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Your Excellency President Jacob Zuma, Your Excellency Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Distinguished Members of the Council, Honorable Moses Wetangula, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, Chairperson of the African Union Peace and Security Council, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to first acknowledge the presence of President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa. His decision to be here with us to preside over this session is a further illustration of his leadership and the commitment of South Africa to the promotion of a strong strategic partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in peace and security. Over the years, South Africa has used its successive memberships of the Security Council to push forward this agenda, within the framework of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The AU Commission is deeply appreciative of this effort and the results achieved so far.

Let me also recognize the presence of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Since his appointment at the helm of the United Nations Secretariat, he has spared no efforts in promoting the AU-UN partnership in the area of peace and security, building on earlier initiatives aimed at ensuring that regional arrangements fully play their role in the post-Cold War security architecture. In his report of October 2010 on UN support to AU peacekeeping operations authorized by the Security Council, he rightly observed that ‘the complex challenges of today’s world require a revitalized and evolving interpretation of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter’. The African Union fully shares this view. It would be remiss of me if I do not pay tribute to this organ and to its members. In the past three years, the Security Council has held no less than four meetings devoted to the AU-UN partnership. This is a clear indication of its commitment and realization that, indeed, the daunting peace and security challenges that continue to face Africa require an innovative and creative partnership between the AU and the UN. Ladies and Gentlemen, Today’s debate comes at a time of renewed recognition of the importance of building a strong partnership between the AU and the UN in order to enhance our efforts to promote peace, security and stability on the African continent. The turbulences the partnership went through last year only add to the urgency of more clearly defining the relationship. In carrying forward this debate, we have the privilege of learning from our most recent experiences. We also have the privilege of having before us the reports tabled by both Secretary-General of the United Nations and the African Union Commission Chairperson. These are two complementary inputs which provide not only an assessment on where we stand as far as the partnership is concerned, but also useful recommendations on the way forward. I note that, at their 5th consultative meeting, held in Addis Ababa, on 21 May 2011, both the AU Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council stressed that they were looking forward to these reports. The strategic relationship between the AU and the UN has been growing steadily. Cooperation between the Commission and the Secretariat has recorded commendable achievements, as demonstrated by the regular consultations between AU and UN officials on issues of common concern and the mechanisms put in place to this end. Innovative modalities, such as the hybrid operation in Darfur and the UN support package to AMISOM, have been devised and implemented to meet the requirements of fast evolving realities on the ground. The AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council have also endeavored to deepen their partnership. Their efforts are all the more praiseworthy as they have to overcome numerous challenges, not least the novelty of the exercise and the differences in their respective mandates and scope of action. Yet, we are just at the beginning of our journey towards a more strategic relationship between the AU and the UN in the area of peace and security. Such an approach is made more compelling by the fact that, Africa, in spite of the significant progress made over the past few years, still accounts for the highest number of conflicts worldwide. In addition to the traditional threats to peace, security and stability, the African continent is now facing a new set of threats, which include: • governance related intra-state conflicts and violence, including election-related ones, which could severely undermine the nascent democracies on the continent, and negatively affect the social fabric in many countries; • terrorism and trans-national crime, which is compounded by the proliferation of weapons; • maritime piracy in both East and West Coasts of Africa, as well as other challenges to the continental maritime security; • border disputes, especially in view of the limited progress made in the delimitation and demarcation of the African borders, a situation which gives rise to “undefined zones” within which the application of national sovereignty poses problems; and • climate change, whose consequences, whether they relate to scarce water resources, damage to coastal infrastructure and cities, reduced agricultural yields and environmentally–induced migration, will impact negatively on the quest for peace. Ladies and Gentlemen, Clearly, these challenges require concerted responses by the African Union and the United Nations and a much closer partnership, based on a creative reading of the provisions of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter to allow the AU and its Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution to fully play their role as integral components of collective security. The AU and its Regional Mechanisms are particularly well placed to make a significant contribution to collective security, in view of their proximity and familiarity with the issues at hand. In addition, they have developed comprehensive architectures covering the whole range of the security challenges facing the continent, including those related to governance. It is critical to provide a more effective support to the African continent and its institutions, especially as Africa has demonstrated renewed determination to deal with peace and security issues on the continent and provide the leadership that is required. Nowhere has this proactiveness been more evident than in the area of peacekeeping, where the AU has shown a strong willingness to take risks to seize the opportunities that present themselves in order to advance the agenda of peace, but is constrained by the lack of the necessary resources, particularly in terms of flexible, sustainable and predictable funding. This is the background that informed the report of the Chairperson of the Commission and the subsequent decision of the Peace and Security Council regarding the need for the AU and the UN to develop a stronger partnership, based on an innovative strategic and forward?looking reading of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. More specifically, the AU and the UN should agree on a set of principles aimed at clarifying their relationship and anchoring it on a more solid platform. From the AU perspective, these principles should revolve around the following: support for African ownership and priority setting; consultative decision-making, division of labor and sharing of responsibilities; and comparative advantage. The AU is committed to engage in earnest on a dialogue with the UN on the principles that should underpin the relationship. In parallel, and on the basis of the communiqués of the consultative meetings held between the Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council, practical steps should be taken to enhance the effectiveness of the annual meetings between the two organs, develop regular interaction between their respective chairs and undertake joint field missions. Equally important is the need for the Security Council to afford due consideration to our legitimate requests and address, in a more systematic manner, the funding of AU-led peace support operations undertaken with the consent of the UN. On their part, the AU Commission and the UN Secretariat should continue to work towards greater collaboration and coordination. Mr. President, We have come a long way in our efforts to build a stronger partnership. But much remains to be done. As we forge ahead, we need to draw appropriate lessons from our past experiences, both from our shortcomings and our successes. We ought to be pragmatic and result-oriented, driven, as we should be, by the imperative to respond to the needs on the ground, assist countries and shattered communities to turn the page of violence and conflict, consolidate peace where it has been achieved, and ultimately help Africa to fully exploit its potential for the good of its people and that of the larger humanity. In the past years, the AU and its Regional Mechanisms have demonstrated a strong commitment to act, building on their comprehensive and solid normative and institutional framework. The responsibility of the United Nations, as we understand it, is to fully support these efforts, which are consistent with the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, politically and by availing its resources and expertise, as and when required. I thank you

Posted by Lulit Kebede

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