Expected Council Action
In November, the Council will hold an open debate on enhancing African capacities in peacekeeping operations. Secretary-General António Guterres is expected to brief, as is a representative from the AU.
Key Recent Developments
There has been an ongoing discussion about enhancing African peace and security capacities, particularly around a 26 May 2017 Secretary-General’s report that outlined options through which the UN could provide financial support to AU peace support operations, considering the limitations of current structures.
This issue featured prominently at a 19 July 2017 open debate that China organised during its Council presidency on African capacities in the maintenance of peace and security. AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smaïl Chergui, who briefed along with Guterres, outlined ways to best support African capacities in prevention of conflict and response to peace and security challenges. He stressed the importance of joint AU and UN assessment and analysis, supporting efforts to develop the African Standby Force, working together on sustainable post-conflict reconstruction and development initiatives, and more predictable and sustainable funding for AU peace operations, including through assessed contributions.
On 20 September 2017, the Council adopted resolution 2378, expressing its intention to further consider practical steps to establish a mechanism through which AU peace support operations could be partly financed through UN assessed contributions on a case-by-case basis.
On 18 July, the Council discussed the Secretary-General’s annual report on strengthening the partnership between the UN and the AU. The report highlighted the strengthened cooperation between the UN and the AU since the signing in April 2017 of a UN-AU framework agreement for enhanced partnership. Among other points, it described AU progress towards fulfilling its commitment to fund 25 percent of its peace operations through increased contributions to the AU Peace Fund.
The next day, the members of the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council held their annual consultative meeting. A joint communiqué reflected the ongoing discussion regarding the strengthening of AU capacities, including the financing question.
China has used its Council presidency to advance policies that can provide support for building African countries’ capacities in the field of peace and security. African Council members have repeatedly stressed the importance of securing a resolution to establish that UN assessed contributions should, on a case-by-case basis, finance Security Council-mandated AU peace support missions. The US has objected to such use of assessed contributions, with the exception of the AU Mission in Somalia through a UN support office established in 2009. During the 18 July briefing, the US said it would not consider using assessed contributions for AU-led operations without the demonstrable implementation of benchmarks for financial transparency, conduct and discipline, and human rights. This is a debate that has also played out in the Council’s consideration of how to support the jointf orce of the Group of Five for the Sahel.
UN DOCUMENTS ON AU-UN COOPERATION
|Security Council Resolutions|
|20 September 2017 S/RES/2378||This was a resolution on UN peacekeeping reform.|
|18 November 2016 S/RES/2320||This was a resolution which welcomed the AU Assembly decision to fund 25 percent of AU peace support operations, to be phased incrementally over five years.|
|6 July 2018 S/2018/678||This was the Secretary-General’s report on ways to strengthen the partnership between the UN and the AU on peace and security in Africa.|
|26 May 2017 S/2017/454||This report was on options for authorisation and support for AU peace support operations.|
|Security Council Letters|
|19 July 2018 S/2018/736||This was the joint communiqué following the 12th annual joint consultative meeting between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council.|
|5 July 2017 S/2017/574||This was the concept note for the open debate on “Enhancing African capacities in the areas of peace and security”.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|18 July 2018 S/PV.8314||This was a meeting on the Secretary-General’s annual report on ways to strengthen the partnership between the UN and AU on issues of peace and security in Africa. The Council was briefed by Special Representative to the AU and head of UNOAU Sahle-Work Zewde and AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smaïl Chergui.|
|19 July 2017 S/PV.8006||This was an open debate on “Enhancing African capacities in the areas of peace and security”. The Council was briefed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smaïl Chergui.|
|19 July 2017 S/PV.8006 (Resumption 1)||This was an open debate on “Enhancing African capacities in the areas of peace and security”.|