underpinnings of a productive relationship based on the clear comparative advantages derived from the Council’s mandate to maintain international peace and security, and the greater knowledge and identification that regional bodies tended to have regarding their own member countries. 

Concluding, he said Guatemala had always been partial to combining the presence of the United Nations with that of regional and subregional institutions, considering it an important element for development cooperation and for the maintenance of international peace and security, humanitarian assistance and the promotion of human rights.  It was valid for his own region and it was also the case for Africa, where the African Union and other subregional institutions had a solid and proven track record of achievements.

SUSAN RICE (United States) said that as the African Union approached its tenth anniversary, the time was ripe for considering what had been learned and what to improve in its relationship with the United Nations.  She lauded the collective African efforts to advance peace and security across the continent.  The African Union had acted responsibly in Darfur when other international actors were still hesitant and it had been active early on in pressing for peace between Sudan and South Sudan.  She praised South Africa’s leadership role in addressing the Burundi conflict.  Since 2009, the United States had strengthened its Mission to the African Union, in line with the Obama administration’s policy to strengthen relationships with regional organizations.  The very important relationship between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council must be confronted forthrightly and honestly to address its current challenges.  The African Union had sometimes indicated that it believed it had been ignored or disregarded by the Security Council, while the latter often felt the former had not given consistent views on issues and had been slow to act on urgent matters.  

The Security Council was not subordinate to other bodies or to regional groups’ schedules or capacities, she said.  But, it must cooperate closely with regional organizations based on the exigencies of the issues at hand, rather than simply bless and pay for decisions made independently by the African Union.  The Council should, and would, take into account the views of regional and subregional institutions, while recognizing any disagreement between them.  She urged the Council to define its relations with the African Union more precisely.  To make the African Union-Security Council relationship more effective and productive, those two bodies’ meetings must set a concrete agenda and priorities that would lead to tangible improvements on the ground.  The European Union had set an example on how to strengthen the African Union’s peace and security architecture.  The United States was doing its part by continuing to train and equip multilateral peacekeeping operations.  The United Nations could help further by standardizing the training of peacekeepers and offering guidance to the African Union.  She called for sustained collaboration on lessons learned and best practices and for a formal ‘lessons learned’ exercise on UNAMID and AMISOM. 

Joint command and control operations did not typically work well, she said, calling for analysis of experiences in the field, linked to objectives of the situation at hand.  The United Nations could be made more effective in Addis Ababa.  For its part, the African Union should improve its internal management in administration, accounting, financial management and human resources.  She lamented the scant progress in the “Deliver as One” principle and said more must be done to improve programming and administration.  An atrocity prevention framework should be developed.  African Union mediation efforts should be expanded and greater efforts were needed to bolster the role of women in conflict mediation.

CORNELIA PIEPER, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, said that Chapter VIII cooperation with regional organizations was indispensible for finding appropriate solutions to crises and making optimal use of resources.  The African Union had proven itself particularly valuable in that regard, as shown by its efforts in Darfur, Somalia and the regional fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Cooperation between the Union and the United Nations had been strengthened in recent years; to intensify that cooperation both formal and informal means were necessary. 

At the strategic level, he said, the dialogue between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the Union should be strengthened.  He supported inviting representatives of both the Union and subregional African organizations to the sessions of the Security Council and welcomed participation of the Organization’s special envoys at meetings of the Union’s Council.  Similarly, cooperation between the Peacebuilding Commission and the African organizations should be reinforced.  Cooperation should, in particular, be enhanced in the area of conflict prevention and mediation. 

At the operational level, he said, best practices gained in previous partnership efforts should be utilized, especially the current AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) and UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur) missions and particularly in the areas of training and closer integration of mediation and peacekeeping efforts.  Capacity-building in the Union must be pushed forward, and clearly defined guidelines for implementing the ten-year capacity-building programme could make it more efficient.  Citing efforts of the European Union and his country in some of those areas — among them the Joint Africa-European Union Partnership for Peace and Security and the African Peace Facility, as well as support for construction of the Peace and Security building for the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa —he pointed to the importance of bilateral and inter-organization support to enhance effective coordination between the African Union and the United Nations in peace and security.

EDOUARD COURTIAL, Minister of State with responsibility for French nationals abroad, attached to the Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, France, said that as two thirds of the Council’s deliberations on security concerned African issues, cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union on peace and security was vital.  Efforts were now focused on ensuring a flourishing partnership.  To prevent conflict, the United Nations had set up regional offices in Dakar and Libreville.  The United Nations Office for West Africa was engaged in mediation and good office efforts in Guinea, Niger and Benin, in coordination with the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). 

UNAMID was playing a stabilizing role, he continued, but a challenge to that and other hybrid missions was that they were governed by a split chain of command between the United Nations and the African Union.  Experience showed that better cooperation between those two bodies would improve the effectiveness of troops on the ground.  In Somalia, technical cooperation was crucial to enable AMISOM to carry out its complex mission.  While the African Union was calling for bolstered United Nations support, it was important to ensure that proposals put forward did not just pertain to security.  Proposals must also focus on strengthening the Somali Transitional Federal Government. 

In terms of peacekeeping, he called for funding that would improve operations and strengthen the chain of command and the efforts of troop-contributing countries.  He noted the African Union’s steps to diversify management and funding of peacekeeping operations.  He stressed the importance of the European Union initiative to fund a peace facility for Africa.  Pointing to the growing level of terrorism, instability and trafficking in West Africa, he called for increasing security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.  He underscored the importance of free, fair and peaceful elections in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.  He lauded the efforts of peacekeepers to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army as another example of United Nations-African Union cooperation.  Africa must be a key player in global peace and security, and should be able to take its rightful place in the Council, including among its permanent membership.

LUIS BRITES PEREIRA, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, said that his delegation strongly supported a greater role for the African Union and subregional organizations in matters of peace and conflict on the African continent. “The further development of the African Union’s institutional and political role is unstoppable,” he said, adding that the reinforcement of the United Nation’s presence in Addis Ababa was a recognition of the African Union’s progressive affirmation as a leader organization.  It also represented a serious effort at making the United Nation’s interaction with the African Union more coherent and efficient.  However, the critical ongoing dialogue between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council should become more substantive and productive.  That might be accomplished by indentifying more clearly issues of common concern, including human rights, democracy and the rule of law and the defence of women and children in post-conflict situations, among others.

During its Presidency of the Security Council, he recalled, Portugal had promoted a debate on new challenges to international peace and security; the outcomes of those discussions must now be fed into the larger United Nations-African Union dialogue.  With regard to the development of the Union’s capacities — which should include the areas of mediation and conflict prevention — he stressed that the Union and subregional organizations were closer to conflict situations than other actors, calling those “clear advantages” when trying to prevent tensions from escalating into conflict.  The United Nations and other partners, such as the European Union, should continue to support the African Union.  Portugal, through its active participation in the European Union-Africa Partnership, had consistently advocated European financial and technical assistance for African initiatives in the peace and security fields.

Underlining the important contribution of regional arrangements in peacekeeping, he also noted that UNAMID and AMISOM were two models of concrete peacekeeping cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations.  Many lessons had been learned from those experiences, he said, “but there is still room for improvement”.  Indeed, meetings such as the one that took place in the Council yesterday on AMISOM, which brought together key partners from both entities, were fundamental in that learning process.  In that way, strategic dialogue would translate into effective operational cooperation on the ground.  Finally, he underscored the fact that “contradictory signals from international actors” were likely to prolong conflict and delay peaceful solutions in Africa.

LIU GUIJIN, Special Representative for African Affairs of China, welcomed efforts to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, given the fact that Africa remained the continent with the highest rate of conflict and the most fragile security situation.  In that light, he found it disturbing that some peace efforts made by the Union were not backed up by effective support from the international community.  “Helping Africa deal with all kinds of global challenges is not only the unshirkable responsibility of the international community, but also in the common interest of all parties,” he said. 

He said that despite the faltering world economy, a greater sense of urgency about settlement of African issues was needed, with an increased input to the continent to address concerns expressed by African countries.  For that purpose, funds must be raised from all possible sources and used optimally, with priority given to supporting peace and security on the continent.  As a regional organization built and led by Africans, the African Union has the best understanding of how to accomplish that, particularly in mediation, good offices and peacekeeping.  For that reason, it was necessary to strengthen coordination with the Union and enhance its capacity through the United Nations and its Member States.  Acknowledging the Union’s efforts to resolve hotspot issues in Africa, China had provided it financial and material assistance and would continue to work for close cooperation between the Union and the United Nations.

KOFFI ESAW, Minister, Special Advisor to the President of Togo, said crucial matters of peace and security underpinned the cooperation between the two organizations.  Those included security sector reform, civilian protection, humanitarian action and human rights promotion.  More than cooperation, the relationship was a partnership.  Both organizations recognized that they had a shared responsibility when it came to the maintenance of peace and security in Africa, even if the primary responsibility in that area lay, above all, with the United Nations, especially the Security Council under the Charter’s Chapter VII.

Over the years, joint actions had been carried out with conclusive results.  The launching of the United Nations-African Union Task force on peace and security on 25 September 2010 was part of the desire to strengthen strategic cooperation between the two, taking into account the protection of civilians and human rights.  Consultations at the highest level on such matters as Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Sudan and South Sudan, and Somalia showed the United Nations desire to, in concert with the African Union, search for solutions to the many conflicts on the African continent.

He said strategic partnership had meaning only through drawing lessons from past cooperation.  Indeed, lack of coordination, delays in harnessing logistical support, and inadequate financing, especially with respect to AMISOM, had long been at the core of the mixed results — not least, of that mission.  Togo believed that conflict prevention and mediation, an important aspect of that partnership, should be promoted.  In a recent presidential statement, the Security Council had deemed it necessary to give cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations a closer look, and to set up capabilities to use media, data collection and analysis, early warning mechanisms, prevention and peacekeeping capacities.  The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had long made those tasks a pillar of its community policy.

What was not working between the Security Council and the Union’s Peace and Security Council had been evident in the Libya crisis, he said, pointing to what he called the “dithering” about what to do.  That, he said, had been “very harmful” to the populations involved.  Joint decisions should be taken and responsibilities established in such serious situations.

MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) supported efforts to further enhance the relationship between the Council and regional organizations on issues of peace and security.  He noted major differences of substance between the African Union and Arab League on Libya and between ECOWAS and the African Union on Côte d’Ivoire.  Such complexities could not be swept under the carpet.  Efforts should make the most of the complementarities between the United Nations and regional organizations.  Such organizations, particularly subregional ones, often had comparative strengths, which should be exploited.  Situations surrounding issues of peace and security were diverse and must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and inflexible procedures must be avoided.  He noted good progress in the United Nations-African Union relationship and the effective efforts of African sub-regional organizations in pursing peace and security in many countries on the continent.  But, in Sudan, managing complexities had proved challenging.  He lauded intensified institutional cooperation between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission.  Their meetings should be a forum for substantive discussion.  He encouraged their respective presidencies and secretariats to ensure such meetings were well prepared. 

Capacity-building must be at the heart of support to the African Union and subregional organizations to ensure they could deliver on peace and security, he said.  He reaffirmed the United Kingdom’s commitment to support the African Union’s 10-year capacity-building programme.  The European Union and bilateral donors had made significant contributions, including supporting the development of an African standby force.  The first operational deployment of an East Africa force had been made in close cooperation with AMISOM and with the United Kingdom’s support.  The one-size-fits-all approach to the institutional relationship with regional organizations was unrealistic.  He called for greater cooperation on early warning and rapid diplomacy and for donors to better coordinate capacity-building support.  He encouraged international partners to make funding for peacekeeping operations more predictable, accountable, transparent and professional.  He supported the draft resolution before the Council, but said he had concerns about certain ambiguities in it.

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said the African Union and subregional organizations in Africa were playing an increasingly active role, demonstrating preparedness and the ability to resolve the issues on the continent.  They attached great priority to diplomatic settlement of conflicts, which had produced significant results.  Many mediation efforts undertaken by African politicians, past and present, had proven effective, and constructive proposals had been put forward.  However, many had been brushed aside by the international community.  The United Nations had been motivated to deepen its partnership with the African Union.  That cooperation must be underpinned by the Charter’s Chapter VIII and a complementarity of efforts, and it should draw on the comparative advantages of both organizations.  Peace in Africa should be supported through early warning and the timely settlement of disputes and rebuilding, and efforts should be stepped up to bolster the African Union’s capacity in the areas of preventive diplomacy and peaceful settlement.  In that, he noted the Union’s 10-year programme for capacity-building, and he hoped for its practical results.

As for the Union’s standby forces, he said those should be able to react swiftly to emerging crises, with the Council’s participation, if necessary.  Also important was to bolster Africa’s peacekeeping “toolkit” and the pan-African security architecture.  He supported the growing and independent role of African organizations in maintaining peace on the continent, and called for its backing by the Council.  It was encouraging to note the consistently evolving partnership between the United Nations and African Union, such as in Sudan and Somalia.  He supported the Secretary-General’s proposal for the United Nations Secretariat and African Union Commission to prepare a joint assessment and recommendations for meeting the challenges of African crises.  An important component of that coordination could be a United Nations office in Addis Ababa.  He advocated the further development of practical cooperation between the Security Council and African Union Peace and Security Council, backed by parameters of cooperation and swift agreement on responsibilities in the face of emergency military situations.

ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON (Pakistan) said cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations in peace and security added value to the work of both organizations.  Africa’s consensual and united position for enhancing its representation in the Council was a legitimate demand and realization of that goal would eventually strengthen cooperation between the two bodies.  Increased contact between them was leading to a common strategic vision for conflict prevention, management and resolution.  To enhance that growing cooperation, efforts should be made so that the annual consultative mechanism between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council led to cohesive positions and strategies.  The two Councils could achieve that through more frequent and informal exchange, especially among their respective Presidencies.  That exchange must be replicated between the African Union Commission and the United Nations Secretariat and other relevant bodies, such as the Peacebuilding Commission and its five country configurations related to Africa.

In addition, regular interaction with subregional organizations in Africa was needed to develop commonalities in decision-making on peace and security, so such decisions could be smoothly implemented, he said.  Cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations could be optimized by making local capacity-building a priority.  As most of the African Union’s work on peace and security was based on Chapter VI provisions of the peaceful settlement of disputes, the two organizations could identify relevant areas for capacity-building cooperation in mediation, arbitration and other areas of preventive diplomacy.  He called for cooperation in security sector reform and for the United Nations to support implementation of the African Union’s elaborate security sector reform framework.  It was also important to widen the discourse of African Union-United Nations cooperation beyond the work of the Council to include issues like fair trade practices, food and environmental security, and investment in governance institutions.

HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said that, as 75 per cent of the Council’s time was spent on African issues, it was important to listen to Africa and its organizations so that the Council’s activities were based on their needs and complemented those of African countries and organizations.  The United Nations-African Union partnership should be strengthened based on long-term strategic and operational perspectives.  It should build on the two organizations’ strengths, with a focus on bolstering the capacity of the African Union’s peace and security architecture.  He welcomed the creation of the United Nations Office to the African Union and expected that it would set up formal structures of interaction with different African Union bodies and subregional organizations.  He supported annual dialogue between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, the Secretary-General’s 10-year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union, and links between the United Nations and the African Union Secretariats.  The Council should be more forthcoming in its support to the African Union in financial resources, force-multipliers and force-enablers, as may be required by AMISOM and UNAMID.

Conscious of the African Union’s role in handling African peace, security and socio-economic development issues, India had institutionalized its cooperation with the African Union, he said.  He recalled the historic visit of India’s Prime Minister to Addis Ababa in May 2011 to participate in the second Africa-India Forum Summit, which further deepened the India-African Union development partnership, as well as peace and security cooperation.  India had given $2 million, including $1.5 million through the African Union, without any caveats for AMISOM operations.  It had provided $5 billion in credit over the next three years to help Africa achieve its development goals.  India would give $700 million to set up new institutions and training programmes in consultation with the African Union and its institutions.  Also, India was offering 22,000 scholarships in various areas of capacity-building to African nationals during the 2011-2014 period.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said his country placed Africa’s stability and development at the top of its foreign policy agenda, given the need to confront the political, social and security challenges hampering development.  Morocco fully respected the jurisdiction and specificities of both partners being considered today and it had contributed positively to national and regional efforts to resolve conflicts.  It also contributed to United Nations peacekeeping operations, particularly in Africa, and it had supported the democratic transformations in many African States, seeking to entrench their stability — vital to development — through effective cooperation.  No one doubted the “precious” role of regional and subregional organizations in Africa.  Morocco, in cooperation with other African States, had formed a group of 22 countries along the Atlantic Ocean, with the aim of sharing expertise in many fields, including combating organized crime.

He said that the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations must respect the United Nations Charter and the Security Council as the primary body responsible for international peace and security.  It must seek the peaceful resolution of local conflicts on the basis of requests by the States concerned and hold joint consultation with them to avoid competition or delay an end to conflict.  They must seek to pre-empt disputes and avoid their escalation, as well as evaluate the root causes and combat any trends towards instability or terrorism.  Regional organizations should consult among themselves and with the United Nations.  He noted that the Arabic translation of the resolution before the Council had “many shortcomings”, including misspellings and misstatements. 

KONGIT SINEGIORGIS (Ethiopia), speaking in her capacity as Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, commended this week’s meeting in Addis Ababa by the African Union Peace and Security Council on United Nations-African Union cooperation in peace and security matters.  She also lauded the African Union Commission for issuing a comprehensive report on that partnership.  The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development was encouraged by the level of cooperation between the Organization, the African Union and African subregional organizations.  The signing and implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan and the mandates of UNAMID and AMISOM illustrated cooperation based on flexibility and making the best use of the African Union’s and subregional organizations’ comparative advantages in mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  It was vital for all parties concerned to continue to engage in activities aimed at reaching innovative, feasible solutions.

The African Union, and through subregional organizations like the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, should be supported by the Council based on the principles of complementarity and subsidiarity, as set forth in Chapter VIII of the Charter, she said.  The international community would benefit by lending the requisite support to continental and subregional institutions, which were better placed geographically, politically and culturally, to maintain regional peace and security.  Greater efforts were needed to ensure more effective cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, including through joint planning and joint assessment for peace operations on the continent.  The results achieved by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, in partnership with the African Union, in Sudan, Somalia and other regional security concerns were a testament to what could be achieved. 

She stressed the need for the Organization to bolster such regional initiatives and to expedite efforts to implement the United Nations-African Union 10-year Capacity-building Programme for the African Union.  Stronger efforts were needed to fully operationalize the African Union Continental Peace and Security Architecture, including the standby force and the continental early warning system.  Better cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, including annual consultations, was vital for reaching those objectives.  The efforts of the Secretariat and the African Union Commission must complement each other; the two must set realistic benchmarks and timelines.

U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) said that in Africa’s increasingly dynamic and complex security environment, the need to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations, whose efforts had proven critical in addressing peace and security challenges, could not be overemphasized.  He, therefore, welcomed the important milestones that had been achieved between the two over the past two decades.  He particularly appreciated the increasingly horizontal and vertical cooperation between them, and their key organs and institutions. 

However, he said, for the partnership to be viable, sustainable and strategic, it must be underpinned by “clarity of guidance”.  Indeed, he shared the Secretary-General’s view that the partnership should be based on comparative advantages, complementary of mandates and optimal use of resources and capacities.  Regular consultative meetings between the two Councils were not only desirable, but imperative.  In July 2010, under Nigeria’s presidency of the Security Council, both organs, meeting in New York, had agreed to a specific format and modalities for their annual consultative meetings.  That was a good step forward, and he expected qualitative progress on that understanding and more vigorous discussion. 

Peacekeeping in Africa was undoubtedly the core area of cooperation between the African Union and United Nations and, conversely, bore the greatest challenge, he said.  When the Union undertook a United Nations-mandated operation, it faced multiple financing, equipping and mission support challenges.  Those demands often outweighed its resources and capacities.  On Somalia, while he welcomed the United Nations effort to augments its footprint with the United Nations Office in Mogadishu, he also believed that the full provision of both light and heavy support packages for AMISOM would be a realistic way to underpin recent security gains.  With respect to Darfur, the signing of the Doha Document provided the impetus for the Security Council to give its consent to the convening of the Darfur political process, as called for by the Union. 

Stressing that the success of any peacekeeping operation depended on adequate and timely financial and logistical resources, he said financing of African Union operations remained a daunting challenge.  Stakeholders had failed to adopt far-reaching and creative alternatives, and so far no existing frameworks had been found to build sustainable strategies for peacekeeping partnership.  The Council must consider endorsing a financing option that guaranteed predictability, sustainability and flexibility of funding for the Union’s operations.  Looking ahead to a more strategic partnership, both organizations must intensify their investment in conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding.

Action on Text

The Council then adopted resolution 2033 (2012) unanimously.  The text reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions and statements of its President which underscore the importance of developing effective partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant statutes of regional and subregional organizations,

Reaffirming its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,

Reiterating 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,

Recognizing that regional organizations are well positioned to understand the causes of armed conflicts owing to their knowledge of the region which can be a benefit for their efforts to influence the prevention or resolution of these conflicts,

Stressing the utility of developing effective partnerships between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, in order to enable early responses to disputes and emerging crises and to strengthen the role of the United Nations in the prevention of conflict,

Recalling its resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1894 (2009) and 1960 (2010) and its commitment to their full and effective implementation and reaffirming the important role that women play in mediation, conflict prevention, as well as in the peaceful resolution of conflict and peacebuilding as expressed in its Presidential Statement 2011/20 of 28 October 2011 and also reaffirming the importance of the prevention of and protection from sexual violence,

Reaffirming its resolutions 1379 (2001), 1612 (2006), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011) on the protection of children in armed conflicts and encouraging initiatives by regional and subregional organizations and arrangements for the protection of children affected by armed conflict and encouraging continued mainstreaming of child protection into their advocacy, policies and programmes,

Welcoming the increasing contribution being made by the African Union in efforts to settle conflicts on the African Continent and expressing its support for the peace initiatives conducted by the African Union, and through the African subregional organizations and stresses, in accordance with Article 54 of the Charter of the United Nations, the need for regional and subregional organizations at all times to keep the Security Council fully informed of these efforts in a comprehensive and coordinated manner,

Recalling the Constitutive Act of the African Union and its Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and expressing its support for the ongoing operationalization of the African Union Peace and Security Architecture,

Acknowledging progress made in the ongoing cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, and stressing the importance of further strengthening cooperation and developing effective partnership with the African Union Peace and Security Council consistent with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter to address common collective security challenges in Africa,

Recognizing the importance of strengthening the capacity of regional and subregional organizations in conflict prevention and crisis management, and in post-conflict stabilization,

Further recognizing that one major constraint facing some regional organizations, in particular the African Union, in effectively carrying out the mandate of maintaining regional peace and security is securing predictable, sustainable and flexible resources,

Noting with appreciation the collaboration between the good offices of the Secretary-General including his Special Representatives and the African Union in the area of conflict prevention,

Welcoming the contribution of the United Nations Office to the African Union in strengthening coordination and cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union,

Taking note with appreciation the efforts of the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission in developing common guidelines that outline a framework for mediation in Africa in an effort to make the United Nations-African Union partnership more coherent when undertaking joint mediation efforts,

Welcoming the United Nations support for the African Union in the field of peacekeeping, including by supporting the African Union’s efforts to develop policy, guidance and training in particular in the areas of Security Sector Reform, post-conflict reconstruction and the protection of civilians including the problem of sexual violence in armed conflict,

Noting the need for a comprehensive analysis of lessons learned from practical cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, in particular with regard to the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), recognizing the need to build upon lessons learned from practical cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union and further recognizing the benefits of coordination of policy and strategy in this regard by the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council,

Further taking note of the report of the African Union Chairperson entitled The United Nations-African Union Partnership on Peace and Security: Towards Greater Strategic Political Coherence on the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union on peace and security in Africa,

Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General on United Nations-African Union cooperation in peace and security (S/2011/805),

“1.   Expresses its determination to take effective steps to further enhance the relationship between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, in particular the African Union, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter;

“2.   Encourages the continuing involvement of regional and subregional organizations in the peaceful settlement of disputes, including through conflict prevention, confidence-building and mediation efforts;

“3.   Further encourages regional and subregional organizations to strengthen and increase cooperation among them, including efforts to enhance their respective capacities, in the maintenance of international peace and security;

“4.   Reiterates the importance of establishing a more effective relationship between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council including in the area of conflict prevention, resolution and management, electoral assistance and regional conflict prevention offices;

“5.   Takes note of the respective strategic visions of the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations as contained in the reports of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (S/2011/805) and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and stresses that common and coordinated efforts undertaken by the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council in matters of peace and security, should be based on their respective authorities, competencies and capacities;

“6.   Encourages the improvement of regular interaction, consultation and coordination, as appropriate between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council on matters of mutual interest;

“7.   Stresses the importance of a coordinated international response to causes of conflict and recognizes the need for the development of effective long-term strategies and emphasizes the need for all United Nations organs and agencies to pursue preventive strategies and to take action within their respective areas of competence to assist Member States and regional organizations to eradicate poverty, strengthen development cooperation and assistance and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;

“8.   Reaffirms the obligation of all Member States to settle disputes and resolve conflicts in accordance with the United Nations Charter and calls upon the international community to assist the efforts initiated by the African Union and subregional organizations aimed at the peaceful settlement of disputes and the resolution of conflict in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

“9.   Calls upon the Secretary-General to maintain close consultations with the African Union and Regional Economic Communities as well as with international partners on peace and security challenges in Africa, especially in prevention and resolution of conflicts;

“10.  Recognizes the important role of the good offices of the Secretary-General in Africa, and encourages the Secretary-General to continue to use mediation as often as possible to help resolve conflicts peacefully, working in coordination and closely with the African Union and subregional organizations in that regard, as appropriate;

“11.  Calls upon the United Nations Office to the African Union to continue its efforts to contribute to strengthening cooperation between the United Nations Secretariat and the Commission of the African Union including in the area of mediation efforts, and underscores the importance of expediting the implementation, in close consultation with other international partners, of the 2006 United Nations-African Union Ten-year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union mainly focusing on peace and security, in particular the operationalization of the African Union Peace and Security Architecture; as an important contribution towards conflict prevention on the African Continent;

“12.  Reaffirms the vital role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response, and post-conflict reconstruction, and stresses the need for the United Nations and the African Union to work to ensure that women and gender perspectives are fully integrated into all peace and security efforts undertaken by the two organizations, including by building the necessary capacity;

“13.  Urges the Secretary-General to continue to work to ensure that the United Nations Office to the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the United Nations agencies working with the United Nations Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa are delivering coordinated support to the African Union;

“14.  Welcomes regular interaction between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission, through the United Nations-African Union joint task force on peace and security, and encourages the Task Force to continue to focus on strategic and country-specific issues of the African continent that are of interest to both organizations and requests that the Task Force consider ways to enhance United Nations and African Union cooperation on conflict prevention in Africa and that it provide updates to the Security Council subsequent to its meetings;

“15.  Supports further interaction between the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission to exchange information, and as appropriate coordinate in the preparation of recommendations, including through joint assessments, if appropriate, in order to assist the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council in formulating cohesive positions and strategies;

“16.  Further supports ongoing briefings by Senior United Nations Officials to the African Union Peace and Security Council and that of the African Union to the United Nations as an important contribution in strengthening consultation, information sharing and communication between the two bodies on issues of mutual concern;

“17.  Decides in consultation with the African Union Peace and Security Council to elaborate further ways of strengthening relations between the two Councils including through achieving more effective annual consultative meetings, the holding of timely consultations, and collaborative field missions of the two Councils, as appropriate, to formulate cohesive positions and strategies on a case-by-case basis in dealing with conflict situations in Africa;

“18.  Further decides to follow up on the Communiqués of the annual consultative meetings of the two Councils including through its Ad-hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa;

“19.  Stresses the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations when they undertake peacekeeping under a United Nations mandate;

“20.  Reiterates that regional organizations have the responsibility to secure human, financial, logistical and other resources for their organizations, including through contributions by their members and support from partners and welcomes the valuable financial support provided by the African Union’s partners towards its peacekeeping operations including through the African Peace Facility, and calls upon all partners to continue their support;

“21.  Requests the Secretary-General in consultation with the African Union to conduct a comprehensive analysis of lessons learned from practical cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, in particular with regard to the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in order to improve coordination when appropriate;

“22.  Further requests the Secretary-General to include, as appropriate, in his regular reporting to the Security Council, assessments of progress on the cooperation between the United Nations and relevant regional and subregional organizations;

“23.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Following the vote, PHILLIP PARHAM (United Kingdom) said he had supported the resolution because he was convinced of the important role of regional organizations in the pursuit of peace and security in Africa and elsewhere.  The United Kingdom recognized, in particular, the contribution of the African Union in preventing and managing conflict in Africa, and it commended the cooperation between it and the United Nations.  But, it did not believe that that cooperation, however welcome, in principle, should come at the expense of the Security Council’s primacy or its practical capacity to respond speedily and effectively to any threats to international peace and security. 

He said that the hurried way in which the text had been prepared had left some potential for ambiguity.  Clarifying the United Kingdom’s position, he said that the reference in operative paragraph 6, concerning coordination between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, should apply in those instances where such coordination was considered to be appropriate, and that could only occur in the context of the Security Council’s primacy regarding the maintenance of international peace and security.  Effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations called for timely consultation and the avoidance of procedures that were inflexible in the face of varied and urgent challenges.  He supported efforts to enhance relations between the United Nations and regional organizations in accordance with the Charter.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.