Addis Ababa

09 February 2020

Secretary-General's remarks at the 33rd African Union Summit

 
Your Excellency Mr. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi,
Your Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki ,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
All protocol observed,

 
I congratulate incoming chairperson, President Ramaphosa, and I commend President Al-Sisi for his service as chairperson over the past year for the achievements of the African Union
 
The United Nations strategic partnership with the African Union is of paramount importance for us.
 
Since I took office, I have sought to build stronger ties between our two organizations, based on shared values, mutual respect, common interests and, if I may, my own deep personal commitment to Africa’s peace, prosperity and well-being and my conviction that Africa’s challenges can only be solved by African leadership.
 
We see the fruits of those efforts in what we have agreed and achieved together.
A far-reaching joint AU-UN framework on peace and security on the continent – I commend the African Union for making Silencing the Guns such a prominent part of its work for 2020.
And a comprehensive plan to make the most of our complementary sustainable development programmes – the UN’s global 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
 
I can guarantee the full support of the United Nations for this landmark initiative.
 
Ultimately, Silencing the Guns is not just about peace and security but also inclusive sustainable development and human rights.
 
Excellencies,
 
Today, I wish to highlight three challenges of particular urgency.
 
First, making further inroads against poverty through a critical Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.  The eradication of poverty remains an essential social and moral obligation for humankind.
 
Second, tackling the climate crisis.
 
And third, Silencing the Guns. 
 
On poverty, Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have galvanized Africa’s governments and their development partners.
 
I commend the African Union for completing the first report on the country-level implementation of the ten-year implementation plan of Agenda 2063.
 
This is a key milestone on the path to realizing the “Africa we want”.
 
We can point to significant improvements in living standards, including access to quality education, health care, food security, basic social services and infrastructure.
 
But progress remains slow and uneven when it comes to eradicating poverty and ending exclusion.
Africa has long been a victim of a globalization that has not benefitted all nations equitably, with agricultural and other subsidies, trade and financial rules and distorted markets working often to the detriment of the continent.
 
That is why I will continue to advocate for a fair globalization that works for all nations and all people.
 
I have been witnessing the efforts of many governments in Africa to eliminate corruption, reform tax systems and improve governance and institutions.
 
But the international community must complement these efforts with much stronger determination in fighting tax evasion, money laundering and illicit flows of capital.
 
These have been depriving African countries of essential resources for development.
 
Excellencies,
 
One key to poverty eradication is the promotion of gender equality and the rights and meaningful engagement of women and girls.
 
Again, we have seen advances across Africa, but, as is the case everywhere in the world, much remains to be done.
 
At the bottom line this is a question of power.  We still live in a male-dominated world and this will have to change.
 
That is why I have made gender parity a centerpiece of UN reform and gender equality and the advancement of women a top priority in all the UN does.
 
Peace, social cohesion and sustainable development require women's contribution and leadership.
 
It is our joint responsibility to ensure that women are not excluded from critical decision-making in peace processes and post-conflict governance.
 
I commend the efforts of the African Women Leaders Network and FEMWISE-AFRICA in strengthening the role of women in conflict prevention and mediation.
 
Excellencies,
 
It is also necessary to engage and empower Africa’s youth.
 
They too have a vital contribution to make as agents of change and must not be marginalized or excluded.   
 
In its 75th anniversary year, the UN is committed to listening to youth and all actors to determine how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the future we want.
 
I am inspired by young people across Africa who have become advocates for peace through dialogue and addressing the root causes of conflict.
 
Let us work to provide not only social space to young people, but opportunities for work and incomes.
 
Excellencies,
 
Let me turn now to the climate crisis.
 
The past ten years were the hottest on record, and global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.
 
Africa is the least responsible for climate disruption yet is among the first and worst to suffer.
 
Its nations need assistance to build resilience to adapt to the inevitable impacts to come.
 
Temperature rise in Africa is twice the global average.
 
Last year was devastating, along with the destruction of cyclones Idai and Kenneth, there are numerous under-reported climate-linked crises from the Sahel to Zambia, from Kenya to Madagascar.
 
A climate-related locust infestation is causing misery across vast swathes of East Africa.
 
Addressing climate-related security risks in the Horn of Africa, Central Africa and the Sahel must be a priority.
 
Ultimately, science tells us the solution to the climate crisis is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels and boost resilience.
 
That means achieving global climate neutrality by 2050.
 
Major emitting countries and industrial sectors have a particular responsibility that are not yet claiming they are doing something so have a particular responsibility.
 
If they don’t deliver, all our efforts will be in vain.
 
We need more ambition on mitigation and, especially for Africa’s sake, more ambition on adaptation and financing to build resilience of African countries and communities and allow for effective recovery and reconstruction.
 
I commend Africa’s longstanding moral and political leadership on the climate emergency.
 
COP25 was a disappointment.  It is imperative that we work together to make COP26 a success so Africa can receive the support and resources it needs.
 
There is also a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa. 
 
Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts.
 
I express my deep solidarity with the people and communities affected.  The United Nations has issued an urgent appeal for assistance.  I ask the international community to respond with speed and generosity.
 
Excellences,
 
En ce qui concerne l’initiative visant à Faire taire les armes, l’année écoulée a été marquée par un certain nombre de succès qui témoignent de la force et de la valeur de notre partenariat.
 
Nous avons entrepris ensemble, avec un grand succès, des missions de médiation et de bons offices à travers le continent, notamment en soutien aux processus électoraux.
 
Et nos efforts conjoints ont fait progresser la mise en œuvre d’accords de paix.
 
Les évènements récents au Soudan sont remarquables.
 
L’Union africaine a été en première ligne du processus de médiation qui a abouti à la mise en place d’un gouvernement civil de transition.
 
Nos deux organisations travaillent en étroite collaboration, et avec d’autres acteurs clés, pour aider le gouvernement de transition à honorer ses engagements envers le peuple soudanais.
 
Je réaffirme qu’il est temps de retirer le Soudan de la liste des États qui soutiennent le terrorisme et de mobiliser un soutien international massif qui lui permette de surmonter ses difficultés.
 
Cette année sera également décisive pour le Soudan du Sud, la période de pré-transition devant s’achever, encore une fois, ces prochains jours.
 
Il faut que les que les dirigeants Sud Soudanais entendent la voix du peuple qui souffre et qu’ils se mettent d’accord, une fois pour toute, pour que la paix revienne au Soudan du Sud.
 
La République centrafricaine est un autre exemple du partenariat stratégique qui existe entre nos deux organisations : notre mission de maintien de la paix, la MINUSCA, et l’Union africaine travaillent main dans la main pour soutenir la mise en œuvre de l’accord de paix conclu en février dernier.
 
Nous devons continuer de préserver le processus de paix et garantir la tenue d’élections crédibles, libres et régulières à la fin de cette année.
 
Excellences,
 
Aujourd’hui, le maintien de la paix dépend de partenariats solides, tant avec les États Membres qu’avec l’Union africaine.
 
Le renforcement continu du partenariat entre l’Organisation des Nations Unies et l’Union africaine est une priorité absolue.
 
N’oublions jamais, non seulement que la plupart des opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies se déroulent en Afrique, mais également que la plupart des casques bleus sont eux-mêmes africains.
 
Depuis que j’ai lancé l’Action pour le maintien de la paix, il y a près de deux ans, le Secrétariat et les États Membres ont fait des progrès considérables afin de rendre le maintien de la paix plus efficace.
 
Cependant, même renforcé, le maintien de la paix dans sa forme traditionnelle ne suffit souvent pas, en particulier là où il n’y a pas de paix à maintenir, comme nous le voyons au Sahel.
 
Nous avons de plus en plus besoin d’opérations d’imposition de la paix et de lutte contre le terrorisme, mises en œuvre par l’Union africaine et appuyées par l’ONU.
 
L’expérience du G5 Sahel et de la Somalie montre que ces opérations doivent être mandatées par le Conseil de sécurité, dans le cadre du chapitre VII de la Charte, et jouir d’un financement prévisible garanti par les contributions obligatoires.
 
C’est évident pour le G5 Sahel aujourd’hui mais aussi pour la plus large coalition qu’il faut bâtir pour vaincre le terrorisme en Afrique.
 
Le manque de soutien suffisant de la communauté internationale est aujourd’hui évident dans le Sahel et dans la région du lac Tchad.
 
Toute une région est fragilisée par le terrorisme.
 
Des milliers de personnes ont été tuées et beaucoup d’autres continuent de souffrir.
 
Au Burkina Faso, au Mali et au Niger, le nombre et la complexité croissants des attaques terroristes visant des cibles tant civiles que militaires démontrent la nécessité d’une intervention plus robuste et intégrée, axée notamment sur les questions transfrontalières.
 
Nous devons aider les pays du Sahel à lutter contre l’exclusion et le désespoir économique ainsi que contre les dommages causés par la crise climatique.
 
Nous devons contribuer à bâtir des conditions propices à l’espoir et à l’accès aux opportunités pour tous pour que le peuple puisse en bénéficier entièrement. 
 
Nous devons également mettre un terme au conflit Libyen.
 
N’oublions pas que la crise en Libye, tout comme l’urgence climatique, a une incidence majeure sur le Sahel et au-delà.
 
La Libye ne se serait pas enfoncée dans un conflit toujours plus grave et destructeur sans la complicité directe de certains membres de la communauté internationale.
 
Les résolutions du Conseil de sécurité, y compris sur l’embargo des armes,  sont bafouées avant même que l’encre n’ait séché. C’est un scandale inacceptable.
 
Je suis conscient de l’immense frustration qu’éprouve l’Union africaine face à la situation qui règne en Libye depuis 2011 et je la partage.
 
Nous avons établis hier ensemble un nouveau cadre de partenariat entre l’Union Africaine et les Nations Unies pour une coordination étroite de nos efforts communs.
 
La réunion du Comité de haut niveau de l’Union Africaine sur la Libye qui a récemment eu lieu à Brazzaville représente une source très importante d’espoir et j’apporte tout mon soutien à l’organisation d’un forum de réconciliation intra-libyenne en Afrique.
 
Je continuerai d’insister que seule une solution politique, par et pour les libyens, apportera la paix en Libye et que toute intervention étrangère dans le conflit ne fera qu’aggraver la situation. Un cessez le feu immédiat est absolument essentiel.
 
Excellences,
 
Les défis auxquels nous faisons face sont complexes, multiples et de grande envergure.
 
Mais ils sont aussi partagés.
 
Notre réponse à ces défis doit donc être collective, globale et coordonnée.
 
Je réaffirme mon engagement sans faille à continuer de collaborer étroitement avec vous pour que nous réalisions l’Afrique que nous voulons, telle qu’elle est définie dans l’Agenda 2063, et que nous fassions véritablement taire les armes pour toujours.
 
Je vous remercie.

FULL ENGLISH TEXT

Your Excellency Mr. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi,
Your Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki ,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
All protocol observed,
 
I congratulate incoming chairperson, President Ramaphosa, and I commend President Al-Sisi for his service as chairperson over the past year for the achievements of the African Union.
 
The United Nations strategic partnership with the African Union is of paramount importance.
 
Since I took office, I have sought to build stronger ties between our two organizations, based on shared values, mutual respect, common interests and, if I may, my own deep personal commitment to Africa’s peace, prosperity and well-being and my conviction that Africa’s challenges can only be solved by African leadership.
 
We see the fruits of those efforts in what we have agreed and achieved together.
 
A far-reaching joint AU-UN framework on peace and security on the continent – I commend the African Union for making Silencing the Guns such a prominent part of its work for 2020.
 
And a comprehensive plan to make the most of our complementary sustainable development programmes – the UN’s global 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
 
I can guarantee the full support of the United Nations for this landmark initiative.
 
Ultimately, Silencing the Guns is not just about peace and security but also inclusive sustainable development and human rights.
 
Excellencies,
 
Today, I wish to highlight three challenges of particular urgency.
 
First, making further inroads against poverty through a critical Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.  The eradication of poverty remains an essential social and moral obligation for humankind.
 
Second, tackling the climate crisis.
 
And third, Silencing the Guns. 
 
On poverty, Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have galvanized Africa’s governments and their development partners.
 
I commend the African Union for completing the first report on the country-level implementation of the ten-year implementation plan of Agenda 2063.
 
This is a key milestone on the path to realizing the “Africa we want”.
 
We can point to significant improvements in living standards, including access to quality education, health care, food security, basic social services and infrastructure.
 
But progress remains slow and uneven when it comes to eradicating poverty and ending exclusion.
 
Africa has long been a victim of a globalization that has not benefitted all nations equitably, with agricultural and other subsidies, trade and financial rules and distorted markets working often to the detriment of the continent.
 
That is why I will continue to advocate for a fair globalization that works for all nations and all people.
 
I have been witnessing the efforts of many governments in Africa to eliminate corruption, reform tax systems and improve governance and institutions.
But the international community must complement these efforts with much stronger determination in fighting tax evasion, money laundering and illicit flows of capital.
 
These have been depriving African countries of essential resources for development.
 
Excellencies,
 
One key to poverty eradication is the promotion of gender equality and the rights and meaningful engagement of women and girls.
 
Again, we have seen advances across Africa, but, as is the case everywhere in the world, much remains to be done.
 
At the bottom line this is a question of power.  We live in a male-dominated world.
 
That is why I have made gender parity a centerpiece of UN reform and gender equality and the advancement of women a top priority in all the UN does.
 
Peace, social cohesion and sustainable development require women's contribution and leadership.
 
It is our joint responsibility to ensure that women are not excluded from critical decision-making in peace processes and post-conflict governance.
 
I commend the efforts of the African Women Leaders Network and FEMWISE-AFRICA in strengthening the role of women in conflict prevention and mediation.
 
Excellencies,
 
It is also necessary to engage and empower Africa’s youth.
 
They too have a vital contribution to make as agents of change and must not be marginalized or excluded.   
 
In its 75th anniversary year, the UN is committed to listening to youth and all actors to determine how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the future we want.
 
I am inspired by young people across Africa who have become advocates for peace through dialogue and addressing the root causes of conflict.
 
Let us work to provide not only social space for young people, but opportunities for work and incomes.
 
And let us ensure that Africa’s youth are equipped to take full advantage of the benefits that the digital revolution offers.
 
To that end, I commend the “1 million by 2021” initiative that the African Union Commission launched last year, to reach millions of African youth with opportunities in the key areas of Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education and Engagement.
 
The UN stands ready to support your efforts to give a better future to Africa’s youth.
 
Excellencies,
 
Let me turn now to the climate crisis.
 
The past ten years were the hottest on record, and global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.
 
Africa is the least responsible for climate disruption yet is among the first and worst to suffer.
 
Its nations need assistance to build resilience to adapt to the inevitable impacts to come.
 
Temperature rise in Africa is twice the global average.
 
Last year was devastating, along with the destruction of cyclones Idai and Kenneth, there are numerous under-reported climate-linked crises from the Sahel to Zambia, from Kenya to Madagascar.
 
A climate-related locust infestation is causing misery across vast swathes of East Africa.
 
Addressing climate-related security risks in the Horn of Africa, Central Africa and the Sahel will be a priority.
 
Ultimately, science tells us the solution to the climate crisis is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels and boost resilience.
 
That means achieving global climate neutrality by 2050.
 
Major emitting countries and industrial sectors that are not yet claiming; they are doing something so have a particular responsibility.
 
If they don’t deliver, all our efforts will be in vain.
 
We need more ambition on mitigation and, especially for Africa’s sake, more ambition on adaptation and financing to build resilience of African countries and communities and allow for effective recovery and reconstruction.
 
I commend Africa’s longstanding moral and political leadership on the climate emergency.
 
COP25 was a disappointment.  It is imperative that we work together to make COP26 a success so Africa can receive the support and resources it needs to minimize and adapt to climate impacts and develop in a sustainable manner.
 
There is also a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa. 
 
Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts.
 
I express my deep solidarity with the people and communities affected.  The United Nations has issued an urgent appeal for assistance.  I ask the international community to respond with speed and generosity to ensure an effective response and control the infestation while we still have the chance. 

Excellencies,
 
Turning now to Silencing the Guns, the past year has seen a number of successes that reflect the strength and value of our partnership.
 
We have engaged together with great success in mediation and good offices missions across the continent, notably in support of electoral processes.
 
And our joint efforts have advanced the implementation of peace agreements.
 
Recent events in Sudan have been remarkable.
 
The African Union was at the forefront of the mediation process that resulted in the establishment of a civilian-led transitional government.
 
Our two organizations are working closely together, and with other key stakeholders, to help ensure the transitional government can deliver on its commitments to the Sudanese people, as laid out in the historic Constitutional Charter.
 
I reiterate that it is time to remove Sudan from the list of state supporters of terrorism, and to mobilize massive international support to enable Sudan to overcome its challenges.
 
The African Union and the United Nations are also engaged in trilateral discussions with Sudan regarding the transition of our first hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur, recognizing shifting needs and priorities.
 
This year will also be pivotal for South Sudan with the pre-transitional period due to conclude, once again, in the coming days. 
 
The leaders of South Sudan have to listen to the voices of their people who are sufferings. They have to come to an agreement so peace can once again return to the country.
 
We cannot wait any longer. We must do everything in our power to support IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, in its initiatives to ensure that south-Sudanese leaders are effectively committed for a durable peace that lays the foundation for South Sudan’s development.
 
The Central African Republic is another showcase for the strategic partnership between our two organizations, with our peacekeeping mission MINUSCA and the African Union working hand-in-hand to support the implementation of the peace agreement reached last February.
 
We must continue to safeguard the peace process, and ensure credible, free and fair elections at the end of this year.
 
Excellencies,
 
Peacekeeping today depends on strong partnerships – both with Member States and regional organizations.
 
The continuing development of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union is a top priority.
 
Let us never forget that not only are most United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, but most blue helmets are themselves Africans.
 
Since I launched the Action for Peacekeeping initiative almost two years ago, the Secretariat and Member States have made significant progress in making peacekeeping more effective.
 
But, while we are improving peacekeeping, traditional peacekeeping is often not enough, particularly where there is no peace to keep, as we see in the Sahel.
 
We increasingly need peace enforcement and counter-terrorism operations implemented by the African Union and supported by the UN.
 
The experience of the G5 Sahel shows that these operations must receive Security Council mandates, under Chapter VII of the Charter, and predictable funding guaranteed by assessed contributions.
 
It is obvious for the G5 Sahel today but also for the larger coalition that we will have to build to beat terrorism in Africa.
 
The lack of support of the international community is clear today in the Sahel and Lake Chad.
 
The whole region has been imperiled by terrorism.
 
Thousands have been killed and countless more continue to suffer.
 
In Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, the increasing number and complexity of terrorist attacks on both civilian and military targets demonstrate the need for a more robust and integrated response with a focus on cross-border issues.
 
Our collective action is required at the borders of those Sahelian countries where the presence of the State needs to be strengthened and where public social services are cruelly lacking.
 
We must act to support the countries of the Sahel to combat exclusion and economic despair and the damage caused by the climate crisis.
 
And we must put an end to the Libyan conflict..
 
Let us not forget that the crisis in Libya has had a significant impact on the Sahel and beyond, along with the climate emergency.
 
Libya’s descent into an ever deeper and destructive conflict could not have occurred without the direct complicity of members of the international community.
 
Security Council resolutions, including the arms embargo, are flouted before the ink is dry.
 
I am aware of –and share -- the deep frustration of the African Union with the situation in Libya since 2011.
 
We established yesterday a new framework for a partnership between the European Union for a closer coordination of our joint efforts.
 
The meeting of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya, which took place recently in Brazzaville is an important source of hope and I fully support the organizing of a Libyan reconciliation forum in Africa.
 
I will continue to emphasize that only a political solution, nationally-owned and nationally-led, will bring peace in Libya and that foreign intervention in the conflict will only make things worse. An immediate cease-fire is absolutely essential.
 
Excellencies,
 
The challenges we face are complex, multi-faceted and far-reaching.  
 
But they are also shared. 
 
Our response to those challenges must be collective, comprehensive and coordinated.
 
Through combined efforts, coordinated approaches and renewed commitment to multilateralism we can continue Africa’s undoubted upward momentum.
 
I reiterate my full commitment to continue working closely with you to ensure we achieve the Africa we want as set out by Agenda 2063 and truly silence the guns forever.
 
Thank you.