Stronger United Nations-African Union Partnership Vital to Tackle Increasing Terrorism, Governance Gaps, Humanitarian Plight in Africa, Speakers Tell Security Council
Amid formidable challenges, including an uptick in terrorist attacks in the Sahel, unconstitutional changes of Government, increasing recourse to use of force to resolve disputes, and a dire humanitarian situation in several regions, all of it exacerbated by climate change, the unique partnership between the United Nations and the African Union remains a cornerstone of multilateralism, which must be adapted to local contexts, with the support of the international community, including the Security Council, the Secretary-General told the 15-member organ today.
“States must develop the capacity to detect the early signs of conflicts and stop them before they escalate into violence, and gaps in governance must be addressed, including restrictions on human rights and freedoms, which undermine stability and sustainable development,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, presenting his annual report on strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union on issues of peace and security in Africa (document S/2022/643), during the Council’s annual debate on strengthening relations with the 27-member group, held on the twentieth anniversary of its founding.
In a briefing that also touched on the urgent need for climate action and dire economic conditions prevailing around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the Secretary-General outlined the accomplishments of the strategic partnership over the past year. These included the joint launch, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel), of the independent assessment led by former Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, to improve international engagement on security, governance and development in the Sahel; the joint initiatives with ECOWAS in support of a timely return to constitutional order in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali; a sustained commitment to a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Ethiopia, within the framework of an African Union process; and joint weapons-collection campaigns in Madagascar, Niger and Uganda, among others.
Also briefing the Council was Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, who said the continent needs “other things beyond declarations” to bolster its own efforts to bring about peace and security and face up to formidable challenges. Pointing out that 70 per cent of peacekeeping missions are in Africa and African issues are the most-discussed topics at the United Nations, he called for a deepening of the partnership between the Organization’s specialized agencies and the African Union to bring about the true renaissance of a multilateralism that is presently damaged, reduced, biased and in dangerous decline.
In the ensuing discussion, many Council members and delegates underscored the need for predictable, sustainable funding for African Union-led peacekeeping operations authorized by the Council, while others called for renewed efforts to ensure African representation at the Council.
Michael Moussa Adamo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, Council President for October, was one among several speakers calling for a strengthening of the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations, given the resilience of armed groups and terrorist groups, and the fact that Africa makes up more than half of the Council’s agenda. Since 2017, the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security has broadened the scope of cooperation, including conflict prevention, early warning systems, peacebuilding, disarmament, fighting terrorism and the protection of human rights, he said.
Echoing such points, the representative of Kenya said that collaboration between the United Nations and African Union will only achieve real and sustainable results when the Council is more balanced by permanent African membership. In the meantime, the Council must reform its methods of work to be more inclusive and responsive; penholdership, for example, must change in response to African responsibility, knowledge and ownership.
Meanwhile, the speaker for Senegal called on the Council to respond to the African Union’s willingness to participate in areas such as early warning and conflict prevention, as it is well-versed in political and cultural realities on the continent and is better equipped to tackle them. He also said the Council should lend support to the proposal to set up a United Nations Specialized Support Office, funded through assessed United Nations contributions, to provide the G5 Sahel Joint Force funding commensurate with the security challenges it faces.
France’s delegate commended the vital role played by the African Union in resolving conflicts on the continent, through efforts of its Member States and the support of other organizations, including the European Union, which remains the largest contributor to the African Union budget. He called for text-based negotiations to commence to pave the way for reforms that allow better representation of the continent at the Council. Further, he stressed the need to curb the activities of mercenaries on the continent, stating that their presence represents a breakdown of host State sovereignty and is responsible for massive human rights violations.
For his part, the representative of the Russian Federation welcomed the African Union’s flagship initiative to end armed conflicts and urged the bloc’s members to develop their own partnership and cooperation mechanisms independent of external forces and free of blackmail, coercion and pressure. Turning to socioeconomic, security and governance challenges, he called for an in-depth, comprehensive and historical assessment while noting that many of the root causes concern Africa’s colonial past.
Several speakers emphasized the need to address the adverse impacts of climate change on peace and security, including the representative of Egypt, who spotlighted the fragile situation in the Sahel in this regard. He expressed hope that the upcoming twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November will agree on urgent measures through concessional financing to promote Africa’s ability to adapt and develop resilience.
Echoing such concerns, Norway’s delegate stated that the climate crisis is multiplying risks of conflict and driving displacement across the world. Highlighting its links to security, she pointed out that over half of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change are also affected by armed conflict. To this end, she reiterated her Government’s commitments to double its funding to climate finance.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United States, United Arab Emirates, Albania, China, India, Ghana, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, South Africa, Namibia, Germany and Morocco.
The meeting began at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 12:40 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, welcomed the opportunity to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the African Union. Recalling that since 2002, when African leaders pledged to work together to prevent conflict and promote peace, development, human rights and the rule of law, the African Union has demonstrated its commitment to integration, peace, and prosperity, through Agenda 2063 and its flagship initiatives — the African Continental Free Trade Area, Silencing the Guns in Africa as well as the establishment of the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past 20 years, the United Nations and the African Union have developed a unique partnership, rooted in the principles of complementarity, respect and African ownership — a partnership that has become a cornerstone of multilateralism.
He went on to outline the main thrusts of his report, which touched on the joint launch, with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel), of the independent assessment led by Mahamadou Issoufou, to improve international engagement on security, governance and development in the Sahel; the joint initiatives with ECOWAS in support of a timely return to constitutional order in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali; a sustained commitment to a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Ethiopia, within the framework of an African Union process; continued support for the transition process in Chad, in collaboration with the African Union; and joint weapons-collection campaigns in Madagascar, Niger and Uganda, among others.
However, he continued, major challenges remain, which can only be met through approaches that are adapted to local contexts, and with the full commitment of the international community — including the Council. These include the predominant turning to the use of force to resolve disputes; increasingly unconstitutional changes of Government; an uptick in deadly attacks by Da’esh and Al-Qaida affiliates in the Sahel; protracted conflicts and a dire humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan and Libya; increasing violence against women, especially women human rights defenders, among others.
In accordance with the United Nations Charter, the African Union Constitutive Act and the Silencing the Guns initiative, the solution is clear, he stressed. “States must develop the capacity to detect the early signs of conflicts and stop them before they escalate into violence. Gaps in governance must be addressed, including restrictions on human rights and freedoms, which undermine stability and sustainable development.” On peace and security missions, he noted that the United Nations and African Union have been working together on a compliance framework of African Union operations to ensure full respect for international human rights and humanitarian standards. He called on the Council to ensure predictable funding for African Union operations that it has authorized, adding that as requested by the Council, his office is preparing a joint progress report on the financing of African Union peace operations, due in April 2023.
Turning to the climate crisis, which is, for many Africans, “not a distant threat, but a daily reality”, he pointed out that Africa is paying an outsized price although it barely contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions. “This is a textbook case of moral and economic injustice,” he stressed. Ahead of the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt the following month, he urged on leaders — especially from Group of 20 (G20) countries, which are responsible for 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions — to finally take the urgent action needed. Developed countries must make good on their commitments, starting with their pledge to provide $100 billion annually for developing countries, and double funding for adaptation. COP27 must also deliver concrete action on loss and damage, he said, emphasizing that this is not just a matter of trust between developed and developing countries, but, for many countries, a question of survival.
He went on to address the concerning social and economic conditions prevailing around the world, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, fuelling an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. Despite some relief provided by the Black Sea Grain initiative, millions of people are facing soaring food and energy prices, crushing debt burdens, skyrocketing inflation, and a lack of access to finance, he said, adding that the United Nations has been tirelessly working to ensure that Russian fertilizers have unhindered access to the international market. Reiterating his call three weeks ago, for a Sustainable Development Goal stimulus, led by the G20, to massively boost development assistance, he also called for an effective global debt relief mechanism.
MICHAEL MOUSSA ADAMO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, Council President for October, said it is time to assess the commitment between the African Union and the United Nations as cooperation is essential. Strengthening this partnership is crucial for the Council since Africa makes up more than half of the Council’s agenda. Since 2017, the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security has broadened the scope of cooperation, including conflict prevention, early warning systems, peacebuilding, disarmament, fighting terrorism and the protection of human rights. The links between two organizations’ agendas shows a convergence of their work and their determination to meet the challenges facing the people of Africa, he said, adding that investing in the empowerment of young people is crucial. The hybrid peacekeeping missions show the dynamic nature of partnerships, which are changing as the scope of the continent’s challenges change. The resilience of armed groups and terrorist groups, along with geopolitical tensions, means the partnerships between the African Union and United Nations must be strengthened.
African solutions for African problems are needed to shape the future, he said. Yet the main responsibility for maintaining international peace and security remains with the Council. Africa cannot be happy and stand by as conflicts in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and Central Africa escalate. These situations need solutions. African Union efforts are needed to make peacekeeping missions more robust and to provide logistical assistance. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s appointment of Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal as his Special Representative for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). Africa, he stressed, needs greater representation on the Council.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) expressed support for the African Union-United Nations framework for enhanced partnership on peace and security. As peace in Africa cannot wait, it mobilizes collaboration from the earliest indicators of potential conflict and is critical to conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction, she explained. In welcoming efforts to address children in armed conflict, she urged the African Union and United Nations to continue their work and strengthen protection for conflict-affected children. On Somalia, she called for the redoubling of efforts to achieve the transition mission’s goals. The United Nations and African Union can make regional peace operations effective by aligning their doctrines, policies and directives and protecting and upholding human rights in every African Union initiative and mission, she said. The African Union must implement compliance frameworks in international humanitarian law, human rights, conduct and discipline and strengthen training, monitoring, reporting and accountability. Such frameworks, along with other oversight mechanisms outlined in resolution 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017), are key for discussions on using assessed contributions. As the African Union must have the flexibility to address evolving threats, there must be predictable and sustainable funding, she emphasized. She then reiterated her country’s support for increasing the Council’s membership and including permanent seats for Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) called for renewed support to be given to the African Union’s relationship with the United Nations, stating that, in the context of emerging multipolarity, the African Union provides an effective example of multilateralism in action, which proves that new forms of cooperation are more dynamic and impactful on the ground. African challenges, origins and effects extend beyond its border, she said, adding: “Put simply, we are in this together.” She went on to call for further reflection on what a successful collaboration between the African Union and the United Nations could look like, commending as exemplary the impact of the sustained engagement of both organizations, in directly bringing about change on the ground, including through the Trilateral Mechanism in Sudan, as well as through facilitating the transition from African Union Military Observer Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). She called on the Council to strive to achieve consensus on securing predictable, sustainable, and flexible resources for Security Council-authorized African Union-led operations, and emphasized the need for both organizations to demonstrate unity of purpose in combatting the growing threat of terrorism and climate change.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) commended the progress made by the African Union, through the efforts of its Member States as well as its partnerships with other regional organizations, including the European Union, and recalled that the latter remains the largest contributor to the African Union budget. Stating that the African Union has become a vital actor in resolving conflicts on the continent, he cited the Malabo Summit in May, in which States underscored their opposition to unconstitutional changes of government, which also acknowledged the African Union’s support for mediation efforts between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. He reiterated his appeal for sustainable, predictable resources to be mobilized, including through mandatory funding from the United Nations, and called for negotiations initiated by the Council and the African Union to be resumed. Further, he called for text-based negotiations to commence to pave the way for reforms that allow better representation of the continent at the Council, including among its permanent members. Turning to new challenges faced by the continent, including disinformation, which is threatening society, States and peacekeeping missions, he spotlighted a European Union initiative to combat disinformation, which has been allocated $1 million. He went on to express concern on the need to tackle malnutrition, which has been exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine, and called for action to be taken to curb mercenaries, who represent a breakdown of host State sovereignty and are responsible for massive human rights violations. He looked forward to the review on the 1977 Convention for the elimination of mercenary activities in Africa.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) commended the willingness shown by the African Union member States to support the efforts of preventing and resolving conflicts and ensuring peace in their regions over the past 20 years, and stated that the United Nations should act as the anchor and catalyst of joint efforts with the bloc, to promote greater cooperation and coordination between all actors, including specialized agencies, regional and subregional organizations, national institutions and civil society representatives. The sixteenth annual joint consultative meeting of the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council provides an opportunity to reinforce the bodies’ strong partnership. She went on to commend the promotion by the African Union and ECOWAS of a democratic model of governance in West Africa, and to welcome the Secretary-General and the African Union’s call for an independent high-level panel on security, governance and development in the Sahel, to better address the multidimensional crisis in the region.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya), in noting the global crisis in Europe and its harm to Africa’s food security and political stability, called for greater attention to United Nations-African Union enhanced framework’s contributions to international peace and security. The African Union’s efforts to encourage dialogue and humanitarian responsiveness in the context of the war in Ukraine reflect Africa’s global responsibilities and linkages and its assistance to African countries. As Haiti is part of the African Union’s sixth region, he suggested doing more alongside and in response to Haiti’s people. Collaboration between the United Nations and African Union will only achieve real and sustainable results when the Council is more balanced by permanent African membership, he noted. In the meantime, the Council must reform its methods of work to be more inclusive and responsive; penholdership, for example, must change in response to African responsibility, knowledge and ownership. The Council, he continued, must assume the primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security in Africa, provide adequate and sustainable funding for African Union-led peace support missions through assessed contributions and reconsider peacekeeping in Africa. To that end, the Council should deepen cooperation with the African Union, incorporate more African troop-contributing countries and place sub-regional organizations at the centre of peace efforts. The Council should consult regional and neighbouring countries to ensure the containment of conflicts and should address external clashing geopolitical interests, he emphasized.
DAI BING (China), noting that African leaders have called for greater solidarity between the African Union and the United Nations to meet the continent’s growing challenges, said China is working to promote peace in Africa and to bolster cooperation in the traditional hot spots. Issues such as public health and terrorism are creating more challenges. United Nations peacekeeping operations must keep up with the changing conditions on the ground in Africa while meeting the needs of the countries and people, he said. Investment must be scaled up. Capacity-building is key and he called for support to help Africa strengthen its governance, law enforcement and development. Funding shortages are a major restraint and must be addressed. In addition, the relevant United Nations agencies and Resident Coordinators should support capacity-building on the ground. Regions such as the Sahel, Horn of African and the Great Lakes in Central Africa are grappling with security risks and need development and investment to break this cycle, he said, adding that international financial institutions should fulfil their responsibility and not reduce their investments in the continent. China always stands with Africa, he stressed.
RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India) said “no one can understand Africa better than our African brothers and sisters themselves” and history has shown that offering external solutions to African problems, without African involvement, has not served the interests of the African people. She supported enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, which could be of mutually benefit in a meaningful way. These organizations, along with subregional groups, should complement each other, while keeping their respective core mandates intact. The Council needs to work with the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to strengthen financing mechanisms for African Union-led peace support operations, authorized by the Council. Major donors, particularly developed countries and the international financial institutions, should ramp up their overseas development assistance commitments. They should also eliminate barriers to concessional financing to the economies of Africa, so that those economies can develop. “This Council needs to move way beyond mere lip service to Africa’s concerns,” she said, adding that Africa’s continued lack of representation in the permanent category of Council membership is an historical injustice that needs to be corrected sooner, rather than later.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said that while the African Union should take a leadership role, on the basis of its normative frameworks for peace and security and governance, United Nations responsibility and support is critical and should not be curtailed. He underscored Chapter VIII of the Charter and the need to deepen cooperation between the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council across the peace continuum — from conflict prevention and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Consultations between the United Nations and African Union should be deepened and proactively focus on reinforcing the capacity for homegrown solutions to deal with the continent’s complex security challenges, he said, adding that the consultations should support arrangements for the 2021-2025 workplan on the enhancement of the African Standby Force, due for submission to the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security. With the increase in terrorist attacks in many parts of the continent, a business-as-usual response is not viable. The United Nations must be a partner as the African Union proceeds with its implementation of the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth. The two bodies should continue to harness the rich experiences built over the years in preventive diplomacy. Prevention is always better than curing, he said, and early support for regional preventative measures would help maintain international peace and security and realize the Silence the Guns initiative.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) emphasized the closely interlinked and mutually reinforcing relationship between security and development in Africa and called on the United Nations and the African Union to adopt an integrated approach to address the economic, political, and social dimensions of conflict-affected African countries. He went on to commend the role of the United Nations-African Union framework for enhanced partnership in peace and security, in the context of evolving challenges across Africa, including food insecurity, and called on the international community to scale up its support for nationally defined development and peacebuilding priorities, as well as comprehensive and integrated approaches to conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding in Africa.
VASSILY NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) described the increased assertiveness of the African Union and subregional organizations as a reaction to geopolitical realities, sign of strengthened multipolarity, and a step in the right direction. In commending the African Union for its regional peace and security architecture, he recalled examples where African meditation efforts were either pushed to the background or intentionally thwarted and resulted in tragic and reverberating consequences. He then welcomed the African Union’s flagship initiative to end armed conflicts and urged them the bloc’s members to develop their own partnership and cooperation mechanisms independent of external forces and free of blackmail, coercion and pressure. On socioeconomic, security and governance challenges, he called for an in-depth, comprehensive and historical assessment while noting that many of the root causes concern Africa’s colonial past. African States must have political freedom and material and financial assistance, he emphasized. To that end, the Russian Federation expects a single African position on funding modalities for peacekeeping missions through the African Union Peace Fund. Success must be determined by a common assessment of the region’s countries on existing threats, response capacities and readiness to create an effective system of command and control, he underscored. On funding, initiating countries must also retain their leeway, he added. He then offered his country’s experience on combatting terrorism and extremism and reiterated the importance of strengthen the potential of African partners.
MOUSSA FAKI MAHAMAT, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the continent is bearing the brunt of terrorism, instability, unconstitutional changes in Government, as well as breakdowns of all kinds in the realm of environment and health, with the war in Ukraine amplifying the risk of violence across the continent. Noting that the strategic partnership between the African Union and the United Nations has been framed by a series of normative proposals, he went on to state that the continent represents 70 per cent of peacekeeping missions and is the most-discussed issue at the United Nations, adding: “We have intelligence, talent, conscience, and billions of dollars have been spent on United Nations missions in Africa, and what has the result been? Your distinguished body has not yet provided a satisfactory response to this question.”
He went on to state that Africa has strived to meet its goals of bringing about peace and security, including through the African Union Peace Fund; however, the continent still faces many challenges, and needs “other things beyond declarations”. He called for the setting up of a time frame to discuss the future of Africa, and to ensure that African missions are supported in line with their principles, to establish and safeguard peace in Africa. He called for stepped-up climate finance and investments in science and technology, to ensure that one part of the globe is no longer weighed down by its own opulence while the other suffers the pangs of hunger and destitution. He called for a deepening of the partnership between the specialized agencies of the United Nations and the African Union, so as to bring about a true renaissance of a multilateralism that is now deeply damaged, reduced, biased, and in dangerous decline.
FERGAL MYTHEN (Ireland), in spotlighting the work in Sudan, the Sahel and Ethiopia, called for the United Nations to strengthen and build on its engagement with the African Union in responding to the continent’s peace and security challenges. The African Union can draw upon the expertise and support of the United Nations where appropriate, and the United Nations in turn must continue to build the African Union’s capacity and provide support, he said. They must work together to tackle the global challenges affecting peace and security in Africa including the food, energy and financial crises exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine, provide affected countries with immediate humanitarian assistance and address debt relief. For its part, the Council must play a greater role in supporting Africa on responding to climate change, discharge its responsibilities on international peace and security and strengthen the African Union’s role in promoting good, inclusive and accountable governance which includes the full protection of the freedom of expression and assembly, transparent elections and the promotion of the rule of law. The Council must also provide predictable and sustainable financing for United Nations-authorized, African Union-led peace support operations, he added.
JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico) said at the United Nations founding session in San Francisco, Latin countries worked to ensure that in Chapter VIII of the Charter, resolving disputes at the regional level would be a priority. He welcomed African Union leadership in deploying regional peace forces. Efforts to resolve the conflict between Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front must be supported by the United Nations. Mexico supported reconciliation in Libya, he said. He welcomed actions to promote the women, peace and security agenda in Africa, stressing that women must be a part of conflict prevention and peacebuilding and must hold positions of responsibilities in their own countries. Noting that the African Union plays a central role in controlling the trafficking of small arms and weapons in the region, he said the United Nations must support the “Silencing of the Guns” project targeting illegal weapons in Africa. Recent changes in Governments show disturbing trends that must be reversed to preserve democracy on the continent, he said. Cooperation between the African Union and United Nations is vital to address challenges stemming from the economic fallout of the pandemic, increases in food prices and climate change. Reforming the Council to give Africa its rightful place in a more representative body must be a priority, he said, adding that reform cannot be limited to an increase in membership for Africa. The use and abuse of the veto must be addressed, he said, citing the France-Mexico initiative to restrict use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom), in calling for strengthened partnership between the United Nations, African Union and African member States, expressed support for permanent African representation on the Council. As coordination between the African Union, United Nations and other international partners is vital for finding political solutions to conflicts, she welcomed the planned, African Union-facilitated talks concerning northern Ethiopia and urged engagement between the Government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front. On Sudan, she urged the Council to continue its support for the tripartite mechanisms’ efforts to deliver on freedom, peace and justice for the Sudanese people. On Somalia, she spotlighted AMISOM and ATMIS to demonstrate the value of United Nations-African Union cooperation. The United Nations-African Union partnership is important for tackling trans-regional challenges to stability such as terrorism, disease, climate and food insecurity and for making progress on issues such as children and armed conflict; women, peace and security and gender-based violence, she emphasized.
MONA JUUL (Norway) cautioned that the current global challenges — such as the sharp rise in acute food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition — are disproportionately affecting Africa. The climate crisis is multiplying risks of conflict and driving displacement, she noted, highlighting its links to security: over half of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change are also affected by armed conflict. To this end, she reiterated her Government’s commitments to double its funding to climate finance. She welcomed effective partnerships between United Nations envoys, African Union’s representatives, and subregional organizations, pointing to the trilateral mechanism in Sudan. The African Union has taken significant steps to ensure that the Peace Fund is now operational, and it has made advances on the Compliance Framework project with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), including drawing up a code of conduct and developing disciplinary processes. The Security Council must reflect the geopolitical realities of today, she said, supporting efforts to expand the Security Council, and increase the number of permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said a constructive relationship between the African Union and United Nations would be in the best interest of peace, security and development in Africa. What is required, he noted, is a translation of obligations and commitments into reality. To that end, African peace operations must have to access to assessed contributions and peacebuilding activities must have their required funding. He called upon the Assembly to approve the Secretary-General’s proposal for $100 million annually in assessed contributions for the Peacebuilding Fund. As underdevelopment remains a main cause of conflict, United Nations conferences on sustainable development must account for Africa’s special situation. He then spotlighted the situation in the Sahel as an example of the impacts of climate change on peace and security. Egypt trusts that the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November will agree on urgent measures through concessional financing to promote Africa’s ability to adapt and develop resilience, he said. On the international community’s responsibility to facilitate knowledge transfers and capacity-building, he called for specific programmes to strengthen the capacity of the African Commission and subregional organizations in implementing the Silencing the Guns Initiative and Agenda 2063. On integration, he emphasized the need for the Council to work jointly with the African Union in a manner which leverages comparative advantages and does not result in the Council’s relinquishing of commitments. There must be a real reform of the Bretton Woods institutions and the Council in accordance with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, he added.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan) said Africa has been beset by a number of global crises sparked by factors such as conflict, food insecurity, terrorism, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, which has increased the need for enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, to tackle the root causes of these crisis. He called for a more effective approach to such cooperation, involving strong regional, national, and local leadership and ownership in close coordination with international partners, with a focus on building and strengthening institutions and human capacities at every level. In this regard, Japan announced an investment of $30 billion over the next three years at the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development held in August this year. He called on the United Nations to make efforts to integrate the work of its agencies and funds so they can effectively support the efforts of the African Union and other regional arrangements. Further, he called for issues related to funding of peace support operations shouldered by the African Union to be thoroughly discussed, and echoed the call for a more balanced geopolitical representation at the Council, including from Africa.
MATHU JOYINI (South Africa) emphasized sustainable development’s elusiveness in the absence of peace, security and stability. The major role of the African Union therefore is to promote Africa’s development, peace, security, stability and integration, she said. Its partnership with the United Nations, she continued, must be anchored in the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantages. In spotlighting the positive outcomes of peace support operations and in promoting democracy, she underscored the need for additional work in ensuring that peace operations are not deployed indefinitely, that peace holds in post-conflict situations and that democratic processes do not relapse. The United Nations and African Union must also strengthen their efforts to address the root causes and drivers of conflict in Africa which include development and governance. The Council must provide access to sustainable and predictable funding through assessed contributions, she noted. Both organizations should implement the joint framework on peace and security and the Memoranda of Understanding on peacebuilding, improve engagement with all levels and segments of society and ensure the meaningful and active involvement of all in peace processes. Turning to issue of reform, the current composition of the Council does not reflect the current world, she stressed.
CHEIKH NIANG (Senegal) said that the international tools to address conflicts in Africa are no longer adapted to reality, partly due to the changing nature of these conflicts, which involve myriad actors, multiplying means of inflicting violence, and an uptick in asymmetric security threats such as terrorism and organized crime. While the African Union and African subregional organizations have demonstrated their determination and ability to provide an immediate response to crises, their ability to act is constrained, he said, calling for predictable funding for African Union peacekeeping operations authorized by the Council, in line with Council resolution 2320 (2016). He called on the Council to lend support to the proposal to set up a United Nations Specialized Support Office, funded through assessed United Nations contributions, to provide the G5 Sahel Joint Force funding commensurate with the security challenges it faces. Turning to the implementation of the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework, he said that while it has made considerable progress on mediation and electoral technical assistance, progress must be made on peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery. He called on the Council to respond to the African Union’s willingness to participate in such areas as early warning and conflict prevention, as it is well-versed in political and cultural realities on the continent and is better equipped to address them. He went on to echo other speakers’ views to make room for African representation among the Council’s permanent membership, which he called an “appeal from the heart, which will serve the international community’s interests”.
NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), voicing concern over a plethora of challenges such as terrorism, organized crime, violent extremism, food insecurity and energy and climate crises, pointed to the devastating consequences of the use of small arms and light weapons worldwide. The proliferation of small arms and light weapons fuels conflict and contributes to sexual and gender-based violence, he cautioned, pointing to Africa’s leadership in drafting the Bamako Declaration on an African Common Position on the Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons. Advocating for the advancement of infrastructure for peace, democracy, and the protection of human rights, he stressed the importance of African voices in providing solutions to African problems as well as global leadership. While the spotlight might be on Africa today, it remains a guest in the Security Council Chamber, with no permanent voice to represent the interests of the continent whose population of 1.3 billion constitutes 17 per cent of the world’s population, he asserted.
Mr. GEISLER (Germany) welcomed the priorities set by Gabon’s Foreign Affairs Minister and recognized the African Union’s important role in international peace and security. Noting that the African Union was created 20 years ago to serve as a central benchmark player to help settle conflicts in Africa and defend sovereignty and territorial integrity on the continent, he said it continues to play important roles, such as supporting the recent transfer of power in Zambia and helping combat terrorism in Somalia for many years. In Western Africa, his delegation is working with ECOWAS to ensure political stability. Since 2006, Germany has contributed more than €700 million to the African Union’s institutional architecture, including governance programmes. African Union border programmes help with regional integration. He noted that since 2017, the African Women Leaders Network has highlighted the role of women networks in peace and security on the continent. Insecurity, the food crisis and climate change have aggravated conflicts in Africa and they require multidimensional support with the African Union in the lead and backing from the United Nations he said, adding that Germany is ready to support regional solutions developed by the African Union. His delegation supports the creation of a permanent seat for Africa on the Council, as African issues make up more than half of its agenda.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) reiterated his country’s commitment to collective African and international action on peace, development and prosperity. There must be cooperation and complementarity between the United Nations and African Union on all areas including peace, peacebuilding, security, climate change, combatting violent extremism and cooperation in the Sahel, he said. In underscoring the increasing number of Council agendas on African countries, he noted that the trend’s reversal would only be possible if Africa has permanent Council membership. Africa’s voice must be heard when responding to global crises, he emphasized. As such, he welcomed the joint framework for enhanced partnership on peace and security and called for adequate and predictable funding for United Nations-authorized, African Union-led peace operations through assessed contributions. The African Union Peace Fund demonstrates Africa’s ownership in peacekeeping and security, he said. As peace, development and security are deeply intertwined, he called on the international community to move from thinking to action, combat poverty, eradicate famine, promote good governance and improve access to medicines to ensure that African citizens can live in dignity and end instability.
* The 9148th meeting was closed.