Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations (African Union)- Security Council VTC Debate

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28-Oct-2021 03:36:50
Security Council adopts presidential statement urging United Nations to strengthen partnership with African Union.

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The Security Council today urged the United Nations to strengthen its partnership with the African Union, as members adopted a presidential statement aimed at highlighting the growing contribution of such cooperation to resolving conflicts and other peace and security challenges in Africa.

By the presidential statement (to be issued as document S/PRST/2021/21), presented by Kenya, Council President for October, the 15‑member organ commended the progress made in the United Nations‑African Union partnership and stressed that it should further develop into a systematic, operational, and strategic partnership rooted in shared values and a strong commitment to international cooperation adapted to the complex security challenges facing the continent.

By the text, the Council also commended the efforts of the African Union to further strengthen its capacity, including through the advancement of the African Peace and Security Architecture, and underscored the importance of further consolidation of their cooperation in early warning, preventive diplomacy, mediation, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, electoral assistance, and promotion and protection of human rights, international humanitarian law and the rule of law.

Today’s video conference meeting took place on the heels of a military coup d’état in Sudan and other pressing security challenges in the region, and was based on the Secretary‑General’s annual report on strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union on issues of peace and security in Africa (document S/2021/763).

Donald Kaberuka, African Union High Representative for the Peace Fund, stressed that the Union and regional organizations have demonstrated a clear comparative advantage in carrying out offensive operations in high-risk environments. The African Union has mandated 15 peace support operations since the organization’s inception, mostly in contexts where United Nations peacekeepers were not deployed. Recalling Security Council resolution 2320 (2016), which opened discussions on cost-sharing between the African Union and the United Nations for peace support operations, he said the time has come to further consider the matter of sustainable funding mechanisms for African Union-led missions.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana and Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), urged the Security Council to consider regular consultations between the United Nations, on one hand, and the African Union and its organs, such as the Peace and Security Council, on the other. Regional economic communities such as ECOWAS can also provide an important framework for bridging differences in the conceptual understanding of the security challenges on the continent and improving the harmonized understanding of the responses required in addressing such challenges.

Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary‑General, underlined the need to prioritize response to the COVID‑19 pandemic in Africa through accelerated vaccine distribution, strengthening national health systems and much needed investments in preparedness. Noting that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 must be at the heart of common efforts, she went on to stress that the organization’s Peace Fund is an inspiring example of efforts to secure adequate, predictable and sustainable resources that will bring to life development, peace and security mandates across Africa.

When the floor opened to Council members, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta highlighted that African peacekeeping has fundamentally changed, and missions, most of them African-led, need more military capacity and resources to grapple with sophisticated terrorist groups. He also called for inclusive, non-partisan civil services, also underlining the need for robust job creation, a lack of which would lead to a greater threat of instability and anti-establishment sentiment.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre emphasized that African countries provide critical insights, expressing support for efforts to expand the Security Council and increase the number of permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa.

Along the same line, India’s Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar called for a change in offering “external” solutions to African problems without African involvement, expressing support for permanent African representation in an expanded Council, adding that “those who are responsible for denial by delay and perpetuating an historical injustice must be called out.”

France’s representative stressed the central role of the African Union in conflict prevention and resolution, noting that its involvement helped progress in resolving many crises, including in Madagascar in 2018 and Sudan in 2016. Also welcoming the commitment of ECOWAS in supporting the transition in Mali, she supported the idea of funding a United Nations logistics support office from the regular peacekeeping budget as “the most effective approach to providing predictable and sustained support going forward”.

Also speaking today were senior officials and representatives of Tunisia, Viet Nam, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ireland, Estonia, Russian Federation, China, Mexico, Niger, United States and the United Kingdom.

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