‘Wind blowing in the direction of peace’ in Africa: UN Secretary-General
Recent developments in Africa indicate that the continent is increasingly moving in the “direction of peace” and enhanced security, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told journalists in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.
Guterres was there to take part in the second annual UN-African Union conference, part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the relationship between the two organizations. The two-day meeting covers a wide range of topics, and Mr. Guterres spoke about the partners’ close collaboration in areas such as peace and security.
“We feel a wind blowing in the direction of peace,” he said, referring to recent developments such as the historic visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister to rival and neighbour Eritrea, as well as peace talks on South Sudan, where conflict has raged since 2013.
“All this gives us hope that the African continent will be moving more and more in the right direction in peace and security,” he added, telling delegates that the UN could not afford to fail in its dealings with the continent.
But the UN chief also focused on what he described as the “dramatic crises” in Africa, where the UN has deployed peacekeeping missions in four countries: the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mali and South Sudan.
He said the rise of armed groups and international terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram, means that these operations are not involved in “traditional” peacekeeping, and he cited the need for more funding, particularly in enforcing peace and countering terrorism.
“We need to understand that when African troops are fighting terrorists in the Sahel, they are not only protecting the citizens of the Sahel. They are protecting the whole world. And the world must be in solidarity with Africa, as African forces are protecting us all,” he stated.
The Secretary-General also called for greater support for the UN’s Agenda 2030 and African Union’s Agenda 2063, both of which address long-term economic development.
He appealed to the international community to take action against the flow of illegal funds, money-laundering and tax evasion, which cost Africa $50 billion every year.
He said: “This is a responsibility for the international community to support Africa to make sure that African resources remain in Africa to support African development.”
Communiqué of the Second African Union-United Nations Annual Conference
On 9 July 2018, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres convened the second AU-UN Annual Conference at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Chairperson and the Secretary-General welcomed the strong collaboration between the AU and the UN, and expressed their commitment to further deepen the strategic partnership between the two organizations. They underscored the importance of multilateral organizations and multilateralism, as instrument for effective international governance and addressing global issues.
The second Annual Conference reviewed the implementation of the Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, and welcomed the progress made. It also endorsed the Action plan on the AU-UN Framework for the Implementation of Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The AU and the UN undertook to enhance collaboration, cooperation and coordination in the search for sustainable solutions to ongoing and future challenges, based on the principles of complementarity, comparative advantage, burden-sharing and collective responsibility to respond early, coherently and decisively to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts.
The Conference expressed deep concern over the evolving uncertainties in the international order, the rifts in international relations and the negative impact on the state of global peace and security, noting the need to adhere to established international norms, principles, and rules.
The Chairperson and the Secretary-General called for further strengthening of a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated approach to conflict prevention by addressing the root causes of conflicts, strengthening political processes and respect for rule of law as well as the promotion of sustainable and inclusive development.
The Conference also reviewed challenges to peace, security and development on the continent, including in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Lake Chad Basin, The Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mali and the Sahel, Somalia, and South Sudan and agreed to jointly increase their support, in close cooperation with Regional Economic Communities, for the peace, security, development and stabilization initiatives in these countries, while cooperating more closely, particularly with respect to political processes.
They urged for robust action by the international community, to alleviate the humanitarian crises, risks and vulnerability in the affected communities. They welcomed continued dialogue towards the implementation of the Sahel Support Plan developed as part of the recalibration of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, and exchange on the AU efforts in the Sahel including ongoing efforts to review its strategy.
The Chairperson of the Commission briefed the Secretary-General on the important decisions adopted by the AU Assembly at its Ordinary Session in Nouakchott on the Western Sahara and Libyan conflicts. As a follow up, these decisions will be formerly conveyed to the Secretary-General and through him to the UN Security Council. The AU looks forward to working closely with the UN on these two issues.
The Chairperson and the Secretary-General paid tribute to the Troop and Police Contributing Countries, and AU and UN peacekeepers for their sacrifice and continued commitment to peace on the continent. They also discussed the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, which aims at making peacekeeping operations fit for the challenges faced today, including on the African continent, by jointly strengthening operations on the ground as well as renewing the political commitment to peacekeeping.
They further commended the efforts to harmonize political stances of both organizations in countries where peacekeeping missions are deployed, as illustrated by the recent joint visit of the UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security in Sudan and the Central African Republic.
The Chairperson and the Secretary-General renewed their commitment towards predictable, sustainable and flexible financing for AU-led Peace Support Operations (PSOs) authorized by the UN Security Council. They further welcomed the significant progress achieved in the revitalization of the AU Peace Fund, the ongoing efforts to the establish its governance and management structure, and agreed to sustain the high-level political engagement and consideration for the financing of AU-led PSOs through UN assessed contributions. In this respect, it was agreed to continue with the ongoing work pursuant to Security Council Resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017).
The Annual Conference discussed the need to promote synergy between Agenda 2030 and 2063, through coherent integration of both agendas into national development frameworks as well as building requisite research, analytical, monitoring and evaluation capacities, at both national and regional levels.
In this regard, the meeting stressed the critical role played by the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa and the Africa Peer Review Mechanism and urged all international partners to support Africa's efforts to implement the two Agendas as a pre-condition for the achievement of peace, security and development on the continent.
The Annual Conference reviewed the progress in the ongoing institutional reform processes of both organizations aimed at enhancing effectiveness and responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of their Member States, and ensuring that the two organizations are fit for purpose and have the right capabilities to address contemporary challenges. The meeting agreed to continue to share experiences and best practice, including through staff-exchanges and training in support of the two reform processes.
The Chairperson and the Secretary-General briefed the Peace and Security Council (PSC) on cooperation in peacekeeping missions in Africa.
The Chairperson and Secretary-General agreed to convene the next AU-UN Annual Conference in New York in 2019. They also agreed to meet on the margins of the General Assembly and the AU Summit, to take stock of progress in the partnership between the two Organizations.