Opening remarks by Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations
- Mr. Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs,
- Ms. Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations,
- Ms. Hasmik Egian, Director of the Security Council Affairs Division (SCAD),
- Distinguished Participants,
Allow me, first of all, to warmly welcome the Committee of Experts of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the accompanying staff from the AU Commission who travelled all the way from Addis-Ababa to assist to this timely and very important workshop.
I would like to express our gratitude to the Security Council Affairs Division (SCAD) along with the UN Office to the AU, who worked in partnership with the AU Commission to convene the second edition of this workshop which builds on the very successful inaugural one held in December 2016 to further advance the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations.
Indeed, this year’s workshop takes place at a very opportune time as the African Union and the United Nations are intensifying their efforts to further enhance and promote their partnership. In the past few months, in particular since the election of new leaders in both
Organizations, the partnership has reached several important milestones with the objective of harnessing our comparative strengths to achieve optimal results. This has particularly culminated in the concluding last year of two landmark frameworks for enhanced partnership in peace and security and sustainable development respectively.
The AU Commission is fully committed to implementing the two Frameworks as part of a holistic approach to achieving sustainable peace. We are particularly delighted with the increasing pace of consultations on issues of common concern between the AUC and the UN Secretariat, including at the highest level. Among the key visible aspects in this regard, I wish to mention: the recent filed Mission jointly undertaken to Sudan and Central African Republic by the Commissioner for Peace and Security and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping; the forthcoming joint visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the AUC Chairperson and the UN Secretary General as well as the ongoing preparations for the Second Annual Conference AU-UN to be held in Addis-Ababa next July. On the ground, AU Special Envoys and Representatives work hand in hand with their UN counterparts in a number of critical situations. Besides, they more often jointly brief the two Councils.
As engagement between the AU Commission and the UN Secretariat steadily grows at all levels, collaboration between the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council has to be strengthened. Beyond the fact that between 60-70% of the UN Security Council’s agenda deals with issues of peace and security on the continent, it should also be emphasized that at the strategic level, it belongs to these two organs to define the scope of partnership in the area of peace and security.
We welcome the fact that this year’s workshop takes place only few weeks ahead of the 12th annual consultative meeting between the two Councils to be held here in NY on 19 July. These annual consultations have indeed offered, since their establishment in 2007, a good platform for both sides to maintain regular interaction on a number of crisis situations in Africa with the aim of reaching common understanding on how to address them.
On the ground, many situations testify to the close complementarity that exists between the AUPSC and the UNSC, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes Region, in Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and the Central African Republic (CAR). I wish to highlight the important role played by the Group A3 in this regard based on its dual membership in the two Organizations as well as its understanding of the dynamics respectively prevailing therein.
However, despite the progress achieved so far, more efforts are needed to ensure the viability and effectiveness of the partnership between the AUPSC and the UNSC. While recognizing that pragmatic and case-by-case approach is needed, both sides have to take a strategic look at their partnership in view of establishing clear arrangements and procedures to better guide their collaboration. Furthermore, in our view, the partnership between the two Councils shall not be reduced or confined into a single annual meeting of limited scope. There should be regular and timely exchange of information and assessments, regular joint field missions …etc, before decisions are taken.
Against this background, our workshop is all the more relevant. By introducing the AUPSC experts Committee to the functions, practices and procedures central to the work of the Council, and by providing an opportunity to experts of both Councils to engage on issues of mutual concern, this workshop will undoubtedly contribute in building a deeper relationship between the AUPSC and the UNSC.
This brings me to the end of the remarks I wanted to share with you at this opening session on the partnership between the AU and the UN, with a particular focus on the AUPSC-UNSC relationship. It remains for me at this stage to wish you a very successful workshop and I look forward to hearing reports about your fruitful deliberations.
I thank you for your kind attention.