UN Engagement With AU ‘Needed More Than Ever’ – UN SG Guterres

Riyaz Patel

The UN Security Council’s strong engagement with Member States and partner organizations such as the African Union (AU) in conflict prevention efforts in Africa is now needed “more than ever,” UN Secretary-General told the 15-member body Monday. 

António Guterres emphasized that the eradication of conflict across Africa“depends on the engagement of the parties involved,” and prevention and resolution efforts “require a united international position and a commitment to shared goals.” 

The session, ‘Peace and Security in Africa: The Centrality of Preventative Diplomacy, Conflict Prevention and Resolution’, convened under South Africa’s presidency this month with member states highlighting the Security Council’s role in cooperation with regional and sub-regional role players. 

The UN partnership with the AU on peace and security matters is of particular importance, Guterres noted, deeming the Addis Ababa-based African Union “our key strategic partner across the continent.”  

The UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, characterized by ambitions to tackle poverty and inequality, strengthen State institutions, and advocate for human rights, among other targets, are in “lock step with the AU-led mission for 2063,” he underlined. 

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“We are working in full alignment with the AU through our joint framework on sustainable development, for a peaceful and prosperous Africa, with a strong focus on inclusivity, women’s rights and gender equality.”

In 2000, the Council formally acknowledged, through resolution 1325, how women and girls are differentially impacted by war and conflict and affirmed their vital role in peacebuilding efforts.  

Targeting the absence of African women participation in formal mediation processes as addressed in the 1325 agenda, “remains poorly implemented,” Tanzanian Ambassador, Liberata Mulamula, told the Council. 

“It is high time to not see women as victims, but as agents of diplomacy,” she urged.  

The Council also reaffirmed the role of youth in peace dialogue—echoing the theme of last week’s open debate to maximize the potential of young persons in forging peace- a bid to “silence the guns by 2020” on the African continent.

The UN chief recalled successes in political crisis prevention in Gambia, facilitation of political dialogue in Madagascar, breakthroughs in peace agreements in Sudan, and addressing the root causes of Central Africa’s crises, as examples of cooperation.  

The UN lends a bulk of its support to the African continent. With more than 80,000 peacekeepers deployed, it hosts the largest peacekeeping missions.  

He pointed out that “conflict prevention is difficult to quantify and may not make news. But no news is good news for the people we serve.”

“This Council’s strong engagement in prevention efforts on the African continent, in collaboration with regional and sub-regional partners, is needed and appreciated more than ever,” Guterres added. 

The Council is scheduled to be briefed on the Secretary-General’s annual report on the UN-AU strategic partnership, during South Africa’s term as president UN Security Council.

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