Strengthening the collaborative approach of the UN and AU in peace, security and development
The Friends of the UN-AU Partnership initiative was launched at the African Union Headquarters on April 20, 2019.
Present at the launch, were ambassadors and representatives based in Addis Ababa from several countries including those that are Member States of both the UN Security Council and African Union Peace and Security Council.
The main objective of the initiative is to strengthen the collaborative approach of the Member States of the UN and AU with regard to issues of peace and security as well as development, as articulated in the two joint frameworks signed in 2017 and 2018 respectively between the two Organizations (UN and AU).
This first meeting or launch was convened by the Ambassadors of Rwanda and Norway, both co-chairs of the initiative in 2019.
Speaking at the launch, SRSG Tetteh briefed partners on the UN – AU partnership thence far, while reiterating the Secretary-General’s strong emphasis that the ‘African Union is the most important strategic partner for the United Nations in the area of peace and security’. The SRSG further stated that since ‘the signing of the Joint Framework in Peace and Security in April 2017, our collaboration in effectively addressing the complex peace and security challenges in Africa has become more frequent, constructive and systematic. There has been a quantum leap in our strategic cooperation. We both recognize that partnership is a necessity and not an option’.
Some of the joint UN - AU initiatives she mentioned included, Mediation and Good Offices Missions across the continent, joint assessment missions aimed at enhancing a common understanding of conflict situations and delivering joint messages, joint UN Security Council and AU Peace and Security Council briefings, the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, among others. Moving forward, SRSG Tetteh called for better collaboration in the areas of early warning and early action and defining the roles and capacities of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in which case she posed the following question: ‘Can the forthcoming Coordination Meeting in Niamey begin to set out objective criteria for when more active engagement by the AU and the UN in the resolution of conflicts would be necessary in order to make progress on stalled peace processes?’ Other aspects SRSG Tetteh also outlined were support to electoral processes and peaceful transitions, addressing climate change triggered conflicts and the full implementation of the Joint Declaration of December 2018.
The African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, also elaborated on joint UN – AU missions undertaken in several African countries, which he described as a symbol of growth in the partnership. He further noted that a ‘human dimension’ is important to the partnership and that ‘significant progress has been made in the past in the face of complex security situations’. However, he added, more needs to be done.
In the exchange that followed, several ambassadors shared some views and perspectives during the launch. For instance, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye of Nigeria stressed on the importance of ‘sustaining the rhythm’ and ‘reinforcing areas of commonality’ while the Deputy Ambassador of Germany, Mr. Matthias Schauer underscored that ‘such a group is what we need at this moment to defend multilateralism.’ Ambassador Osama Abdel Khalek of Egypt urged for better synergies between the two Councils namely, the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council.
The next Group of Friends meetings are set to take place in Addis Ababa in later this year in September and October.