H. E. Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, SAN
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
At the United Nations Security Council
22 October, 2010
I wish to commend His Excellency Mr. Eriya Kategaya, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs of Uganda, and the Ugandan delegation for convening this important debate to assess the support to African Union (AU) peacekeeping operations.
Let me also express my appreciation to the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his leadership and commitment to peace and security in Africa, in particular, and for his presence here for this debate and his insightful remarks. I am also grateful for the illuminating AU perspective so ably presented by the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union.
This debate benefits from the contents of resolution 1809 (2008), the landmark Prodi report of 2008 (S/2008/813), and the Secretary-General’s reports S/2009/470 of 18 September 2009 and S/2010/514 of
14 October 2010. While the validity of the findings of these reports is undeniable, what remains lacking is the will to act resolutely to address the complex challenges we face in Africa. I hope that today’s debate will lay a strong foundation for the set of actions required to substantially enhance the peacekeeping capacity of the African Union and contribute to the observance of the Year of Peace and Security declared by the African Union.
Conflicts in Africa bear the hallmarks of the emerging threats to international peace and security. Their root causes are, however, multifaceted, and we must therefore recognize the need for a comprehensive approach to resolving them. Above all, our response must be situated within the rubric of the quest for collective security, responsibility for which does not rest on any one country or region, but on the international community acting in concert.
Going forward, we must have a shared strategic vision of our goals, recalling that peacekeeping in Africa is an integral part of the maintenance of international peace and security, for which the Security Council has primary responsibility. When the African Union undertakes a peacekeeping operation authorized by the United Nations, it fulfills a dual responsibility to the people of Africa and humankind at large, represented by the ideals of the United Nations.
Nigeria’s experience in Sierra Leone and Liberia has taught us myriad of lessons on the challenges of regional peacekeeping. I would subsume them into three core areas of financing, equipping and mission support arrangements.
Let me illustrate the quandary the African Union all too often finds itself. I need not remind Council members that Africa constitutes 70 per cent of the matters on our agenda. Invariably, these matters are also on the agenda of the African Union, which is frequently called upon to respond. Indeed, over time, the AU and its regional economic communities have demonstrated an increasing ability to initiate and lead sub regional peacekeeping operations, as Nigeria has done in West Africa.
Yet, at best, the AU is but a part of our collective security system facing multiple demands to deploy, mediate or support post-conflict processes across a vast continent. These demands placed on the AU far outweigh its resources and capacities to effectively respond. The consequences of this mismatch include mission failure, increased instability, retarded economic development and a reluctance among potential partners to contribute to what is perceived to be a failing system. If we are to do things differently, we must use our political authority to ensure that, where regional capacities exist, appropriate support follows.
We appreciate the growing understanding of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, including their key organs and institutions. Without a truly strategic partnership and relationship, vision and clear guidance, our enormous investments in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding will continue to be short term and ad hoc.
As the Secretary-General has observed, the extent to which the administrative bodies of the United Nations and AU can fully realize a meaningful strategic partnership depends on the clarity of guidance and direction of legislative mandates. The burgeoning partnership between the United Nations Secretariat and the AU Commission crystallized in the establishment on 25 September 2010 of the Joint Task Force on Peace and Security — an excellent point of departure.
Furthermore, under Nigeria’s presidency last July, the Council reached agreement with the AU Peace and Security Council on the format and modalities of the annual consultative meetings of the two bodies. We welcome the view of the Secretary-General that these meetings will require preparatory and follow-up mechanisms, using the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.
Financing AU peacekeeping operations remains a daunting challenge. But, as the Prodi panel report reminded us, “financing options are not difficult to identify” (see S/2008/813). The problem persists because we, the stakeholders, have failed to adopt the far-reaching and creative alternatives required. Given that the current financial frameworks for partnership in peacekeeping are not conducive to building a sustainable long-term strategy, it is imperative that the Council endorse a financing option that guarantees the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of funding for AU peacekeeping operations mandated by the United Nations.
The AU remains an organization in transition, whose institutions are still building their capacities. In that respect, we appreciate the knowledge-sharing and information exchange envisaged in the Secretary General’s report, in particular in relation to preventive diplomacy efforts, such as mediation and early warning. In Nigeria’s view, a hybrid mission like the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) would benefit from a collaborative field mission to enhance synergy in monitoring, the assessment of results and response strategies. Through such collaboration, the AU might also benefit from best practices within the United Nations system in reforming its processes and institutions.
Too frequently, AU member States are able to muster sufficient troop numbers to address crisis situations, only to then have a lack of equipment and logistical support let them down. In this regard, we should stress that the capacity development of peacekeeping personnel, though essential, is not a substitute for adequate equipment, logistics and training. We are thus encouraged by the range of initiatives under consideration, particularly the prospect of giving the African Union access to the United Nations Logistics Base capacities and the United Nations strategic deployment stocks and of making a surge capacity team of experts available to the African Union at the initiation of a peace support operation.
If we act on the recommendations put forward, we would undoubtedly add substance to AU’s mission capabilities. We encourage the AU to continue with its institutional reform process, as well as development of a long-term capacity-building road map. We believe the United Nations Secretariat can play a key role in pulling this framework together in order to improve the technical support to the African Union. There may also be scope to support initiatives like the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre in Jaji, Kaduna, to enhance its capacity to train and prepare AU troops for the planned African Standby Force. Nigeria encourages the Secretary-General to carefully analyze the scope for and implications of these options.
We strongly urge the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts to find sustainable funding to bring the support package for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to the level of that of United Nations peacekeeping operations. During the mini-summit on Somalia last month, Nigerian
President Goodluck Jonathan reminded us it is only when all parties commit to peace and take practical steps to consolidate it that change will endure. The security situation in Somalia, he added, will improve dramatically if there is a strong, coordinated international presence.
By acting together, we would demonstrate the shared responsibility of the international community for the maintenance of peace and security. But in the final analysis, the African Union can only play an effective role in response to crises if there is sufficient political will and commitment of both its own member States and the international community as a whole.