A stronger partnership between the United Nations and the African Union is “not a choice but a necessity” in tackling today’s complex peace and security challenges in Africa, a senior UN official said this week.
“The complex peace and security challenges we face in Africa are such that neither the United Nations nor the African Union can address the challenges on their own”, Sahle-Work Zewde, Special Representative to the AU and Head of the UN Office there (UNOAU), told the UN Security Council.
“As the Secretary-General noted during his briefing to the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, the African Union is the most important strategic partner between the United Nations and a regional organisation in peace and security, development and human rights,” she added.
The organisations prioritised development of a systematic, predictable and strategic partnership, based on mutual respect, shared values and comparative advantage Zewde said.
The UN and AU signed the Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security in April last year and the Joint Framework for Implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in January 2018.
The partnership is “characterised by closer collaboration, more regular exchange of information and consultations and co-ordinated action including joint field visits and joint statements” she said.
Zewde was briefing the UN Security Council on the Secretary-General’s report on strengthening the partnership between the organisations on issues of peace and security in Africa, including the work of her office.
A key point of the report is that the UN and the AU recognise inter-dependence.
They also need to recognise the role of sub-regional organisations, often the first to detect early warning signs of impending conflict and important partners in promoting dialogue and reconciliation.
She stressed even though the UN-AU relationship is stronger than ever, they need to work more closely.
She underscored the importance of conflict resolution by reacting quickly and decisively to head off conflict before it escalates and ensuring African ownership of this process.
In the report, the Secretary-General expressed support for financing AU-led peace support operations authorised by the Security Council, including through UN assessed contributions.
“It is essential the issue of predictable and sustainable financing for AU peace operations authorised by the Security Council is – on a case-by-case basis – framed in the context of a mutually-agreed political strategy, and informed by joint analysis,” she added.