March 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 26 February 2009
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UN Support for Peacekeeping by Regional Organisations

Expected Council Action
On 18 March the Council will consider the report of the joint AU-UN panel set up by the Secretary-General to review options for supporting AU peacekeeping operations. The panel report was circulated on 24 December. The format of the meeting is expected to be a public meeting chaired by Libya’s Minister for African Affairs Ali Treiki and to have high-level participation by the AU and the chair of the panel, Romano Prodi, former prime minister of Italy. At press time Council members were still at an early stage of discussion about any Council decisions on the report.

On 16 April 2008 in resolution 1809, the Council recognised the problems that some regional organisations were confronting in maintaining peacekeeping operations. The Council concluded that it was desirable to enhance the “predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations” operating under a UN mandate. The Secretary-General subsequently established a joint AU-UN panel to consider modalities for supporting such peacekeeping operations, in particular start-up funding, equipment and logistics. (The proposal had originated in the Secretary-General’s report on enhancing cooperation between the UN and regional organisations of 24 March 2008.)

On 24 December the panel’s report was submitted to the Council and the General Assembly. The panel included input from member states, the UN Secretariat, UN agencies involved in peace operations, AU institutions and member countries, the EU, and existing and potential donors. The panel explored how the UN and the AU could enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing of UN mandated peace operations undertaken by the AU. A particular focus was how to achieve expeditious and effective deployment of well equipped troops and effective mission support arrangements.

Significantly, the panel also addressed the related topic of capacity building for conflict prevention. (See SCR’s Update Report on UN Cooperation with Regional and Subregional Organisations and Conflict Prevention of 14 April 2008.)

While acknowledging that its proposals “will not completely address” the challenges to peace in Africa, the Panel put forward the following recommendations:

  • approving the use of UN assessed funding to support UN authorised AU peacekeeping operations for up to six months on a case by case basis and only when the mission was to transition to UN management within six months;
  • establishment of a voluntarily funded multi donor trust fund to build AU peacekeeping capacity (thus allowing the AU to move away from ad-hoc and disconnected bilateral support arrangements). The fund would consolidate current sources of support for the AU and AU members and secure additional resources from current and new donors building on the current EU funded African Peace Facility;
  • extending the voluntary trust fund concept to include capacity building to cover early warning, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction;
  • developing of the AU’s logistics capacity; and
  • establishment of a joint UN-AU team to examine how to implement the panel’s proposals.

Key Issues
The main issue for the Council is how and when to take up the recommendations. Responsibility for financial issues rests with the General Assembly not the Security Council. Current UN financial practice does not allow assessed UN funding for peace operations led by other groups, even when authorised by the Council. There has been only one exemption to this—when UN support packages were approved for the AU Mission in Darfur (AMIS) (S/RES/1706 and 1769, S/PRST/2006/55 and A/RES/62/232).

The second issue—setting up a multi donor trust fund that will be voluntarily financed—may be less controversial. Such trust funds involving voluntary financing are within the general responsibility of the Secretary-General. He often sets up such funds after consultation with the Council. Early Council action on this recommendation could therefore raise less problems.

Options for the Council include:

  • waiting and deciding , in light of views expressed in the 18 March debate, how best to progress any follow up Council action;
  • deciding to begin work prior to the 18 March debate on a Council statement or resolution endorsing some or all of the Panel’s findings and recommendations;
  • drafting for adoption on 18 March a Council statement welcoming the report but explicitly deciding not to take action on the assessed financing issue but deciding instead to refer it to the General Assembly for action (article 11(2) of the Charter contemplates the Security Council bringing issues before the General Assembly);
  • supportively communicating to the Secretary-General (perhaps in a letter from the president) that the Council members welcome and agree with the proposal to set up a voluntary funded trust fund; and
  • deferring all action until the panel’s recommendations have been addressed in the General Assembly.

Council Dynamics
Council members appear to generally agree on the value of the report.

Some are sceptical that agreement on formal approval of the recommendations could be reached at this stage in the Council. These members believe that approving the panel’s recommendations would risk possible criticism of encroachment by General Assembly colleagues.

African and NAM countries on the Council agree that UN financial support should be provided for regional missions, citing the primary responsibility of the UN for ensuring global peace and security and the consequent need to collaborate in a substantial way with regional peacekeeping.

The US, UK and Russia have, in the past, registered strong reservations about using funds from the assessed contributions of the UN peacekeeping budget to support peacekeeping operations by regional organisations. The new US administration’s policy remains unclear.

Although some Council members oppose UN financial support for peacekeeping operations undertaken by other organisations at the generic level, they have shown an inclination to allow such funding in certain specific cases. One example was the 2006 “light” and “heavy packages” of support for AMIS prior to transition to the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (S/RES/1769). Another is the Council’s approval in January this year in resolution 1863 to use UN resources to strengthen the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). (This has not yet been approved by the General Assembly.)

A greater level of agreement among Council members may be possible on the panel’s other key recommendation to set up a voluntary funded multi donor trust fund.

At this stage, while Council members generally expect the panel’s recommendations to set the tone for further deliberations on the way ahead, it is unclear how far they would like the Council to go, bearing in mind the responsibilities of the General Assembly.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1863 (16 January 2009) renewed authorisation of AMISOM for up to six months, approved using UN resources to strengthen AMISOM, and expressed the Council’s intention to establish a UN peacekeeping operation by 1 June.
  • S/RES/1809 (16 April 2008) was the resolution welcoming the Secretary-General’s proposal to set up an AU-UN panel to consider the modalities of how to support AU peacekeeping operations established under a UN mandate.
  • S/RES/1769 (31 July 2007) established UNAMID.
  • S/RES/1706 (31 August 2006) was the resolution on the situation in Sudan mandating UN assistance to AMIS.
  • S/RES/1631 (17 October 2005) was the first resolution adopted by the Council on regional organisations.
  • S/RES/1625 (14 September 2005) was a declaration on the effectiveness of the Council’s role in conflict prevention, calling for the strengthening of cooperation and communication between the UN and regional and subregional organisations in accordance with Chapter VIII (on regional arrangements).
  • S/RES/1497 (1 August 2003) recognised the role Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) played in implementing the June 2003 ceasefire in Liberia and cited Chapter VIII.
  • S/RES/1464 (4 February 2003) welcomed the actions of ECOWAS in response to the violence in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 with reference to Chapter VII and Chapter VIII.
  • S/RES/1318 (7 September 2000) was the adoption of the Millennium Summit declaration on maintaining peace and security, especially in Africa.
  • S/RES/1197 (18 September 1998) was on the need for the UN to provide support to regional and subregional organisations and to strengthen coordination between the UN and those organisations.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2007/42 (6 November 2007) was a presidential statement on the role of regional and subregional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/PRST/2007/31 (28 August 2007) requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the options for further implementation of resolution 1625.
  • S/PRST/2007/7 (28 March 2007) was a presidential statement on relations between the UN and regional organisations, particularly the AU.
  • S/PRST/2006/55 (19 December 2006) called for the immediate deployment of light and heavy support packages to AMIS and endorsed the phased approach towards a hybrid AU-UN force agreed by the AU Peace and Security Council.
  • S/PRST/2006/39 (20 September 2006) welcomed the progress made in realising the goals of resolution 1631 and urged contributions to the capacity building of regional organisations and subregional organisations, particularly of the AU and African subregional organisations.
  • S/PRST/2004/44 (19 November 2004) recognised the importance of strengthening cooperation with the AU in order to help build its capacity to deal with collective security challenges.
  • S/PRST/2004/27 (20 July 2004) was the statement after the Council’s debate on cooperation between the UN and regional organisations in stabilisation processes.
  • S/PRST/1998/35 (30 November 1998) reaffirmed the increasingly important role of regional arrangements in maintaining peace and security.
  • S/PRST/1998/28 (16 September 1998) focused on enhancing Africa’s peacekeeping capacity and highlighted the problem of children and armed conflict.
  • S/PRST/1997/46 (25 September 1997) noted that addressing the challenges of conflict in Africa required a comprehensive approach and called on the Secretary-General to produce a report to address the issue.
  • S/PRST/1994/22 (3 May 1994) said that regional and sub-regional organisations should be taken into account when setting up new peacekeeping operations.

Selected Letters

  • S/2008/813 (24 December 2008) was the letter from the Secretary-General forwarding the AU-UN panel report on how to support AU peacekeeping operations established under UN mandate to the Council president.
  • S/2008/229 (8 April 2008) was a letter from the permanent representative of South Africa forwarding the concept paper on the relationship between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU, in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/2007/640 (29 October 2007) was the letter from the permanent representative of Indonesia forwarding the concept paper on the relationship between the UN and regional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/2007/148 (14 March 2007) was the letter from the permanent representative of South Africa forwarding the concept paper on the relationship between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU, in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/2005/567 (29 August 2005) was the conclusions of the sixth high-level meeting between the Secretary-General and regional organisations.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2008/186 (24 March 2008) was the Secretary-General’s latest report on enhancing cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU.
  • S/2006/590 (28 July 2006) was the report A regional-global security partnership: challenges and opportunities.
  • A/59/2005 (21 March 2005) was the report, In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All.
  • A/59/565 (2 December 2004) and Corr. 1 (6 December 2004) was the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
  • S/2000/809 (21 August 2000) was the Brahimi report on peacekeeping.

Selected General Assembly Resolutions

  • A/RES/60/1 (24 October 2005) was the World Summit Outcome Document.
  • A/RES/49/57 (17 February 1995) was the Declaration on Enhancement of Cooperation between the UN and Regional Arrangements or Agencies in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security.


  • S/PV.5868 and resumption 1 (16 April 2008) was the debate combining the thematic issues of UN cooperation with regional organisations and conflict prevention and resolution, in particular in Africa.
  • S/PV.3819 (25 September 1997) was the first ministerial-level debate on the situation in Africa.

Other Relevant Facts

AU-UN Panel on Modalities for Support to AU Peacekeeping Operations

  • Romano Prodi (Italy), Chair
  • James Dobbins (USA)
  • Jean-Pierre Halbwachs (Mauritius)
  • Monica Juma (Kenya)
  • Toshiyuki Niwa (Japan)
  • Behrooz Sadry (Iran)


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