Secretary-General, at Security Council, Stresses Shared Interest of United Nations, African Union in Stronger Conflict-Prevention Mechanisms

SC/12915
19 July 2017
8006th Meeting (AM & PM)

Secretary-General, at Security Council, Stresses Shared Interest of United Nations, African Union in Stronger Conflict-Prevention Mechanisms

The United Nations and the African Union had a shared interest in strengthening mechanisms to defuse conflicts before they escalated and to manage them effectively when they occurred, Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council today in an open debate on enhancing African capacities in peace and security.

“I firmly believe the international community needs to change the narrative about the African continent,” he said, and establish a higher platform of cooperation that recognized its enormous potential.  With the 19 April signing of the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, the two organizations sought to systematically work on the basis of mutual respect and comparative advantage in all stages of the conflict cycle.

The Framework outlined four action areas, he said, the first of which centred on joint work to prevent and mediate conflict, and sustain peace.  Coordinated actions would be taken to identify the causes of conflict, develop joint analysis, share information and reach a common understanding leading to early action.  The other pillars involved responding to conflict, addressing root causes, and enhancing the partnership through, among other things, regular staff exchanges and joint fact-finding missions.

Overall, he said, enhancing African capacities in peace and security required adequate, timely and predictable financing for African Union peace support operations.  Recalling the decision by African leaders, outlined in resolution 2320 (2016), to fund 25 per cent of those operations, he said his report submitted pursuant to that text included financing options.

Smaïl Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, said his organization had mandated or authorized the deployment of more than 100,000 uniformed and civilian personnel over the last decade.  That had come at a huge human cost, with the number of casualties exceeding those combined in United Nations peacekeeping missions over the last 70 years.  African troops also had faced inadequate force enablers and multipliers, and financial resource gaps.

To support African capacities, he recommended that the African Union Commission and United Nations Secretariat establish an approach that involved real-time consultations, joint assessments and joint analysis with a view to recommending coherent options.  The operational readiness of the African Standby Force must be fully supported, he stressed.

More broadly, he advocated support for countering violent extremism through greater investment in political, human rights, humanitarian and developmental approaches.  Predictable and sustainable funding, notably through United Nations assessed contributions, remained a common African position, he said, looking forward to a possible Council decision in September on support to all Council-mandated African peace support operations.

In the ensuing debate, speakers highlighted the many theatres in which African troops were taking charge of conflict response, notably in Mali, Central African Republic and Somalia, or involved in regional efforts to tackle the evolving threats of piracy, cybercrime, terrorism, and trafficking in humans or small arms and light weapons.  Senegal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad drew attention to the Multinational Joint Task Force, which had expanded its focus to counter Boko Haram, and deployment by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of ceasefire monitoring brigades in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Gambia.

Egypt’s delegate spotlighted the African Union’s “silencing the guns” by 2020 and “African Solidarity” initiatives.  Calling for greater cooperation, he said tackling the continent’s challenges was linked to institutional and human capacity-building as a means of living out the principle of “African solutions to African problems”.

South Africa’s delegate pointed out that regional organizations were better positioned to understand the root causes of conflicts and had a comparative advantage given their collective political resolve.

With that in mind, Namibia’s delegate said the United Nations must seek African views on conflict resolution and prevention through informal sessions with the African Union.

Pakistan’s delegate said the voice of her country, a top troop contributor, had not been solicited or heard in decisions on new deployments, crafting mandates and devising cooperation strategies.  “This silo culture must change,” she said.  Consultative dialogues with regional organizations must be unburdened by issues that went beyond the purview of regional problems.

Many speakers also lamented that a lack of financing had limited African Union efforts, citing resolution 2320 (2016) reaffirming the Council’s determination to enhance peace and security cooperation between the two organizations.  Some called for a successor resolution to establish a principle whereby peace operations would be financed through assessed contributions to the United Nations budget.

In the meantime, several speakers applauded African efforts to take charge of the future, with the approval of a funding model for the new African Union Peace Fund made at the bloc’s 2016 summit in Kigali.  The European Union’s representative hailed the ambition and ownership shown at the Kigali summit.  One proposal discussed with the African Union and regional economic communities during a recent senior officials meeting was a collaborative platform for sharing information and enhancing operational cooperation among his bloc, the African Union and the United Nations.

Ethiopia’s delegate pointed to a recent African Union summit in Addis Ababa, which had yielded decisions to endorse the governance structures and eligibility criteria of the Peace Fund.  The scope of operations would be submitted for authorization by the Council, he said.

Japan’s delegate said his country’s efforts, through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, centred on principles of African ownership and international partnership.

France’s delegate said African States were among the most important contributors to peace operations on the continent, notably through military and police deployments.  Some had decided to further that participation, which his country welcomed.

Offering first-hand experience, Rwanda’s delegate said that while the Peace Fund’s management structure, accountability and transparency systems would ensure value for money, her country understood that the highest value for money lay in the millions of lives saved by enhancing African capacities to respond to peace and security challenges.

Also speaking today were ministers, other senior officials and representatives of Ukraine, Italy, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Bolivia, United States, China, Peru, Brazil, Algeria, Indonesia, Turkey, Estonia, Ireland, New Zealand, India, Germany, Denmark (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Kenya, Republic of Korea, Belgium, Portugal, Bangladesh, Venezuela (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Netherlands, Kuwait, Nigeria, Djibouti, Botswana, Uganda, Mali, Israel, Canada and Morocco.

A representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross also spoke.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m., suspended at 1:19 p.m., resumed at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 5:32 p.m.

Briefings

ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, declared:  “I firmly believe the international community needs to change the narrative about the African continent,” and establish a higher platform of cooperation that recognized its enormous potential and promise.  In the area of peace and security, the African Union and the United Nations had a shared interest in strengthening mechanisms to defuse conflicts before they escalated, and to manage them when they occurred.  Enhancing African capacities was essential both for the collective response to such challenges and for the continent’s self-reliance.

With that in mind, he said that through the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, which he had signed on 19 April with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the two organizations sought to work on the basis of mutual respect and comparative advantage in all stages of the conflict cycle in a systematic, predictable and strategic manner.

The Framework centred on four action areas, he said, the first of which focused on joint work to prevent and mediate conflict, and sustain peace.  Such work would involve coordinated and complementary actions to identify the causes of conflict, develop joint analysis, share information and reach a common understanding leading to early action, he said, underscoring the importance of working with subregional mechanisms to help tackle political disputes.

The second action area was around responding to conflict, he said, noting that the Union and subregional organizations had deployed tremendous efforts to make the African Standby Force and its Rapid Deployment Capability operational.  Under the Framework, the organizations would strengthen the Standby Force and explore synergies with the United Nations Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System.  It was important to coordinate efforts in confronting terrorism and violent extremism, he said, underscoring his belief that, with enhanced support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and predictable funding, along with efforts to build the Somali National Army and Police Force, Al-Shabaab could be defeated.  In Mali, he advocated collective engagement to support the peace process.

He went on to say that the Framework’s third pillar would address the root causes of conflict, emphasizing the commitment to increase cooperation on peacebuilding and the rule of law.  The fourth pillar would involve continuous review and enhancement of the partnership through regular staff exchanges, joint fact-finding missions, enhanced cooperation in promoting national peace infrastructures, mobilizing funding for African Union peace operations authorized by the Council, and preventing violent extremism and illicit flows of weapons and ammunition.  It also underscored the need to advance the women, peace and security agenda.

Overall, he said, enhancing African capacities in peace and security required adequate, timely and predictable financing for African Union peace support operations.  In that context, he recalled the decision by African leaders, outlined in resolution 2320 (2016), to fund 25 per cent of those operations.  His report, submitted pursuant to that text, included financing options and highlighted the importance of compliance and oversight of African Union peace support operations through human rights mechanisms and a conduct and discipline framework.

SMAЇL CHERGUI, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, describing his organization as “an indispensable partner in promoting peace and security in Africa”, said that over the last decade, it had mandated or authorized the deployment of more than 100,000 uniformed and civilian personnel, sometimes in high-risk environment.  That had come at a huge cost in human lives, he said, emphasizing that in the last decade, the number of casualties among African troops in peace support operations exceeded the combined casualties in United Nations peacekeeping missions in the last 70 years.  At the same time, African troops had to deal with inadequate force enablers and multipliers, as well as financial resource gaps, he said, noting that AMISOM remained the least resourced compared with other missions with similar mandates.

Presenting a few proposals on how best to support African capacities to prevent and respond to peace and security challenges, he recommended that the African Union Commission and United Nations Secretariat establish an institutional approach that would allow real-time consultations, joint assessments and joint analysis with a view to recommending coherent options, thus permitting timely prevention of conflicts including through preventative diplomacy.  The African Union-United Nations Framework on was a good foundation for such an approach, he said.  Enhancement of the operational readiness of the African Standby Force must be fully supported, he added, encouraging Council members and partners to support implementation of the Maputo Action Plan 2014-2019 for strengthening the Force.

With the spread of violent extremism remaining a source of concern, he said the African Union and United Nations must work together to resolve seemingly intractable conflict by building resilience through sustainable post-conflict reconstruction and development initiatives.  That would entail supporting African Union efforts to counter violent extremism through greater investment in political, human rights, humanitarian and developmental approaches.  Channels for such support included the African Union counter-terrorism fund, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, and the Nouakchott and Djibouti processes, he said.

Financing peace support operations was a perennial issue that hopefully could be resolved soon, he said.  Noting that implementation of the Kigali summit decision on financing was under way, he said his organization was convinced that its efforts since 2001 on alternative sources of funding would be achieved.  To enhance accountability, the African Union Commission had asked the United Nations and European Union to nominate representatives to its Peace Fund.  However, he said, Africa would not be able to fund peace initiatives on its own.  Predictable and sustainable funding for addressing peace and security challenges, including through United Nations assessed contributions, remained a common African position, he said, looking forward to a possible Council decision in September on dedicated support by the Organization to all Council-mandated African peace support operations.

Statements

MANKEUR NDIAYE, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of Senegal, said the topic of African capabilities must be part of discussions on how to intensify cooperation among the African Union, the United Nations and regional economic communities.  Whether through the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), or AMISOM, the African Union and subregional organizations provided front-line responses to conflict.  The deployment by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of a ceasefire monitoring brigade in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Gambia underscored the crucial role of subregional organizations in fostering peace.  New challenges involved the rise of violent extremism, the proliferation of terrorist groups that fed on criminal activities and cybercrime, with more than 200,000 registered cyberattacks per year testing Governments’ ability to counter such activities.

He went on to describe a number of achievements, recalling that Senegal and Spain had organized an Arria formula meeting on cybercrime that included industrialists, legal experts and security agencies.  On maritime security, leaders had adopted the African Union Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development.  More broadly, African States had mobilized to address attacks against peace and security through the Multinational Joint Task Force to counter Boko Haram.  Going forward, he advocated an approach that addressed the root causes of conflict, expressing disappointment over the lack of predictable financing, which had limited African Union efforts.  He called for predictable, sustainable and flexible financing for operations authorized by the Council, citing resolution 2320 (2016) in that context.  He also pressed the Council to adopt a successor resolution establishing a principle according to which peace operations must be financed through assessed contributions to the United Nations budget.

SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said that amid long overdue reform efforts to restore the United Nations ability to take prompt preventive measures, regional organizations remained among the most efficient mechanisms to swiftly respond to a full-scale conflict or situations endangering civilian populations.  The African Union had made progress in developing its peace support capabilities and was a first responder to crises on the continent.  Given the complex nature of threats, supporting the full operationalization of the African peace and security architecture should be among the Union’s priority.

Citing partnership examples, he said the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) had paved the way to transitioning from peacekeeping to peacebuilding while efforts in Somalia had reduced terrorist activities.  A similar approach and level of coordination was now needed in Burundi, he said, calling on the Government to accept the deployment of African Union human rights observers and military experts.  Turning to the Central African Republic, he expressed concern about the presence and activities of armed groups and recognized the African Union’s important role in peace and reconciliation efforts.  Pointing to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as another example of positive peacekeeping and stabilization efforts, he cited the recent celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day as a reminder that human rights and democracy were two prerequisites that could bring lasting peace to Africa.

SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), expressing support for enhanced strategic cooperation with the African Union, said different financial support options set out in the Secretary-General’s report could be chosen on a case-by-case basis.  Italy was also open to the use of assessed contributions to finance African Union peace operations so long as high accountability standards, among other factors, were met.  Emphasizing that the United Nations could not and should not tackle evolving threats alone, but rather with regional organizations and others, he said that in the long term, the only solution was to tackle root causes of instability.  In that regard, Italy would do its part to put Africa on the path of sustainable growth.

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) quoted Nelson Mandela, saying that man’s goodness was a flame that could be hidden, but never extinguished.  In Africa, the Council had a vital role to play in fostering that flame.  The United Nations, the Council and African countries and organizations must work together to address root causes of conflict, he said, emphasizing that the Organization must use development cooperation proactively to support peace.  The corrosive spectre of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers needed to be eradicated, he said, emphasizing the value of deploying more women in the field.  He underscored the need to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union and looked forward to the Council’s visit to Addis Ababa in September.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) said cooperation between the United Nations and African Union was both crucial and urgent.  The challenge lied in implementing Council resolution 2320 (2016) and the Secretary-General’s report, among other documents.  Noting that nine peacekeeping missions were deployed in Africa, he underscored the need for closer cooperation throughout the entire life cycle of a mission.  On financing, the Secretary-General’s proposals included viable options, he said, emphasizing also that all Council-mandate peacekeeping missions must comply with the same standards of performance, conduct, discipline and accountability.

PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) said activities of the African Union and subregional organizations had intensified with the formation of the continent’s peace and security architecture.  To overcome crises, he advocated an approach that brought the leading role of Africans together with international support.  Any settlement should involve political methods based on national dialogue and settlement of root causes.  The Russian Federation understood concerns over the resourcing of peace operations and called for greater predictability.  It would not object to considering the broadening of United Nations participation in such missions and was ready for dialogue on that topic.  It was important to maintain the Organization’s system of reviewing and approving budgetary requests and measuring accountability, while also involving United Nations personnel in all planning stages.  He blamed instability in Africa in part on attempts at “political engineering” in the Middle East and North Africa, and expressed regret that the African Union’s experience in Libya had been ignored, which in turn, had provoked clumsy interventions and new crucibles of instability.  Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) had grown in Libya amid new terrorist threats in the Sahara and Sahel.  The group was cooperating with Boko Haram and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.  Along the borders of the G-5 Sahel countries, another group was working to bring together Islamic structures in Mali, Mauritania and elsewhere.  The Russian Federation was ready to share its experience in counter-terrorism and carry out related projects, he added, describing training programmes in Russian universities for African law enforcement agencies, and in the Interior Ministry for peacekeepers.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) urged the Council to prioritize conflict prevention and mediation by improving United Nations-African Union diplomacy, notably through a shift towards preventing conflict, rather than resolving them.  Indeed, crisis response was fragmented, while the causes of violence were deeply interlinked.  A comprehensive approach was needed to connect security, humanitarian and development efforts, with greater emphasis on financial outlays for peacebuilding.  Noting that $7 billion was spent annually on peacekeeping, he said that less than $1 billion went to laying the foundations for peace by addressing the root causes of tensions.  “We, therefore, must invest more in building State institutions,” he said, as well as health, education, job creation and employment.  A focus on climate mitigation and disaster risk reduction would promote intra-African economic growth.  The United Nations should leverage the comparative advantages of regional and subregional organizations, and neighbouring countries that had a better understanding of local dynamics.  He also advocated establishing predictable financing mechanisms for African Union peace operations.

KORO BESSHO (Japan) said the continent’s bright future hinged on the development of peaceful societies supported by African ownership and international partnership.  The United Nations was capable of expanding its partnership with the African Union, with its capacities for regional action, beyond peace support operations to include efforts that would address the root causes of conflict.  In that vein, self-sustaining economic growth fostered peace and stability, he said, noting that cooperation between the Organization and the Union on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 would play a vital role.  Japan’s efforts, through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, centred on principles of African ownership and international partnership, as could be seen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), providing a snapshot of the African Union Summit recently held in Addis Ababa, said discussions had supported the implementation of a road map of steps to silence guns on the continent by 2020, yet remaining challenges were undermining such efforts.  African States and regional mechanisms must reverse the rise of conflicts by, among other things, addressing their root causes and implementing security sector reform in affected countries.  Decisions emerging from the Summit included endorsing the governance structures and eligibility criteria of the Peace Fund and the scope of operations to be submitted for authorization by the Council alongside subsequent financing through the United Nations-assessed contributions.  That decision had demonstrated Africa’s commitment to ensuring greater ownership and responsibility in dealing with challenges facing the continent and represented a great asset for the Council.  Continuing, he said that amid new and emerging challenges to peace and security the United Nations could not effectively respond to conflicts and crises alone.  Enhancing partnerships was a sensible approach and the United Nations-African Union Framework would contribute to addressing challenges across the conflict cycle.  The Council had adopted resolutions to strengthen partnerships and a concrete proposal had been developed jointly by the United Nations and the African Union.  Now, concrete action must follow by taking practical steps towards financing Council-authorized Union-led operations.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) said that security threats facing Africa were threats that faced the wider international community as regional challenges had a tendency to manifest into global phenomena.  “When African countries respond, they respond on all of our behalf,” he added.  Outlining how the African Union was working with regional and subregional actors to enable regional unity, he noted that the response to the recent crisis in the Gambia illustrated how action at the subregional level, through ECOWAS, could be reinforced at the regional level.  Regarding South Sudan, he said that close cooperation between Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union and the United Nations remained essential in achieving a ceasefire and resuming an inclusive political process.  The international community must support enhanced regional capacities so that regional bodies could act where the United Nations cannot.  The recently signed United Nations-African Union Framework underlined shared commitment, he continued, recognizing the need for flexible, predictable and sustainable funding of African Union peace operations.  To that end, he underscored the need for continued financing for AMISOM.

strengthen African capabilities must be enshrined in the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The United Nations relationship with the African Union should be based on respect, rather than on formulas imposed by others.  UNAMID and AMISOM reflected the Union’s work to stabilize countries, while the Sahel G-5 countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) was working to strengthen MINUSMA, fight organized crime and protect civilians.  The United Nations-African Union Framework aimed to promote a more strategic partnership through a common understanding of the factors that created conflict, share early-warning information and coordinate support through all stages of conflict response.  Multilateralism, preventive diplomacy, mediation, good offices and inclusive dialogue were vital for promoting peace and development in Africa, he said, noting that partner countries and organizations must repay the historic debt owed to the continent.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said African States were among the most important contributors to peace operations, some of them having decided to further that participation, a willingness which his country welcomed.  Citing the African Union’s commitment to a number of missions, he said the Sahel G-5 countries were also becoming fully involved in fighting terrorist groups.  France had trained more than 15,000 African military officers and soldiers in 11 countries in 57 areas, including peacekeeping, demining and maritime security.  Training had been carried out through 14 regionally oriented national schools, and by hosting people in schools in France.  Further, Operation Barkhane forces in the Sahel fought side by side with those from MINUSMA, while in the Gulf of Guinea, France supported country efforts for maritime security, work which should be led “in synergy” with the European Union.  He cited the bloc’s Training Mission and Capacity-Building operations, and financing of AMISOM, the Multinational Joint Task Force and the G-5 Sahel Joint Force, noting that France, Germany and the European Union also had launched the Alliance for the Sahel on 13 July, promoting an integrated approach for the region through stabilization and development.  He called for reinforced international support for Africa.

IHAB MOUSTAFA AWAD MOUSTAFA (Egypt) drew attention to the road map for strengthening the “silencing the guns” in Africa by 2020 initiative.  In April, the United Nations-African Union Framework was signed, while the Secretary-General’s report outlined alternatives for financing African peace operations in line with resolution 2320 (2016).  Recent years had also seen successes through UNAMID and AMISOM.  However, cooperation must be restructured in light of such evolving challenges as transnational organized crime, terrorism, piracy and trafficking small arms and light weapons.  He called for greater cooperation between the continent and its partners, stressing that tackling those challenges was linked to institutional and human capacity-building in the African Union and regional groups, as a means of carrying out the principle of implementing “African solutions to African problems”.  Indeed, he said, including that concept in joint activities required that attention be paid to conflict prevention, early warning and peaceful dispute settlement, all of which were vital to the African Union peace and security architecture through the Group of Elders and the Early Warning Mechanism.  He expressed hope that the concept of sustaining peace would be implemented through the partnership.  Addressing root causes was least costly way to settle conflicts, as economic development was closely linked to strengthening human rights and good governance, as well as conflict resolution and prevention.  He advocated support for national reconciliation efforts, citing the Union’s “African Solidarity” initiative, which was being fine-tuned to support the building of a centre for conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Cairo.  Recent African Union summits had adopted ambitious resolutions to strengthen self-sufficiency, he said, underscoring the importance of resolution 2320 (2016) in adopting a principle for the use of assessed contributions in the sustainable and flexible financing of peace operations in Africa.

NIKKI HALEY (United States) said the African Union was an indispensable partner for her country and the United Nations in promoting peace and security in Africa.  True progress, however, required that the efforts of the Organization and others be accompanied by accountability on the part of Governments involved in conflict.  “Famine in Africa is an issue of peace and security,” she said, emphasizing that armed conflict was the primary cause of food insecurity in Somalia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria where a total of 14 million people were at risk of famine.  African Union member countries must ramp up their response, working with subregional and individual States to confront food insecurity challenges with one voice.  While welcoming the establishment of an African Union hybrid court for South Sudan, she said a commitment to human rights must take precedence to politics.  In that regard, the African Group’s nomination of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Human Rights Council not only undermined that body’s credibility, but also contributed to the conflict in that country.

LIU JIEYI (China), Council President for July, speaking in his national capacity, said Africa faced multiple peace and security challenges, with terrorist groups infiltrating the heart of the continent and some countries dealing with unemployment, poverty, refugees and sluggish economic growth.  The international community must vigorously help the continent solve its problems, he said, including effective support for African Union peace operations through adequate, stable and sustainable funding.  He emphasized the need to support African efforts to address root causes of conflict and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.  He added that his country’s “belt and road” initiative would help Africa’s development while also addressing root causes of conflict.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said violent extremist groups, terrorism and transnational organized crime threatened security in Africa.  Noting his country’s participation in initiatives addressing those threats, he said the renewal of peacekeeping mandates were opportunities to analyse partnerships and ensure their proper resourcing.  It was also important for the international community to build the capacity of Governments in Africa, he said, noting constitutional, institutional and policy reforms undertaken by different countries in the region.

MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) cited his country’s efforts to promote peace in Africa, dating from its involvement in the United Nations Emergency Force in Suez from 1956 to 1967.  Attaching great importance to close coordination with the African Union and ECOWAS, he said that bilaterally, Brazil’s army cooperated with Cape Verde, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe and South Africa.  It was also involved in the triangular partnership project to train African military engineers.  African States must take a lead role in addressing instability, and regional ownership must be respected, he said, noting that peacekeeping mandates must be accompanied by the necessary resources, while regional actors should spare no efforts to bring their troops to United Nations performance standards.  The United Nations and Africa’s best interests would not be served if support was disproportionately focused on peacekeeping.  Supporting the primacy of African politics to prevent and peacefully solve African problems should be part of a comprehensive United Nations strategy to enhance the continent’s capabilities.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said it was encouraging that a permanent Council member had convened an open debate on a region that was underrepresented in the body.  On regional peace and security, it only made sense for the Council to listen closely to the opinions of Member States of that region.  The African Union was a critical link to challenges on the continent.  The partnership should be based on respective comparative advantages, burden-sharing and consultative decision-making, as outlined in resolution 2320 (2016), and she advocated investing more financial and capacity-building resources in African Union missions mandated by the Council itself.  Such support must be flexible, sustainable and predictable.  As a top troop contributor to United Nations peacekeeping, Pakistan had protected civilians and worked in dangerous circumstances.  Yet, its voice had been unsolicited or unheard in major decisions taken on new deployments, crafting mandates, devising strategies on regional and trilateral cooperation, and other issues directly affecting its troops.  “This silo culture must change if we want to make peacekeeping work at its optimum capacity,” she said, noting that consultative dialogues with regional organizations would be of pivotal importance if unburdened by issues that went beyond the purview of regional problems.

JOÃO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of the European Union delegation, said never before had the bloc’s interests been so intertwined with Africa.  The direct connection between Libya and the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Gulf, called for a more strategic approach that transcended established formats.  The European Union partnership with Africa encompassed actions at continental, regional, subregional and local levels.  Noting that the Secretary-General’s report outlined options for supporting African Union peace operations, he said his bloc was cooperating with the United Nations in all common security and defence policy missions.  The two were also working on joint programming and coordination in support, for example, of security sector reform in the Central African Republic.  Such initiatives could be widened to include the African Union.  One proposal discussed with the African Union and regional economic communities during the recent senior officials meeting was a collaborative platform for sharing information and enhancing operational cooperation among his bloc, the African Union and the United Nations.  Diversification of funding was critical, he said, citing the ambition and ownership shown at the July 2016 African Union summit in Kigali with the decision to finance the African Union Peace Fund.

MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria) highlighted many bold initiatives and actions that had been undertaken to uphold the African continent’s peace, security and development.  Agenda 2063, silencing the guns by 2020, countering terrorism and violent extremism and completion of the decolonization process, among other efforts, were but a few examples of the many efforts under way.  Given the interconnected nature of the world, it was obvious that African security and prosperity contributed to larger world peace and prosperity, and in that context, cooperation with the United Nations, as well as regional and subregional partners, was of paramount importance.  He recalled that at the African Union Peace and Security Council meeting in May, it was decided, among other things, that African ownership was a key factor to the success of peace efforts, while the Security Council’s primary role was also reaffirmed.  It was also acknowledged that support by the United Nations to regional organizations in matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security was an integral part of collective security.

TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said his country was working with the continent to establish higher ideals and strengthen historic bonds, noting that in South Africa, his nation had initiated the New Asian African Strategic Partnership in 2005 to accelerate cooperation in politics, economy and socio-culture.  Stressing that African development must take place without causing harm, he said Indonesia would focus on realizing mutually beneficial outcomes in economic development and was ready to play a greater role in sustaining peace efforts.  He welcomed the African Union’s increasing role as a principled force for dialogue, peaceful conflict resolution, constitutionalism, citizen rights and cordial relations, expressing particular support for its Agenda 2063 and “Conflict-Free Africa” pillar.  It was vital that Member States make the United Nations-African Union Framework a success, he said, noting that his country would host the Indonesia-Africa Forum 2018 as a platform for promoting equal partnership.

GÜVEN BEGEÇ (Turkey) said that peace and security were instrumental for development.  African Union-led peace operations were critical initiatives to address crises in Africa, he said, underscoring his country’s contributions over the years to the efforts of AMISOM in Somalia and UNAMID in Darfur.  “We believe that African people and Governments have the best knowledge and answers to the challenges they face,” he added.  Turkey’s assistance and partnership with the African Union and African States were multifold.  In the past decade, it had provided more than $4 million for AMISOM, the East African Stand-by Force and the African Peace and Security Architecture.  Turkish police had helped build structural and operational capacities of security through bilateral programmes.  Turkey had also been collaborating on projects in trade, rural development, rule of law, infrastructure, health and education.

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), associating himself with the European Union, said it was imperative to address the root causes of conflict in Africa.  The African Union’s Agenda 2063 identified democratic deficit and weak governance as the root causes of violence and impediments to sustainable development.  Forging synergies between governance and peace and security was crucial to address conflicts in a holistic manner.  He welcomed African efforts on concrete structural conflict prevention initiatives, including mediation and preventive diplomacy.  Underscoring the critical need to mainstream gender equality, he said that women could play an essential role in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction.  Creating enabling conditions for jobs, education and the rule of law was crucial to silence guns on the continent.

ANDREW DOYLE, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture of Ireland, associating himself with the European Union, said steps must be taken to ensure that the well-established partnership between the United Nations and African Union was something that occurred on an operational level every day.  That would require ongoing review and cooperation, particularly in planning and decision-making.  On financing options, he said the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063, if properly implemented and supported, could enhance Africa’s capacity to fund peace operations on its own.  Development would moreover help eradicate the root causes of conflict.

FELICITY ROXBURGH (New Zealand) said meaningful engagement between the United Nations and African Union should be an everyday habit.  Regular, free-flowing and constructive exchanges would contribute to a deeper understanding of perspectives, a greater sense of unity and a stronger partnership.  She added that agreement was needed on a more predictable financing model for African-led peace operations.  New Zealand supported the Secretary-General’s pragmatic options, as well as the African Union’s proposal that 2 per cent of its peace operations would be financed by African States.  It also supported the use of United Nations-assessed contributions to finance African Union-led missions in defined circumstances, she said, urging the Council to take action as a matter of priority.

SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said the record of success of large peacekeeping deployments in Africa had been mixed.  Various missions needed to be analysed and lessons drawn.  He recalled India’s participation in most peacekeeping operations in Africa, including in Liberia the deployment of the first all-women police contingent in a United Nations mission, adding that it stood ready to do so again.  Sustaining peace would require a long-term commitment and expanded funding, but there was no agreement on increasing funding for the Peacebuilding Commission.  Describing the response to terrorist threats as less than satisfactory, he said it was time for strong, effective and coherent action that reflected the international community’s collective commitment to defeat that scourge.

JÜRGEN SCHULZ (Germany), associating himself with the European Union, welcomed the progress achieved by African partners in developing and implementing the African Peace and Security Architecture and expressed pleasure in the signing of the United Nations-African Union Framework.  He recalled Germany’s support for the preparation of military and police units for peacekeeping tasks and his country’s efforts with African Union and regional and subregional organizations to address capacity shortages and in the provision of important financial and technical assistance.  Germany placed strategic focus on crisis prevention and stabilization measures aimed at supporting political processes and resolving conflicts through the creation of secure environments and the improvement of living conditions.  His country was proud to support the African Union’s strong leadership in putting the women, peace and security agenda into action, he said, while stressing that combatting the proliferation of small arms and light weapons was a vital part of national and regional stabilization strategies.

IB PETERSEN (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the Nordic Countries — Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and his own — said that strengthened cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations remained essential to enhance efforts and address challenges.  The next step must be to ensure predictable and sustainable support to African Union operations.  He called on the Council to give its consent to use, on a case-by-case basis, United Nations-assessed contributions to finance Security Council-mandated African Union peace support missions.  That would also entail close United Nations involvement, as highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report.

Welcoming the signing of the United Nations-African Union framework, he said that Nordic countries were particularly encouraged by the emphasis on prevention and root causes.  Those two remained strong themes in the Nordic region’s long-standing cooperation with African partners.  “When rule of law prevails and the voice of the people is heard, conflict can be avoided,” he added, emphasizing how the peaceful transition in the Gambia had demonstrated that.  Along with ECOWAS, several African countries had stepped in with decisive support, signalling the continent’s unity and regional ownership.  He also said that participation of women and young people in peace processes was crucial to making peace last.

MACHARIA KAMAU (Kenya) said now, more than ever, the United Nations and the African Union had achieved a more coordinated response and complementary action in dealing with evolving challenges to peace and security on the continent; ranging from terrorism, humanitarian crises, violent extremism and conflict.  Kenya believed that a well-funded and efficient African Peace and Security Architecture was not only an essential African priority but also a strategic global necessity, and in that context, his delegation urged the Security Council to endorse and take the necessary steps towards the financing of African Union peace support operations.  Underscoring that implementation of the 2030 Agenda would be key to sustaining peace in Africa, he said it would be important to harness international cooperation to provide adequate means of implementation.  Further, the Council should be at the forefront of ensuring that illicit financial flows from Africa, exacerbated by a few banks in the developed world, were curtailed to ensure African resources remain in the continent to fight poverty and disease.

NEVILLE GERTZE (Namibia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the need for the African Union and the United Nations to outline their roles clearly according to their comparative advantages.  Partnership between the two must not substitute Africa’s ownership of its challenges.  Rather, African views on conflict resolution and conflict prevention must be sought through informal sessions between the two organizations.  Over the years, African Union member States had been able to step in promptly to help maintain peace and security.  For its part, Namibia would continue to contribute to peacekeeping operations as it was the presence of African peacekeepers that had provided international peace operations with political legitimacy.  Programmes, which must be developed at high-level Africa forums, must speak directly to the needs identified by the Africans themselves.  He also welcomed increased participation of women in peace processes and integration of gender perspectives into institutional reforms.

STEPHANE OJEDA, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said 40 per cent of his organization’s resources were invested in Africa, where the median age was 19, urbanization was expanding and land still plentiful.  Armed conflict must not undermine Africa’s opportunity, he said, urging the Council to make every effort to support States on the continent to end African conflicts.  Greater priority was being given to international humanitarian law in Africa, he said, adding that the continent and its military partners must cooperate continuously to ensure compliance.  He added that development actors must find ways to enhance States’ capacity to maintain basic services during conflicts.

HAHN CHOONGHEE (Republic of Korea) said it was becoming apparent that the United Nations alone simply could not tackle the multifaceted challenges faced by the world today.  The United Nations needed to work with all relevant stakeholders, including Member States, regional and subregional organizations, international financial institutions, the private sector and civil society.  Further, the United Nations should respect the ownership of African countries in maintaining peace and security on the continent, while assisting the African Union, as well as subregional organizations, in scaling up their relevant capacities.  The international community needed to pursue a comprehensive and integrated approach to achieve sustainable peace and development in Africa.  Efforts to listen to the voices and grievances of local communities should be bolstered, he added, encouraging the United Nations to further strengthen its strategic engagements with local communities.

MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa) recalled that, although the United Nations Charter set out that the Security Council had the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, it was often regional organizations, such as the African Union, that were the first responders to conflicts.  “This is by no means accidental,” he said, noting that regional organizations were often better-positioned to understand the root causes of armed conflicts and possessed a comparative advantage due to their collective political resolve.  The financing of African Union peacekeeping operations remained among the biggest challenges on the continent, he said, adding that the mutually reinforcing relationship between the United Nations and the Union should extend beyond the period of conflict, to critical areas such as peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), associating himself with the European Union, underscored the growing role of the African Union and subregional organizations in mediation, saying the region was best placed to either act as a mediator or to contribute to national or international mediation efforts.  It was important that Council-mandated operations uphold the highest United Nations and African Union human rights standards, he said, adding that the two organizations could bolster their partnership in that regard.  Noting that more than 60 per cent of Africa’s population was under the age of 25, he said investment in youth was crucial.  He went on to emphasize the need to build the capacity of MINUSMA, currently under Belgian command, enabling it to forge a genuine partnership with the Sahel G-5.

ÁLVARO MENDONÇA E MOURA (Portugal) said that the growing number of challenges faced by the African continent — from security to development — should be addressed through international cooperation, while respecting both regional and national ownership.  Portugal believed it was crucial to effectively support the work of the African Union and the regional economic communities, alongside efforts at the national and community levels.  Portugal was committed to the promotion of peace and security in Africa, and in that regard, was working closely with the United Nations, the African Union and subregional organizations, in addition to other actors.  While it was paramount that the Union carried on with its capacity-building activities, it must be acknowledged that the current level of support for African-led multinational peace and security programmes was not enough.  Going forward, there must be a diversification of funding, with conflict prevention and sustained peace remaining the key priorities.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) expressed his country’s readiness to cooperate with the African Union through the United Nations and in full respect of the bloc’s ownership of its operations.  The joint African Union-United Nations review authorized by the Council had identified a range of opportunities and challenges inherent in its evolving strategic partnership.  Stressing the need to improve capacities for joint appraisal, assessment and analysis of conflicts, he cautioned against financing models that had not been sufficiently tested.  In terms of mission support, he recognized the need to harness the comparative advantages of the United Nations and African Union on a case-by-case manner.  Doctrinal flexibility, especially regarding peace enforcement and counter-terrorism, must be invoked on the basis of the African Union ownership, while support for African operations should not stretch the mandate or competence of United Nations missions.  He reaffirmed the priority of seeking political solutions to conflicts as a critical precondition for sustaining peace.

HENRY ALFREDO SUÁREZ MORENO (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said it was a matter of utmost importance to redouble efforts to strengthen the strategic partnership between the United Nations and African Union.  That should be done with a view to addressing peace and security challenges in a holistic way, taking into account root causes of conflict, the promotion of stability and development, the premise of African solutions to African problems and the Union’s proven experience in helping to settle disputes peacefully.

Recognizing the important role of youth and women in preventing and resolving conflicts, including in the context of the African Youth Decade Plan of Action (2009-2018), he said the Movement supported ongoing efforts to strengthen African peacekeeping capabilities.  At the same time, it recommended enhancing an effective partnership between the United Nations and African Union so as to improve planning, deployment and management of African peacekeeping operations.  In that regard, it was important to find ways to secure predictable, adequate and sustained financial support to African Union-led peace operations, he said.

LISE GREGOIRE-VAN HAAREN (Netherlands), associating herself with the European Union, emphasized the need to work further towards a more institutionalized form of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union.  The European Union stood ready to look at how it, with the two organizations, could contribute to progress on sustainable financing and division of labour for peace operations.  The root causes of conflict must also be addressed, she said, emphasizing that that was core business for the United Nations, making working together across the Organization’s pillars a key priority.  The Netherlands looked forward to contributing to intensified cooperation as a Council member in 2018, she said.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH A ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) said many African countries were stuck in a cycle of conflict due to political challenges, terrorist threats by Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army and Al-Shabaab, along with piracy, among others.  Such challenges hampered peace and security, and as partners, “we have to help Africa solve its problems”.  Expressing support for the principle of “African solutions to African problems”, he said the African Union Peace and Security Council was a model for developing the continent.  He called for enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, citing resolution 2320 (2016), which outlined the importance of bilateral consultations and joint strategies, and a relationship based on comparative advantages and burden-sharing.  A $10 billion Kuwaiti fund had extended 500  concessional credits to more than 50 African countries in such areas as agriculture, energy transport, water and communication.

MOHAMMED I. HAIDARA (Nigeria) said a regional mechanism lightened the Security Council’s burden and provided an added layer of legitimacy to multilateralism.  Welcoming the United Nations determination to enhance its relationship with the African Union, he said efforts in that regard should be redoubled at the operational, political and tactical levels.  Stressing the importance of finding ways to secure predictable, adequate and sustained financial support for African Union-led peace operations, he said Nigeria endorsed the Secretary-General’s four options and called on the Council to endorse them in principle.  He emphasized that the Council’s work in managing international peace and security should be seen through the lens of preventative diplomacy.  Helping African nations and communities to restore their social and institutional fabrics, and providing African people with opportunities, would go a long way in reducing propensities for conflict, he said.

VALENTINE RUGWABIZA (Rwanda) said threats on the continent had grown more complex, which called for stronger partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations.  The United Nations-African Union Framework outlined the structure for more focused cooperation, which must now be institutionalized.  Information shared during regular dialogue and consultations between the African Union and the Security Council would increase the understanding of the context and root causes of conflicts.  Rwanda recommended increased investment in African capacities to intervene and respond to early warning signals with rapid interventions to protect civilians.  Enhancing African capacities to address deficits in training, equipment and the abilities of security institutions would bolster such efforts.  Investment in institutional capacities and inclusive governance systems must be prioritized in development cooperation.  Leaders at the 2016 Kigali summit had decided to finance 25 per cent of African Union-led peace support initiatives.  The Peace Fund now served that purpose, she said, stressing that access to United Nations assessed contributions would go a long way to preventing conflict.  While its management structure, accountability and transparency systems would ensure value for money, Rwanda understood through experience that the highest value for money lay in the millions of lives saved by enhancing African capacities to respond to peace and security challenges.

SAADA DAHER HASSAN (Djibouti), noting that Africa was plagued by 70 per cent of the world’s present-day crises, and that the Security Council dedicated two thirds of its meetings to the continent, said long-term solutions were needed.  The African Union Peace and Security Council had proven to be a reliable partner, she said, commending also the efforts of subregional organizations.  Cooperation should lead to the drafting of joint strategies that would include, among other things, intelligence sharing.  A productive partnership would improve collective security, she added.

CHARLES THEMBANI NTWAAGAE (Botswana) stressed that Africa needed financial and technical assistance, as well as capacity-building, to enhance its abilities in the areas of peace and security.  Such resources were crucial for human capital development and the creation of national legal frameworks, policies and national action plans for promoting peace and security, particularly the acquisition and management of weapons, small arms and light weapons.  African capacities could also be strengthened through institutional cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations and strategic partnerships with other actors actively involved in the areas of peace and security in Africa, such as China.  Botswana welcomed the commitment by African leaders to silence the guns by 2020, and in that context, he emphasized that conflict prevention and resolution were critical for sustainable development and durable peace.

ADONIA AYEBARE (Uganda) highlighted that his country had actively supported and participated in the African Union-led peace support operations and other peace initiatives in the region, pointing to Uganda as AMISOM’s first and largest troop-contributing country.  It was important for the United Nations and the Security Council, in particular, to recognize the critical role played by regional mechanisms in Africa as the building blocks of the African Peace and Security Architecture.  Despite the enormous efforts by the African Union to  maintain peace and security in Africa, African Union-led peace support operations continued to face significant financial, personnel and logistical challenges, he said, adding that respecting African countries’ ownership to solve African security problems was the precondition and foundation for supporting African-led peace operations.

ISSA KONFOUROU (Mali), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the old adage that prevention was better than cure still held true.  Strengthening and enhancing African capacity in conflict prevention would require staying the course over the long haul in order to address root causes that included poverty, poor governance, injustice, human rights violations and marginalization.  He said the Sahel G-5 joint force was not only a means to counter terrorism and other forms of organized crime, but also a forum to address development issues, embodying the region’s determination — with African Union support — to foster conditions for sustainable development and peace.  Overcoming extremist ideology through purely military solutions was a pipe dream, he said.  He went on to emphasize the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and African regional organizations, including the African Union.

HADAS MEITZAD, Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs of Israel, highlighted the devastating consequences of unrelenting conflict across Africa that had resulted in children being recruited into radical organizations, teenage girls being forced to marry men often four times their age and the loss of countless, innocent lives.  Africa was a continent on the rise, he said, noting that Israel and Africa shared many similarities in their experiences, especially in relation to security challenges.  Israel supported the partnership among the African Union, regional groups, partner nations and the United Nations to collectively advance security.  Recalling his Prime Minister’s visit to East Africa last year, he stressed that collaboration should not focus solely on combatting terrorism, but must also bolster development.  The inclusion of women was key to sustaining peace and civil society activities were a major driver for fostering development, he added.

MICHAEL GRANT (Canada), drawing attention to his country’s feminist international assistance policy, said States were more peaceful and resilient when women and girls played full and meaningful roles in society.  In that regard, African partners needed support in advancing holistic approaches to addressing the drivers of conflict, with a particular focus on empowering women and girls.  More also must be done to strengthen partnerships between the United Nations system, African regional organizations and Member States, including innovative peacekeeping training initiatives.  Canada called on all States to support African Union efforts to increase African resource mobilization and it looked forward to discussing the modalities available to ensure successful African Union peace operations.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) cited terrorism, transnational organized crime, separatism and fighting over natural resources as complex challenges in Africa.  Confronting security threats required human financial and technical resources, which was often provided by regional and subregional organizations.  The African Union and the United Nations had cooperated in Darfur and Somalia, while joint missions in Mali and the Central African Republic had highlighted some of the shortcomings, which were caused more by lack of resources and equipment rather than in the standards of conduct or respect for human rights.  Sustainable financing for missions authorized by the Council must be guaranteed, he said, stressing that African countries were willing to guarantee 25 per cent of that funding by 2020.  Noting that Senegal, Egypt and Ethiopia had worked to ensure such concerns were heard and helped to draft resolution 2320 (2016), he said Morocco had re-joined the African Union in January 2016 and looked forward to playing its role alongside its peers.  It was proud of its experience which it was ready to share in the framework of South-South cooperation.

For information media. Not an official record.