Predicting an ever increasing demand for peacekeeping, conflict prevention and similar security roles over the next decade, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for a “new level of clarity, practicality and seriousness” in partnerships between the world body and regional organizations.
Mr. Annan made his remarks at an open ministerial-level debate on regional-global security cooperation in the Security Council, which also involved representatives from the European Union (EU), the League of Arab States, NATO and seven other regional and sub-regional organizations.
“The reality of the next decade is that the demand for peacekeeping and these other services will continue to grow. And we must be ready. That means the time has come for us to take the regional-global partnership to a new level of clarity, practicality and seriousness.”
Mr. Annan said that partnerships between the UN and regional organizations were already stronger than in the early 1990s, citing examples such as cooperation with the African Union in Sudan and working with NATO in Afghanistan and Kosovo, but emphasized there was still room for improvement.
“Much as we have strengthened our capacities over the years, it is essential that we do even more… the breadth of our involvement in mediation efforts, the growing awareness of the fragility of post-conflict situations, and the increased emphasis on prevention, have also been major features in our work.”
The meeting was initiated by Greece, which holds the revolving Council Presidency for this month, and Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said it was an important step on the way to creating a “Regional-Global Security Mechanism.”
The delegates also reviewed progress already made in strengthening such partnerships, particularly following a Council resolution on the matter last October, and focused as well on Mr. Annan’s latest report covering improved cooperation.
In his speech, the Secretary-General highlighted that both the UN and the various regional and sub-regional organizations now have a “better sense” of each others respective strengths and weaknesses, and he emphasized that recommendations contained in his report seek to build on this knowledge.
The recommendations cover conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the more generic issues of clarification of roles, guidelines for cooperation and formalizing the partnerships.
Detailed suggestions included within each recommendation cover a wide range of topics from setting up a databank on conflict prevention capacities of partner organizations, to closer links between partners and the recently set up Peacebuilding Commission, and establishment of a general statement of principles that would act as a guiding mechanism for collaboration.