UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL ROSEMARY A. DICARLO’S
REMARKS TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON
PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA
[PREDICTABLE, SUSTAINABLE, AND FLEXIBLE RESOURCES]
New York, 25 May 2023
Thank you, Madam President,
I am grateful for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on United Nations support for African Union (AU) peace operations.
And I am very pleased to speak to you on Africa Day, alongside Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the African UnionCommission, Mr. Bankole. Today we mark the signing sixty years ago of the charter of the Organization of African Unity, the precursor of the AU. I salute the countries of Africa today for their growing unity and solidarity.
Cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations has grown significantly since the signing of the 2017 Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. We have joined efforts and worked closely including in the Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.
We have addressed a range of peace and security issues: conflict prevention and conflict resolution initiatives, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, the climate emergency, and women,peace and security among others.
Recently, for example, the UN and the AU supported ECOWAS efforts to restore constitutional order in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea. Today, the UN, AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are supporting efforts to bring peace and a civilian-led order to the Sudan.
Over the last twenty years, the AU has shown its readiness to speedily deploy peace support operations in response to armed conflicts on the continent. With its missions in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Comoros, Mali, Somalia, and the Sudan, the AU contributed to the maintenance of continental peace and security, in line with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.
Those missions demonstrated significant political will and commitment, but they also faced some recurrent problems. Challenges included funding shortfalls and the absence of requisite operational and logistical capabilities, as well as force enablers and multipliers.
While the support the UN and other partners have provided has been useful and appreciated, it has also often been unpredictable.
Perhaps the most novel form of cooperation between our two organizations has been UN support to AU peace enforcement missions in Somalia. In 2007 the UN Security Council approved the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In 2009 this Council mandated partial support from assessed contributions to ensure that AMISOM had sustainable and predictable support to carry out its mandate.
AMISOM was instrumental in supporting Somali forces in their efforts to stabilize the country, and I would like to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers in AMISOM and in Somalia. Last year, AMISOM became the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), with the objective of handing over security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces by the end of December 2024.
As we look at different parts of the continent, it is obvious that the need to put AU peace operations on solid footing is increasingly pressing.
The AU and the Regional Economic Communities and Mechanisms have in recent years scrambled to respond to the changing nature of conflict in Africa—from the Sahel to Somalia, from Mozambique to Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, among other situations.
Armed violence invariably and significantly harms civilian populations and often spills over across borders. In Africa and elsewhere, risinginsecurity is characterized by an increasing use of asymmetric tactics and sophistication of armed extremist groups and expanding influence of transnational organized crime. These connected phenomena require commensurate global approaches and responses.
The Sahel is particularly affected. This is why, the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the AU Commission jointly invited the former President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, to lead an independent panel to assess the situation in the Sahel. We anticipate its recommendations on responses to the region’s complex challenges this fall.
The imperative of providing predictable, flexible and sustainable financing for AU-ledpeace support operations is well known to this Council. In 2015, for example, the report of the Independent High-level Panel on Peace Operations, concluded that the lack of sustained, predictable and flexible funding mechanisms to support AU peace operations undermines their sustainability and effectiveness.
Recognizing this common challenge, theSecurity Council expressed, in resolution 2378 (2017), its intention to further consider practical steps to establish a mechanism through which AUpeace operations could be partly financed through UN assessed contributions on a case-by-case basis.
The Council has before it today a report of the Secretary-General with recommendations on securing such support for AU-led operationsmandated by the Security Council and an update on progress made since 2017. The report was prepared in collaboration with the AU, Member States and partners.
We are pleased to note that the AU, in close cooperation with the UN and other partners, has made significant progress to fulfil the commitments set out in Council resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017).
Most notably, the AU has worked to address the financial challenge of its operations, including by committing to increase its own financial contributions by revitalizing its AU Peace Fund.
The AU, in cooperation with the UN and the European Union, also moved to develop and operationalize a compliance framework to meet international human rights and humanitarian law obligations as well as conduct and disciplinestandards.
AU peace operations should be considered as part of the range of responses to crises in Africa, alongside established UN mechanisms.
The report in front of you outlines a standardized consultative planning and mandating process, through which the UN, the AU and subregional configurations can assess together the required response to an emerging crisis.
This process would reassure the Council that a given situation has been systematically assessed by all the relevant entities. It would thus help the Council decide whether assessed contributions can be accessed.
The report presents the joint mission model and the support packages delivered by the UN as the two most practical options for ensuring the funding AU-led operations need, authorized on a case-by-case basis.
The case for adequately financing AU-ledpeace support operations is beyond solid. We are therefore hopeful that the Security Council will agree to provide its backing, including allowing access to UN assessed contributions.
As the Secretary-General has stated, concrete action on this longstanding issue will address a critical gap in the international peace and security architecture and bolster the efforts of the African Union to tackle peace and security challenges on the continent.
Thank you, Madam President.