General Assembly Considers Evolving Partnership between United Nations, African Union under 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme

28 March 2011

General Assembly Considers Evolving Partnership between United Nations, African Union under 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme

28 March 2011
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly


83rd Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Considers Evolving Partnership between United Nations,


African Union under 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme


African Group Certain Endeavour Will Build More Effective Global

Coalition, as Organizations Draw on Comparative Advantages of Each Other

Born from the commitment made by the international community at the 2005 World Summit to meet Africa’s special needs, the 10-year capacity-building programme for the African Union pioneered a model of true partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, representatives of several African nations told the General Assembly today.

The framework for the 10-year capacity-building programme was first laid out in the Declaration on enhancing United Nations-African Union cooperation between former Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former Chairperson of the African Union Alpha Oumar Konaré of 16 November 2006.  With an initial focus on peace and security, the Declaration was conceived as an evolving strategic framework for cooperation between the two organizations.

As the Assembly today resumed its consideration of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, it had before it two reports of the Secretary-General (documents A/65/382 and A/65/716).  In the latter, on review of the 10-year capacity-building programme, the Secretary-General finds that since the programme’s adoption, cooperation between the two organizations “has seen an unprecedented increase in interaction in various areas of common interest, particularly in the field of security and development”.

However, he recommends that the activities of the capacity-building programme should gradually be expanded beyond its initial focus on peace and security issues.  Durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, he says, could be achieved if, in supporting African Union institutions, a comprehensive approach was adopted that integrated peace and security and economic, social and humanitarian activities.

Today, the Ambassador of Mauritius, on behalf of the African Group, recalled Mr. Konaré’s statement at the signing of that cornerstone declaration that “if the African Union had the capacity to undertake certain tasks on the African continent, it would unburden the United Nations.”  Indeed, observed the speaker, the Union and its regional economic communities had assumed a more prominent role for the maintenance of international peace, security and development, alongside intensified, multifaceted cooperation with the United Nations.

“We have no doubt that this evolving partnership will yield better results in building a more effective global coalition for international peace, security and development,” he said, noting that the 10-year capacity building programme consolidated a mutually beneficial collaboration between the two organizations as each party drew on the comparative advantages of the other.

To further realize that collaboration, he called for enhanced information sharing between the United Nations, the African Union and its regional economic communities, as well as the allocation of adequate resources and expertise.  He also welcomed the steps taken towards integrating the 10-year programme into the United Nations Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa, calling on the Assembly to fully support recommendations to strengthen the human and financial capacities of the newly established Joint Secretariat of the African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank.

Recognizing that the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union had expanded to include peacekeeping, peaceful settlement of disputes, mediation and electoral assistance, Egypt’s Ambassador further stressed the critical importance of mobilizing the resources needed to implement the 10-year programme.  To deepen the partnership further, more attention must also be given to cooperation in the economic and social development fields.

Underlining the need to provide maximum support to all the countries on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda, all of which were African nations emerging from conflict, he called for increased funding from the Peacebuilding Fund for national reconstruction.  International support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) should also be strengthened, while upcoming meetings on the least developed countries, sustainable development and HIV/AIDS must serve as an opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its support to Africa.

South Africa’s representative said the effectiveness of the cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations depended on, among other things, the realization of sustainable, predictable and flexible financial resources in support of peacekeeping operations in Africa.  Absent a well-defined programme of work, however, the desire to see a peaceful and prosperous African continent would be delayed.  Among the remaining challenges was addressing funding, equipment, logistics and long-term capacity-building as called for in Security Council resolution 1809 (2008) on the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular, the African Union.

Nigeria’s representative said that while the African Union had been enhancing its peace and security architecture, it could not operate in isolation, making a “shared vision” between the African Union and the United Nations imperative.  Because a robust regional structure for peace and security remained a daunting challenge, Nigeria also called for support of such existing mechanisms as the African Union Peace and Security Council, Continental Early Warning System, Panel of the Wise, African Standby Force, the Special Fund and, more generally, post-conflict reconstruction.

Nigeria further recognized that in the mutually-reinforcing relationship between peace and development, the absence of one meant the futility of the other, she said.  In that context, the evolving partnership between the African Union and the United Nations must involve the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and NEPAD.  Moreover, a treaty that, not only banned, but tracked and monitored the illegal use of light weapons, was needed to halt that regional and global menace.

Stressing that cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union was not only necessary but vital, Gabon’s Ambassador particularly welcomed the opening in Libreville of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, which, as the second of its kind, would focus on prevention.  She also underscored the contribution towards the African Union’s capacities of the Kinshasa Convention for the control of small arms and light weapons in Central Africa, which had been adopted in 2010.

In other business, the Assembly also took note of the Secretary-General’s correspondence with the Assembly President, which indicated that the Federated States of Micronesia had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.

The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.

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