The partnership between the African Union and the UN is proving to be of great value [fr]
Peace and security in Africa: Partnership to strengthen regional peace and security
Satetment by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Security Council Ministerial Meeting – 26 September 2019
At the outset, I would like to thank the Russian Federation for convening today’s very important discussion on the strategic partnership among the United Nations, the African Union and regional organizations.
The Council is well aware of President Macron’s personal commitment to Africa. In his statement in Ouagadougou in November 2017, he described the challenge for France’s new relations with Africa — that of shared responsibility. It means that we cannot rely on old patterns. Africa does not expect our generosity; it expects partnership. France will work with Africa to build lasting economic partnerships among equals that lead to investment in the private sector, African innovations and Africa’s young people. That will be the focus of the next Africa-France Summit, which we will organize in Bordeaux in June 2020.In our view, that partnership approach also applies to collective security. Close cooperation among the United Nations, the African Union and regional organizations allows us to combine our political efforts and define our strategies more closely in line with realities on the ground. It also makes it possible to optimize the means at our disposal, in the interest of efficiency. We see today that the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations today is proving to be of great value in terms of crisis prevention, mediation and operations.
We could cite several examples in that regard, such as recently in the Sudan, and Madagascar, where the efforts of the African Union have enjoyed the support of the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community and other partners, including France and the European Union. Those joint efforts enhanced the transparency and credibility of the 2018 presidential elections and serves as a successful model for crisis prevention. In the Central African Republic, the joint effort by the African Union and the United Nations led to the signing of the peace agreement between the Government and armed groups on 6 February. The vigilant and coordinated engagement of all international partners must continue in order to guarantee the full implementation of that agreement.
Furthermore, in the Sahel, joint action by the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel) is essential to ensuring that the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali — outcome of the Algiers process — is implemented, and that the United Nations and the African Union play a key role in the Implementation Monitoring Committee. It is also vital in the fight against terrorism, where the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali provides logistical support to the Joint Force of the G-5 Sahel. Such cooperation must be strengthened and expanded.
France supports the initiatives taken by Heads of State and Government at the expanded ECOWAS summit held in Ouagadougou. Heads of State and Government called for improved coordination between international efforts and for enhanced cooperation among the States of the region to halt the spread of the threat. It is within that framework that France and Germany have proposed the establishment of a new partnership for security and stability in the Sahel. That partnership will serve to strengthen coordination among the various defence and internal security actions, as well as to broaden the perimeter, enabling further work to be undertaken in the countries bordering Lake Chad.
But today it falls to us to further strengthen the partnership among the United Nations, the African Union and regional organizations in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations and the role of the Security Council. In his Action for Peacekeeping initiative, the Secretary-General places great emphasis on long-term partnerships, with good reason. Our capacity for collective action depends upon, first of all, our common vision. That is why we are actively participating in the annual consultations between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. We must also enhance information sharing with regard to early-warning, as has been mentioned already several times, in order to better anticipate and prevent crises.
We must also go further with regard to joint African Union-United Nations funding of upcoming African peace operations. As we know, the current African members of the Council are asking us to ensure the sustainability and predictability of our funding. France supports the African Union’s approach, which is ultimately aimed at the Security Council authorizing, on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with specific modalities, the use of mandatory contributions, in addition to the African Union contribution, to finance those operations.
We are convinced that African peace operations meet a triple need:
• first, a political need, as nothing can replace the determination of African countries to advance peace on their own continent;
• secondly, a strategic need, because the capacity to conduct peace operations is still lacking;
• and, thirdly, an operational need, as African contingents are best placed to achieve tactical success, thanks to their knowledge and expertise on the ground. We must consider how effectively Nigeria, Chad, the Niger and Cameroon engaged in the fight against Boko Haram in the early stages.
I therefore wish to commend the work undertaken by the Secretary-General and the African Union Commission on this issue. Significant progress has been made, such as the commitment made by African States at the Kigali Summit to fund 25 per cent of the cost of those operations by 2020, through the African Union Peace Fund. We still have a way to go in several areas, but we sincerely hope that we can make enough progress in the coming months to see rapid and effective results.