Applauding the cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and various subregional organizations, speakers at a ministerial debate in the Security Council meeting today highlighted African-led efforts to lift the continent out of conflict, including the “Silence the Guns 2020” initiative, while underscoring the urgent need for dedicated sources of funding for peace support operations.
Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, Executive Office of the Secretary‑General, said the collaboration between the United Nations, African Union, its member States and other regional mechanisms has never been greater. Praising the determination of African Heads of State and Government to address continued challenges in a holistic manner, she also pointed out that the African Union Peace Fund was currently at the highest level of assessed contributions since its founding in 1993, at $124 million.
Nonetheless, it was critical to ensure the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for African Union-led peace support operations, she stressed. Support must be given towards infrastructure for peace at the local and national levels and for policy dialogue with the Peacebuilding Commission. In that vein, the United Nations Secretariat, as well as agencies, funds and programmes, is scaling up support for the objectives of the African Union initiative on “Silencing the Guns by 2020”.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the African Union Commission, said peace in Africa has been bolstered by the establishment of a full peace architecture that is based on shared values and that supports Africa to address its own problems for itself. As a result, an appropriate funding strategy has been developed and should be treated as a priority. Given the current complex situations facing Africa, the traditional way of dealing with conflict was no longer a viable one, he cautioned.
During the ensuing debate, speakers, including the three African members of the Security Council, described successful instances of cooperation across nations, whether international, regional or subregional, while also focusing on the need for predictable funding and support for African-led initiatives.
Simeon Oyono Esono Angue, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea, giving an overview of the many challenges facing the continent, recalled it was his country which brought the “Silencing the Guns” initiative to the vote during its Council presidency. To build on that work and to prevent and resolve conflicts, more consultation with African States was needed, in partnership with regional economic communities.
Naledi Pandor, Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, spotlighted the African Union’s work to create a framework for security challenges and threats, which in turn has led to the reduction of violent and armed conflicts. Such efforts demonstrate the strong resolve of African leaders to ensure African ownership for Africa’s challenges. However, more needs to be done, she said, highlighting the importance of the financing of the African Union-led peace support operations.
Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cote d’Ivoire, affirmed that a deterioration in security in Africa has required improved strategic partnerships. Essential to those partnerships is an understanding of local and regional factors that lead to conflict, including poverty, weak governance and violent extremism. Support must be provided to national Governments to face such underlying problems. Highlighting funding streams, he also noted the importance of the funding provided by the European Union to the African security architecture.
Bruno Van Der Pluijm, Secretary-General for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, echoing that sentiment, also highlighted the need for sustainable and predictable funding for African Union operations that are complementary to United Nations operations, to enable better coordination between the two bodies. However, he cautioned that the partnership would only remain relevant if it takes into account African diversity, both geographical and institutional.
Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs, External Action Service of the European Union, also voiced strong support for the “Silencing the Guns” initiative. However, he said, Africa should not be defined in terms of conflict alone, but rather as a continent in flux, marked by a burgeoning youthful population and opportunities for growth.
Before the Council was a concept note provided by the Representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, the Russian Federation and South Africa on the topic “Peace and security in Africa: partnership to strengthen regional peace and security” (document S/2019/743).
Also speaking today were ministers, senior officials and representatives of the Russian Federation, Kuwait, China, France, Indonesia, Poland, Peru, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Dominican Republic and Egypt.
The meeting began at 3:07 p.m. and ended at 5:21 p.m.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI, Chef de Cabinet, Executive Office of the Secretary‑General, said that collaboration between the United Nations, African Union, its member States and the regional economic communities, and other regional mechanisms has never been greater. In 2016, the African Union Peace and Security Council identified 20 challenges to peace and security, but what stands out today are not the challenges, but rather the determination of African Heads of State and Government to address them in a holistic manner.
The African Union and its member States have achieved important milestones in their pursuit for higher effectiveness, self‑reliance and cooperation, she continued. The African Union Peace Fund has so far secured $124 million, the highest level of assessed contributions since its establishment in 1993. The United Nations and the African Union have also strengthened their partnership with the signing of two joint frameworks by the Secretary‑General and the Chairp of the African Union on peace and security and on sustainable development.
Cooperation between the United Nations, African Union and subregional organizations is also growing in the area of electoral processes, she continued. Ahead of legislative and presidential elections in West Africa over the last couple of years, the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) organized joint or coordinated visits with various African partners to Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal and other countries to promote peaceful and inclusive processes.
She went on to say that partnerships among subregional organizations are also intensifying, she said. The United Nations Regional Offices for Central Africa and West Africa are supporting the implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed between the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last year.
Peace operations are central to the United Nations support to peace and security on the African continent, she noted. More than 80,000 peacekeepers currently serve in seven peacekeeping operations in Africa. All of the largest missions, in terms of personnel and budget, are deployed on the African continent. Furthermore, contributions from African nations have been indispensable to peacekeeping operations in Africa and beyond. Africa is now the largest troop‑contributing region to United Nations missions.
The Secretary‑General has stressed the need to ensure the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for African Union‑led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council and under the Council’s authority, she said. Political will and resources are also required for peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts. That includes support to infrastructure for peace at the local and national levels and for policy dialogue with the Peacebuilding Commission. The United Nations Secretariat, as well as agencies, funds and programmes, is scaling up support for the objectives of the African Union initiative on “Silencing the Guns by 2020”.
MOUSSA FAKI MAHAMAT, Chair of the African Union Commission, said that peace in Africa has seen significant developments with the establishment of a full peace architecture. Based on shared values, this architecture supports Africa in addressing its own problems. For that purpose, a strategy of funding has been developed in coordination with the United Nations and must be acted on as a priority. The traditional way of dealing with conflict in Africa is no longer suitable, given the current complexities.
The Union pledges its continued willingness to keep working with the Security Council in the many areas that it is currently playing a critical role, he continued. In particular, he called for a true solidarity with the countries of the Sahel in their initiative to provide for security through the G5 Sahel Joint Force. Any less will allow the extremist “hydra” to keep growing without check.
Turning to Libya, he said that the situation must be rethought, with a rigorous application of the arms embargo. In addition, a truly inclusive negotiation process must be effectively promoted, leading to structures with political legitimacy. For that purpose, a new joint mechanism must highlight the central role of Africa in the resolution of Libya’s problems. In that situation, as with all others on the continent, the African Union, which has no specific agenda, only seeks to bring about common solutions through common values.
SERGEY LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, which holds the Security Council presidency for September, spoke in his national capacity, emphasizing that ensuring peace and security in Africa is a goal of utmost importance for the entire international community. Africa has the quickest growing population in the world and faces inter‑nation and inter‑ethnic conflicts. The very tragic history of the continent and its struggle for independence should also be considered. The sovereignty of African States is still undergoing challenges. The intervention into Libya plunged the country into chaos and resulted in the flow of arms and criminals throughout the continent. Libya became a platform for terrorism.
Efforts are effective when undertaken by Africans themselves, he stated. Offering examples of improvement in such places as the Horn of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he underscored that at the centre of these achievements is the political will of the African leaders of the States themselves. Against the background of such progress, the laudable goal set six years ago of stopping armed conflicts in Africa is now within reach. He voiced his support for many of the initiatives of the African troika in the Security Council, adding that the troika is a connecting link between the Council and the African continent.
MARCEL AMON-TANOH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cote d’Ivoire, affirmed that a deterioration in security in Africa has required improved strategic partnerships. Essential to those partnerships is an understanding of local and regional factors that lead to conflict, including poverty, weak governance and violent extremism. Support must be provided to national Governments to face such underlying problems. In that context, the effective launch of UNOWAS is a step forward. In West Africa, the close cooperation between ECOWAS and the related United Nations Office is extremely valuable.
Praising the funding provided by the European Union to the African security architecture, he noted that his country is participating in the early warning mechanism for ECOWAS. Through other initiatives, West African countries are pooling resources to counter transnational networks and terrorist groups. He called for further action by the Council to address those problems, including those that emanated from Libya. In all areas, only long‑term multifaceted responses will be effective, he stressed.
SIMEON OYONO ESONO ANGUE, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea, noted the quickly changing nature of African conflict, particularly the spread of violent extremism and illicit trade in drugs and violence, to name a few. The proliferation of arms, competition for resources, poverty and weak State institutions are root causes of conflict on the continent. All are exacerbated by violent extremism and climate change.
An increase of forced displacement has resulted, he continued. Equatorial Guinea is co‑leading an initiative to bring the problems of all such displaced to the fore. His country is also proud to have brought to the vote during its Council presidency the “Silencing the Guns” initiative. More consultation with African States is still needed on preventing and resolving conflicts; the regional economic communities are important partners in that regard. Women and youth must also be empowered to make their valuable contributions in all areas.
NALEDI PANDOR, Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, said that the continent has developed a strong and effective framework for addressing security challenges and threats. These frameworks have cascaded to subregional levels, creating a synergy between the African Union and the regional mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution. Significant strides have been made in reducing violent and armed conflicts guided by the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity between the African Union and the subregional organizations. These efforts reflect the strong resolve of African leaders to ensure continental ownership and solutions for Africa’s challenges.
Over the last few years, there have been significant efforts to strengthen the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, she continued. The Council, through the adoption of landmark resolutions, has recognized the strategic value of such cooperation by promoting the principle of comparative advantage and burden‑sharing. However, given the diversity of threats to peace and security on the continent, more needs to be done to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. A key area is the financing of the African Union‑led peace support operations. Despite commitments to this effect, there has not been much progress on predictable and sustainable funding for African Union‑led peace support operations from United Nations assessed contributions.
SABAH KHALID AL HAMAD AL SABAH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, said that cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union under Chapter 8 of the Charter of the United Nations has seen major developments. This year, joint frameworks were signed for peace and sustainable development. A joint statement on cooperation in order to support peace operations was also adopted. The cooperation between the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the Security Council continues.
He called for building on these efforts in order to consolidate progress and to ensure that peace operations are stronger and more effective. This requires a more robust mandate from the Security Council, as well as sustainable and more predictable funding. The best way to silence the guns is to consolidate peace and prevent conflict by creating a participative society. For lasting peace and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the root causes of violence and conflict need to be tackled. The African Union Agenda 2063 mentions several factors to prevent conflict. As well, young people need to be taught the value of peace, he said.
WANG YI, State Counsellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, underscored that his country supports African countries in resolving their issues in an African way. The continent should be adequately supported by the Security Council in providing for its own security and the international community should work together to “Silence the Guns”. Regional and subregional arrangements have advanced significantly on the continent and the Council must pay attention to their voices. Capacity‑building and funding are required. He welcomed the establishment of a coalition Government in Sudan, adding that the African Union‑United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) should complete its withdrawal on schedule in June.
Turning to Libya, he underlined the importance of assistance to the country to pursue a Libyan‑owned process to end its conflict. In addition, he called for support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force and regional partnerships in the Great Lakes region, noting that his country is providing support to address the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as many other areas. China and Africa are friends, brothers and partners with many joint efforts that foster harmonious existence. Describing Chinese participation in African peacekeeping, he also pointed to significant support to regional security initiatives.
JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, said that the emphasis of the upcoming Africa‑France summit in 2020 will centre on strengthening partnership between his country and the continent. Describing a range of joint efforts that involve his country, the European Union, African Union and the United Nations, he said cooperation has to be strengthened and extended.
In that context, France and Germany have proposed a new partnership framework in the Sahel. However, the partnership between the Security Council and regional organizations still must be strengthened. He also voiced support for greater predictability in funding for African peace operations authorized by the Council, maintaining that work should be done that could lead to the use of assessed contributions for that purpose in certain cases.
RETNO L.P. MARSUDI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, citing the Secretary‑General’s report, underscored that peace and security challenges in some parts of Africa are increasingly complex and volatile. In that regard, she voiced her support for the principle of “African solutions to African problems”. International communities should unite and stand behind African efforts in the pursuit of peace and security. It is in this spirit that she supports the “Silencing the Guns” initiative, through an enhanced partnership between the United Nations and the Africa Union, she said.
She also highlighted the need to strengthen partnerships with subregional and other regional organizations. Subregional organizations such as ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have played important roles in preventing and solving conflicts. Her country will continue its commitment to maintaining peace in Africa through its participation in United Nations peace operations. Indonesia is currently the largest personnel contributing country sitting in the Security Council, deploying around 3,000 personnel, including 126 female peacekeepers, and present in seven missions in Africa.
JACEK CZAPUTOWICZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said that the principle of “African solutions for African problems” remains relevant. At the same time, the rapid rise of violent extremism affects whole regions. The extreme complexity of needs on the ground require dedicated, tailor‑made actions and joint internal and international efforts. Strong local, regional and global partnerships are needed for stability and growth on the continent. Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union is necessary. Voicing support for efforts to strengthen mediation and preventive diplomacy, peaceful resolution of disputes and addressing the root causes of conflicts, he also welcomed the leadership of West Africa and the Sahel countries in spearheading initiatives to address security challenges in the region.
Recalling Poland’s experience of a peaceful and democratic political transformation, he underlined the promotion of good governance and social engagement as a necessary condition for sustainable development. In that context, recent dialogue between political forces in Sudan was welcomed. Also affirming the importance of development cooperation for conflict prevention, he added that his country’s aid programmes strive to ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to access to quality education and vocational training, including for students with disabilities.
NESTOR POPOLIZIO BARDALES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, hailed the agreements in Sudan and in the Central African Republic, to which Peru contributed with a significant number of troops. There are several spheres where there is potential for future common efforts. In conflict prevention, it is necessary to bolster the monitoring and early warning capabilities on the continent. In particular, it is crucial to continue to foster the development of preventative diplomacy. He also reviewed the current momentum aimed at raising standards of efficiency in peacekeeping operations.
He stressed the importance of the African experience in counter‑terrorism that has been acquired in regional operations in Burundi and Somalia. These represent innovative initiatives in the realm of the African peace and security architecture. The United Nations should assist in the enhancement of these capacities and grant funding where the needs are greatest. On sustainable development and peacebuilding, the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 should be mutually reinforcing to address the root causes of conflict.
BRUNO VAN DER PLUIJM, Secretary‑General for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, said that the future of Africa is hampered by violent conflicts, some of them among the bloodiest in the world and some the longest. Overcoming these challenges will mean having strong partnerships among all of the forces for peace. His Government has advocated for a renewed partnership with the African continent that is more global, more dynamic and would bolster the values shared by all.
Work should be done with the African Union with the goal to “Silence the Guns”, he said. Work should also be done on human rights and good governance, which are powerful drivers of stability. African Union operations, complementary to United Nations operations, should have sustainable and predictable funding. But more needs to be done. The Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council should take a step forward for better coordination. Their agendas should be better coordinated and joint meetings should be made more operational. This renewed partnership will only be relevant if it takes into account African diversity, both geographical and institutional.
HEIKO MAAS, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, expressed great hope in the recent developments in Sudan. His country is active in supporting initiatives for African women’s participation in political processes and ending violence against women in conflict. He announced further support to fight the Ebola epidemic. Calling for comprehensive international aid throughout the full peacebuilding process in conflict situations, with more focus on the drivers of conflict, he pledged his country’s further support to the “Silencing the Guns” initiative as well as to efforts fighting climate change.
Strong and smarter partnerships must build on African solutions and African leadership, he stressed. Noting German contributions to African peace operations, he pledged continued investment in the course of lasting partnerships. He paid tribute to the people of Africa who are working for peace and said that the Council must make sure that it is supporting them.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) called for integrated United Nations support for the “Silencing the Guns” initiative across all pillars of its work. Describing the many areas of bilateral support from his country to many countries on the continent, including South Sudan and Cameroon, he vowed the strengthening of the strategic partnership between the United Kingdom and the African Union. He also expressed his support of United Nations assessed contributions for African operations on a case‑by‑case basis. For that reason, funding for posts to assess compliance needed to be created.
He went on to describe other British contributions to security in Africa, including troops for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), as well as initiatives countering terrorism, wildlife trafficking and sexual violence in conflict. His country is also supporting initiatives to empower women in peace processes as well. Noting that Africa’s long‑term success will depend on the futures of young people, he pledged further assistance in areas that range from job creation to climate resilience. His country is pursuing, in sum, a holistic approach to African security, prosperity and good governance through a spirit of strong partnership.
JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) said that his country is committed to realizing a better life for all the people of Africa. There are strong economic incentives for investment in Africa, but he noted that this is part of the continent’s larger story. It is for this reason support from the United States does not burden African countries with unsustainable debts and unreasonable expectations. As many have highlighted at the Council, one of the challenges confronting regional cooperation is financing, he observed, adding that his country supports efforts to provide realizable financing. Any mechanism requires a deliverable approach with safeguards and any resolution on this matter must refer to United States policy with regards to transparency.
JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) said that States find themselves mired in conflict for diverse reasons, such as economic crises, natural resources, terrorism and the effects of climate change. This wide spectrum of factors means it is necessary to address security in Africa from a broad perspective. Threats faced by the African continent must be addressed as a whole. “Silencing the Guns” is an ambitious but much‑needed initiative. Despite the efforts made by the international community and the great headway made by many African countries, major challenges continue to arise. Efforts must be redoubled to support the region in this endeavour, he said.
EHAB FAWZY, Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs of Egypt, highlighted the spread of violent extremism and organized crime and the worsening of climate change in Africa, which presented interlocking challenges. The root causes of threats to peace and security must be addressed to prevent conflict in a correspondingly interrelated way, he said, adding his support for African solutions to African problems, in coordination with the “Silencing the Guns” initiative and the security architecture.
In that context, his country is making great efforts to bolster African capacity for post‑conflict reconstruction and development, he continued. The sovereignty of States and the central roles of Governments must be respected in peace processes. Governments must be supported in extending their authority and building capacity for governance. All international and regional efforts to guarantee peace and security must go hand in hand with development. His country will sponsor a forum in December to foster comprehensive and sustainable African development and discourage radicalization.
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BELLIARD, Deputy Secretary‑General for Political Affairs, External Action Service, European Union, emphasized that Africa should not be defined merely in terms of conflict. It is a continent in the process of change, marked by dynamic youth and opportunities for growth that the European Union is determined to support. With mechanisms on the continent to work for peace, in fact, there are no longer major conflicts between States of Africa.
He noted that important security challenges remain, often tied to the lack of security capacity of African countries and a lack of resources to respond to the economic and political aspirations of their populations. It is for that reason the European Union supports the “Silencing the Guns” initiative and an integrated approach to security in Africa. In that support, the European Union consults consistently with the African security mechanisms, providing significant funding as well. In addition, regular meetings of European Union officials with their African Union counterparts take place not only in security, but also in sustainable development, the fight against climate change and consideration of United Nations reforms.