Foreign and Commonwealth Office
"The recent work by both the United Nations and the African Union marks a new period of this partnership."
Statement given yesterday by Ambassador Peter Wilson, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Cooperation between the UN and Regional and Sub-Regional Organisations (African Union).
Thank you Mr. President.
And thank you Chef de Cabinet Viotti and Ambassador Chergui for your briefings.
The title of the document signed by the Secretary-General and the African Union Chairperson on the 19th of April is appropriately named a Framework for Enhanced Partnership. We welcome the strong signal of cooperation and coordination that this Framework brings and we support further efforts to strengthen the partnership on both sides.
Each challenge to peace and security that we face today has a unique combination of underlying factors. In Africa we have many good examples of international, regional and sub-regional organisations coming together in varied ways to tackle them.
In some instances, the United Nations is best placed to lead a response. For instance the Democratic Republic of Congo where MONUSCO has played a critical role in protecting civilians.
In others the African Union has taken the lead, critically in Somalia where for ten years AMISOM has played a vital role in degrading the threat from Al Shabaab. The bravery and sacrifice of AMISOM troops has created the security space for political progress to be made.
On other issues the sub-region has stepped up to find solutions as we saw with ECOWAS in Gambia, and as we look to IGAD to lead in South Sudan.
In some cases the solutions will evolve, as we saw in Mali and the Central African Republic where initial responses by regional and sub-regional organisations then transitioned into United Nations peacekeeping operations. In Somalia, the United Nations provides vital logistical support to an African Union operation. This flexibility in our partnership is essential to ensure the best response to crises.
In each case, and as the Council said in resolution 2320, we should consider the comparative advantage of each institution to ensure the most appropriate and effective response is deployed to resolve conflict and achieve stability.
In order to assess which solution is best for each situation, we must enhance our partnership.
This means more joint analysis, more joint planning, more joint assessments to form a common understanding of crisis and determine the optimal solution.
The recent work by both the United Nations and the African Union marks a new period of this partnership, and it’s imperative we find more and better ways of working together.
The African Union’s commitment to finance 25% of the African Union peace support operations budget is a welcome development and Dr. Kaberuka and his team have made significant strides in developing the roadmap to achieve this by 2020.
This work is a positive step towards greater African ownership of peace and security, and a deeper partnership with the United Nations.
We must continue to explore ways to make our joint efforts more systematic and we look forward to discussing this with the African Union Peace and Security Council during our visit to Addis Ababa in September.
We agree with the African Union report that in response to some of the most serious threats to peace and security, the deployment of African Union Peace Support Operations will be a key requirement and once again demonstrates the African Union’s comparative advantage to deploy where the United Nations cannot.
We should continue to look at how the United Nations can best support these missions to combine our strengths to bring about lasting solutions and peace on the African continent. This includes further consideration of options to provide reliable and sustainable funding for operations. But we must also focus on how we conduct those operations.
So in parallel we should examine joint standards for reporting, for accountability and for protection to ensure the highest standards and most robust oversight of missions to make them as effective as possible.
These issues will require further debate, and further joint work. We look forward to engaging with you all to strengthen and develop our partnership.
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