There has been a thrust in the relationship between the African Union and the United Nations with an objective “to achieve a coherent, and coordinated continuum of engagement” by preventing conflict while building, keeping and sustaining peace, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. In this regards, the adoption of the African Peace and Security Architecture Road Map (2016-2020) has played a vital role in harmonizing the efforts of the two bodies to consolidate peace and security architecture. With a focus on concrete activities and strategic objectives, this Roadmap aims at mapping out a way forward to enable the consolidation of gains made, and address the most pressing challenges, so as to make the African Peace and Security Architecture fully functional and operational, and in this way contribute effectively to the maintenance and preservation of peace and security in Africa.
NAM’s principled position regarding peacekeeping stresses that the establishment of any peacekeeping operation, or the extension of the mandate of existing ones, should strictly observe the purposes and principles of the Charter and those principles that have evolved to govern such operations and have become basic principles thereof — that is, the consent of the parties, the non-use of force except in self-defense, and impartiality.
NAM stresses that respect for the principles of the sovereign equality, political independence and territorial integrity of all States, and non-intervention in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of States’, should also be upheld in that regard. In this context, the Non-Aligned Movement, which comprises most of the members of African Union member states, has welcomed the emergent strong relationship between AU and the UN.
In the 7694th Meeting of the United Nations Security Council held on 24 May 2016, Gholamhossein Dehghani of Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the need to implement the 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union and the joint action plan for United Nations peacekeeping support to the African Union, and reiterated the Movement’s principled position that the establishment of any peacekeeping operation, or the extension of an existing one, should be done in strict observance of the purposes and principles of the Charter, including consent of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defence, and impartiality. On behalf of NAM, the Iranian representative went on to stress that respect for the principles of sovereign equality, political independence and territorial integrity of all States, and non-intervention in matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of States must also be upheld. Ethiopia, a prominent NAM as well as AU Member associated itself fully with the statement of NAM in the UNSC. Almaz Tesfahunegn Hailu. The Ethiopian representative stated that Africa was determined to take charge peace and security matters on the continent and mentioned that over the past decade, the African Union and its various sub regional mechanisms had been much more proactive in responding to crisis situations. The United Nations had been providing political backstopping, financial and logistical support, as well as capacity-building assistance to the African Union for the promotion and maintenance of peace and security. The Ethiopian representative called for a division of labour between the two organizations based on their respective comparative advantages.
Djibouti’s representative at the UNSC, Mohamed Siad Doualeh, associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the changing nature of conflict on the continent and the operational questions raised posed an additional layer of complexity to the cohesiveness of the global chains. Discussions had centred on how to engage with non-State actors that did not respect humanitarian law and how to deal with the rise of illegal activities and violent insurgencies. Hence, it was critical to ensure peacekeeping missions, the United Nations and the African Union were all on the same page rather than complete over “who goes first and who leads in which process”. A certain level of inter-organizational cooperation could serve as a tool to make sound decisions. The deployment of blue helmets clearly demonstrated the commitment of African States to work together with the United Nations to uphold the Charter. Calling on States to continue with their contributions to various missions, the representative said that Africa was home to 70 per cent of the world’s conflicts and therefore required sufficient international support and attention. It must be mentioned here that the partnership between the AU and UN is not without its challenges. A number of strategic and operational issues must be seriously addressed, in order for the partnership to be institutionalized, taking into account the principle of shared responsibility. This calls for an increasing cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, and so far the signs have been very encouraging.