Peace and Security in Africa
Expected Council Action
In September, the Council will hold a debate at the initiative of Russia, as Council president for the month, under the agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa”.
Over the past nine months, the Council has held several thematic open debates on different aspects of the issue of peace and security in Africa, namely cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations and strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa.
During its November 2018 presidency, China held an open debate on strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa. Secretary-General António Guterres and Smaïl Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, briefed the Council. The objective of the open debate was to mobilise the international community to increase its level of attention to, and investment in, African peace and security in general, and peacekeeping operations there, in particular. The concept note invited participants to address how to improve AU-UN cooperation on peace and security issues “while respecting Africa’s leading role in resolving its own security issues”. (See our What’s in Blue story of 16 November 2018.)
Under the presidency of Côte d’Ivoire, on 6 December 2018, the Council held an open debate on cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations, focusing on the role of states, regional arrangements and the UN in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Secretary-General António Guterres briefed, together with the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat. (See our What’s in Blue story of 5 December 2018.)
On 27 February, during the presidency of Equatorial Guinea, the Council held an open debate under the agenda item “Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations: Silencing the Guns in Africa” on how the AU and UN can cooperate to end conflict in Africa. Equatorial Guinea convened the meeting to address several questions on AU-UN cooperation, such as how to preserve achievements and strengthen tools to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. The open debate followed an Arria-formula meeting held in October 2018 on this issue, co-chaired by Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, South Africa and the AU.
At the debate, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2457. While expressing concerns over the challenging security environment in Africa (including threats caused by terrorism, maritime piracy, transnational organised crime, and tensions between farmers and pastoralists, among others), the resolution acknowledged that “the building of a conflict free Africa essentially rests on the African Union, its Member States, their people and their institutions…while also recognizing the need for international cooperation and partnership to help accelerate progress towards the realization of this continental goal”. In this regard, the resolution encouraged the UN and AU “to strengthen their efforts to coordinate their engagement”. It also called on the Secretary-General, in consultation with the AU Commission Chairperson, to provide updates “when appropriate” on the status of implementation measures towards enhancing the support of the UN to the AU. (See our What’s in Blue story of 26 February for more details on the open debate.)
Along with the three African members of the Council, it appears that China and Russia have increasingly demonstrated their interest in engaging on thematic considerations of peace and security in Africa, as evidenced notably by the open debate convened by China in November 2018 and the upcoming debate to be convened by Russia. It seems that Russia has consulted with the three African members of the Council in formulating the focus for September’s debate. At the open debate on 27 February, Russia stressed the need to “put the emphasis on discussing the efforts of African countries themselves to solve the problems they are facing in the area of peace and security and the ways that the international community may be able to help them to do that”.
Some Council members may view next month’s debate as an opportunity to engage on the issue ahead of the 13th annual joint consultative meeting in October of members of the Security Council and members of the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
UN DOCUMENTS ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA
|Security Council Resolution|
|27 February 2019S/RES/2457||This was a resolution adopted during a meeting on “Cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security”.|
|30 August 2019|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|27 February 2019S/PV.8473||This was a high-level open debate on “Silencing the guns in Africa”.|
|6 December 2018S/PV.8414||This was an open debate on cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations: the role of states, regional arrangements and the UN in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.|
|20 November 2018S/PV.8407||This was the open debate on strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa, where Secretary-General António Guterres and Smaïl Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, briefed the Council.|