UN/AU: a strategic partnership for international peace and security [fr]
Cooperation between the UN and the African Union
Statement by Mr.Antoine Michon, Political Cordinator of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 18 July 2018
At the outset, I wish to thank you, Madam President, for convening this debate. I also thank Ms. Zewde and African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Chergui for their very interesting briefings.
For France, the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union (AU) is of strategic importance for international peace and security, and we are firmly committed to supporting it. The partnership is fully in keeping with the current evolution of peacekeeping, which requires better coordination among the United Nations, regional organizations and subregional organizations under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations in order to better exploit the comparative advantages of each organization, thereby better preventing and responding to crises.
In that context, we welcome the progress made over the past year under the personal leadership of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, to better coordinate and analyse crises and our responses to them. For example, the joint visit of the Commissioner and Jean-Pierre Lacroix to the Central African Republic highlighted the importance of coordinated action by the two organizations in support of the peace process in that country to achieve a comprehensive political agreement as soon as possible.
In the face of evolving threats in Africa and the need for the United Nations and the AU to improve their responses and efficiency, France is in favour of United Nations reinforcement of African peace operations. President Macron made a clear commitment to this goal during his speech in Ouagadougou, in November 2017, and more recently at the thirty-first African Union Summit in Nouakchott. We believe that African Union operations should be supported in two areas.
First, it is important to promote the concept of African peace enforcement operations that are mandated by the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council. African peace operations can be deployed more quickly than United Nations peacekeeping operations in carrying out offensive peace-enforcement or counter-terrorism operations. That division of tasks would allow United Nations peacekeeping operations to focus on peacekeeping, which is at the core of their mandate.
At the political and military levels, such operations should therefore be provided with a stable framework for cooperation, as has been done with the African Union Military Observer Mission in Somalia, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali and the African Union Mission for the Central African Republic and Central Africa and, more recently, to the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel). The proposals of the Secretary-General and the Chairman of the African Union Commission to establish a joint process for the analysis of threats, developing mandates and operational concepts, planning and the evaluation of African peace operations constitute a solid basis for further efforts, and we invite them to develop it further.
The second key point for enhancing African peace operations is the need to move concretely and swiftly towards their predictable and sustainable financing, as called for in resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017). Given the current situation, it now seems logical that African peace enforcement operations, which would complement United Nations peacekeeping operations, should also enjoy sound and predictable funding, including through mandatory contributions from the United Nations.
In that regard, we welcome the reforms led by the African Union, including the revitalization of the Peace Fund, and the African Union’s commitment to funding 25 per cent of African peace operations. We also commend the unprecedented financial commitment of AU member States to replenishing the Fund. Of course, several crucial points still need to be discussed concerning financing, in particular regarding the acceleration and finalization of ongoing work on compliance frameworks in the fields of international humanitarian law, human rights and conduct and discipline, as well as work related to chains of command in African peace operations. However, we remain confident that the work will proceed and allow us to move forward.
I conclude by emphasizing that France considers the progress achieved by our African Union partners to be real and must now be strongly supported by the Security Council. France will play an active role, together with its partners in the Security Council, to ensure progress in the cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, in the name of peace and security on the African continent.