A strategic United Nations - African Union cooperation [fr]
Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union - Security Council - Intervention of Ms. Anne Guegen, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Tuesday 12 September 2017
"The time has come to make a qualitative leap, as part of the evolution of peacekeeping and the division of roles between the United Nations and regional organizations. " Anne Gueguen
I would first like to thank Mr. Haile Menkerios, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his briefing, and you, Mr. President, for organizing today’s meeting at a very timely moment, just as the Security Council has returned from its annual meeting in Addis Ababa with the African Union Peace and Security Council and when one of the main parts of the General Assembly’s high-level week will be devoted to a Council meeting on 20 September on maintaining peace. In that regard, Mr. President, I commend your team’s work on a draft resolution on peacekeeping operations, which France supports. Today I would like to enlarge on three main points arising from our discussions in Addis Ababa last week.
1/ My first point is about emphasizing once again the strategic nature of the partnership between the United Nations, the African Union (AU) and the regional economic communities. France is firmly committed to strengthening that partnership. The time has come to make a qualitative leap, as part of the evolution of peacekeeping and the division of roles between the United Nations and regional organizations, and to fully implement Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. That change is both inevitable — owing to the evolving nature of the multiplying threats to peace — and highly desirable, owing to the two organizations’ clear respective comparative advantages. It should enable us to share tasks in a rational way, which will both improve operations’ efficiency and performance and ensure a better allocation of financial and human resources.
The many crises affecting Africa and their terrible consequences for its peoples, particularly on the humanitarian front and with regard to violations of human rights, compel us to deepen our thinking on how to provide an adequate response. We must also work together if we are to be more effective in preventing such crises. That has been the aim of all the efforts made since the Secretary-General took office, working in close collaboration with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. It has also been the aim of the actions taken in the wake of the Council’s adoption, in November 2016, of resolution 2320 (2016) and the signing, on 19 April, of the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, as well as the Council’s visit to Addis Ababa for its annual meeting with the African Union Peace and Security Council.
2/ Of course — and this is the second point I would like to address — the question of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union for peace and security in Africa means dealing with the goal of improving the conduct and organization as well as the financing of African peace operations authorized or mandated by the Security Council. African peace operations can have comparative advantages over their United Nations counterparts. They can be deployed more quickly and benefit from more robust mandates, and their troop contingents generally have a good knowledge of the terrain. Besides that, they also correspond to the universally supported goal of African States’ ownership of their own security. In that regard, I commend the work undertaken so far by the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Several options have been proposed for financing African operations and should be followed up and defined more precisely, including the AU Peace Fund, designed to enable African States to finance 25 per cent of the cost of operations by 2020 in line with the decision taken at the Kigali Summit in July 2016 and confirmed at the Addis Ababa Summit in January. And I would also point to the financial impact that such proposals could have on the budget of the United Nations.
With regard to political and operational cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, the Security Council, the AU Peace and Security Council, the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission have come up with constructive proposals for a joint mechanism for analysing threats, defining mandates and assessing operations. Those concepts should be pursued with a view to producing more detailed proposals on strengthening the capacities of the African Union and African’s regional economic communities for planning and conducting peace operations, in collaboration with the United Nations. That also involves creating mechanisms essential to ensuring transparency, accountability and respect for codes of conduct and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. The Security Council must be kept duly informed and able to guide the missions it authorizes and mandates.
3/ The third point I want to make is that while African peacekeeping operations are key to the return of stability in the African continent, they are not the only decisive factor. That is why strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and the AU and regional economic communities must also be based on a collaborative approach aimed either at better preventing crisis situations — for example, through greater sharing of early warning information, and I welcome the progress made in cooperation between the United Nations and the AU to that end — or at better anticipating solutions for ending crises by sharing a common political vision.
In particular, as the Secretary-General highlights in his report (S/2017/744), it would seem indispensable for the African Union and the regional economic communities to contribute, where relevant, to creating conditions conducive to a political resolution of crises on which stabilization and reconstruction efforts can be based. As our discussion in Addis Ababa strongly highlighted, we must therefore ensure that the partnership is not limited to issues of security but that it be expanded and deepened in the area of sustaining peace and sustainable development, in line with the the African Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
To conclude, I wish to underscore that many crises on the Council’s agenda — be it the threat posed by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin countries, the situation in Somalia, or insecurity in Mali and the region of the Group of Five for the Sahel — are emblematic of the regional and cross-cutting nature of issues facing States and peoples today. The interlinkage of security, political, environmental, social and economic challenges requires an integrated response addressing both urgent security issues and the underlying causes of violence.
The time has come to make a decisive qualitative leap in the United Nations-AU partnership by articulating their respective actions in a structured and pragmatic way. France is determined to contribute to that end and to support the efforts of the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General in this area.