Update Report

Update Report No. 3: Support for AU Peacekeeping

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Expected Council Action
On 26 October the Council is expected to hold a public debate on the report of the Secretary-General on support to AU peacekeeping operations authorised by the UN. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy is expected to present the Secretary-General’s report. A number of African countries, the AU and the EU have expressed interest in participating.

At press time Council members were discussing a draft presidential statement circulated by the African members of the Council. The statement is expected to welcome a more effective partnership between the UN and AU and a strengthening of the AU peace and security architecture. Other areas that are being discussed include modalities for the financing for AU-led and UN-authorised peacekeeping operations and the suggestion of a multi-donor trust fund.

Key Recent Developments
The report of the joint AU-UN panel set up by the Secretary-General to review modalities for supporting AU peacekeeping was submitted to the Council and General Assembly on 24 December 2008. The panel was chaired by former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. The report explored how the UN and AU could enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for UN mandated peace operations undertaken by the AU. The key recommendations of the AU-UN Panel’s report were:

On 18 March 2009, under Libya’s presidency, the Council held a high-level public meeting on the Panel’s report (S/PV.6092 and resumption 1). It adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2009/3) which noted with interest the AU-UN Panel’s report. The Council requested that the Secretary-General submit a report no later than 18 September 2009 on practical ways to provide effective support to the AU, including “a detailed assessment of the recommendations contained in the Report of the African Union-United Nations Panel”. He was asked to pay particular attention to the recommendations on financing and establishing a joint AU-UN team. (For more details please see SCR March 2009 Forecast Report.)

On 16 May during the Council’s visit to Africa it met with the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). Although the AU-UN Panel’s report was not discussed a joint communiqué was issued following the meeting where both Councils agreed to “pursue their consultations on ways and means to strengthen their cooperation and partnership, as well as on the modalities for the organization of their partnership”. The communiqué also said that both bodies “look forward to the report to be submitted by the UN Secretary-General.”

The Secretary-General’s report published on 18 September 2009 assessed the recommendations of the AU-UN panel and proposed ways in which the UN can assist the AU in improving its effectiveness in the deployment and management of peacekeeping operations. In the section on strengthening the strategic partnership between the UN and AU the report suggested that the UN Security Council and AU Peace and Security Council should:

Suggestions for improving the partnership between the UN Secretariat and AU Commission included:

In the section on financing for peacekeeping operations the report provides an analysis of the AU-UN Panel’s recommendation that UN-assessed funding be used to support UN-authorised AU peacekeeping operations under certain conditions (for a period not longer than six months and on a case-by-case basis on the understanding that the mission would transition to a UN operation within six months). It reviews the five different types of financing mechanisms that have been used to fund AU peacekeeping operations (i.e. AU assessed contributions, contributions through individual AU troop-contributing countries; voluntary contributions; UN support packages financed through UN-assessed contributions; and a combination of the above). The report does not make a recommendation for any particular type of funding.

The report also outlines current initiatives to build the necessary capacity in the AU particularly activities carried out under the 2006 UN-AU ten-year capacity building programme. It suggests a joint UN-AU study of lessons learnt from the Light and Heavy Support packages for the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), the logistics package for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as collaboration under AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) to help develop future initiatives. The report provides some concrete short, medium and long-term suggestions for initiatives to help build AU capacity. Short-term initiatives include embedding AU human resources personnel in the UN headquarters, information exchange on vendors and contracts, embedding a team of AMISOM representatives within UNSOA and sharing peacekeeping budgetary preparation packages and templates. It also discusses the AU-UN Panel’s recommendation for the creation of a multi-donor trust fund, the need for a strengthened coordination mechanism for donor programmes in the AU and the challenges in operationalising the African Standby Force.

On 15 October the AU PSC discussed the Secretary-General’s report on support for AU peacekeeping. In a press release following the meeting the AU PSC took note of the Secretary-General’s report and expressed its readiness to continue working with the UN “towards ensuring predictable, sustainable and flexible funding for AU-led peace support operations, through assessed contributions.”

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is deciding on next steps now that the Secretary-General has provided an assessment of the various modalities for cooperation and possible financing models.

An issue for some members is whether the UN should have greater oversight over AU peacekeeping missions if it provides the financing and how to ensure that the AU missions meet UN standards for peacekeeping.

Another issue for some members is balancing the Council’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security with improving collective security through cooperation with the AU in a way that in consistent with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.

Also an issue is whether there is a need for greater coordination between the General Assembly and the Council on this issue given that responsibility for financial issues rests with the General Assembly and not the Council.

A related issue is that current financial practices do not easily allow for assessed UN funding for other groups, even when authorised by the Security Council. However there have been two exceptions when UN support packages were approved by the General Assembly—for the AU mission in Sudan and AMISOM.

Also an issue is whether lessons learnt from missions like UNAMID and AMISOM can be used in setting up future UN-authorised AU missions given the unique features of each situation. A related issue is whether it is too early to assess the AMISOM experience.

Also an issue is how support to the AU fits in with the ongoing discussions on peacekeeping. In its 5 August presidential statement on peacekeeping (S/PRST/2009/24) the Council recognised the priority of strengthening the capacity of the AU, and the role of regional and subregional organisations, in maintaining regional peace and security in accordance with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The Secretariat’s July 2009 New Horizon non-paper which reviewed UN peacekeeping also proposed intensifying dialogue with relevant regional organisations and putting in place “arrangements for reimbursement and logistics support” and examining the feasibility of pooling strategic capabilities.

The most likely option for the Council is a presidential statement. Among the possible elements are:

If there is no agreement on funding, a possible option is to agree to have further consultations on this issue.

Council Dynamics
Most Council members are supportive of strengthening the strategic partnership between the AU and UN and helping the AU with capacity-building initiatives. There is also general agreement about the importance of African ownership of this issue.

However, there are some significant differences among members over the issue of financing UN-authorised AU operations. Some members, among them Japan and the UK, feel that in the present economic climate any decision involving a financial commitment would be difficult. They prefer not to make a final decision at this point but are open to keeping the discussion ongoing. But the African members and some others like Turkey are hoping for agreement on at least considering the use of assessed contributions for peacekeeping missions using the conditions suggested by the AU-UN Panel.

Some members are also concerned about the absence of accountability mechanisms in AU missions, and the lack of UN involvement in managing the missions.

Others want to be sure that overall, when using assessed contributions for other organisations there is respect for existing financial regulations.

The multi-donor trust fund appears to have support from a number of members but some are skeptical of creating a new funding mechanism given the difficulties in harmonising existing funding structures. They suggest that the focus should be on improving the existing structures.

France made some of its concerns clear in the March debate. It spoke out against regionalisation in maintaining international peace and security and against using mandatory contributions to the UN as a solution for achieving permanent financing for the AU.

China has consistently said that there should be support for the role of the AU in conflict settlement and that attention should be paid to the AU voices on African issues.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1872 (26 May 2009) renewed authorisation of AMISOM until 31 January 2010 and requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide a logistical support package for AMISOM until 31 January 2010.
  • S/RES/1863(16 January 2009) renewed authorisation of AMISOM for up to six months, approved using UN resources to strengthen AMISOM, and expressed the Council’s intention to establish a UN peacekeeping operation by 1 June.
  • S/RES/1809 (16 April 2008) was the resolution welcoming the Secretary-General’s proposal to set up an AU-UN panel to consider the modalities of how to support AU peacekeeping operations established under a UN mandate.
  • S/RES/1769 (31 July 2007) established UNAMID.
  • S/RES/1706 (31 August 2006) was the resolution on the situation in Sudan mandating UN assistance to AMIS.
  • S/RES/1631 (17 October 2005) was the first resolution adopted by the Council on regional organisations.
  • S/RES/1625 (14 September 2005) was a declaration on the effectiveness of the Council’s role in conflict prevention, calling for the strengthening of cooperation and communication between the UN and regional and subregional organisations in accordance with Chapter VIII (on regional arrangements).
  • S/RES/1497 (1 August 2003) recognised the role Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) played in implementing the June 2003 ceasefire in Liberia and cited Chapter VIII.
  • S/RES/1464 (4 February 2003) welcomed the actions of ECOWAS in response to the violence in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 with reference to Chapter VII and Chapter VIII.
  • S/RES/1318 (7 September 2000) was the adoption of the Millennium Summit declaration on maintaining peace and security, especially in Africa.
  • S/RES/1197 (18 September 1998) was on the need for the UN to provide support to regional and subregional organisations and to strengthen coordination between the UN and those organisations.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/24 (5 August 2009) was the presidential statement on peacekeeping.
  • S/PRST/2009/3 (18 March 2009) was the presidential statement following the meeting on the AU-UN Panel’s report.
  • S/PRST/2007/42 (6 November 2007) was a presidential statement on the role of regional and subregional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/PRST/2007/31 (28 August 2007) requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the options for further implementation of resolution 1625.
  • S/PRST/2007/7 (28 March 2007) was a presidential statement on relations between the UN and regional organisations, particularly the AU.
  • S/PRST/2006/55 (19 December 2006) called for the immediate deployment of light and heavy support packages to AMIS and endorsed the phased approach towards a hybrid AU-UN force agreed by the AU Peace and Security Council.
  • S/PRST/2006/39(20 September 2006) welcomed the progress made in realising the goals of resolution 1631 and urged contributions to the capacity building of regional organisations and subregional organisations, particularly of the AU and African subregional organisations.
  • S/PRST/2004/44 (19 November 2004) recognised the importance of strengthening cooperation with the AU in order to help build its capacity to deal with collective security challenges.
  • S/PRST/2004/27 (20 July 2004) was the statement after the Council’s debate on cooperation between the UN and regional organisations in stabilisation processes.
  • S/PRST/1998/35 (30 November 1998) reaffirmed the increasingly important role of regional arrangements in maintaining peace and security.
  • S/PRST/1998/28 (16 September 1998) focused on enhancing Africa’s peacekeeping capacity and highlighted the problem of children and armed conflict.
  • S/PRST/1997/46 (25 September 1997) noted that addressing the challenges of conflict in Africa required a comprehensive approach and called on the Secretary-General to produce a report to address the issue.
  • S/PRST/1994/22 (3 May 1994) said that regional and sub-regional organisations should be taken into account when setting up new peacekeeping operations.

Selected Letters

  • S/2008/813 (24 December 2008) 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.
  • S/2008/229 (8 April 2008) was a letter from the permanent representative of South Africa forwarding the concept paper on the relationship between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU, in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/2007/640 (29 October 2007) was the letter from the permanent representative of Indonesia forwarding the concept paper on the relationship between the UN and regional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/2007/148 (14 March 2007) was the letter from the permanent representative of South Africa forwarding the concept paper on the relationship between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU, in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/2005/567 (29 August 2005) was the conclusions of the sixth high-level meeting between the Secretary-General and regional organisations.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/470 (18 September 2009) was the Secretary-General’s report on support to AU peacekeeping operations authorised by the UN.
  • S/2008/186 (7 April 2008) was the Secretary-General’s latest report on enhancing cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU.
  • S/2006/590 (28 July 2006) was the report A regional-global security partnership: challenges and opportunities.
  • A/59/2005 (21 March 2005) was the report, In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All.
  • A/59/565 (2 December 2004) and Corr. 1 (6 December 2004) was the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
  • S/2000/809 (21 August 2000) was the Brahimi report on peacekeeping.

Selected General Assembly Documents

  • A/63/780 (23 March 2009) was the ACABQ report authorizing the financing of support for AMISOM.
  • A/RES/60/1 (24 October 2005) was the World Summit Outcome Document.
  • A/RES/49/57 (17 February 1995) was the Declaration on Enhancement of Cooperation between the UN and Regional Arrangements or Agencies in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security.


  • PSC/PR/BR.2 (CCVI) (15 October 2009) was the press statement by the AU PSC taking note of the report of the Secretary-Genearl on support to AU peacekeeping operations authorised by the UN
  • S/2009/303 (11 June 2009) was the report of the Council mission to the AU, Rwanda, the DRC and Liberia which contained the communique of 16 May 2009consultative meeting between the members of the Security Council and the AU.
  • S/PV.6092 and resumption 1 (18 March 2009) was the debate on the AU-UN Panel’s report on modalities for support to AU operations.
  • S/PV.5868 and resumption 1 (16 April 2008) was the debate combining the thematic issues of UN cooperation with regional organisations and conflict prevention and resolution, in particular in Africa.
  • S/2007/421 (11 July 2007) was the report of the Security Council to Addis Adaba, Accra, Abidjan and Kinshasa.
  • S/PV.3819 (25 September 1997) was the first ministerial-level debate on the situation in Africa.

Other Relevant Facts

AU-UN Panel on Modalities for Support to AU Peacekeeping Operations

  • Romano Prodi (Italy), Chair
  • James Dobbins (USA)
  • Jean-Pierre Halbwachs (Mauritius)
  • Monica Juma (Kenya)
  • Toshiyuki Niwa (Japan)
  • Behrooz Sadry (Iran)