What lies ahead: UN-AU collaboration highlights for 2021

5 Mar 2021

What lies ahead: UN-AU collaboration highlights for 2021

In 2021, UNOAU’s sections continue to collaborate with the African Union towards building a peaceful and sustainable continent. UNOAU works in close partnership with AU departments and offices in line with UNOAU’s mandate and the UN-AU Partnership in Peace and Security Framework of 2017. In this edition, brief highlights of forthcoming collaborations are highlighted as follows.

Strategic level meetings

During 2021, the United Nations and the African Union will convene the 5th Annual Conference and the 20th and 21st Meetings of the Joint Task Force on Peace and Security in Africa. In addition, the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council are expected to hold their 15th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting and 6th Annual Seminar. The UN Peacebuilding Commission and AUPSC are also expected to hold their annual meeting later this year. The exact dates of these meetings are yet to be confirmed.

Mission Support and Planning

While 2021 will continue to pose challenges complicated by the persistent health threat caused by the old and new strains of COVID-19, the Mission Support Planning Section (MSPS) of UNOAU stand ready to provide logistic, supply chain, human resource and finance and budget advice to our colleagues at the African Union (AU) and together, to the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (REC/RMs). 

The Logistics Officer, Mr. Taufiq Muhammad is looking forward to furthering support to the AU Military Observer Mission in CAR and further developing the MOU which was signed between the UN and AU missions in country in March 2020.  We hope to support the expanding footprint of the AU Observers into the remaining Mixed Units sites preceded by a joint technical visit when the situation allows.

In conjunction with DOS, develop a virtual Knowledge and Experience Exchange Program package which will cover areas of mutual interest in supply chain management, category management and warehousing, and further developing the UN / AU service delivery model recommended by the Partnership review team in late 2019.


As part of the service delivery model, the UN hope to have developed and had agreed a global support MOU with the AU which will enable the AU to access the commodities and services offered by the Global Service Centre on a user pays basis. This MOU will provide support to emerging or deployed AU Peace Support Operations (AU PSOs), emergency situations such as support to the AU Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (AU CDC) to combat Covid – 19 on the continent and potentially the vaccination program in future, and support to the REC/RM in conjunction with the AU.

On the Human Resource side, the post is now vacant as our dear colleague, Ms. Larisa Hill, has secured a post at UNHQ in New York.  Until we recruit a replacement, the Chief of MSPS, Mr. Douglas Langrehr will be the focal point for all Human Resource related issues.  During 2021, MSPS hopes to participate in the AU/REC/RM African Standby Capacity (ASC) coordination meeting, and when the situation allows, in person visits to the REC/RMs to support their ongoing efforts to recruit, select and roster suitable civilian staff to enable rapid deployment of civilians to emerging or existing AU missions.

Over the past few months, MSPS Finance and Budget Officer, Ms. Maimouna Haidara has been working on a temporary assignment with the UN mission in Burundi as the Chief of Mission Support which has provided her great experience in mission management and in closing a mission, which is expected in the first half of this year.  Upon her return, MSPS looks forward to supporting the AU Peace Fund though UNOAU SRSG’s participation on the Peace Fund Board of Trustees and providing support to the PSD budget and finance team in budgeting and reporting for deployed AU missions.  MSPS stands ready to provide ongoing support to developing “a reporting framework which would establish clear, consistent and predictable reporting channels, including fiduciary and mandate delivery, between the Secretariat, the Commission and the two Councils, as well as standardized reporting requirements” (UNSCR 2378 Op 20). 

The MSPS team look forward to returning to work in Addis Ababa to take up in person interactions with colleagues at the AU in the newly established Political Affairs, Peace and Security Division.

Operational Planning and Advisory Services

OPAS at UNAOU will continue to work with the AU to support the operationalization and effective management of its ongoing operations in Somalia (AMISOM), the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram (MNJTF), the AU Military Observer Mission in the Central African Republic (MOUACA) and the AU Regional Coordination Initiative (AU-RCI) Against the Lords Resistant Army (LRA). The focus for AMISOM will be on the implementation of UNSCR 2520 (2020).

On the G5 Sahel Joint Force, efforts will be geared towards supporting the AU to deploy the 3000 strong force to help combat terrorism in the Sahel. On the MNJTF, the focus of UNOAU support would be to continue work with the AU in soliciting funding and logistics support for the MNJTF operations and keeping the UN informed about its activities in the Lake chad Basin region. Following the Decision of the AUPSC and Declaration of the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Defense Safety and Security, UNOAU will continue to collaborate with the AU on how to develop an alternative strategy to deal with threat of the LRA in collaboration with UNOCA. On MOUACA, UNOAU will support the AU in the deployment of the remaining Military Observers and see how best the UN presence on the ground could support the mission through MINUSCA. Within this context, UNOAU will also continue to support the AU and the Military Strategic Support Group (MSSG) in the review and development of key operational document aimed at enhancing the capacity of the AU to plan and manage ongoing peace operations.

Mine Action

The Mine Action section of OPAS will continue carry out its on-going facilitation of the establishment of the UNMAS Mine Action project in support of the Government of Ethiopia in coordination with the AU, the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and implementing non-profit organizations. The intent of the project is to support the Government of Ethiopia in the clearance of Explosive Remnants of War. This is following formal requests for support from all parties and a joint UNMAS/UNOAU assessment mission in March 2020 which highlighted the need for such activities.

In collaboration with UNDP, Mine Action will continue participating in discussions to support the development of the UNDP Mine Action strategy, workplan and increase in global response activities with a focus on support to AU Member States. Mine Action section is also working closely with UNIDIR and BICC regarding Weapons and Ammunition Management activities in support of capacity enhancement in Africa.

Human Rights

UNOAU will continue to advance the AU-UN partnerships on peace and security and on human rights. Its priority is to continue to work on the integration of human rights standards and norms into the AU-UN partnership framework and ensure integration of the human rights dimension of the AU-UN partnership on peace and security in Security Council resolutions and debates on the AU-UN partnership, Secretary-General reports on AU-UN cooperation, including by following-up on the assessment of the UN-AU cooperation.

Furthermore, OPAS/human rights will support the implementation of the UN-AU 2018 Joint Declaration of commitments by supporting the operationalization of the African Union Human Rights Compliance Framework, including through advocating and networking with AU organs, notably AU Peace Support Operations Department (AU PSOD), AU Member States through the Permanent Representative Committee and other AU partners. Finally, OPAS/human rights plans to organize a workshop for Troop/Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) on the compliance framework approach and human rights in the planning of peace operation, including in AU peace operations.

Support to AU Policing Efforts

UNOAU Police component, in line with the AUC Police 2021 Annual Workplan, will continue to provide technical advice and support in capacity building, crisis/conflict management and review and development of policies and guidelines.

  • Capacity Building: Provide technical advice and support to AUC Police for the AU Generic Police Pre-Deployment Trainings to the RECs/RMs, Police PLANELM and PCCs.
  • Crisis/Conflict Management: Provide technical advice and support to AUC Police during Assessments for Mission Service of prospective Individual Police Officers (IPOs) and Assessments of Operational Capability of Formed Police Units (FPUs) for deployment to AMISOM on rotation/initial deployment and to other PSOs and SOs as may be required. 
  • Review and development of Policies and Guidelines: Provide technical advice and support through the Police Strategic Support Group (PSSG) to the AUC in the development of Police Policies, Guidelines, SOPs and training materials to ensure the AU moves from using draft documents to approved ones and to build capacity within the AU by developing a library/repository of AU specific policies, guidelines and training materials.

Safety and Security

UNOAU will continue to work closely with and support AU PSOD to develop a draft Security and Safety Concept Note for civilian personnel in peacekeeping and field missions (currently being reviewed by AU PSOD), in order to provide the AU with a unit dedicated to civilian personnel security associated with mission planning and management of AU peacekeeping and other field operations. In collaboration with UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) at UN Headquarters, UNOAU will continue to provide support to the AU Safety and Security Division for development of AU staff security management concepts and systems.  The Office will continue to give strategic and operational advice for capacity-building of the African Union (AU) Commission in the substantive area of civilian personnel security associated with mission planning and management of AU peacekeeping and other field operations.

African Standby Force

Within the framework of the UN-AU Partnership, UNOAU will continue to support the AU in efforts in strengthening the African Standby Force (ASF) both at the AUC and RECs/RMs level. Efforts will be geared towards finalizing the AU PSO Doctrine and the development of the new Maputo Strategic Workplan 2020-2025.