Arria-formula Meeting: “Collective Security through Equitable Burden Sharing: Strengthening Regional Arrangements for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”
This afternoon (27 July) at 3 pm EST, Ghana will convene an Arria-formula meeting titled “Collective security through equitable burden sharing: strengthening regional arrangements for the maintenance of international peace and security”. The meeting, which will take place in the ECOSOC chamber, is open to representatives of all UN member states and will be broadcast on UN TV. The expected briefers are Donald Kaberuka, High Representative for the AU Peace Fund; Damtien Larbli Tchintchibidja, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission; Pernilla Rydén, Director of the Challenges Forum International Secretariat; and Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw, Associate Director of Peaceful Societies and Accountable Governance at the European Centre for Development Policy Management.
According to the concept note prepared by Ghana, regional and sub-regional organisations are playing an increasingly prominent role in addressing threats to international peace and security. For example, regional arrangements in Africa have assumed greater responsibility in supporting countries grappling with violent extremism. However, the concept note argues that regional efforts to address root causes and drivers of conflict have been undermined by financing gaps and an inadequate level of cooperation with the Security Council.
An objective of today’s meeting is to revisit the proposals for supporting regional arrangements through funding from UN assessed contributions and to provide logistical support to address conflicts at the regional level. In this regard, the meeting will provide an opportunity for members to re-examine burden-sharing arrangements between the UN and regional organisations.
African members of the Security Council have for some years made clear that pursuing a substantive resolution on UN financing for AU peace support operations is a priority. Resolution 2378, adopted in 2017, expressed the Council’s intention to consider co-funding AU-led peace support operations through UN-assessed contributions “on a case-by-case basis”. However, subsequent attempts to negotiate a Security Council resolution on the subject have been unsuccessful. In December 2018, a draft resolution circulated by the then-A3 (Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Equatorial Guinea) spelling out the conditions for financing AU-led peace support operations through UN-assessed contributions was never tabled for a vote, due to US resistance, including indications that it might veto the draft resolution.
The Secretary-General has since underscored the importance of reinvigorating discussions between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council on financing AU peace support operations through UN assessed contributions. On 28 October 2021, the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/21) recognising that a major constraint facing the AU in effectively carrying out its mandate is “securing predictable, sustainable and flexible resources” and that ad hoc and unpredictable financing arrangements for AU-led peace operations authorised by the Security Council “may impact the effectiveness of these peace support operations”.
The concept note sets out several questions to help guide the discussion at today’s meeting:
- How can the Security Council foster closer cooperation with regional organisations to enable better regional responses to threats to peace and security?
- How can the Council effectively and systematically address the issue of predictable, sustainable and flexible funding, including through the use of UN-assessed contributions for peace support operations undertaken by regional organisations such as the AU?
- Which other tools, besides military options, can the UN system explore to support regional arrangements in a coherent manner for the maintenance of peace and security?
At today’s meeting, members may be interested in hearing from Kaberuka about efforts to operationalise the AU Peace Fund and finance AU peace support operations. Kaberuka is likely to describe the important operational activities of the Peace Fund—including in the areas of mediation, preventive diplomacy, capacity building and peace support operations—that rely on predictable and sustainable funding.
Council members are generally supportive of the cooperation and partnership between the UN and the AU in the area of peace and security. However, discussions on specific aspects of the relationship, such as co-financing matters, have been more divisive. For example, during the 15 February Council meeting on Somalia, the A3 (Gabon, Ghana and Kenya) reiterated the AU’s position, calling for the utilisation of UN assessed contributions to fund the envisioned AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which was established in March through resolution 2628. However, it appears that some permanent members of the Council opposed the idea and preferred a broader discussion on financing, rather than dealing with the issue in a mission-specific context.
The UK and the US are likely to express reservations on the issue of co-financing of AU-led peace support operations. The US has said that it would not consider the use of UN-assessed contributions for AU peacekeeping operations without the demonstrable implementation of benchmarks for financial transparency, conduct and discipline, and human rights. However, the Biden administration is expected to be more amenable than its predecessor to a discussion of this issue. The UK has also noted that establishing robust financial reporting arrangements, clear joint planning and coordination structures, and strong compliance frameworks for human rights, international humanitarian law and conduct and discipline would be key considerations of any future Council decision on the matter.