UN-AU Partnership on Peace Operations
Expected Council Action
In December, at the initiative of Chad, the Council is expected to hold an open debate on the evolution of the partnership between the UN and the AU in UN-mandated peace operations. A presidential statement is a likely outcome.
The role of regional and subregional organisations in UN peacekeeping, with a particular focus on Africa, has been discussed in the Council both in the context of country-specific situations and thematic debates. The last such debate took place on 28 July at the initiative of Rwanda. The scope of the open debate organised by Chad will include special political missions in addition to peacekeeping operations. Since 2007, AU Peace and Security Council members have held annual consultative meetings with Council members and peace operations have been featured prominently in all these discussions.
The involvement of regional and subregional organisations in peacekeeping is not new. On 22 September 1993, the Council adopted resolution 866 establishing the UN Observer Mission in Liberia and noting that this would be the first UN peacekeeping mission undertaken “in cooperation with a peacekeeping mission already set up by another organisation”, in this case the Ceasefire Monitoring Group deployed by the Economic Community of West African States in August 1990.
On 31 July 2007, the Council adopted resolution 1769, authorising the establishment of the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur. In 2004 the AU had established the AU Mission in Sudan, to which the UN supplied light and heavy support packages sequentially, eventually resulting in the first-ever UN-AU hybrid operation. For the first time, the UN had created an operation for which it assumed full financial responsibility but over which it did not retain exclusive operational or political control.
In resolution 1725 of 6 December 2006, the Council endorsed the proposal by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the AU to deploy a peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The AU established the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) expecting the mission to evolve into a UN operation, but a 20 April 2007 report by the Secretary-General indicated that the conditions to deploy a UN peacekeeping operation to replace AMISOM did not exist in Somalia (S/2007/204). In 2009, the Council took an unprecedented step in resolution 1872 by authorising the provision of a logistics support package funded by UN assessed contributions and channelled through the UN Support Office for AMISOM, established for this purpose in Nairobi, Kenya.
On 16 April 2008, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa chaired a high-level open debate on the need to strengthen the relationship between the UN and regional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security (S/PV.5868). The meeting resulted in the adoption of resolution 1809, which recognised the need to “enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organisations” when they undertake peacekeeping under UN authorisation.
To address the limitations of AU operations due to inadequate equipment and transportation capabilities and other operational weaknesses, a 24 December 2008 report by a joint AU-UN panel (known as the Prodi Report) came up with two main recommendations: the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund to support AU peacekeeping capacity and the use of UN assessed contributions to support UN-authorised AU operations on a case-by-case basis, provided the Security Council and General Assembly approved and there was an agreement that the mission would transition to UN management within six months (S/2008/813). Despite the fact that the Council has continued to rely on regional and subregional organisations to support peacekeeping efforts, there has been no follow-up to the issue of financing AU operations mandated by the Council.
The Council in the past few years authorised two African-led missions to fill in temporarily for UN peacekeeping missions: the African-led International Support Mission in Mali in December 2012 and the African-led International Support Mission to the CAR in December 2013. Discussions preceding and following their respective deployment focused on the need for logistical and financial support to ensure their operational capabilities.
On 28 July, at the initiative of Rwanda, the Council held an open debate on “UN peacekeeping: regional partnerships and their evolution” which included briefings by the Secretary-General, EU and AU representatives. Resolution 2167, which was adopted at the meeting, requested the UN Secretariat to initiate, in cooperation with the AU, a lessons learned exercise on the transitions from AU to UN peacekeeping operations in Mali and the Central African Republic and to present specific recommendations for future transitional arrangements by the end of the year. The resolution, however, stopped short of advancing the issue of financing.
A key issue is to ensure that the partnerships are effective at the strategic, operational and tactical level.
Another key issue for the Council is to devise an effective, sustainable and fair working relationship with the AU, compatible with the new tasks it is mandated to do.
A related issue is for African Council members to articulate concerns African regional organisations may have regarding Council decisions.
The Council may adopt a presidential statement:
- reiterating the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for regional organisations when they are implementing Security Council mandates; and
- encouraging its ad hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa to meet more regularly on topics pertaining to the efforts of African-led initiatives in support of UN-mandated operations.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members agree that partnerships with regional organisations in Africa and elsewhere are fundamental in maintaining international peace and security.
The AU position is to seek more parity in that partnership, to replace ad hoc arrangements with sustained financial and material support for UN-authorised missions. Some Council members, however, have advocated for the establishment of trust funds or bilateral cooperation as opposed to hybrid operations or African-led operations funded through UN assessed contributions. An earlier version of the draft text that became resolution 2167 had requested the Secretary-General to draw a roadmap for the implementation of the recommendations of the Prodi Report. That provision was dropped given the opposition of P3 members.
|Security Council Resolution|
|28 July 2014 S/RES/2167||This resolution was on regional partnerships and peacekeeping.|
|24 December 2008 S/2008/813||This 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.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|28 July 2014 S/PV.7228||This was an open debate on UN peacekeeping regional partnerships and their evolution.|