Regional organizations must find ways to expand their cooperation and dialogue to address increasingly interconnected global challenges, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a high-level debate in the Security Council today.
“Regional and sub-regional organizations have deep knowledge, unique insights and strong local networks. These elements are critical for mediation, planning a peacekeeping operation or helping a country to build lasting peace,” Mr. Ban told the meeting on cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.
“We are better at sharing information and analysis on brewing crises, but we have to work harder on swift response and long-term prevention,” he noted, asking countries to examine how they can expand their cooperation in pursuit of international peace and security.
“We need to learn from the lessons of our collaborations to build ever more innovative and flexible partnership arrangements that draw on our respective strengths,” he said. “Only through cooperation will we meet our shared aspirations for a more peaceful world.”
The debate, presided over by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, which holds the Council’s presidency this month, seeks to further strengthen dialogue and exchange of information among regional and sub-regional organizations and the UN on issues such as conflict prevention, peaceful settlement of disputes, peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding.
In his remarks, Mr. Ban highlighted examples of valuable cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations across the globe.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, he pointed to the joint missions the UN had carried out with the Organization of American States (OAS) to combat illicit trafficking. In Africa, he noted that the UN is working with the African Union (AU) in joint peacekeeping and mediation efforts in Sudan’s Darfur region and in facilitating the political transition in Somalia.
In addition, the UN and the AU have also worked with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
The Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is also an example of regional cooperation, as it is supported by 11 African leaders, the AU, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the UN. This effort, Mr. Ban stressed “represents the best opportunity for years for forging a durable peace.”
In the Middle East and North Africa, the UN and the League of Arab States (LAS) are working to support inclusive political processes in Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, and they continue to search for a political solution to the crisis in Syria, including through the deployment of the UN-Arab League joint envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi.
“Of course, we sometimes face challenges when working together. Our organizations do not always have the same approach to a given crisis. Our diverse mandates and membership can lead to different perspectives,” Mr. Ban said, adding that the open debate “is a welcome opportunity to explore the nature of these challenges and consider how to improve cooperation.”
In a statement agreed on by the 15-member body, the Council committed to promote closer and more operational cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in the fields of conflict early warning, prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
It also recognized the need to enhance the coordination of efforts to strengthen the global response to current threats to international peace and security posed by illegal trafficking, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, among others.
In addition, the Council reiterated its commitment to continue to cooperate with international, regional and sub-regional organizations and establish arrangements to share experiences and lessons learned.
The meeting is expected to hear from around 60 speakers today, including a number of foreign ministers, as well as representatives of the AU, the European Union, the LAS, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), and the OAS.