S T A T E M E N T
Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union to the United Nations
H.E. Ambassador Fatima K. Mohammed
PRESENTATION TO UNSC MEETING ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA, WITH FOCUS ON THE CENTRALITY OF PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY
Monday 7th October 2019
Excellency Amb. Jerry Matjila, President of the Security Council for the month of October,
Excellencies, Members of the Security Council,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to start by thanking the Republic of South Africa, President of the Security Council for October 2019, for including this important item relating to peace and security in Africa, with a focus on the centrality of preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention on the agenda of the Security Council.
I would also like to thank all the briefers for their enlightening briefing, and particularly on highlighting the role of Women in Preventive Diplomacy and how we can leverage off of the platforms and initiatives to promote better engagement.
The contemporary threats to peace and security in our continent and indeed globally posed by terrorism, violent extremism, radicalization and transnational organized crimes and the severe effects of climate change are so complex and interconnected with broad consequences that no single Organisation alone can manage to provide the appropriate solutions. Consequently, the scale and complexity of the challenges we face today require the harnessing of the collective efforts of all stakeholders. In this context, the centrality of preventive diplomacy, as a peacemaking tool becomes indispensable in our peace efforts.
Today’s debate is therefore all the more relevant because preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention remain a strategic priority for all of us. They perfectly illustrate the “raison d'être” of multilateralism and the different organizations that emanate from it. And at a time when the credibility of our Organization is being questioned, this debate could serve as a basis to harness our collective commitment to devote greater attention to the prevention tool which remains, by far, the most profitable in the long term, but unfortunately the least resourced.
With this in mind, permit me to make the following 3 key points:
Given its clear comparative advantage in this area, the AU has, over the last decades, adopted several instruments, mechanisms and policy documents to boost its prevention capacities. As a result, Africa is well equipped within the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) as its twin blueprint for promoting peace, security and stability.
The APSA is built upon a continuum ranging from anticipation and prevention of conflict management and resolution of conflicts; to post-conflict stabilization, reconstruction and development. As you are aware, the AU Peace and Security Council is the nerve-center of the African Peace and Security Architecture. Since it became operational in 2004, the AU PSC has covered significant ground and made considerable gains in addressing and resolving conflicts on the continent.
Another pillar of the APSA is the Panel of the Wise, which is the core of AU preventive diplomacy. The Panel of the Wise, since its operationalization in 2007, has significantly contributed towards enhancing preventive diplomacy in Africa. Stemming from this Panel arrangement is a number of supporting and subsidiary platforms, including PanWise, which is a platform of AU and RECs/RMs panels involved in preventive diplomacy.
Within the framework of enhancing preventive diplomacy, I would also like to point out that the AU Commission now has a functioning Mediation Support Unit to institutionalize and provide predictable and sustainable support to all AU-led mediation efforts. Furthermore, the AU’s peacemaking and preventive diplomacy efforts are also championed by Special Envoys, Special Representatives, High Representatives as well as 13 Liaison Offices/Missions across the continent.
While some progress has been made in close coordination with the sub-regional Organizations and with the strong support of the United Nations, we must recognize that a number of challenges continue to undermine our ability to effectively deliver on our mandate, most notably, the possibility of gaining appropriate entry points into tense situations likely to evolve into violent conflicts.
On the Importance of strategic partnerships
Indeed, the collaboration between the AU and the RECs/RMs and with the UN, as provided for in various frameworks, in addressing and resolving conflicts has progressively gained momentum as guided by the provisions in the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA).
The Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security signed in April 2017 is premised on the growing recognition that stronger partnership between the AU and the UN is a strategic necessity in the process of responding early, coherently and decisively to prevent and manage conflicts in Africa.
In addition, the progressively deepening partnership between the Security Council and the AU Peace Security Council through the annual consultative meetings is testament to the tremendous progress that has been made in fostering our collective efforts to address the complex peace and security challenges Africa. Close consultations between the two Councils and the implementation of the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security is improving our shared appreciation of the challenges we are confronted with, and is sharpening our response tools including through preventive diplomacy.
I would also like to highlight that the AU Agenda 2063 envisions a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa, which is consistent with the UN Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals. In line with the spirit of Agenda 2063, the AU is implementing its flagship project on Silencing the Guns on the continent.
In this respect, I wish to commend this Council for its contribution to this effort by adopting Resolution 2457 (2019) in which, among others, it calls for the mobilization of the United Nations and its Agencies to support the African Union in the implementation of its noble goal of silencing the guns in Africa by 2020.
The results thus far obtained from this collaboration are quite appreciable and you will agree with me Mr. President, that only by pooling our collective expertise and resources together, leveraging our comparative advantages and working collaboratively can our two Organizations realistically expect to have a positive impact on the ground.
Mr. President, my Third and final point is on the important role of including Women and Youth in peace processes which cannot be overemphasized,
It is only by ensuring they are part of not only of decision-making roles in conflict resolution but also in mediation including in the implementation of peace agreements, can we truly address issues vital to securing sustainable peace.
The AU Commission on its part has created platforms for the empowerment of women in peace and security such as FemWise, which is a network of African women mediators. This Network has attracted many young women mediators, a good number of whom have been trained and are being deployed to some conflict and post-conflict areas to accompany the political processes in these countries. In addition, in our efforts to enhance women’s participation and leadership the African Union and the United Nations came together to help launch the women’s movement African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) in June 2017.
The AU has also recently launched the initiative of ‘’Youth for Peace’’, which aims at empowering youth and engaging them in peace processes in the continent. In this regard, the Chairperson of the AU Commission has appointed a Special Envoy for Youth, a young lady with the necessary experience and commitment who addressed this Council recently. We are also undertaking regional consultations with African youth in order to further enlist their efforts towards building peace in the continent.
In all our endeavours, we are always conscious of the primary responsibility of our Member States to prevent and resolve conflicts, as well as to protect civilians and promote human rights as provided for in relevant African instruments and international law. This being so, I would like to highlight to this meeting the launch of the Grand National Dialogue in Cameroon dedicated to finding an internal national solution to the crisis affecting some parts of the country. We welcome this initiative because we are convinced that local initiatives, driven by people, stand a better chance of reaching a lasting solution in a spirit of compromise for the preservation of peace, stability, harmony and national unity.
In this vein, our collective peacemaking endeavours in Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Mali-Sahel and the Great Lakes Region, the Lake Chad Basin and the Horn of Africa are commendable and should be consolidated through enhanced partnership between AU, RECs/RMs and the UN.
Indeed, mediation as part of preventive diplomacy, is indispensable in the resolution of crises and conflicts. Improving shared analysis and appreciation of the challenges we are confronted with is an important first step to providing coherent, effective and timely responses to conflict and crises situations in Africa.
In this context, we need to utilize all preventive diplomacy tools, amongst which are good offices, special representatives and envoys, and emissaries to foster a collective approach.
Distinguished Members of the Council,
Despite gains made, more needs to be done to further enhance the effectiveness of preventive diplomacy. I would like, therefore, to stress the importance of continued collective and concerted efforts to respond to the existing and emerging threats. The relevance of partnerships and collaboration between governments, civil society organizations and private sector as well as the sustained engagement of all stakeholders including women and youth in the decision making processes relating to the promotion of peace and advancement of socio-economic development. Only by pooling our collective expertise and resources together, weighing our comparative advantages and working collaboratively can we realistically expect to have a positive impact and durable solutions to ensure sustainable peace.
I thank you.