Funding hurdles thwart expansion of AU peacekeeping capabilities – Ban

18 March 2009

Difficulties in securing necessary funding are impeding the ability of the African Union (AU) to maintain and expand its peacekeeping capacities, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cautioned today.

“A peacekeeping mission that is under-resourced can imperil the initial benefits gained through its deployment, and can raise expectations without providing the means of fulfilling them,” he told the Security Council.

The 15-member body met today to discuss how to bolster the UN-AU relationship and on how better to support the peacekeeping capacity of the AU, which has troops in areas such as Somalia.

The Council was also briefed by former Italian President Romano Prodi, who heads a panel to support AU peacekeeping operations established under a UN mandate.

Mr. Prodi presented a report which offered recommendations on how to boost the AU’s “ability to respond to crises and in its need for a capacity that is capable of promoting long-term stability on the continent.”

The publication further stressed the need for a “more effective strategic relationship” between the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council, as well as between the UN Secretariat and the AU Commission.

“A shared strategic vision is essential if the United Nations and the African Union are to exercise their respective advantages: the African Union’s ability to provide a rapid response and the United Nations capacity for sustained operations,” the report said.

The ties between the UN and the AU have been expanded but have “yet to develop the responsiveness that will enable us to work together and to prevent conflicts rather than only respond to crises,” the Secretary-General said at today’s meeting, which will hear from dozens of speakers.

The suggestions provided by the panel headed by Mr. Prodi are a first step, Mr. Ban said, towards developing a more effective partnership – which “has the potential to affect millions of people on the African continent” – between the two organizations.

In a presidential statement issued at the end of the day-long meeting, Council members welcomed the ongoing AU efforts to settle conflicts in Africa, expressing its support for the organization’s peace initiatives.

It also emphasized the importance of establishing a stronger UN-AU relationship, encouraging “further joint efforts in this direction focusing on issues of mutual interest.”

 

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