Secretary-General António Guterres and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

UN-AU Partnership in Peace and Security

Since the transformation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU) in 2002 and particularly since the 2004 launching of the AU peace and security architecture, there has been strong support within the UN and its Member States for closer UN cooperation with the AU. In 2005, the World Summit underscored the need to devote attention to the special needs of Africa. In follow-up to the World Summit, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in the 2006 Addis Ababa Declaration called, 'Enhancing UN-AU Cooperation: Framework for the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union', pledged UN support for the development and strengthening of the AU Commission, focusing 'with priority, on conflict prevention, mediation and good offices, peacekeeping and peace building'. In 2007, the General Assembly adopted GA Resolution 61/296 on cooperation between the UN and the AU and requested the Secretary-General to take appropriate steps to strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat to meet the special needs of Africa.

The United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) was established on 1 July 2010 by UN General Assembly Resolution 64/288. The Office integrated three offices: Department of Political Affairs (DPA/ now the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, DPPA) Liaison Office, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO/now the Department of Peace Operations – DPO) AU Peace Support Team and the Department of Field Support (DFS) Planning Team for Somalia to support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as the support component of the United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Joint Support Coordination Mechanism (JCM) office in Addis Ababa.

In 2016, the AU Peace and Security Council Members adopted the 628th Communiqué on the partnership between the UN and the AU on issues of peace and security in Africa. Later the UN Security Council (SC) adopted resolution 2320 (2016) on partnership between the UN and Regional Organizations, in particular with the African Union. Afterwards, the UN Secretary-General report was presented on a new level of partnership. This was further strengthened by the new UN Secretary-General, through his expressed vision and priorities in which he stressed the fact that UN and AU must continue to keep a strong strategic partnership in the area of peace and security, through the implementation of both organizations programmes namely Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On 19 April 2017, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission signed the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced  Partnership in Peace and Security, during the first United Nations-African Union Annual Conference, at UN headquarters in New York. This Framework serves as a as a basis for collaboration through joint mechanisms and regular consultations. In a Joint UN-AU Communiqué SG/2239 on the same date, the Secretary-General and the Chairperson reiterated their strong commitment to working hand in hand towards achieving the continent’s development goals. 

Find out more about the implementation of the joint framework here