The United Nations-African Union Joint Task Force on Peace and Security held its twentieth consultative meeting via virtual platform on 5 November.
The meeting reviewed the status of the partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) with an update on the implementation of the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. In this context, the meeting discussed peace and security developments in the Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Libya, Mali, Somalia, and the Sudan.
The AU Commission and the UN Secretariat were represented respectively by Commissioner Bankole Adeoye (Political Affairs, Peace and Security); and the Under-Secretaries-General Rosemary DiCarlo (Political and Peacebuilding Affairs), Jean-Pierre Lacroix (Peace Operations), Atul Khare (Operational Support), Hanna Tetteh, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and Assistant Secretary-General Martha Pobee (Africa). The meeting was also attended by other senior officials from the two Organizations.
The Joint Task Force took note of the considerable progress achieved in the UN-AU partnership including with Regional Economic Communities and Mechanisms (REC/RMs) in Africa together with international partners. These include sustained collaboration on support to African Union peace support operations, early warning and prevention initiatives, as well as coordinated support to national authorities for the conduct of timely, peaceful, and inclusive elections as well as for the promotion and protection of human rights. The meeting discussed the need for sustainable financing of Security Council-mandated AU-led peace support operations. The meeting expressed concerns on the resurgence of military Coups d’Etat and military takeovers in the continent. The Joint Task Force welcomed efforts to deepen collaboration on operational support matters, including through the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and acknowledged the positive impact on mandate implementation in various operational contexts. Both organizations strengthened collaboration in mediation support and have begun to focus more on their joint initiatives on the women, peace and security, and youth for peace and security agendas. The meeting further welcomed the holding of the Fourteenth UN-AU-RECs/RMs Consultative Meeting on the Prevention, Management of Conflicts (Desk-to-Desk) held virtually on 10, 11 and 12 March 2021. The meeting looked forward to the holding of the 5th AU-UN Annual Conference coming up in December. The Joint Task Force took note of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on peace and security in Africa and welcomed the swift actions taken by the continent’s leadership to contain the spread of the pandemic. It further welcomed the collaboration between both Organizations, Regional Economic Commissions and Member States in responding to the peace, security, and the humanitarian impact of the pandemic.
The Joint Task Force welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire by H.E. Faustin Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic (CAR) and welcomed the strong roles played by Angola, Rwanda and the ICGLR. The meeting agreed on the importance of the continued joint UN-AU engagement in support of the efforts of CAR stakeholders to move forward on the broader political process, including the implementation of the roadmap and the Political Agreement, the conduct of the upcoming republican dialogue and preparation of the local elections. The meeting further stressed the importance of coherent and sustained effort and support from all CAR partners, including AU, UN, ICGLR, ECCAS, the EU, the region, international financial institutions, and bilateral partners.
The Joint Task Force welcomed progress made towards key transition milestones in Chad despite the immense challenges facing the country and the sub-region. It commended the Chadian transitional authorities for their outreach to the political opposition and politico-military groups in preparation for the inclusive national dialogue and encouraged all stakeholders to partake in the dialogue in a forward-looking spirit of national reconciliation. The Joint Task Force encouraged the transitional authorities to expedite the implementation of the key transition milestones in an inclusive and timely manner and in compliance with Chad’s human rights commitments. It further encouraged the transitional authorities to reach the country’s established gender parity quotas in all transitional mechanisms. The Joint Task Force called on all stakeholders to support national and regional efforts aimed at ensuring a peaceful and inclusive transition towards constitutional order and lasting peace in the country and the region, and to this end, to provide both financial and political support. It underlined that the African Union and the United Nations shall continue to work with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and all other partners to assist the transitional authorities and people of Chad in setting the course for sustainable peace and democratic stability.
The Joint Task Force expressed deep concern over the escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia and its potential impact on the stability of the wider region. The meeting underlined the need for a ceasefire as a matter of urgency. The UN and AU also called on the parties to prioritize the welfare of the civilians in the affected regions including by facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and ensuring human rights protections. The meeting reiterated its full support to AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, in his ongoing efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The meeting reiterated UN support to the efforts of the AU to facilitate a mutually beneficial trilateral agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and called on the parties to continue momentum and engagement to this end.
On Guinea, the Joint Task Force reiterated its commitment, in close coordination with ECOWAS, to accompany the people of Guinea towards a peaceful and inclusive transition for the restoration of full constitutional order.
Regarding Mali, the Joint Task Force took note of the holding of the Assises nationales de la refondation (ANR), scheduled to conclude at the end of December. It expressed the hope that the ANR will bring about national consensus around the necessary minimal reforms to make progress on the political transition and to ensure a return to constitutional rule as soon as possible. It reiterated the importance of advancing the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, notably the accelerated DDR process. The Joint Task Force expressed grave concern at the spread of terrorism and insecurity in West Africa and the Sahel region. It reiterated the UN and the AU’s strong support to the G5-Sahel Joint Force. It noted that African initiatives, if equipped with sustainable financing and support, are the most appropriate tools to address these challenges. Lastly, it informed that the two Organizations will continue to support the G5 Sahel, including through the establishment of a dedicated political forum to mobilize international support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force if requested by G5 Sahel member States.
The Joint Task Force strongly condemned the military coup in Sudan, urged all stakeholders to exercise the utmost restraint, and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all officials and other civilians who continued to be unlawfully detained. The meeting underscored the criticality of the continuing strategic and political partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in Sudan at this delicate stage. The meeting reconfirmed the willingness of the United Nations and African Union to work in close collaboration to help deescalate the situation, and in urging constructive engagement and dialogue between stakeholders to reinstate all transitional arrangements and institutions as defined in the Constitutional Document. The meeting also encouraged Ethiopia and Sudan to use diplomatic channels to seek an amicable solution to their dispute over the Al-Fashaqa boundary area. The UN and AU pledged their technical support in resolving the dispute.
On Libya, the Joint Task Force agreed that the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and the League of Arab States should continue to enhance cooperation and coordination of efforts through the Libya Quartet. The meeting reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations and the African Union to cooperate closely in support of the Libyan authorities, including the High National Reconciliation Commission, in promoting rights-based reconciliation in Libya.
The Joint task Force also discussed Somalia and the post-AMISOM configuration and welcomed efforts to jointly identify and generate any additional operational capabilities and capacities required to deliver on mandated tasks. The meeting called on the Federal Government of Somalia to expedite finalization of the ongoing indirect electoral process in a transparent, accountable and inclusive manner.
The next statutory meeting of the Joint Task Force will be hosted by the United Nations Secretariat at a date to be convened by both Organizations.