Briefers and delegations welcomed a growing strategic partnership between the African Union and the United Nations in matters of peace and security at the Security Council today, while calling for measures to bolster the effectiveness of that cooperation.
“The partnership between the African Union and the United Nations continues to grow from strength to strength,” Hanna Tetteh, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union said via videoconference. Introducing the Secretary-General’s annual report on the partnership (document S/2019/759), she described a host of mechanisms based on the 2018 Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. She also highlighted joint field visits and frequent consultation between the Security Council and the Union’s Peace and Security Council, most recently the annual meeting between the two bodies.
Describing joint work in varied situations on the continent over the past year, including the Central African Republic, she pointed to the Council’s embrace of the “Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020” initiative as an importance locus of further collaboration. However, major challenges needed to be addressed, including viable funding for African Union peace operations. She commended contributors to the African Union Peace Fund, saying she looked forward to in‑depth discussions resulting from upcoming reviews of cooperation between the Union and the United Nations.
Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer for the African Union, briefing via videoconference, also described a burgeoning of cooperation between the two organizations. One key achievement could be seen in the many joint field visits, most recently spearheaded by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General and the African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security to the Horn of Africa. The two organizations’ combined efforts also contributed to positive recent developments in Sudan, where the accelerated implementation of the country’s 17 August Constitutional Declaration on the Agreement governing the transition is a priority for both organizations.
In that regard, she stressed that the removal of Sudan from the list of State sponsors of terrorism is critical to the country’s economic recovery. She also said that the two organizations should enhance joint work in technical areas, such as mission planning, financial management and accountability for peace operations. Increased joint analysis can strengthen the partnership, but a deficit in coordinated response has been source of frustration for both organizations.
Following those briefings, Council members also welcomed the growing collaboration between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and called for further strengthening of the relationship under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.
In that vein, the representative of the Russian Federation, noting a related summit recently held in Sochi, said that such collaboration was the venue in which the principle of African solutions for African problems can be realized. However, he cautioned against making the continent fend for itself. Predictability and reliability of financing for African operations must be enhanced.
China’s representative emphasized the need to coordinate intensified action to advance sustainable development on the continent in the interest of peace. He also highlighted a pattern of cooperation taking shape and resulting improvement in security in Africa. “This cooperation should only be strengthened,” he said.
Most speakers, while noting their own national contributions to building capacity on the continent, also addressed the issue of financing for African Union peace operations authorized by the Security Council.
France’s representative, spotlighting the growing strength of African-led peace operations, which meet a real need on the ground, voiced support for those missions’ sustainable funding, including through United Nations assessed contributions.
The representative of the United Kingdom, while urging collaboration be ramped up on prevention, also affirmed consideration of funding through United Nations assessed contributions on a case-by-case basis and within a strong framework for financial management and compliance with international law.
The representative of the United States also welcomed efforts to secure predictable, sustainable financing for peace operations led by the African Union. Nevertheless, she said, work remains to be done on that front, including implementing human rights, transparency, financial and other safeguards.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister for Defence and Military Veterans Affairs of South Africa and Council President for October, spoke in her national capacity, as well as on behalf of Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea. Affirming the Joint Framework in furthering the collaboration between the organizations, she said that, for the collaboration to be efficient it should be formalized and structured. Noting recent fruitful meetings towards that end, she described many areas of shared perspectives.
However, she also pointed to areas of difference between the two organizations, particularly in Libya, where she said it is important that the Security Council consider appointing a joint special envoy and otherwise take account of the African role in the situation. Moving ahead, she emphasized the need for commitments from both Councils to result in tangible outcomes. “The debate on strengthening the partnership must move away from generalities about partnership and cooperation and towards decisive and practical steps,” she said.
Also speaking were representatives of Germany, Poland, Indonesia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Kuwait and Belgium.
The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:50 a.m.
HANNA SERWAA TETTEH, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union, speaking via videoconference from Djibouti, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the partnership between the two organizations (document S/2019/759). “The partnership between the African Union and the United Nations continues to grow from strength to strength,” becoming more systematic and predictable, she noted. With the complexity of peace and security in Africa, such collaboration is absolutely necessary, she said, pointing to successful joint work in the Central African Republic, Sudan and other situations.
However, challenges to lasting peace and security persist on the continent due to a range of root causes, exacerbated by climate change, violent extremism and the absence of effective national authority in large areas, she continued. In that regard, she noted the slow progress in South Sudan, commenting that respect for deadlines is vital, along with close follow-up in coordination with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). In Somalia, the federal Government must complete preparations for elections and ensure full implementation of the reconciliation process. Libya remained of deep concern to both the Union and the Organization, not least because of continued violations of the arms embargo that fuel instability in the whole region. The problems of the Sahel were also deepening due to violence extremism, climate change and the whole range of factors that hinder development.
The Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, agreed upon in 2017, provides an approach for mutual work on all such situations, she said. It facilitates information-sharing towards conflict prevention, along with expanded use of good offices and the provision of mediation assistance in conjunction with subregional organizations, among others. Cooperation in human rights and humanitarian assistance is also part of the Joint Framework. Examples of mutual work include mediation and good offices services for Madagascar, Central African Republic and Libya.
In addition, joint briefings of both Security Councils have grown more frequent, a wide variety of consultation mechanisms have developed, joint technical visits to economic communities have become common and support has increased for the participation of women in mediation and conflict prevention, she said. The initiative “Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020” was a major point of coordination between the organizations, along with intensified efforts in conflict prevention and ability to intervene early in developing situations. In all such work, joint field visits have become an important and regular feature of the work, and frequently result in joint statements.
Financing of African Union peace operations remains an important challenge, she acknowledged. In that regard, she commended contributors to the African Union Peace Fund, noting that operationalization of the Fund is a significant factor. She also said she looked forward to further strengthening of the partnership between the two organization in a major meeting scheduled for February 2020.
FATIMA KYARI MOHAMMED, Permanent Observer for the African Union, speaking via videoconference from Djibouti, said the frequency of joint efforts between the two organizations has increased since the signing of the Joint Framework. Citing significant progress since that time, she said one key achievement can be seen in the many joint field visits, most recently spearheaded by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General and the African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security to the Horn of Africa. Earlier in 2019, joint African Union-United Nations efforts in the Central African Republic resulted in the signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation. Their combined efforts also contributed to positive recent developments in Sudan, where the accelerated implementation of the country’s 17 August Constitutional Declaration on the Agreement governing the transition is a priority for both organizations. In that vein, she underscored that the removal of Sudan from the list of State sponsors of terrorism is critical to the country’s economic recovery.
Turning to South Sudan, she said some progress has been made and that both organizations play a role in supporting the parties in their path towards peace and stability. The importance of accelerating the full implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan cannot be overemphasized. In Somalia, the African Union and the United Nations have underscored the need for resumed dialogue between the federal Government and the federal member states towards the necessary milestones in the road map towards 2020‑2021 elections. In Libya — where the situation remains a cause of concern — the African Union has openly expressed its frustrations and the need for it to be more involved, and less sidelined. In Mali, the African Union, United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are collaborating towards building a more secure environment across the Sahel, including in their work to finalize a harmonize strategy in the region.
Calling for broad support from the international community for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and other efforts in that region, she warned that many of the conflicts in Africa are exacerbated by the negative impacts of climate change. She acknowledged that the African Union and the United Nations work together across the continent to support free, fair and credible elections, strengthen good governance and promote the protection of human rights. However, there is an increasing need to enhance joint regional approaches to climate security, especially in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. “The impacts of climate change are exacerbating existing tensions across these regions […] as can be seen in the increase of intercommunal tensions and clashes,” she said. Among other things, the two organizations should improve joint work in technical areas such as mission planning and management, financial management and accountability for peace operations. While increased joint analysis and planning can strengthen the partnership, the lack of joint response has been source of frustration for both organizations, she said.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÉRE (France) said the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union — as well as with the European Union — is a strategic priority whole-heartedly supported by his delegation. This work has led to greater transparency and accountability in recent initiatives across the African continent, such as successful democratic elections in Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The organizations’ joint work is especially crucial in the Sahel region — where MINUSMA provides logistical support to the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) Multi-National Joint Task Force charged with stamping out terrorism. His country, along with Germany, has proposed a new strategy known as the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel. Spotlighting the growing strength of African-led peace operations, which meet a real need on the ground, he voiced support for those missions’ sustainable funding, including through United Nations assessed contributions. In addition, he underlined the crucial role being played in Africa by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and called on the African Union and the United Nations to make more headway on financial issues and human rights standards.
CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) called for further development of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union based on the Joint Framework with closer cooperation between the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council at the centre of this effort. Highlighting the need to address all phases of a conflict, he underlined the importance of the Peacebuilding Commission’s work and encouraged all conflict-affected countries to make use of this institution. Europe and Africa are each other’s closest neighbours; what happens in one matters to the other. In that vein, he supported increased trilateral coordination and cooperation at political, strategic and operational levels among the African Union, European Union and the Organization. Commenting on the Council’s recent visit to Addis Ababa, he called for a stronger focus on prevention. He also expressed concern regarding the situation in Cameroon and urged that further deterioration of the already-grave humanitarian crisis must be prevented at all costs. A way out of this crisis can only be found within the framework of an inclusive and credible political dialogue, he added.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) commended the results achieved in the Central African Republic through cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union Commission. She further praised the African Union’s mediation efforts relating to the structure of the Sudanese transitional Government, underlining that the principle of “African solutions for African problems” remains relevant. Security Council resolution 2475 (2019), concerning inter alia the “Silencing of the Guns” initiative, will be another step towards stabilizing the situation on the continent through enhanced international cooperation. The United Nations, African Union, regional economic communities and regional mechanisms must continue cooperation at all levels, from capacity development and policy to crisis-response operations. Cooperation does not mean, however, shifting full responsibility onto regional and subregional organizations. “It is of utmost importance in enabling both organizations to face the new threats and address complex sources of instability in Africa,” she stressed, adding that regular interactions between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council was an essential instrument in their partnership.
KELLY CRAFT (United States), recalling the Council’s recent mission to Africa, recounted her visit with peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Among other achievements, that Mission has helped create a road map for peace. Support from the United Nations and the African Union will also be crucial to support upcoming elections in Burundi. In Cameroon, a joint field visit should be organized to help address ongoing violence in the country’s Anglophone region. Turning to Libya, she said it was vital that the two organizations lend their support to Special Representative of the Secretary‑General Ghassan Salamé. She also expressed hope that all countries will respect the crucial arms embargo on that country. Welcoming efforts to secure predictable, sustainable financing for peace operations led by the African Union, she nevertheless said work remains to be done on that front, including implementing human rights, transparency, financial and other safeguards before considering the use of United Nations assessed contributions for that purpose. Stressing that the United States has spent more than $1.5 billion training partners in Africa in recent years, she urged other countries to join in such efforts to build capacity on the ground.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), highlighting the recent joint meeting between the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, called for more honest discussion between the two Councils to find sustainable, honest solutions. Development and capacity-building is one of the prerequisites for sustainable peace in Africa. Recalling the collaboration between the Organization and the World Bank Group in producing the 2017 Pathways to Peace study, which indicated that economic policies can be tools for prevention, he called for better coordination among the United Nations, African Union and international financial institutions. Further, the existing partnership between the Organization and the African Union should be complemented with further international support. To this end, he highlighted Indonesia’s economic cooperation with Africa in various sectors — including infrastructure, trade, connectivity and strategic industry — and his country’s current contribution to seven United Nations missions in Africa.
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) stated his full support for strengthening the strategic partnership with the African Union and other regional organizations. He also commended the African Union’s contributions under its Peace and Security architecture in providing African solutions to African problems. However, adherence to Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations is critical and requires an approach tailored to each situation. At the same time, African States cannot be left to fend for themselves in dealing with the continent’s security. Predictability and reliability of financing for African operations must be enhanced. He pledged his engagement in discussions towards that end, adding that he fully supported the “Silencing the Guns” initiative. He also said the annual meetings between the security organs of the United Nations and the African Union were valuable. Emphasizing the importance of the recent joint visits, he stressed that strengthening the relationship with the African Union is priority to his country. In that regard, he said he hoped that the outcome of the recent summit in Sochi will result in further engagement.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom), describing a range of support his country is providing to the African Union, paid tribute to the work of the United Nations Office to the African Union. In principle, his country supports assessed finance to Union operations on a case-by-case basis. Commenting that strong compliance with international law and financial accountability were critical in that context, he also expressed disappointment with rejection by African delegates of related concerns in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). Turning to further measures to enhance partnership between the two organizations, he said that partnership will be important in following up on the South Sudan peace agreement, as it was in Sudan’s governance transition and the sustainable political settlement in Somalia. He welcomed an increased African role in Libya, as well, along with other regional organizations. It is particularly important to ramp up collaboration on prevention, he stated, citing Cameroon and Burundi as particular concerns in that area. Even greater frankness between the organizations and a greater focus on actions that can be taken together will help move the process forward.
YAO SHAOJUN (China) noted a pattern of cooperation taking shape and resulting improvement in security in Africa. “This cooperation should only be strengthened,” he said. The two organizations should together help bolster multilateralism and the principle of African solutions to African problems. Innovative cooperation should be explored, along with more effective mechanisms put in place in prevention, mediation and post-conflict reconstruction. A reliable, stable and predictable funding mechanism is needed for African Union operations. In all areas, he urged a keen focus on the aspirations and urgent needs of African countries, with further expansion of cooperation to address root causes. Achieving sustainable development is key through implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Describing tireless efforts of his country to support African efforts in peace and development, he pointed to the China-African Union Peace and Development Fund, as well as a cooperation framework created in recent meetings. His country will continue to support partnerships to advance peace, stability and development on the African continent, he pledged.
SANDRA RODRÍGUEZ (Peru) joined others in attaching great importance to the increasing cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union that, in turn, helps to address contemporary challenges with greater effectiveness. From peacekeeping and security to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, those joint efforts will require leveraging the comparative advantages of both organizations. Calling for mechanisms to make better use of regional networks, including FemWise-Africa [Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation], she said current cooperation can also be stepped up to tackle the scourge of terrorism. Support to the G5 Sahel Multinational Joint Task Force deserves more consideration; such operations require more predictable and sustainable financing. She also advocated for more efforts to quickly denounce violations of human rights and international law and to address the root causes of conflict — including economic and development challenges — and said the Peacebuilding Commission is the right platform to build synergies in those areas.
JOSÉ MANUEL TRULLOLS YABRA (Dominican Republic) welcomed the recent annual joint consultative meeting between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, as well as progress made in implementing the Joint Framework between the two organizations. He also hailed joint efforts to advance the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and its “Silencing the Guns” campaign. However, such challenges, including terrorism and the impacts of climate change, still pose major threats across the continent and require broad cooperation by all stakeholders. “We must not wait until conflicts break out,” he stressed, calling on the Council and the African Union to implement standardized analysis procedures to examine potential conflicts and urging the two organizations to send out more harmonized, consistent messages. Noting that the United Nations requires peace operations with timely deployment capacity, he expressed hope that more will be done to enhance the flexibility and predictability of financing of operations mandated by the Security Council and led by the African Union.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) welcomed the fruitful exchanges held during the Council’s field visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and elsewhere in the region last week. Spotlighting progress made in enhancing the methodical, predictable nature of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union as a good example of work under Chapter VIII of the Charter, he said the success of joint operations is a sine qua non to achieving solutions to peace and security challenges in Africa. He expressed support for the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative, aimed at strengthening peacekeeping and making peacekeepers safer and called for a Council resolution on financing for Council‑mandated operations led by the African Union. Outlining strides in South Sudan, Eritrea, Darfur and elsewhere on the continent, he affirmed the importance of maintaining the Council’s support for the African Union efforts driving such progress. He also expressed support for the “Silencing the Guns” initiative.
KAREN VAN VLIERBERGE (Belgium) agreed with other speakers that the strategic and operational partnership between the two organizations remains critical. With respect to conflict prevention, she welcomed the joint “horizon scanning” meetings in Cameroon, Burundi and elsewhere, and expressed hope that they will continue. Calling for stronger cooperation on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration — which should also include such third partners such as the World Bank — she pointed out that the African Union is building a robust peace and security architecture which should be adequately financed and based on the revitalization of the Peace Fund. Ultimately, African Union-led peace operations should enjoy more predictable, sustainable and flexible financing. Noting that elections will be held in 2020 in 14 African countries, she called for enhanced cooperation between the two organizations to support them.
NOSIVIWE MAPISA-NQAKULA, Minister for Defence and Military Veterans Affairs of South Africa and Council President for October, spoke in her national capacity, as well as on behalf of Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea. She affirmed the important role played by regional organizations in quelling conflict in their respective regions and welcomed the African Union’s development of an expansive peace and security framework that is critical to the initiative “Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020”. As part of that effort, she announced that Equatorial Guinea will host a ministerial conference on 2 and 3 December. Noting the accomplishments achieved by the strategic alignment between the Security Council, she said that, for the collaboration to be efficient, it should be formalized and structured. She also recognized the positive impact of the Joint Framework in that regard, adding that collaboration with the regional economic communities and regional mechanisms should also be expanded.
The key principles that should direct the further development of cooperation between the African Union and United Nations are meaningful and inclusive collaboration, shared and common approaches, and effective consultative mechanisms, she continued. In that regard, she described recent fruitful meetings between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. However, she also pointed to areas of difference between the bodies, particularly in Libya, where she said it is important that the Security Council consider appoint a joint special envoy and otherwise take account of the African role in the situation. Moving ahead, she emphasized the need for commitments from both Councils to result in tangible outcomes. “The debate on strengthening the partnership must move away from generalities about partnership and cooperation and toward decisive and practical steps,” she said. In that light, she welcomed the Secretary-General’s intension to conduct an assessment of the partnership as requested by the Council.