One of the founding principles of Non-Aligned Movement is the establishment of a peaceful international order. In this context, NAM recognizes the role of peacekeeping operations under the United Nations Peacebuilding architecture.
It may be highlighted that approximately 80 per cent of personnel deployed in the UNO peacekeeping operations are deployed on the African continent. Hence NAM stresses that enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union (AU) is imperative for the success of the peacekeeping mission deployed in Africa.
In recent years, African Union has emerged as the leading pan-African organization in addressing African conflicts through regional security frameworks. Since the turn of the century, AU has mandated a wide range of peace operations as in Burundi (2003-2004), Sudan (2004-2007), Somalia (2007-to date) and Mali (2013).
In recent years, the AU has also authorized a range of more offensive types of operations led by countries in a specific region, often referred to as ad hoc security initiatives, such as the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram (MNJTF) and the G5 Sahel Force.
Non-Aligned Movement believes that the United Nations and the international community have a responsibility to assist African States in strengthening their capacity to maintain peace and security.
At the same time, the fact that, out of 14 missions, the 5 largest United Nations peacekeeping missions are deployed in Africa proves the importance that the Organization attaches to preserving and promoting peace on the continent. The United Nations also has a responsibility to make use of the capacities of African countries. To promote peace and security, African Union-led peace operations authorized by the Security Council should be promoted.
All such peacekeeping operations should be based on the respect of the basic principles of peacekeeping, such as the consent of parties, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate. NAM has expressed its support for the ongoing efforts to strengthen the strategic partnership between both Organizations in the area of peacekeeping. In this regard, NAM has welcomed the joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security signed in April 2017.
The Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security aims to boost the coordination between the two organizations at all levels and strengthen cooperation on issues ranging from human rights and good governance, to sustainable and inclusive development.
NAM Member States, which are also AU Members have stressed the need for increasing cooperation between UN and AU. These views were reiterated at the UN Security Council Meeting held on 20 November 2018. South Africa, associating itself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the country is among the world’s top 20 troop-contributors, with personnel serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Darfur. South Africa is also actively involved in the finalization of the African Standby Force and its rapid deployment capability. South Africa also stressed the need for a sustained, predictable and flexible funding mechanisms for African Union peace operations. This aspect was also stressed by Morocco, which emphasized that financing for peacekeeping on the continent should be undertaken through the United Nations regular budget’s assessed contributions, whether the missions are led by the Organization or by the African Union.
Sudan highlighted that it was vital to strengthen the capacity of African countries in peacekeeping in different dimensions, ranging from military to civilian personnel, to achieve the goal of silencing the guns on the continent by 2020. Botswana called for taking into account the primacy of local context and underlying regional dynamics to achieve genuine and sustainable peace. In a similar vein, Sierra Leone stressed that partnership between AU and UN should also cascade down to Africa’s sub regional organizations and economic communities, whose contribution to ensuring peace and security on the continent cannot be overemphasized.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor