What's In Blue

Vote on a Draft Resolution on the Financing of AU-Led Peace Support Operations*

This afternoon (21 December), the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution on the financing of African Union (AU)-led peace support operations (AUPSOs), which was authored by the Council’s three African members (Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique, also known as the A3). The US has proposed an amendment to the text. In accordance with rule 33 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, which says that amendments “shall have precedence in the order named over all principal motions and draft resolutions”, the Council will first vote on the US amendment to the A3 draft, before proceeding to vote on the whole draft.

The draft text in blue recognises the role of AUPSOs in implementing a clear, robust, and focused mandate, including peace enforcement, with a limited duration in time and an exit strategy. It says that the Council agrees to consider requests from the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) for access to UN assessed contributions, on a case-by-case basis, consistent with Article 17 of the UN Charter as well as the UN’s financial regulations and rules. It also indicates that the Security Council will decide on the most appropriate mission model to provide such support, prioritising the establishment of a UN Support Office, but without excluding any other mission model.

The draft text in blue requests the Secretary-General to submit a report every six months “on the status of implementation of the mandate that the United Nations Security Council authorizes for the conduct of any African Union-led Peace Support Operations” and an annual report on progress in the implementation of this resolution. It also decides to review the implementation of this resolution three years after its adoption.

The negotiations on the draft resolution were long and apparently contentious. The A3 conducted preliminary consultations with Council members before circulating an initial draft of the resolution on 20 November. They convened a first reading of the text on 22 November and then two rounds of negotiations, on 28 November and 4 December. The A3 then held bilateral consultations with other Council members to address some of the outstanding issues during the negotiations, including burden-sharing, decision-making processes, and human rights.

The A3 made significant revisions to the text following the two rounds of negotiations and put it under silence procedure on 11 December. The UK broke silence and several other Council members sent comments, which led the A3 to make further revisions to the draft text and place it under a second silence procedure on 14 December. The UK again broke silence on the issue of burden-sharing and decision-making processes and several other Council members sent additional comments on various aspects of the draft text. Nevertheless, the A3 placed the draft straight into blue on 15 December, making several technical edits to the text, and requested that the vote be scheduled for today (21 December).


The financing of AUPSOs has been a longstanding issue in the relationship between the UN and the AU in general and between the UN Security Council and the AUPSC in particular. Since 2007, when the AU formally requested the UN to examine the possibility of funding AUPSOs from UN assessed contributions, successive A3 members have sought to advance the discussion on this issue in the Council. In 2018, the A3 (then Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Equatorial Guinea) proposed a resolution that aimed to secure a decision from the Security Council on the provision of UN assessed contributions for AUPSOs on a case-by-case basis. That draft was not put to a vote due to strong opposition by the US, among other reasons. (For more information, see our 26 April research report titled “the Financing of AU Peace Support Operations: Prospects for Progress in the Security Council?”.)

In recent years, however, the US has been amenable to considering the financing of AUPSOs from UN assessed contributions and this has injected renewed dynamism into the discussion at the Council. Following a debate on peace and security in Africa held during China’s August 2022 Council presidency, the Council adopted a presidential statement  requesting the Secretary-General to submit a progress report on the efforts by the UN and the AU to fulfil the commitments set out in resolution 2320 of 18 November 2016 on cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations, and resolution 2378 of 20 September 2017 on peacekeeping reform. The Secretary-General’s 1 May report formed the basis for discussion on the financing of AUPSOs at a meeting held on 25 May during Switzerland’s Council presidency. (For more information, see our 24 May What’s in Blue story.)

The AU also prepared a Consensus Paper on Predictable, Adequate, and Sustainable Financing for AU Peace and Security Activities, which was adopted by the 36th AU summit in February. In a 12 May communiqué, the AUPSC requested the A3 to resume consultations towards adopting a Security Council resolution on financing AUPSOs through UN assessed contributions. On 23 September, the AUPSC met again at ministerial level in New York and requested the A3 to table the draft resolution for a vote before the end of December.

Preliminary Consultations on the Draft Resolution

The A3 worked with the AU in drafting the resolution and subsequently engaged in preliminary informal consultations with permanent Security Council members (P5) individually and with the elected members (E10) collectively. During these consultations, it seems that Council members were broadly supportive of the A3’s initiative but sought additional details regarding the proposed approach to facilitate consensus on the resolution. The A3 apparently intended to propose a framework resolution to address the financing of AUPSOs on a case-by-case basis, with detailed discussions deferred until the future, when specific cases are presented to the Council for authorisation and support. They also pushed for full funding (100 percent) from UN assessed contributions to support AUPSOs.

However, some Council members insisted that the resolution should incorporate provisions on such issues as human rights compliance and fiduciary responsibilities to avoid potential controversies in future discussions on the authorisation and support for AUPSOs. The US apparently sent the A3 a detailed proposal on human rights compliance. Additionally, these members underscored the need for the AU to share some of the financial burden, considering it a crucial factor for securing their agreement on the draft resolution. Although the A3 planned to circulate the initial draft text to Council members in October, the timeline was pushed several times because of the consultations, which continued until November.

Negotiations on the Draft Resolution

It seems that the negotiations were contentious. The initial draft text presented by the A3 changed significantly following the inclusion of several proposals by Council members on various aspects of the resolution. The draft text was also restructured along four categories: decision-making and authorisation, financial arrangements and procedures, compliance frameworks and other matters, and reporting and monitoring. Some members—including the UK, supported by other like-minded members—had particular concerns over the decision-making process and sought to ensure that the Security Council has primacy over decision-making and oversight. This was one of the issues that prompted the UK to break silence twice during the negotiations.

Several Council members, such as Switzerland, also paid particular attention to the issue of human rights, underscoring the need for AUPSOs to comply with the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (HRDDP). China, on the other hand, emphasised the need to support the AU’s autonomy, leadership, and political ownership in the deployment of AUPSOs and argued against stringent conditions regarding human rights compliance. In particular, China apparently opposed the repeated reference to the HRDDP in the draft text, which it viewed as not necessary in the context of the discussion on the financing of AUPSOs. It maintained that it is sufficient to reference the AU Compliance Framework (AUCF) for AUPSOs, which aims to ensure adherence to international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and UN conduct and discipline standards to prevent and combat impunity for sexual exploitation and abuse. Despite this member’s objection, the draft text in blue underscores that the support provided to AUPSOs will be delivered in line with the HRDDP.

Japan emphasised, among other things, that support to AUPSOs should not undermine the role of UN peacekeeping and underscored the basic principles of peacekeeping during the negotiations. It seems that the comment that Russia made on the draft focused on financial arrangements and procedures, while on several other issues, its position during the negotiations seemed to be aligned with that of China.

Even though the text in blue does not address some of their issues and concerns, Council members seem to be ready to vote in favour of the text, although several feel that achieving compromise on burden-sharing, which was the most contentious issue during the negotiations, is critical to adopt the resolution by consensus. Several Council members—including three permanent members (France, the UK, and the US)—attached great importance to this issue. The US initially proposed the following formula: 75 percent from UN assessed contributions, 15 percent from the AU, five percent from voluntary contributions, and five percent which covers pre-deployment costs to be absorbed by troop-contributing countries. It seems that France also came up with figures on pre-deployment costs and other costs related to civilian personnel that it believed could be absorbed by the AU. This was apparently unacceptable to the A3, however. As well, other members, such as the UK and Switzerland, proposed different options on burden-sharing, although none garnered the necessary support during negotiations.

Later in the negotiations, the US appeared to have shown flexibility in its position, offering as a compromise to refer only to the 75 percent and to secure a commitment from the AU to share the burden without specifying a particular figure. This compromise proposal was apparently discussed with an AU senior official visiting New York. Council members hoped that this would secure the necessary consensus on the resolution. It seems that the AU official raised the compromise proposal with members of the AUPSC in an informal meeting held in Addis Ababa on 7 December, but that the AUPSC members rejected the compromise proposal, insisting on their position of seeking full (100 percent) support for AUPSOs from UN assessed contributions. This appears to be a departure from the AU Consensus Papers, which said that the AU will “endeavor to pay up to 25 [percent] of PSO budgetary component of the AU Annual budget as approved by Member States to supporting priority initiatives of the AU in support of peace and security efforts on the continent”.

In light of this position from Addis Ababa, the A3 placed the text in blue on 15 December without making substantive changes and opened it for co-sponsorship by the wider UN membership. The draft text in blue says that the Council agrees to consider requests from the AUPSC for access to UN assessed contributions, on a case-by-case basis, consistent with Article 17 of the UN Charter as well as the UN financial regulations and rules. It also “[w]elcomes the commitment and ambition of the African Union, sub-regional organisations and its member states to contribute significantly within their available means to African Union-led Peace Support Operations to be determined on a case-by-case basis, in line with the principle of burden sharing”.

The US seems to have indicated that it does not accept the text in blue and has tried to engage with the AU at the highest level. Other like-minded members also appear to have reservations on the burden-sharing issue. Therefore, consultations continued with the hope of securing an agreement on burden sharing, and revising the text in blue if needed. It is against this backdrop that the AUPSC met on 18 December in Oran, Algeria, to discuss the financing resolution on the sidelines of the annual seminar for incoming African members of the Security Council. It seems that the AUPSC members maintained their position on seeking full funding from the UN through assessed contributions. At the same time, they were apparently of the view that the issue should be addressed during the next regular session of AU Heads of State and Government, which is scheduled for February 2024.

After the meeting in Oran, it seems that high-level engagements continued among African leaders, with an emerging desire to call for an urgent meeting of the AUPSC at heads of state and government level to address the issue. At the time of writing, however, there was no indication of when this meeting might take place. In the absence of clarity on this issue, the A3 appear to be going ahead with the vote this afternoon. This seems to have prompted the US to request a vote on its amendment to the draft text, which addresses the issue of burden-sharing. It seems that the US-proposed amendment “[d]etermines that AU-led peace support operations that are authorised by the Security Council will have access to funding from the UN assessed contributions not exceeding 75 percent of their annual budgets, with the remaining amount to be jointly mobilized by the African Union and United Nations from the international community as extra-budgetary resources and commits to consider all viable options in the event of significant shortfalls in resource mobilization”.


Post-script: Prior to the vote on the draft text proposed by the A3 (Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique), the Council voted on an amendment to the text proposed by the US. The US-proposed amendment was approved with nine votes in favour and six abstentions (the A3, China, France, and Russia). The Council then unanimously adopted the entire text, incorporating the US amendment, as resolution 2719. The resolution was co-sponsored by 70 member states.

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