July 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 July 2010
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SECURITY COUNCIL AND WIDER UN STRUCTURE

Meeting Between the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council

Expected Council Action
In July Council members will hold fourth annual consultations with the AU Peace and Security Council. All 15 members of the AU Council, as well as AU Commissioner of Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra are expected to be invited to participate. Issues likely to be addressed include Darfur and Somalia (the two most active current areas of cooperation), as well as conflict prevention and peacekeeping. A joint communiqué is expected as an outcome.

The first meeting of the UN Secretariat-AU Commission joint task force, referred to in the Council’s presidential statement of October 2009, is likely to take place on the margins of the meeting.

Key Facts and Recent Developments
The UN has developed various partnerships with regional and subregional organisations on peace and security issues. These include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the EU, the Economic Community of West African States, the League of Arab States, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO, the Organisation of American States and the Commonwealth of Independent States. (Chapter VIII of the UN Charter establishes a framework for and the obligations of regional organisations when dealing with the settlement of disputes; for more details see our Update Reports of 18 September 2006 and 23 March 2007.)

Recently, the AU has been a key partner on peacekeeping and conflict management in Africa. Beginning in 2007, the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council started holding annual meetings, alternating between Addis Ababa and New York. The first such event took place in June 2007 in Addis Ababa as part of a Council trip to Africa. It was an informal meeting and it took place against the backdrop of intense negotiations that led to the establishment of the hybrid operation in Darfur, and Darfur was a central issue. In addition to several other situation-specific topics, another key issue at that time was the overall relationship between the two bodies. The 2008 meeting was at the UN headquarters in New York, and focused on developing a stronger working relationship through such means as taking steps to identify predictable and flexible resources for AU peacekeeping, information sharing or supporting AU capacities for mediation.

These themes continued in 2009 during the meeting in Addis Ababa. The African side was also eager to have a discussion on the report by an AU-UN panel on modalities for support to AU peacekeeping operations. The panel, whose report was published in December 2008 and has been referred to as the Prodi Report after the panel’s chairman, had been established by the Secretary-General to examine how the UN and the AU could enhance the predictability and flexibility of financing for UN-mandated peace operations undertaken by the AU. It was discussed briefly in Addis Ababa, but the main discussion was postponed until after the publication in September 2009 of a Secretary-General’s report on modalities for the implementation of the Prodi report. The 2009 event was also complicated by some differences related to the status of the event with some Security Council members insistent it was not a formal meeting of the two councils. Each of the three meetings held so far resulted in a communiqué, with two annexed to the reports from the respective Council missions to Africa and one issued as an annex to a letter from the permanent representative of South Africa to the president of the Security Council.

The Council held an open debate on the Secretary-General’s report on modalities for support to AU peacekeeping operations on 26 October and adopted a presidential statement reiterating the importance of a more effective strategic relationship between the UN and the AU, underlining the importance of expediting the implementation of the UN-AU Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme. It noted the assessment of the options for financing AU peacekeeping operations and expressed the Council’s intention to keep all options under consideration. It also underlined the need for a UN-AU study of lessons learnt from the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as collaboration under the AU-UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Support Office for AMISOM. The Council requested that the Secretary-General provide an update by April and submit a progress report by 26 October. Under-Secretary-General Susana Malcorra, the head of the Department of Field Support, updated Council members on the current status of cooperation with the AU in the area of peacekeeping operations during informal consultations on 12 April. (For more details see our 27 May 2009 and 22 October 2009 Update Reports.)

Key Issues
A key practical issue for both Councils is the effectiveness of the two existing operations where both organisations have been cooperating, UNAMID in Darfur and AMISOM in Somalia.

A related issue is how better and fuller effect can be given to Chapter VIII of the UN Charter in light of lessons drawn from these experiences in future endeavours.

UN financing and other such support for AU peacekeeping will continue to be a controversial issue.

A related question, relevant to all regional organisations, is better compliance with Chapter VIII.

On the working methods side, an issue will be improving procedural understandings that will permit a productive relationship between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council. The format and nature of future meetings are key elements.
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Options
Any formal decision is unlikely as the meeting is expected to be informal.

One option is to repeat the established practice of issuing a communiqué after the meeting.

Another option is for the two Councils to agree on some specific modalities for any future such meetings.

An additional option could be to include specific steps to be taken to work out jointly or in parallel the above matters prior to the 2011 meeting.

An option is not issuing any written statement at the conclusion of the meeting.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Most Council members are supportive of strengthening the strategic partnership between the AU and UN and a limited role for the UN in helping the AU with specific capacity-building initiatives. There is also general agreement about the value of more African ownership of African issues.

However, there are some significant differences among members over the issue of financing UN-authorised AU operations. Most members feel that in the present economic climate any decision involving a financial commitment would be difficult. But some would like to see an agreement at some point on the use of assessed contributions for AU peacekeeping missions authorised by the Council based on the conditions suggested by the Prodi report.

The nature of the relationship between the Council and its AU counterpart has been a source of some differences within the Council and a degree of tension between the two bodies. The Security Council has been insistent on its primary position in the issue of peace and security. Also it has been reluctant to go beyond informal meetings. The PSC would like to formalise the meetings and is seeking more parity in the relationship. During last year’s meeting in Addis Ababa, a considerable portion of the overall time was spent on procedural issues because various differences had emerged between the two bodies. In the period leading up to the 2010 consultations, several members expressed their hope that such difficulties will be avoided and the entire meeting will be devoted to substantive issues.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1809 (16 April 2008) welcomed 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/1706 (31 August 2006) was 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).

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2010/1 (13 January 2010) followed a 13 January debate on cooperation between the UN and regional organisations and promised increased action to promote cooperation between the UN and regional organisations.
  • S/PRST/2009/26 (26 October 2009) reiterated the importance of a more effective strategic relationship between the UN and the AU, underlining the importance of expediting the implementation of the UN-AU Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme.
  • S/PRST/2009/3 (18 March 2009) followed the meeting on the AU-UN Panel’s report.
  • 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 on relations between the UN and regional organisations, particularly the AU.
  • 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.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/470 (18 September 2009) was on support to AU peacekeeping operations authorised by the UN.
  • S/2008/813 (24 December 2008) was the letter from the Secretary-General forwarding the Prodi Panel report.

Selected Security Council Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6206 (26 October 2009) was the debate on the report of the Secretary-General on support to AU peacekeeping operations authorised by the UN.
  • S/PV.6092 and resumption 1 (18 March 2009) was the debate on the AU-UN Panel’s report on modalities for support to AU operations.

Other

  • PSC/PR/BR.2 (CCVI) (15 October 2009) was the press statement by the AU PSC taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on support to AU peacekeeping operations authorised by the UN.
  • S/2009/303 (11 June 2009) was the report of the Council mission to the AU, Rwanda, the DRC and Liberia, which contained the communiqué of 16 May 2009 from the consultative meeting between the members of the Security Council and the AU.
  • S/2008/263 (21 April 2008) was a letter from the permanent representative of South Africa to the president of the Security Council containing the joint communiqué of the 17 April 2008 meeting between the two councils.
  • S/2007/421 (11 July 2007) was the report of the Security Council visit to Addis Ababa, Accra, Abidjan, Khartoum and Kinshasa containing the joint communiqué from the 16 June 2007 meeting.

 

Other Relevant Facts

Current Members of the AU Peace and Security Council

  • Benin
  • Burundi
  • Chad
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Kenya
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

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