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Mr. Fernandez de Soto Valderrama, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission
Members of the Peacebuilding Commission
Ladies and Gentleman
Dear Participants,

I wish to welcome you all to this very important workshop that takes place at a time when the African Union Commission is going through major transformation geared towards positioning it to better perform itself given mandates. As I noted in my statement to the AU Peace Security Council, on 11 November 2019, attended by the Peacebuilding Commission, which many of you attended, I am sure that you will agree that, with the changing times in the world, we need to be better prepared to address the multiple peace and security challenges facing our world.

As you are no doubt aware, the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, signed by the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the Commission on 19 April 2017 has provided a solid foundation for both organizations to have a predictable, systematic and strategic partnership throughout the conflict cycle. Accordingly, today’s workshop offers an opportunity to help us reflect and build on our efforts as we approach critical milestones to advance peace, security and development on the continent.

We at the African Union Commission, are very much aware of the fact that addressing the needs of countries and communities affected by or emerging from conflict is amongst the most complex challenges facing our continent. Hence efforts aimed at restoring state authority, and its ability to perform its basic functions, building trust in a new political order and governance structures, repairing the social fabric torn by violent conflict and addressing the root causes of conflict, so as to prevent relapse, are complex. They are not only complex but are also long-term processes that span peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development mandates and efforts. We have seen these paly out and confront us in countries like, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic, Mali and DRC to name but a few.

These engagements invariably require comprehensive, integrated and inclusive politics and policies, sustained funding and engagement, and coordination among a wide array of local, national, regional and international actors. While we have made commendable strides in the past couple of years, often times our efforts have been obstructed by our inefficiency in appropriately interpreting and understanding the political and security dynamics to accurately and efficiently respond to them. At times, our efforts have been complicated by the non-inclusive and non-cooperative positions adopted by the warring parties, mainly inspired by the desire for self-preservation. Be that as it may, the experiences we have gathered over the years, in our attempts to address these conflicts, should today help use better structure our future responses for optimal results.

As we all know 2020 will mark the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture (UNPBA). This occasion will coincide with the third five-year periodic review of the architecture as mandated by the General Assembly and the Security Council. On the Continental level, 2020 is expected to witness the revitalization of the AU Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (AU PCRD), and the operationalization of the AU Centre for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (AUC PCRD), together with the conclusion of the APSA Roadmap 2016-2020, and a review of progress made towards meeting the objective of “Silencing the Guns” by 2020.

It is my hope therefore, that this workshop will effectively launch the regional consultations in Africa in connection with the upcoming review of the UNPBA in 2020. As such, it should serve as a platform to take stock of progress achieved and challenges facing the operationalization of the new peace “continuum” paradigm in the continent, through the reinvigoration of the AU PCRD and the new AU Peace Support Operations (PSO) doctrine. It should also provide a platform to examine the opportunities for further enhancing the UN-AU partnership in peacekeeping and peacebuilding, with particular emphasis on ongoing regional efforts to align PCRD and PSOs with the global transformative agenda aimed at addressing the root causes of conflict and instability.

This workshop should draw on specific case studies to elaborate the complex, context-specific nature of the political and operational environment affecting efforts aimed at building and sustaining peace. We have examples such as Somalia, Lake Chad Basin, Mali MNJTF, the CAR, South Sudan, Sudan, and UNAMID. Given the multiplicity of actors, frameworks and initiatives (e.g. UN and AU peace operations, RECs/RMs operations, ad-hoc regional coalitions, AU Liaison Offices and special envoys, the PBC country-specific and regional engagements), the workshop will address the opportunities and challenges for strengthening complementarity and coherence between all actors involved across the peace “continuum”.

As you meet today, I wish to remind you of the expected outcomes of this meetings;

a. Reaching a common understanding of the emerging multidimensional challenges and risks to peace, security and development in Africa, and how the new normative framework on sustaining peace is responding to this ever-evolving operational landscape;

b. Identifying priorities and entry points for the revitalization of AU’s normative frameworks and policies, advancing ongoing reform efforts, and enhancing coherence and complementarity between the AU and REC/RMs;

c. Identifying the progress made and challenges facing the UN’s work on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the context of the Secretary-General’s reforms and prevention agenda;

d. Taking stock of the developments in the nature and scope of the PBC’s advisory role, in particular to the SC during the formation, review and drawdown of peacekeeping operations and special political missions mandates; in support of the regional dimensions of peacebuilding; and in enhancing practical partnerships with regional and sub-regional actors, in particular the African Union;

e. Examining the extent to which the commitments stipulated in the A4P Shared Commitments concerning the impact of peacekeeping on sustaining peace can be further elaborated and operationalized (drawing on the Cairo Roadmap and the guidelines stipulated in S/PRST/27/2017, S/PRST/20/2018); and

f. Advancing the UN-AU partnership across the peace-development continuum on the operational level.

I thank you for your kind attention and wish you successful deliberations.

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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