Prof. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
21 June, 2011
I wish at the outset to thank you, Mr. President, for having convened this meeting. I am pleased to welcome Special Representative of the Secretary-General Muburi-Muita to the Council and to thank him for his very lucid briefing, and particularly to express my appreciation for the passion with which he has approached his new responsibilities.
Nigeria welcomes the growing partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. Since the signing of the joint Declaration on the enhancement of United Nations-African Union (AU) cooperation — the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme — several milestones have been achieved in cementing this cooperative relationship. Notable among these are the operationalization of the AU Peacekeeping Support Team within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, training by the Department of Political Affairs for the Secretariat of the AU Peace and Security Council, and an information exchange between the two bodies, facilitated in part by the Security Council’s Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.
The impact of such policy-level cooperation is evident in the giant African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The Tripartite Mechanism on Darfur has been a useful conduit for strategic planning and information exchange and in easing administrative difficulties in the Operation.
In spite of the concerns raised by the AU Peace and Security Council in a communiqué dated 8 April 2011 that proposed a start date for a fresh Darfur political process, there are numerous lessons to be derived from the UNAMID model. We are pleased to note that the relationship remains strong, as is evident from the communiqué of last month’s consultative meeting between the members of the AU Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council. As envisaged by Article 52 of the Charter of the United Nations, regional bodies such as the AU have traditionally played a supportive role in relation to the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security. This approach is a pragmatic recognition of the asymmetric capabilities of the two organizations. Whereas the African Union has the political will, it is insufficiently resourced to undertake long-term peacekeeping and transition operations.
On the other hand, the centralization of resources and expertise within the United Nations system affords it enhanced peacekeeping and peacebuilding capabilities. All too frequently, AU member States will muster sufficient troop numbers to address crisis situations, only to be undermined by a lack of equipment and logistical support.
In that regard, we stress that the capacity development of peacekeeping personnel, though essential, is not a substitute for adequate equipment, logistics and training. We are therefore encouraged by the range of initiatives under consideration, particularly the prospect of giving the African Union access to United Nations logistics base capacities and United Nations strategic deployment stocks. Also encouraging is the prospect of a surge capacity team of experts being made available to the African Union at the initiation of a peace support operation.
In the context of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), different challenges abound. On 31 January 2011, the AU called on the Council to provide greater support to AMISOM and to fully assume its responsibility towards Somalia and its people, including through increased funding from United Nations assessed contributions. Such direct calls for support are not new. While those appeals have been met in some measure, not all requests have so far been granted.
The current challenges facing AMISOM vividly illustrate the need for more predictable funding for AU-led operations as well as the need for the United Nations to assume primary responsibility for AU-led operations initiated as bridging measures. This should not be misunderstood as the African Union’s unwillingness to manage its own operations. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that today’s armed conflicts require complex, nuanced and often high-technology responses that demand a particular level of infrastructure that the AU simply cannot afford. The need for support does not amount to dependency. Instead, it must be viewed as a vital partnership in the global quest for maintaining international peace and security.
Cooperation in the area of deployment, including the deployment of expert civilian personnel, is central to this partnership. Our joint vision must be the enhancement of capacity-building for the African Union in peacekeeping operations and ensuring cost effectiveness. The opening of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) is a step in the right direction. We hope that it leads to a more systematic and less reactive approach to joint peacekeeping between the African Union and the United Nations.
We are particularly pleased to note, in the report of the Secretary-General on the budget for UNAOU contained in document A/64/762, the stated objective of facilitating an operational African peace and security architecture with an effective capacity to address threats to regional peace and security. We believe that there is real scope for effective cooperation through the preventive diplomacy pillars of the AU’s Peace and Security Architecture. With the right level of support at the international level, the AU has a chance of developing best-practice models for early-warning mechanisms and for mediation that could be effectively applied globally.
Partnership is the cornerstone of Africa’s effort to stabilize its vast region and to shoulder its share of the global responsibility to maintain peace and security.