UN and African Union discuss joint efforts to assist countries emerging from war


Representatives from the United Nations and the African Union met in New York to discuss ways of boosting cooperation between the two bodies to support the efforts of post-conflict countries, particularly in Africa, to establish lasting peace.

This was the first consultative meeting of the members of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and the AU Peace and Security Council, and builds on the visit of the PBC to the AU’s headquarters in Addis Ababa in November 2009, the UN News Service reports.

This meeting “further deepens the cooperation which brings together the United Nations and the African Union behind a comprehensive vision for peace and prosperity in Africa,” said Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission.

The session, co-chaired by Ambassador Dalo Gbouagbre of Côte d’Ivoire, Chair of the AU Peace and Security Council for July, sought to lay a foundation to further develop the channels of communication between the two bodies.

It also encouraged the exchange of views on how members of the two organizations could optimise their respective comparative advantage in support of peacebuilding efforts in Africa, as well as explored mechanisms to jointly promote political and financial support for post-conflict countries on the continent.

The PBC, which was established in 2005 to help struggling States avoid slipping back into war and chaos, currently has four countries on its agenda – Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic (CAR).

Countries can also avail themselves of financial assistance from the UN Peacebuilding Fund to jump-start rebuilding projects.

Participants at the meeting emphasized the need for joint action on a range of issues, including mobilizing resources for peacebuilding activities in Africa, and affirmed the importance of national ownership of the peacebuilding process in post-conflict countries and of international partnership in support of such efforts.

Also taking part in today’s meeting was Ramtane Lamamra, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, and Judy Cheng-Hopkins, Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support.