The Security Council’s engagement with member states, partner organisations and institutions in conflict prevention efforts on the African continent is needed “more than ever”, the Secretary-General told the 15-member peace and security body.
Seeing the eradication of conflict across Africa, “depends on the engagement of parties involved” and prevention and resolution efforts “require a united international position and a commitment to shared goals”, António Guterres said.
During a meeting under the theme “Peace and Security in Africa: The Centrality of Preventative Diplomacy, Conflict Prevention and Resolution”, convened under South Africa’s presidency of the Security Council, members stressed Council’s role in co-operation with regional and sub-regional organisations.
Of them, the UN partnership with the African Union (AU) on peace and security matters is of particular importance, Guterres noted, deeming the entity “our key strategic partner on the continent.”
The UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals characterised by ambitions to tackle poverty and inequality, strengthen State institutions and advocate for human rights among others, are in lock step with the AU-led mission for 2063, he said.
“We are working in full alignment with the AU through our joint framework on sustainable development for a peaceful and prosperous Africa, with a strong focus on inclusivity, women’s rights and gender equality,” he said.
In 2000, the Council formally acknowledged, through resolution 1325, how women and girls are differentially impacted by war and conflict and affirmed their vital role in peacebuilding efforts.
Targeting the absence of African women in formal mediation processes as addressed in the 1325 agenda, “remains poorly implemented”, Tanzanian Ambassador, Liberata Mulamula, said.
“It is high time to not see women as victims, but as agents of diplomacy”, she urged.
The Council reaffirmed the role of youth in peace dialogue – echoing the theme of an open debate to maximise the potential of young people in forging peace – a bid to “silence the guns by 2020.”
Spotlighting bilateral efforts, the UN chief named successes in political crisis prevention in Gambia, facilitation of political dialogue in Madagascar, breakthroughs in peace agreements in Sudan and addressing the root causes of Central Africa’s crises.
The spread of terrorist networks is a growing threat across African national borders, with a pervasive climate crisis exacerbating violence and inducing resource shortages. It is “indisputable” environmental changes “aggravate security challenges, particularly in the Sahel,” Guterres said.
The UN lends the bulk of its support to the African continent. With more than 80 000 peacekeepers deployed, it hosts the largest peacekeeping missions.
“We owe these Blue Helmets strong and united support” Guterres urged, which entails robust funding, and strong mandates.
He explained “conflict prevention is difficult to quantify and may not make news. But no news is good news for the people we serve.”
“This Council’s strong engagement in prevention efforts in Africa, in collaboration with regional and sub-regional partners, is needed and appreciated more than ever,” he added.