UN calls for closer cooperation with African organizations for sustaining peace

12 May 2016

Stronger partnerships between the United Nations and African regional and sub-regional organizations are necessary to sustain the momentum for peacebuilding in Africa and prevent a lapse into violent conflict, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said today, calling for greater efforts to reinforce initiatives and define the parameters of cooperation.

“Today's global realities – the changing nature of violent conflicts, the deepening refugee crisis and rising violent extremism – underline the necessity to focus on preventing crises and addressing root causes,” Mr. Eliasson said at the opening of a high-level meeting on sustaining peace in Africa at UN Headquarters in New York.

The meeting also featured a thematic discussion on the topic that was co-moderated by Maged Abdelaziz, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, and Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.

Continuing his remarks, Mr. Eliasson said: “Formulating global responses from purely security and humanitarian perspectives is insufficient. We must avoid vicious cycles of military response and continued conflict and suffering.”

The Deputy Secretary-General noted the timeliness of the meeting – which was jointly organized by the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the African Union (AU) under the theme “Sustaining Peace: Mechanisms, partnerships and the future of peacebuilding in Africa” – following the adoption on 27 April of substantially identical resolutions by the Security Council and the General Assembly on the review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture.

“These ground-breaking texts place 'sustaining peace' at the core of national, regional and international peacebuilding and conflict prevention,” he said.

Mr. Eliasson highlighted that through the two resolutions, Member States had stressed the importance of stronger partnerships, especially with regional and sub-regional organizations.

Emphasizing that the AU is a “vital strategic partner” of the UN, the Deputy Secretary-General noted that over the past decade, the UN's partnership with the AU and the continent's sub-regional organizations had grown significantly.

“This meeting is an opportunity to take further steps together to prevent the lapse and relapse into violent conflict,” he stressed, adding that peacebuilding in Africa has been a “top priority” for the UN.

Citing Guinea-Bissau, Burundi and Somalia as examples of cooperation between the UN and AU, Mr. Eliasson also noted that the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions encourage regular exchanges of views, joint initiatives and information-sharing between the UN peacebuilding family and regional and sub-regional organizations, not least the AU Commission.

“We should institutionalize such interactions, with a renewed focus on sustaining peace,” he said.

“As we develop our responses along those lines, we must recognize that sustaining peace is a core task derived from the UN Charter. It sets the direction for all UN activities, from conflict prevention and peacekeeping to work on human rights, reconstruction and development,” he added.

Mr. Eliasson said that such work requires a shared responsibility and commitment between the UN and its Member States – including on financing.

“Given the serious funding shortfall of Peacebuilding Fund, I appeal to you to provide predictable and sustainable financing,” he stressed.

The Deputy Secretary-General also stressed the need to strengthen the links between peacebuilding efforts and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development .

“The 2030 Agenda has a great potential to address the various factors which drive violent conflicts, including socio-economic and gender inequalities, lack of jobs, poor natural resource management, climate change, as well as corruption and the absence of the rule of law and well-functioning institutions,” he said.

 

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