I have the pleasure to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
As close neighbors, Europe and Africa share a common future. Never before have the European Union’s interests been so intertwined with Africa. The direct connection between Libya and the Sahel, between the Horn of Africa and the Gulf, the Great Lakes and southern Africa, call for a more strategic approach going beyond established formats.
We thank the Presidency for organizing today’s debate. This is an opportune moment to revisit our engagement and explore further avenues to best adapt the partnerships between the United Nations, African Union and the European Union to the new threats and challenges faced by Africa.
The partnership between the European Union and Africa encompasses many aspects and many actions, at continental, regional, sub-regional or local levels. Allow me to focus today, as we’re invited in the concept note, on the ways the international community can best support the AU.
At the political level, we welcome the strong signal of commitment conveyed by the recent signing of the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security.
The 26 May 2017 Report of the Secretary-General on options for authorization and support for African Union peace support operations, and the accompanying update from the African Union, are also very good demonstrations of how the cooperation and coordination between the UN and the AU is being strengthened in a sustained manner.
But the report also sheds additional light on how the two organizations can best work together. It puts forward concrete proposals for joint assessments of the political, security, humanitarian, and human rights dimensions of missions from the outset, as well as on the comparative advantage of the African Union and the roles of other partners. Similarly, it details how institutionalized approaches to joint planning, mandating and financing could look.
The European Union is already cooperating closely with the UN in all EU Common Security and Defence Policy missions. The EU and the UN are also working on joint programming and coordination mechanisms in support, for example, of security sector reform and the rule of law in Central African Republic, and starting pilot projects in Mali and Somalia.
Expanding this logic, such initiatives could be widened to include the African Union in a trilateral cooperation set-up. The EU stands ready to, together with the UN and the AU, identify areas to be addressed and deepen complementarity and synergies between all stakeholders. In this context, one of the proposals discussed with the AU and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms during the recent Senior Officials Meeting held in Addis on the 5th July was to establish a collaborative platform to facilitate the sharing of information and to enhance operational cooperation between the EU, the AU and the UN. More concrete suggestions on what this might look like in practical terms are expected in the lead-up to the 5th AU-EU Summit that will take place in Côte d’Ivoire.
The Secretary General’s report also highlights the importance of compliance and oversight, particularly in the areas of human rights and conduct and discipline. These are critical concerns in all peace operations. We welcome the AU’s efforts to put in place effective mechanisms to respect human rights in all of its missions and encourage further progress in their implementation. Joint standards for reporting, for accountability and for protection are critical to ensure the highest standards and robust oversight of missions.
Allow me a few words on funding. Diversification of funding is critical. The African Union and the continent have shown a strong sign of ambition and ownership with the important decision taken by the AU Summit in Kigali in July 2016 to finance the African Union Peace Fund.
We welcome the significant steps since taken, under the leadership of Dr. Kaberuka, to ensure the financing of 25% of the African Union peace support operations budget by 2020. We encourage further sustained progress in this regard. We are ready to continue to look at how the EU, together with the UN and the African Union, could contribute to progress in the discussion on sustainable financing and division of labour for African peacekeeping.
All these issues require further debate, and further joint work, also in line with the call by the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations to have the United Nations embracing a future role of not only working alongside regional organizations but also enabling them to share the burden in peace and security matters, in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
We look forward to the up-coming 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan in the Fall of this year. It will be an important moment to build on the results already achieved by the partnerships with the UN and the AU, by emphasizing the importance of an equal, sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship with Africa in a spirit of shared ownership and responsibility, and guided notably by the UN’s 2030 Agenda, the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the African Union Agenda 2063, as well as our own Global Strategy and our own European Consensus on Development.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.