New York

06 December 2018

Note to Correspondents: Joint Declaration of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations hereby:
Renew their continued commitment to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two Organizations in an effort to promote peace and security, good governance, sustainable development, as well as human rights on the African continent, in accordance, respectively, with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Joint United Nations – African Union Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security signed in New York on 19 April 2017 and the Joint Framework for Implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development signed in Addis Ababa on 27 January 2018;
Recognize the imperative for close cooperation and coordination, based on their respective comparative advantages and complementarity in peace and security, and burden-sharing on the basis of a collective responsibility to respond early, coherently and decisively to prevent, manage, and resolve violent conflict;
Welcome the adoption of the Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations by United Nations Member States and various intergovernmental organizations in September 2018, and in this regard, reiterate that African Union peace support operations (AU PSOs) are a vital tool in the international peace and security architecture, including in peace enforcement and counter-terrorism, for which the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), and Member States have demonstrated a comparative advantage in leading response efforts on behalf of the international community;
Recall Security Council Resolution 2320 (2016) of 18 November 2016, in which the Security Council stressed the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for African Union-led PSOs authorized by the Security Council and under the Security Council’s authority consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter, and Security Council Resolution 2378 (2017) of 20 September 2017, in which the Security Council expressed its intention to give further consideration to practical steps that can be taken, and the conditions necessary, to establish the mechanism through which African Union-led PSOs could be partly financed through United Nations assessed contributions on a case by case basis;
Further recall the “Report of the African Union-United Nations Panel on Modalities for Support to African Union Peacekeeping Operations”, presented to the Security Council and the General Assembly in Document A/63/666 - S/2008/813 of 31 December 2008, the “Report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations on uniting our strengths for peace: politics, partnership and people”, presented to the Security Council and the General Assembly in Document A/70/95 - S/2015/446 of 17 June 2015 (“Hippo Report”), the “Report of the joint African Union-United Nations review of available mechanisms to finance and support African Union peace support operations authorized by the United Nations Security Council”, presented to the Security Council and the General Assembly in Document A/71/410 - S/2016/809 of 28 September 2016, the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on options for authorization and support for African Union PSOs S/2017/454 of 26 May 2017 (hereinafter, “the Secretary-General’s Report S/2017/454 to the Security Council”),
and the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the AU Peace Fund, “Implementing an Enhanced Governance and Accountability Framework”, as well as of the “Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Relevant Provisions of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2320 (2016) on UN Assessed Contributions for AU mandated or authorised Peace Support Operations authorised by the UN Security Council” and the Communiqué of the African Union Peace and Security Council adopted at its 689th Meeting on 30 May 2017 PSC/PR/COMM. (DCLXXXIX), and emphasize the need of a vision for a stronger global-regional partnership for peace and security to ensure that the Security Council is able to call upon a more resilient and capable network of actors in response to future threats against peace and security in Africa;
Stress that the United Nations should embrace a future role of not only working alongside regional organizations but also enabling them to share the burden in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. In particular, the signatories are convinced, as stated in the Hippo Report, that the United Nations should deepen its strategic partnership with the African Union and, on a case-by-case basis, provide enabling support, including through more predictable financing, to African Union PSOs when authorized by the Security Council, even as the African Union builds its own capacity and resources for that purpose;
Express strong commitment to continue strengthening joint planning and consultative decision-making, joint budgeting, improved financial accountability, management and reporting, and greater accountability, transparency, and compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law;
Welcome the continued collaboration between the African Union Commission and the United Nations Secretariat, including through the Joint Taskforce on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017), and in this regard, endorse the following outcomes of the AU-UN consultative meeting held on 29 and 30 October 2018 in Addis Ababa;
Guiding Principles:
The Signatories:

  • Recognize the Security Council as the primary organ for maintenance of international peace and security, and its role to authorize AU-led PSOs, when requested;
  • Welcome, within the framework of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the ability and the willingness of the AU to respond rapidly to situations of concern that affect international peace and security in Africa, and recognize that this comparative advantage needs to be preserved;
  • Agree to jointly identify and support the best approaches to resolve or respond to crises based on a common assessment rather than replicating the existing processes for planning United Nations peacekeeping operations or AU PSOs;
  • Acknowledge and respect the separate and distinct decision-making processes and governance structures of the two Organizations;
  • Recognize the role of the United Nations General Assembly relating to Security Council-mandated UN support to AU PSOs, including on budgeting, partial financing through UN assessed contributions, fiduciary and performance reporting frameworks;
  • Recognize the need for continuous consultation and engagement with troop and police contributing countries on strengthening AU-led PSOs;
  • Recognize the respective responsibilities of the UN Secretariat and the AU Commission to secure adequate and dedicated human and financial capacity to fully operationalize the different measures and mechanisms related to the various technical areas outlined below;
  • Acknowledge the imperative for predictable partnership with the UN in support of AU PSOs, including through assessed contributions;
  • Agree, subject to the guidance of the Security Council on the proposals regarding the joint planning and decision-making process put forward by the Secretary-General in his report S/2017/454, that such mechanisms require regular reporting to both the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council to measure the progress achieved in all the areas outlined below;
  • Recognize that any UN support of AU PSOs must be consistent with the Organization’s purposes and principles as set out in the Charter of the United Nations, and is subject to the Secretary-General’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy on UN support to non-UN Security Forces (UN document S/2013/110) (hereinafter “UN-HRDDP”), and commit to cooperate in the implementation of the policy in regard to all AU PSOs that will benefit from UN support.

Progress in the implementation of Security Council resolutions 2320 and 2378
The Signatories note:

  • On AU Financing and the AU Peace Fund, that in 2015, the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government (AU Assembly) decided to finance 25% of the AU’s operational peace and security activities. In order to deliver on this commitment, the AU Assembly decided, in July 2016, to endow the AU Peace Fund with $400m in Member State contributions by 2021. Since 2017, 44 AU Member States have contributed $73m to the AU Peace Fund;


  • On Consultative decision-making, that,

following the consultations between the UN Secretariat and the AU Commission in March and April 2017, the Secretary-General submitted to the Security Council in his Report S/2017/454 a proposed framework for a joint planning and decision-making process, financing options and mission support considerations designed in close coordination with the AU Commission;

  • On financial management, that,
  • following consultations pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 2378 (2017), with regard to fiduciary reporting, in cases where an AU peace support operation is partially or fully funded through UN assessed contributions, the Financial Regulations and Rules of the UN, as well as its financial and budgetary procedures and standard reporting frameworks, would apply for UN funds. This would include formal results-based budgets and budget performance reports, financial reporting, compliance and audits (report S/2018/678).
  • In the Secretary-General’s report S/2017/454 to the Security Council, five financing models were proposed that would enable sustainable and predictable financing of African Union PSOs, namely: establishment of a trust fund; joint financing and jointly developed budget; a United Nations Support Office; joint financing of a hybrid mission; and subvention of funds directly to the African Union.
  • The African Union Peace Fund has established three Windows for funding, namely: Mediation and Preventive Diplomacy as Window One; Institutional Capacity Building as Window Two; and PSOs as Window Three. In addition to AU Member State financing for Window Three of the Peace Fund, PSOs may be fully or partly funded through the most effective of the five models, with a proven track record, proposed depending on the decision of the Security Council. 


  • AU Compliance Framework

The Signatories emphasize the following:

  • The finalization of several key policies, including the “African Union Policy on Conduct and Discipline for Peace Support Operations” and the “African Union Policy on Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse for Peace Support Operations”, adopted by the African Union Peace and Security Council at its 813th meeting on 29 November 2018, and the implementation of a number of measures is a welcome sign of progress in operationalizing certain elements of the AU compliance framework, and that these policies constitute clear progress in meeting the joint commitment between the two Organizations to operationalize a robust compliance framework for AU PSOs.
  • The importance of the AU-UN partnership and our joint efforts to continuously enhance the AU Compliance Framework. Both AU and UN missions have faced challenges in recent years in ensuring PSOs are conducted in compliance with international law, human rights and conduct and discipline standards. We commend the progress that has already been achieved within the AU to ensure that its PSOs are in compliance with international legal obligations, notably international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. We are also cognizant that the AU Compliance Framework embraces the complexity of AU PSOs and we are encouraged by the commitment to continue addressing issues of compliance with international legal obligations in a comprehensive and holistic manner.
  • AU PSO personnel are required to abide by professional standards in the course of their duties. In this regard, and in order to ensure the same interpretation and application of legal obligations under international, regional and national frameworks by Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs), the AU and the UN will continue working with Member States and T/PCCs to ensure adherence to procedures and standards required of all troops, units and individuals serving in AU mandated and authorized PSOs.
  • The AU Compliance Framework consists of the establishment and operationalization of measures and mechanisms designed to prevent and address (1) violations of international law, namely international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, as well as (2) breaches of conduct and discipline standards, which might occur during operations or involve personnel of AU-led PSOs. The AU Compliance Framework also includes measures to address Protection of Civilians (PoC), enforcement of AU’s Zero Tolerance stance on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse as well as the prohibition of financial malfeasance.
  • We also note that the AU Compliance Framework is built around three interrelated axes for all military, police and civilian PSO personnel: (a) prevention measures and mechanisms, (b) response measures and mechanisms, and (c) remedial measures and mechanisms. Prevention measures and mechanisms include, inter alia: (i) selection and screening; (ii) pre-deployment and in-mission training; (iii) the development, adoption and dissemination of appropriate rules, regulations and standard operating procedures (SOPs) relevant to the conduct of AU PSOs; and (iv) a mechanism to ensure integration of the international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, as well as conduct and discipline standards, in the planning and conduct of operations. Response measures and mechanisms include, inter alia: (i) internal monitoring and reporting to ensure international humanitarian and human rights compliance as well as to track and analyse incidents involving civilians, (ii) after-action reviews designed to evaluate the impact of operations on populations from a human rights perspective (iii) accountability for violations or misconduct, including related to investigations and victim protection. Remedial measures and mechanisms include, inter alia: (i) protection of witnesses and whistleblowers, and (ii) victim assistance, including medical and psychosocial support. The above include joint AU/UN mechanisms drawing on the comparative advantages, experience and expertise of each Organization.
  • We recognize that the AU’s work has been guided by the Implementation Matrix of the AU Compliance Framework annexed to the Report of the African Union High Representative for the Peace Fund on “Securing Predictable and Sustainable Financing for Peace in Africa” of August 2016. An updated version of this Implementation Matrix was included in the “Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Relevant Provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2320 (2016) on United Nations Assessed Contributions for AU-led Peace Operations Authorized by the Security Council”, which was endorsed by the AU Peace and Security Council in its communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (DCLXXXIX) of 30 May 2017.
  • We note the steps being taken to integrate the elements of the compliance framework into all AU work streams related to PSOs, including Guidelines to T/PCCs, PSO training standards, Rules of Engagement, Directives on the Use of Force, Strategic Directives of PSOs and the ongoing discussions on the development of the AU PSO Doctrine and the revision of the African Standby Force Concept.
  • We note continuous efforts of the AU in ensuring clear strategic guidance to its Member States and T/PCCs through its Guidelines to T/PCCs, including the signing of MoUs that clearly articulate TCCs’ responsibilities in ensuring compliance and accountability of their personnel prior to, during and after their deployment in AU PSOs. We take note of the assessment of AU practices and approaches to international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, as well as conduct and discipline compliance in AU mandated and/or authorized PSOs undertaken in 2018. We also welcome the significant achievements through the adoption and implementation of preventive, responsive and remedial measures and mechanisms at both Headquarters and operational levels of the AU.

(i) the development of the Policy on Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in PSOs and the Policy on Conduct and Discipline for Peace Support Operations, which will be endorsed by the AUPSC in November 2018; (ii) the development of the Model Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms on the Deployment and Employment of the African Standby Force, which will be endorsed by the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security in May 2019; (iii) the development of a Model note which enables T/PCC governments to certify that they have screened contingents and individual personnel to confirm that they have not previously committed violations of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law or any misconduct; (iv) the development of a Model note for certification of individuals considered for senior leadership roles in order to ensure that they have not committed, been convicted of nor prosecuted for, any criminal offences, and/or been involved in the commission of any violation of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. 
Key priorities going forward

  • Consultative decision-making


  • On the basis of the Secretary General's proposals to the Security Council               on consultative UN-AU planning and decision-making, as contained in his report S/2017/454, the AU Commission and the UN Secretariat will ensure that their respective personnel have a commonly agreed and shared understanding of the requirements of joint planning and review processes at each phase of the lifespan of such missions, including methodologies, steps, tools and expected outcomes that would inform appropriate decisions by the respective Councils.
  • Recognizing that reporting on mandate implementation will be a key element in the lifespan of PSOs authorized by the UN Security Council, AU and UN will develop and jointly agree on a reporting framework, which will establish clear, consistent and predictable reporting channels between the Secretariat, the Commission and the two Councils. This would also include standardized reporting requirements depending on the type of reporting, including for general updates, joint assessment findings, fiduciary reporting and reporting on the compliance framework.


  • AU Compliance Framework


  • As already noted in our respective reports of May 2017, the enhancement of the AU Compliance Framework and full realization of the strengthened AU-UN Partnership on Peace and Security is a common priority and a long-term effort. In this regard, the signatories commit to a multi-year partnership to strengthen current efforts through the deployment of dedicated capacities by both organizations, to work on an ongoing basis with the possible support of relevant partners, consistent with the mandates as provided by their respective political organs.
  • We acknowledge that on-going efforts related to the AU Compliance Framework will continue to be guided by the programme of work endorsed by the AU PSC in May 2017 and also taking into account further relevant assessments and AU/UN joint workplans developed since then. A joint programme of work will be developed to establish and operationalize the Compliance Framework, focusing on two priority areas:
    • Development of proposals on the structures required at the headquarters level to facilitate effective prevention, monitoring and reporting on compliance by AU PSOs.
    • Strengthening of the existing mechanisms at strategic and mission levels to reinforce cooperation, referral and follow-up on allegations with AU P/TCCs to guarantee adequate response and remedial actions if violations occur.


  • We agree to ensure the accountability of both organizations in terms of assistance provided by the UN, within relevant mandates, as well as progress made by the AU. In this regard, we commit to deliver and report to the two Councils on agreed objectives, priorities and results within required timeframes.


  • Financial management


  • The AU has historically used its regular finance and procurement procedures to finance its operational peace and security activities. These rules are not adapted to financing the operational requirements of PSOs in a timely and effective manner. For this reason, the AU Peace Fund will be operated using a dedicated set of financial and procurement rules and procedures. These are currently being developed to ensure that the Fund is able to support timely and effective responses while maintaining high fiduciary standards. AU Peace Fund rules and regulations will be a sub-set of the AU’s overall Financial and Procurement Rules and Regulations. Once developed, these will be approved by AU Policy Organs in 2019.
  • The UN Secretariat and the AU Commission commit to explore in greater detail with the General Assembly the financing models outlined in section IV of the report of the Secretary-General S/2017/454 on options for authorization and support for African Union PSOs. Details would include agreed planning assumptions and methodologies, joint budget submissions, expenditure monitoring and budget performance reporting, oversight and audit arrangements, mission support considerations and financial reporting requirements, which are necessary to operationalize the joint financing and jointly developed budget model.
  • The United Nations Support Office model, which is already in use in Somalia, needs to be refined to improve its agility to respond to peace enforcement operations for which the African Union holds the comparative advantage over the United Nations. The success of the support office model depends on early engagement from the United Nations with the African Union and partners for any future funding of AU PSOs.
  • The AU Commission and the UN Secretariat agree to cooperate with UN-HRDDP related mechanisms, share all necessary information relevant to the implementation of the UN-HRDDP, and commit to cooperate towards the elaboration and implementation of all mitigation measures required under the UN-HRDDP.

          Signed in New York on 6 December 2018 by:

Moussa Faki Mahamat
African Union Commission
António Guterres
United Nations