Cooperation between the UN and the African Union (12/16/2014)
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations – Security Council – 16 December 2014
Allow me to begin this morning by firmly condemning, as was done this morning by the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, the appalling attack against a school in Peshawar. We express our solidarity and convey our condolences to the Pakistani authorities and to the families of the victims. Indeed, what could be more cowardly than to attack children ?
I wish to thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Mr. Pierre Buyoya, High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, for their briefings, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chad, Mr. Moussa Faki, for his initiative and for presiding over our open debate today.
I wish also to associate myself with the statement to be made by the observer of the European Union.
I wish to begin by paying tribute to African Union peacekeepers, in particular today Chadian peacekeepers, who have died in the line of duty, as well as to their United Nations comrades. The role of regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of peace is fully recognized by the Charter and makes a decisive contribution to collective security. Because of their geographic proximity, their knowledge of local situations and their partnerships with the countries affected by crises, the countries of a region, structured into regional and subregional organizations, are in a position to provide a useful value-added to the understanding, prevention, management and consolidation of situations. This partnership is foreseen by the Charter in its Chapter VIII, without prejudice to the Security Council’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Since the early 2000s, the African Union, subregional organizations and their member States have been mobilizing to develop their own structured capabilities in terms of peacekeeping. France fully recognizes this effort and encourages it. The growth of the African Peace and Security Architecture is part of an expansion of peacekeeping operations, in particular on the African continent. As a result, it quickly led to the establishment of a partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, namely, in terms of operational coordination : annual consultations between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council ; the establishment of liaison offices in New York and Addis Ababa ; and the creation of a Joint Task Force on Peace and Security, to name but a few. I will note, however, that the partnership is now operating at several levels, from the exchange of information to operational cooperation, and is also working in the context of the various dimensions of situations, from prevention to peacebuilding, including the arduous phase of peacekeeping.
Recent events provide an illustration of the effectiveness and efficiency of this partnership. I am thinking, of course, of the cases of Mali and the Central African Republic, where a United Nations intervention was preceded by that of an African Union one. We will know more at the conclusion of the lessons-learned exercise requested by the Secretary-General in resolution 2167 (2014), but we can already at this stage welcome that experience and also acknowledge once again that undeniable progress has already been made in Mali and the Central African Republic.
I would add that France, in keeping with its responsibility as a Security Council penholder for several African crises, will ensure coordination with the African members of the Council and the African Union representation in New York.
In the context of its efforts to develop its own peacekeeping capabilities, the African Union receives significant support from several partners, primarily the European Union. The European Union early on made this a key focus of its partnership with the African Union. The observer of the European Union will elaborate further on this point, but I would recall that that intention has been put into practice through education and training programmes supported by a financial commitment of €750 million for the period from 2014 to 2016 and very substantial financial support to the African Union’s peace support operations.
France fully supports that European Union policy and provides, in a national capacity, support for building and strengthening African peace capabilities. That priority was highlighted by the President of France, François Hollande, at the Elysée summit held in December 2013. France thus contributes to training 25,000 African soldiers. France also welcomes efforts by other African Union partners, including in particular the United States and China, that have undertaken or recently announced their intention to undertake African peace capacity-building programmes.
We must ensure, however, that those contributions are coordinated and serve a shared vision of peacekeeping. The European Union is committed to that purpose as part of its tripartite cooperation with the United Nations and the African Union, which is undoubtedly a factor in the good cooperation that has been observed between missions in which the African Union, European Union and United Nations cooperate, for example, in Mali and the Central African Republic. That effort should be pursued in several areas, as the presidential statement adopted today (S/PRST/2014/27) clearly notes.
First of all, in terms of funding, the financial sustainability of the system has become a major issue. The African Union has a lot of support from external partners who support the strengthening African peacekeeping capabilities. As recognized by the presidential statement we adopted today, the challenge is to also secure financial resources that come from the African continent to support the political willingness displayed by its leaders.
Rapid deployment capability is an essential condition for the success of international interventions in situations in which time is limited. As we have seen in Mali and the Central African Republic, the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali and the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic were essential to ensuring initial stabilization, paving the way for a United Nations peacekeeping operation.
The transition between missions in particular is a question of increasing importance as the modalities of intervention diversify and succeed each other and/or overlap. In that regard, the exercise on lessons learned will be instructive. An additional dimension to transitions, when interventions are being completed within the same theatre, is that of coordination in interventions, so that everyone provides the best of their capacities to settle the crisis. How do missions cooperate ? What synergies are there to develop ? That is also a field to explore in the light of recent experience.
The questions before us today are crucial and contribute to the broader discussion on the evolution of peacekeeping. We will soon receive several reports laying out the problems and, no doubt, formulating recommendations, including the two reports requested by the Council in paragraphs 13 and 28 of resolution 2167 (2014) and the report of the High-level Independent Panel to Review Peace Operations led by Mr. Ramos-Horta. However, none of them will be specifically devoted to the question of the African Union’s capacity and its partnership with the United Nations. The request has now been made in the statement that we just adopted, which gives rise to an annual report. We welcome that, and France is grateful to Chad for putting that partnership at the top of the agenda of the United Nations and the Security Council.