New York

28 July 2014

Secretary-General's Remarks at the Security Council Open Debate on "United Nations Peacekeeping: Regional Partnership and its Evolution"

I thank Rwanda for convening this discussion on regional partnerships in United Nations peacekeeping, especially in Africa.

This is the second debate on this subject this year.

Such active engagement and such high-level representation by the African Union and European Union is a testament to the importance of our combined efforts to keep and build peace.

We have seen how the effectiveness of the AU and the UN can be enhanced when we coordinate and complement our efforts.

This partnership has also benefited from the EU’s growing involvement in crisis management and post-conflict stabilization. 

From operation Artemis in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2003, to this year’s deployment of EUFOR in the Central African Republic, the UN and the EU have increased their strategic partnership.

By engaging early during the planning phases, we have achieved an effective division of labour, for example in the areas of police and security sector reform.

Mali offers another important example of effective cooperation.

Our partnership with the AU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)allowed for the rapid deployment of military and police elements under AFISMA, which were subsequently re-hatted under MINUSMA.

This cooperation led to the signing of the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement in June 2013, under the mediation of Burkina Faso on behalf of ECOWAS.

Separately, the EU has launched a training mission to build the capacity of Malian armed forces.

We will continue to work closely with the EU, which is launching a new mission in Mali to build the capacity of law enforcement institutions, as well as with the AU Mission for Mali and the Sahel on the regional dimension of the conflict.

We are also working with the AU and ECOWAS, alongside Algeria and other regional actors, in support of the ongoing political process. 

I congratulate the Malian parties on the adoption of a consensual roadmap for the inter-Malian negotiations last week. 

I remain, however, deeply concerned about instability in the north.

I call on all parties to cease hostilities and cooperate with the MINUSMA-led joint security commission.

In the Central African Republic, the UN has been collaborating with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the AU, EU and other key partners.

MINUSCA and MISCA are working hand-in-hand to prepare for a transfer of authority on 15 September. 

And an international mediation team has recently been formed to support the political process, including ECCAS, the UN and the AU.

I welcome the Agreement reached on 23 July under the leadership of President Nguesso of Republic of the Congo, with the support of the AU, ECCAS and my Special Representatives to CAR and Central Africa. 

This is an essential first step in ensuring durable peace, respect for human rights, protection of civilians and the rule of law.

In South Sudan, our Peacekeeping Mission – UNMISS – has been working closely with the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development, IGAD, since the outbreak of the crisis last December.

However, despite our efforts, you heard on Wednesday that the situation is the most rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the world today, worse even than CAR and Syria.

I repeat my call to the leaders of both sides to abide by the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed on January 23.

In Darfur, despite political and logistical challenges, the UN and the AU will continue to intensify their efforts to support UNAMID to discharge its mandated tasks.

In addition, the UN, the AU and the Government of Ethiopia are jointly engaging Sudan and South Sudan to encourage both Governments to consolidate peace in the disputed territory of Abyei, with the support of UNISFA on the ground.

Our partnership with the AU and IGAD also extends to Somalia, where my Special Representative is working with the envoys of the AU and IGAD to advance the political process.

Partnerships with regional organizations should continue to be based on the comparative strengths of each organization.

It is also important that we draw detailed lessons from our recent transition experiences in the context of Mali and, very soon, the Central African Republic.

We will continue to work to enhance the predictability and sustainability of African-led peace support operations.

In Côte d’Ivoire, we will proceed with the establishment of a quick reaction force to support UNOCI and our Mission in Liberia, UNMIL.

This effort would not compete with existing mechanisms or our support for regional initiatives such as the African Peace and Security Architecture, including the African Standby Force and its ECOWAS Brigade.

It is consistent with our effort to transition out of countries where peacekeeping operations have contributed to restoring peace, security and stability.

By mid-2015, the peacekeeping footprint in West Africa will be lighter, as UNOCI and UNMIL downsize.

In this process, it is important that regional organizations play a greater role.

But we are conscious that the root causes of conflict are not yet fully addressed, and emerging transnational threats pose new challenges to stability.

It is therefore critical to ensure that all precautions are taken.

We strongly support cooperation within the framework of the AU, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union to reinforce the individual and collective security of the countries of the sub-region.

Bearing in mind the evolution of transnational threats, we will need to continue our dialogue on how best to support host governments.

This could include embedding specialized units in our operations to provide policing and law enforcement expertise and capacity development assistance for host government agencies.

We have been talking for some time about the need for the UN and key regional actors to be able to deploy more rapidly, especially in acute emergencies.

The EU Battlegroup was created for this purpose, as was the African Standby Force. 

But despite years of investment, we are still far from having predictable and effective mechanisms for rapid deployment.

In CAR, the force generation process for EUFOR was slower than expected, and the EU Battlegroup was not used. 

And we are in a race against time for the re-hatting of MISCA on 15 September, trying to secure the necessary enablers and other contributions to MINUSCA.

We – the UN, the AU and the EU, together with other key partners – need to do better.

I am convinced that we can, if we use existing mechanisms and capacity much more effectively and predictably, and further strengthen others.

The UN stands ready to further support the efforts of the AU and the Regional Economic Communities to fully operationalize the African Standby Force.

We should also stop looking at different tools in isolation and only through the lens of the relevant organizations.

Instead, we should see how we can bring them together in a way that will finally allow the international community to respond much more quickly.

I recently announced in this chamber my intention to undertake a review of peacekeeping, as we approach the 15-year anniversary of the Brahimi report. 

Over the past decade and a half, this Council has repeatedly shown its confidence in the value of United Nations peacekeeping by deploying missions with complex mandates to tough environments.

We are constantly working to keep pace with rising demands and emerging challenges.  We are already innovating and applying creative solutions in coordination with our valued partners. The review will help us further improve our mobility and agility so that we can better fulfil our duty to protect civilians in need.

This review will also examine the tremendous growth in partnership with regional organizations. 

Deepening and strengthening these partnerships will be critical to our collective efforts to meet the challenges of the future.  

Thank you.