8627th Security Council Meeting: Peace and Security in Africa

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26-Sep-2019 02:15:03
Praising United Nations-African Union Cooperation, speakers tell Security Council dedicated funding critical to peace support operations, regional-based solutions.

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Applauding the cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and various subregional organizations, speakers at a ministerial debate in the Security Council meeting today highlighted African-led efforts to lift the continent out of conflict, including the “Silence the Guns 2020” initiative, while underscoring the urgent need for dedicated sources of funding for peace support operations.

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, Executive Office of the Secretary‑General, said the collaboration between the United Nations, African Union, its member States and other regional mechanisms has never been greater. Praising the determination of African Heads of State and Government to address continued challenges in a holistic manner, she also pointed out that the African Union Peace Fund was currently at the highest level of assessed contributions since its founding in 1993, at $124 million.

Nonetheless, it was critical to ensure the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for African Union-led peace support operations, she stressed. Support must be given towards infrastructure for peace at the local and national levels and for policy dialogue with the Peacebuilding Commission. In that vein, the United Nations Secretariat, as well as agencies, funds and programmes, is scaling up support for the objectives of the African Union initiative on “Silencing the Guns by 2020”.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the African Union Commission, said peace in Africa has been bolstered by the establishment of a full peace architecture that is based on shared values and that supports Africa to address its own problems for itself. As a result, an appropriate funding strategy has been developed and should be treated as a priority. Given the current complex situations facing Africa, the traditional way of dealing with conflict was no longer a viable one, he cautioned.

During the ensuing debate, speakers, including the three African members of the Security Council, described successful instances of cooperation across nations, whether international, regional or subregional, while also focusing on the need for predictable funding and support for African-led initiatives.

Simeon Oyono Esono Angue, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea, giving an overview of the many challenges facing the continent, recalled it was his country which brought the “Silencing the Guns” initiative to the vote during its Council presidency. To build on that work and to prevent and resolve conflicts, more consultation with African States was needed, in partnership with regional economic communities.

Naledi Pandor, Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, spotlighted the African Union’s work to create a framework for security challenges and threats, which in turn has led to the reduction of violent and armed conflicts. Such efforts demonstrate the strong resolve of African leaders to ensure African ownership for Africa’s challenges. However, more needs to be done, she said, highlighting the importance of the financing of the African Union-led peace support operations.

Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cote d’Ivoire, affirmed that a deterioration in security in Africa has required improved strategic partnerships. Essential to those partnerships is an understanding of local and regional factors that lead to conflict, including poverty, weak governance and violent extremism. Support must be provided to national Governments to face such underlying problems. Highlighting funding streams, he also noted the importance of the funding provided by the European Union to the African security architecture.

Bruno Van Der Pluijm, Secretary-General for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, echoing that sentiment, also highlighted the need for sustainable and predictable funding for African Union operations that are complementary to United Nations operations, to enable better coordination between the two bodies. However, he cautioned that the partnership would only remain relevant if it takes into account African diversity, both geographical and institutional.

Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs, External Action Service of the European Union, also voiced strong support for the “Silencing the Guns” initiative. However, he said, Africa should not be defined in terms of conflict alone, but rather as a continent in flux, marked by a burgeoning youthful population and opportunities for growth.

Before the Council was a concept note provided by the Representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, the Russian Federation and South Africa on the topic “Peace and security in Africa: partnership to strengthen regional peace and security” (document S/2019/743).

Also speaking today were ministers, senior officials and representatives of the Russian Federation, Kuwait, China, France, Indonesia, Poland, Peru, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Dominican Republic and Egypt.

The meeting began at 3:07 p.m. and ended at 5:21 p.m.

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