Cooperation with Regional and Subregional Organisations
Expected Council Action
In October, the Council will hold a briefing on cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations, focusing on strengthening the partnership with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). A high-level representative of Azerbaijan will preside over the meeting. The UN Secretary-General is expected to brief the Council, along with the Secretary-General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. A presidential statement is a likely outcome.
The UN Charter establishes the Security Council as the principal organ charged with the maintenance of international peace and security, but it also envisions a role for “regional arrangements”, especially in regard to the peaceful settlement of disputes. In Chapter VIII, the Charter encourages regional organisations to contribute towards the maintenance of peace and security insofar as such efforts are subordinate to the Security Council. In addition, article 54 provides that the Council should “at all times be kept fully informed of activities undertaken or in contemplation” by regional organisations for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The relationship with regional organisations is featured in three important Secretary-General’s reports that largely laid down the strategic vision of the organisation.
The 17 June 1992 report An Agenda for Peace highlighted the role that regional organisations could play in preventive diplomacy, early warning systems, peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding. The Supplement to an Agenda for Peace, issued on 25 January 1995, outlined modes of cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, including consultation, diplomatic support, operational support, co-deployment and joint operations. The 21 March 2005 report In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all discussed the “establishment of an interlocking system of peacekeeping capacities” to allow the UN to work with regional organisations in predictable and reliable partnerships.
In initiating the upcoming debate, Azerbaijan seeks to consider the role of the OIC and its experiences in promoting peace and security and fostering a culture of peace at the global level. The OIC has enjoyed observer status in the UN General Assembly since 1975.
The relationship with the OIC, which has 57 member states on four continents, has never been the focus per se of a Council briefing, and its relationship with the UN has mainly been with the General Assembly and the Secretariat, mainly on issues related to conflict prevention, inter-cultural dialogue and the fight against terrorism. In a 2012 report, the Secretary-General explained how the UN and the OIC agreed on a one-year partnership aimed at “enhancing their cooperation and exchange of experiences in the area of mediation and at strengthening the operational capacity of OIC in mediation through the establishment of a mediation unit”. An area of increasing cooperation is counter-terrorism, as reflected by the joint work with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate in areas such as the building of national capacity to fight against terrorism and the role of cultural dialogue in countering incitement to commit terrorist acts.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan seeks to highlight the role of the OIC in supporting UN efforts in addressing conflicts on the Council’s agenda and to explore how to make this cooperation more effective by building on existing capacities and areas of expertise, such as preventive diplomacy. The OIC opened offices in 2011 in Kabul and Mogadishu, it has worked to support mediation efforts in Darfur and Iraq and it has established development programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sierra Leone. On the margins of the General Assembly in September, OIC foreign ministers met on Somalia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jammu and Kashmir, Mali and Palestine.
October’s briefing follows the 17 May adoption of a resolution in which the General Assembly expressed that strengthening the cooperation between the UN and the OIC “contributes to the promotion of the purposes and principles of the UN” (A/RES/67/264). The resolution requested the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its 69th session in 2014 on the state of cooperation between the UN and the OIC.
The key issue is to have a fruitful discussion on cooperation with the OIC and to reflect the results in the expected presidential statement.
A further issue is to identify mechanisms for cooperation between the Council and the OIC in areas of common interest, such as conflict prevention and counter-terrorism.
The most likely option is the adoption of a presidential statement that:
- recognises the role of the OIC in promoting peace and security and fostering a culture of peace at the global level;
- identify ways cooperation with the OIC could develop in areas of common interest; and
- emphasise the important role of regional organisations in general and the OIC in particular in the peaceful settlement of disputes.
Council members are generally supportive of the initiative to have a briefing on this topic, as it is the first time the Council will discuss a relationship with the OIC.
Some Council members might be wary that the general terms of the debate may allow participants to talk about conflict situations and issues that are not on the Council’s agenda.
Council members Azerbaijan, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo are members of the OIC. Russia has had observer status since 2005.
UN Documents on Cooperation with Regional and Subregional Organisations
|Security Council Resolution|
|17 October 2005 S/RES/1631||This resolution addressed the issue of cooperation between the UN and regional organisations and stressed the role of regional organisations in addressing the issue of small arms.|
|Security Council Presidential Statement|
|13 January 2010 S/PRST/2010/1||This presidential statement was released following the 13 January meeting “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organisations”.|
|9 August 2012 S/2012/614||This was a report on cooperation between the UN and regional and other organisations.|
|28 July 2006 S/2006/590||This was the Secretary-General’s report “A regional-global security partnership: challenges and opportunities”.|
|21 March 2005 A/59/2005||This was the Secretary-General’s report In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all.|
|25 January 1995 S/1995/1||This was the position paper of the Secretary-General, Supplement to An Agenda for Peace, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations.|
|17 June 1992 S/24111||This was the report An Agenda for Peace in which Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali noted that peace-building after civil or international strife must address the serious problem of landmines.|
|General Assembly Document|
|17 May 2013 A/RES/67/264||This was a resolution on the cooperation between the UN and the OIC.|