The United States has provided more than US$940 million to support ongoing African Union operations in Darfur and Somalia as well as capacity-building through the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program.
Ambassador Brooke Anderson, US Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, told a Security Council briefing on support for African Union (AU) Peacekeeping Operations last Friday that her government’s support for building capacity for the Africa Standby Force(ASF) is focused at all three levels: continental, regional, and state.
“My government welcomes the ongoing simulation and evaluation exercise known as Amani Africa, which we see as an important first step toward that goal. My government also supports the UN’s continued assistance to the AU in the development of the Continental Early Warning System which, once it becomes operational, will further enhance the African Union’s ability to prevent conflict.”
But the US urged better co- operation between the UN and AU. “We expect that the UN Office to the AU in Addis Ababa will help make the UN support to the AU better coordinated and more effective, especially in the area of financial management. This will help ensure that the AU has the capacity to use donor support effectively even as we improve cooperation and coordination. We also support making more and better use of the AU Partners Group in Addis Ababa to help make donor funding for the AU Commission more sustainable and predictable.”Anderson continued.
“We should also work together to further enhance the AU Secretariat’s capacity to plan, manage, and sustain peacekeeping operations. We must identify areas that need additional support and attention from African and other partners, including logistics, mobility, and mission management. We encourage continued efforts to operationalize the ASF and the US will continue to support capacity building and encourage others to support resource-intensive endeavors” she noted.
Anderson aslo called for a “detailed analysis of the operational, budgetary, human resources, and legal implications” of letting AU peace-support operations authorised by the UNSC have access to the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi, as well as UN strategic deployment stocks and UN strategic lift capabilities.
The ambassador also urged greater attention to the protection of civilians caught up in conflict and war. “We applaud efforts to incorporate doctrine on protecting civilians into all aspects of the AU’s peace-support operations and related activities.” she said adding there was a need for more formed police units in Africa. “Protecting civilians and responding to gender-based violence requires stronger advocacy and program efforts at the AU and in the preparation of peacekeepers. We support doing more to enhance the civilian and police dimensions of peacekeeping in Africa.”