Stronger United Nations Partnership with African Union Possible Due to Revamped Regional Arrangements: Security Council Presidential Statement Says

NEW YORK, 25th May, 2016 (WAM) – A stronger, more forward-looking peace and security partnership between the United Nations and the African Union was now achievable following the adoption of a new road map for African efforts and recent reviews of the international peace and security architecture, the Security Council said in a statement issued during an all-day debate on Tuesday.

The presidential statement welcomed the adoption of the African Peace and Security Architecture Road Map (2016-2020) following briefings by Herve Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations; Tete Antonio, Permanent Observer of the African Union; Haile Menkerios, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and his Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan; and Macharia Kamau (Kenya), Chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.

Through the statement, the Council said that recent reviews of United Nations peace operations and implementation of Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security also pointed towards harmonizing the efforts of the two entities in order “to achieve a coherent, and coordinated continuum of engagement” by preventing conflict while building, keeping and sustaining peace, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.

Also by the statement, the Council welcomed the enhanced peacekeeping role of the African Union and its sub-regional groups, consistent with Security Council decisions. It paid tribute to the sacrifice made by those serving with African-led peace operations, and acknowledged the progress made in cooperation between the regional bloc and the United Nations The Council reiterated its intention to boost consultations with the African Union in that regard, and to plan collaborative field missions “to formulate cohesive positions and strategies on a case-by-case basis in dealing with conflict situations in Africa”. It welcomed international and bilateral support for building the bloc’s peace and security capacities, reiterating, however, the responsibility of regional organizations to secure their own resources. Recognizing the challenge of securing “predictable, sustainable and flexible resources”, the Council encouraged further dialogue on options for addressing that issue.

Before the Council’s issuance of the presidential statement, briefers noted that yesterday had marked the tenth anniversary of annual security consultations between the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. “I am more hopeful than ever that efforts to strengthen the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations will remain critical to the continued quest for security and stability in Africa,” said Mr. Menkerios. Among the progress made in strengthening cooperation, he and other briefers highlighted the development of the African Standby Force and measures to strengthen early response to incipient conflicts.

Mr. Ladsous noted that 9 out of 16 United Nations peacekeeping operations were in Africa and that almost 50 per cent of all uniformed peacekeepers came from African Union Member States. Paying tribute for the contributions and sacrifices of peacekeepers and their countries, he said peacekeeping cooperation with the regional bloc had shifted from “support and capacity-building” to a partnership based on unity of purpose and effort.

Mr. Antonio suggested that African Union peace operations would be better able to pave the way for those of the United Nations if afforded predictable, sustainable and flexible funding through assessed contributions from Member States, but also through greater mobilization of resources on the continent. African Heads of State and Government had recently committed to financing 25 per cent of the cost of African peace operations.

Mr. Kamau said the Peacebuilding Commission had worked closely with the African Union and its regional economic communities to increase synergies and enhance the coherence and complementarity of joint peacebuilding efforts. The Commission intended to use momentum from Council resolutions to further enhance and institutionalize that cooperation. “We will aim to arrive at an agreed framework for regular consultations, exchange of information and analysis, and opportunities for joint initiatives aimed at sustaining peace,” he said, adding that he looked forward to a visit to West Africa, where he would stop in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Senegal to call attention to peacebuilding priorities in the context of the post-Ebola recovery.

Following those briefings, some 42 speakers took the floor to welcome stronger cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union on peace and security issues. Many stressed the need for the two organizations to delineate their roles clearly according to their comparative advantages. In that regard, many stressed the need for support to African mediation and early response efforts, including deployment of the African Standby Force.

Some speakers prioritized the prevention of conflict, with Venezuela’s representative urging much greater use of African Union capacity in that regard, as opposed to reliance on international intervention and coercive pressure, which, he maintained, had been counterproductive in many crises, especially in Libya.