'Greater Sense of Purpose and Strength' - Moving from 2023 to 2024
Another eventful year is coming to a close. Far from me to account for each and every significant event that marked 2023; suffice to say that it provided opportunities to recover from the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to resume in full gear with our business, while at the same time taking advantage of the lessons learnt from the pandemic, including the flexibility afforded by ITU to work remotely. I personally enjoyed meeting in person with most of you as we did during our insightful retreat, both with Commissioner Bankole and his team at the African Union (AU) Headquarters and between us in our compound.
The general sense I draw from this year is a greater sense of purpose and strength as well as a renewed commitment to bolster the implementation of the UN-AU Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. This has been illustrated by the very constructive Annual Conference between the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the AU, and the High-level dialogue between the Deputy Secretary-General and the Deputy Chairperson in furtherance of the peace and development nexus, as well as by the Joint Task Force meetings and signing, on 28 November, of the AU-UN Joint Framework on Human Rights on the margins of the Annual Conference. Of course, our daily engagements with the Commission and AU Member States’ relevant bodies here in Addis Ababa, as well as our rich interactions with our invaluable partners complete well the picture of the networked and multi-stakeholder partnership we have been so keenly developing.
I am grateful to each one of our partners' contributions that enabled UNOAU to perform at its level best in fulfilment of the fast evolving and dynamic partnership with the AU. All these achievements took place against a background of a growingly complex peace and security landscape in Africa, compounded by the rise of the terrorist threats, unconstitutional changes of government and contested electoral processes with worrisome democratic and governance deficits. Yet, we were also inspired by persistent calls from African women and youth organizations and leaders for greater and meaningful participation in decision-making processes across the region.
Moving forward, I have no doubt the year ahead will be as engaging as ever. Moreover, the recently adopted Security Council resolution 2719 on UN Funding for African-led Peace Missions, called for by the Secretary is likely to have a significant bearing on our office, as the key entity for streamlining UN support to the AU in the areas of peace and security. In the coming weeks, we will engage with colleagues at Headquarters and our counterparts here at the AU Commission to identify new needs for support and how to collectively meet them.
Consistent with our Mission Statement, I will continue to count on each one of our partners to remain “fully dedicated to contributing to the materialization of the African Union’s overarching objective of a peaceful, safer, integrated and more prosperous Africa” as enshrined in the Continent’s Agenda 2063.
I wish you all and your beloved families a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year 2024.