Annual Meeting with AU PSC Members
Expected Council Action
In June, Council members are scheduled to hold the eighth annual consultative meeting with members of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). Following the meeting, which will be held in New York this year, a joint communiqué will likely be issued.
Council and PSC members have held annual joint meetings since 2007, alternating between their respective headquarters. The underlying purpose has been to address peace and security issues in Africa, particularly with respect to strengthening cooperation between the UN and AU and more fully utilising the comparative advantages of the two organisations. Each annual consultative meeting has resulted in a communiqué. From 2007 to 2010, the communiqués were brief and principally affirmed a commitment to hold another meeting, but since 2011 they have become more substantive.
The most recent meeting between members of the two Councils was held at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa on 8 October 2013. On 14 October, the communiqué for the seventh annual consultative meeting was transmitted via a letter to the Council (S/2013/611). It covered the six agenda items discussed at the meeting: the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic (CAR), the Sahel and AU-UN partnership. On 21 October, Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gassana (Rwanda), who along with Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev (Azerbaijan) co-led the Council delegation in Addis Ababa as part of a visiting mission to Africa from 3-9 October, briefed the Council (S/PV.7045).
While the meeting is likely to be structured primarily around country-specific situations, there are a number of issues relating to peacekeeping and peace enforcement that may come up in different contexts: financing and re-hatting of regional and subregional operations to UN peacekeeping operations, such as in Mali and CAR; identifying the trade-offs involved with incorporating forces from subregional organisations or regional troop-contributing countries into UN peacekeeping operations, as with the Intervention Brigade in the DRC or, as is now under consideration, for South Sudan; addressing any lingering differences regarding UN coordination of financing and logistical support for AU forces (e.g., the AU Mission in Somalia); and reviewing lessons learned from the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur regarding host-country relations and troop capacity constraints.
Regarding mediation, the discussion is likely to focus on the work of the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, and the AU High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP), chaired by Thabo Mbeki. There has been a conspicuous lack of progress in AUHIP mediation of the conflict in the Two Areas and AUHIP facilitation in implementing past agreements between Sudan and South Sudan on border issues and Abyei. Likewise, the Darfur mediation process under Joint Chief Mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas, which is based on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, has also stalled. The meeting could be an opportunity for the AU and UN to creatively rethink their mediation strategies for the Two Areas, Sudan-South Sudan and Darfur.
Council and PSC members may also choose to discuss institutional mechanisms for UN and AU cooperation in response to transnational and regional threats, such as organised crime, piracy, poaching and terrorism. Strategic coordination is an important dimension of mitigating transnational and regional threats but one that can be overlooked in practice (a current example perhaps being the proliferation of international, regional and subregional Sahel strategies). On the other hand, there may be a useful parallel to be drawn between UN, AU and member state collaboration on counter-insurgency measures against the Lord’s Resistance Army and the potential to develop a similar approach for dealing with Boko Haram. Another area of focus could be to follow up on the 24-25 June 2013 Yaoundé summit on maritime security, which included participation by the UN and AU.
Although justice and accountability issues were not on the agenda at the last meeting with PSC members, Council members did discuss the ICC in a separate meeting on 8 October 2013 with AU Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. There are eight situations in Africa before the ICC: two referred by the Council (Libya and Sudan), two initiated by the ICC Prosecutor (Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya) and four self-referred (CAR, DRC, Mali and Uganda). Following an informal interactive dialogue between Council members and an AU Contact Group on 31 October, a draft resolution for a one-year deferral of the ICC’s prosecution of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto of Kenya (S/2013/660) was not adopted on 15 November, with seven votes in favour and eight abstentions (S/PV.7060). The AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, appointed 7 March, and how it could relate to other justice and accountability mechanisms under consideration, such as a hybrid tribunal, may also be of interest.
Two principal drawbacks of the annual joint consultative meetings thus far have been inadequate advance agenda planning and insufficient follow-up and implementation. Nonetheless, Council and PSC members are aware of the need for better coordination and cooperation between the UN and AU in response to the evolving peace and security challenges facing Africa. In the text of their last communiqué, they committed to agreeing upon an agenda in advance of the next meeting, including an item covering issues requiring follow-up. In the next communiqué, it may be useful to further specify a timetable for this process, as well as to designate (or create) an institutional mechanism for implementation.
UN DOCUMENTS ON THE ANNUAL MEETING WITH AU PSC MEMBERS
|Security Council Resolutions|
|15 November 2013 S/2013/660||This was a draft resolution on a deferral of the ICC proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy.|
|12 January 2012 S/RES/2033||This resolution called for elaboration of “further ways of strengthening relations between the two Councils” and asked the Secretary-General in consultation with the AU to conduct a comprehensive analysis of lessons learned from practical cooperation between the UN and the AU.|
|Security Council Presidential Statements|
|6 August 2013 S/PRST/2013/12||This presidential statement stressed the utility of continuing to develop effective partnerships between the UN and regional organizations.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|15 November 2013 S/PV.7060||This was a meeting to vote on a draft resolution (S/2013/660) on the ICC deferral of President Kenyatta and his deputy, the resolution was not adopted, with only seven Council members voting in favour and the remaining eight members abstaining.|
|21 October 2013 S/PV.7045||The Council was briefed by the lead countries on the visiting mission to the Great Lakes Region and Addis Ababa: Morocco, France, US, UK, Rwanda and Azerbaijan.|
|6 August 2013 S/PV.7015||The Council held a high-level open debate on cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations.|
|6 August 2013 S/PV.7015 (Resumption 1)||The Council held a high-level open debate on cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations.|
|12 January 2012 S/PV.6702||This was a meeting on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.|
|12 January 2012 S/PV.6702 (Resumption 1)||This was a resumption of a meeting on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.|
|Security Council Letters|
|30 December 2013 S/2013/778||This letter transmitted the annual report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.|
|14 October 2013 S/2013/611||This was a letter from Rwanda transmitting the joint communique of the seventh annual joint consultative meeting between members of the Council and the Peace and Security Council of the AU.|
|9 August 2012 S/2012/614||This was a report on cooperation between the UN and regional and other organisations.|
|29 December 2011 S/2011/805||This report of the Secretary-General concerned UN-AU cooperation in peace and security.|