There is an ever increasing recognition that African peace and security challenges are too complex to be adequately addressed by any single organisation. Since the African Union (AU) was established in 2002, it has endorsed a stronger cooperation with the United Nations in the areas of peace and security. The United Nations and the African Union Peace and Security Council – the standing organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts- have both recognised the need for close coordination and cooperation in the areas of peace and security, and the need for burden sharing on the basis of collective responsibility to respond early, coherently and decisively to prevent manage, and resolve violent conflict. Towards realising these objectives, a Joint United Nations –African Union Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security has been initiated.
On 19th April 2017, the Framework was signed between the UN Secretary General and Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat. The Framework includes four key action areas: first, preventing and mediating conflict and sustaining peace; second, responding to conflict; third, addressing root causes; and fourth, the continuous review and enhancement of partnership between the AU and UN. Non-Aligned Movement has expressed its support to the increasing cooperation between UN and the AU. At the 17th NAM Summit, NAM expressed support for continuing efforts to strengthen African peacekeeping capabilities and emphasized the importance of implementing the 10 years plan for capacity building and the Joint Action Plan for United Nations Support to the African Union Peacekeeping in the short, medium and long terms in all relevant areas. NAM leaders further took note of the Report prepared by the AU-UN Panel on modalities for support to AU peacekeeping operations and the report by the Secretary General of the UN “Support to African Union Peacekeeping operations authorized by the United Nations”, and recommended the enhancement of an effective partnership between the UN and the African Union in order to improve planning, deployment and management of African peacekeeping operations.
At the 8006th Meeting of the United Nations Security Council held on 19th June 2017, Venezuela speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said it was a matter of utmost importance to redouble efforts to strengthen the strategic partnership between the United Nations and African Union and also recommended enhancing an effective partnership between the United Nations and African Union so as to improve planning, deployment and management of African peacekeeping operations. In that regard, it was important to find ways to secure predictable, adequate and sustained financial support to African Union-led peace operation.
NAM believes that cooperation between the UN and AU should be devised with a view to addressing peace and security challenges in a holistic way, taking into account root causes of conflict, the promotion of stability and development, the premise of African solutions to African problems and the Union’s proven experience in helping to settle disputes peacefully. NAM has stressed the need for the African Union and the United Nations to outline their roles clearly according to their comparative advantages and has emphasised that the partnership between the two must not substitute Africa’s ownership of its challenges. At the 8006th UNSC Meeting, Namibia, associating itself with the Non-Aligned Movement stated that African views on conflict resolution and conflict prevention must be sought through informal sessions between the two organizations and the programs developed for conflict-management at high-level Africa forums, must speak directly to the needs identified by the Africans themselves.
NAM has thus called for enhancing cooperation between the UN and EU at operational, political and tactical levels. NAM Member States, who are also a part of African Union also believe that mutually reinforcing relationship between the United Nations and the African Union should extend beyond the period of conflict, to critical areas such as peace building and post-conflict reconstruction and development. A productive partnership between AU and UN would increase collective security and would lead to durable peace in Africa.
By Dr. Pawan Mathur