UN-AU partnership crucial to tackling ‘complex peace, security challenges in Africa’ — Envoy

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Partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) is crucial to tackling the “complex peace and security challenges in Africa”, a UN special envoy, has said.

Ms Sahle-Work Zewde, who is the UN Special Representative to the AU, told the UN Security Council that a stronger partnership between the UN and the AU is “not a choice but a necessity”.

The UN envoy briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s report on strengthening the partnership between the two organisations on issues of peace and security in Africa, including the work of her Office.

Zewde, who is also Head of the UN Office in AU (UNOAU), said: “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.

“As the Secretary-General noted during his briefing to the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa last week, the African Union is the most important strategic partner between the United Nations and a regional organization in peace and security, development and human rights.”

The two organisations have prioritised the development of a systematic, predictable and strategic partnership, based on mutual respect, shared values and comparative advantage, Sahle-Work Zewde, the UN Special Representative to the AU and Head of the UN Office there (UNOAU), the UN envoy to the AU 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 has since been characterised by closer collaboration, more regular exchange of information and consultations, and coordinated action including joint field visits and joint statements”, she said.

They also need to recognise the critical role of sub-regional organisations, which are often the first to detect early warning signs of impending conflict, and are important partners in promoting dialogue and reconciliation.

She stressed however, that even though the UN-AU relationship was stronger than ever, they need to work even more closely.

She also underscored the importance of conflict resolution by reacting quickly and decisively to head off conflict before it escalates, while ensuring African ownership of this process.

In the report, the Secretary-General has expressed his support for the financing of AU-led peace support operations authorised by the Security Council, including through UN assessed contributions.

It is also essential that the issue of predictable and sustainable financing for AU peace operations authorised by the Security Council is – on a case-by-case basis – framed within the context of a mutually-agreed political strategy, and informed by joint analysis, she added. (NAN)

Biola Lawal

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