The Members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) held their Sixteenth (16th) Annual Joint Consultative Meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 14th October 2022. The meeting was convened to deliberate on peace and security issues in Africa within the context of the UN-AU partnership.
The Members of the UNSC and AUPSC underscored the primary responsibility of the UNSC for the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. They also reaffirmed the mandate of the AUPSC with regard to the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa as provided for in the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.
The Members of the UNSC and AUPSC recalled and reaffirmed the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations on the role of regional arrangements in the peaceful settlement of regional disputes. They reiterated the importance of implementation of the previous joint communiques since the inaugural annual joint consultative meeting in 2007. They further reaffirmed their support for the leadership of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission regarding the Joint AU-UN Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security signed on 19 April 2017, which has proven its value as a strong pillar for international cooperation and a catalyst for both organizations’ ongoing efforts to address complex and evolving peace and security challenges in Africa, and emphasized the importance of its continued implementation.
The Members of the two Councils seized the opportunity of the 7th Joint Informal Seminar, held on 13 October 2022, to exchange views on strengthening cooperation between Members of the UNSC and AUPSC by improving relevant working methods and having shared goals. They welcomed their continued collaboration through the annual joint consultation meetings and the importance of increasing informal dialogue between the Members of the two Councils, including the monthly meetings between the President of the UNSC and the Chairperson of AUPSC for facilitating further dialogue and cooperation on capacity building and common strategies for achieving sustainable peace and stability in Africa. They encouraged consideration of joint assessment missions as well as greater working level coordination and consultation between the UN and the AU ahead of meetings of the UNSC and AUPSC, as well as regular participation, where appropriate, of AU and UN representatives in meetings of the UN Security Council and the AUPSC in order to provide the AU and UN perspectives on relevant topics related to African issues, in accordance with the established rules and procedures.
The Members of the UNSC and AUPSC took note of the various initiatives by the UN and AU in the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa, such as the AU goal of Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030 of Agenda 2063, including its Master Roadmap on the Practical Steps and other related flagship projects, Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), African Governance Architecture (AGA), and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN, which offers the opportunity of having shared goals for Africa. They noted the declaration on the Humanitarian summit and pledging conference by the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government at its 15th Extraordinary Session of the Union held on 27 May 2022, and the decision and declaration on terrorism and UCG adopted by the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government at its 16th Extraordinary Session held on 28 May 2022, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
The Members of the two Councils underscored the importance of early peacebuilding interventions in conflict situations, and as an integral component for facilitating peacekeeping transitions and emphasized the importance for adequate funding for such peacebuilding interventions. They commended the AU for its critical role in peacebuilding in conflict situations. They underscored the need for full, equal and meaningful participation of women and inclusion of youth in peacebuilding and decision-making at all levels. They affirmed the importance of enhanced collaboration, coordination and cooperation between the UN and AU and commended the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) Centre in Cairo, Egypt, continued engagement with the countries and regions in Africa in enhancing capacity in the areas of inclusive peacebuilding, socio-economic development, DDR; Security Sector Reform and institutions of justice and national reconciliation in line with national peacebuilding priorities. They emphasized that such engagement should continue to be guided by the principles of national ownership and meaningful partnerships with sub-regional and regional organizations.
During the 16th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting, the Members of the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council discussed issues of common concern on strengthening the AU and UN Peace Support Operations in Africa, the situation in West Africa and the Sahel, the situation in the Great Lakes region, as well as application of sanctions in conflict situations in Africa.
On strengthening AU and UN Peace Support Operations in Africa:
Reaffirmed the importance of the UN peacekeeping operations and AU peace support operations in the maintenance of international and regional peace and security. They paid tribute in memory of the UN and AU peacekeepers who have lost their lives in pursuit of peace and expressed grave concern about the security threats in Africa and recurrent targeted attacks against peacekeepers in several missions and called for swift investigations with support of the respective peace-operations, as applicable, and accountability for crimes against peacekeepers.
Noted the significant change of the nature of the security environment into which some peacekeeping and peace support operations are deployed, marked by inter alia, terrorist groups, armed non-state actors, illicit trafficking, and other related emerging security threats. They welcomed actions already taken over time by the UN and the AU to achieve greater transparency regarding compliance with international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and conduct and discipline standards, and accountability for violations thereof, including through the AU Compliance Framework (AUCF), aiming at mainstreaming protection mechanisms into mission planning and management processes.
Noting that, when mandated, the protection of civilians and civilian facilities is amongst the primary objectives of peacekeeping operations and peace support operations in compliance with international law, they underscored the need to enhance the effectiveness of the UN and AU in promoting political solutions in addressing the security challenges facing the continent. They emphasized the importance of strengthening the performance of UN peacekeeping operations, including civilian, police, and military components, and the need to review and adjust UN peacekeeping mission mandates in a timely manner according to the actual needs of the country concerned and the situation on the ground in line with the principles of peacekeeping, as well as the need for technical, financial, and material support to AU peace support operations to enhance operational and institutional capacity to effectively discharge their respective mandates. They underscored the importance of the host country facilitating the implementation of the mandate of a peace operation which is deployed.
Underscored the importance of predictable, sustainable, and flexible financing for AU-led peace support operations through AU and UN contributions, including the use of UN assessed contributions in line with resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017). They welcomed the efforts undertaken by the AU to support regional deployment initiatives as early response and appealed to the international community to support these initiatives. They took note of the ambition of the AU Peace Fund to support such efforts and discussed practical steps which could be taken to establish a mechanism through which AU- led peace support operations authorized by the UN Security Council under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations could be partly funded through UN assessed contributions, on a case by case basis, subject to relevant standards and mechanisms to ensure strategic and financial oversight and accountability in line with resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017). In this regard, urged Member States to consider providing funding to the UN Trust Fund in Somalia and support for the African Union to ensure that ATMIS is adequately resourced and equipped as it delivers the phased handover of security responsibilities to Somalia, as mandated. To this end, they recalled the UNSC Resolution 2628 (2022) and PSC Communique adopted at its 1075th meeting and invited the UN Secretary General and the Chairperson of the AU Commission to consider jointly convening an international pledging conference for ATMIS operations, by March 2023.
Reiterated the need for the Federal Government of Somalia, with the support of its bilateral partners, to ensure effective force generation and integration, in line with the Somalia Transition Plan and in support of the successful transition of security to the Somali Security Forces including in preparations for the drawdown of 2000 ATMIS troops by 31 December 2022 in line with ATMIS CONOPS and UNSCR 2628 (2022). They emphasized the need to ensure ATMIS Force protection and to conduct the security transition in Somalia in a manner that does not lead to a security vacuum to be exploited by Al-Shabaab.
On the situation in West Africa and the Sahel, including countering the threat of terrorism
Expressed deep concern on the deterioration of the security and political situation in West Africa and the Sahel region. They noted that terrorism is a major factor threatening peace and security in Sahel region. They further noted with concern the unconstitutional changes of government in a number of countries that undermine the security and stability of the region and called for timely restoration of constitutional order. They further expressed deep concern over the growing threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism in the Sahel region and the spread of these risks to neighboring countries and regions. They reaffirmed the importance of addressing the underlying conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism in Africa including by ensuring national recovery and reconstruction, enhancing good governance and human rights, and facilitating sustainable socioeconomic development in Africa, while remaining in full compliance with obligations under international law. They recalled that responses to the threats faced by the countries of the Sahel can be effective if embedded in the implementation of national strategies and well-coordinated regional strategies. To this end, they underscored the importance of strengthening the resilience of African States through creating an environment conducive to prosperity for youth and women by facilitating the access to economic and social services and employment in addition to supporting the deradicalization efforts through education, training, skill development and rehabilitation and reintegration programs.
Emphasized the importance of embracing comprehensive and multidimensional approaches, that incorporates and strengthens coherence between political, security and development activities in support of good governance, sustainable economic growth, and poverty eradication, among others, in addressing the root causes and drivers of security challenges facing the Sahel region.
Recognized that Africa is one of the regions that contribute the least to climate change, yet is extremely vulnerable and exposed to the adverse effects of climate change, extreme weather patterns, manifesting as floods, droughts, heatwaves, forest fires, storms, cyclones, and slow-onset events such as the rise of sea levels and, changing and unpredictable rainfall patterns, as well as their impacts on food security, among other factors, on the stability of a number of African States. They called upon the international community, including developed countries, to continue to support Africa to address its adaptation needs through, inter alia, the development and transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms, capacity-building, including on renewables-based energy transition, and energy efficiency and the provision of financial support through the mobilization of adequate and predictable resources, in line with existing commitments, and further called on the international community and United Nations to support regional and subregional dialogues, initiatives and cooperation on developing comprehensive risk assessments to take meaningful actions to adapt to or mitigate challenges posed by climate change and environment degradation, including as peacebuilding efforts.
Underscored the importance of achieving international peace and security and the need of enhanced coordination, collaboration, transparency and complementarity of collective efforts by countries in the region, including through information and intelligence sharing in order to reinforce the overall response to the threat of terrorism and underlined the importance of further enhancing cooperation and the requisite capacity to prevent and trace the illicit financial flows and curb the flow of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).
Reiterated the importance of continued collaboration and coordination between the UN, AU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as other relevant regional organizations to prevent and address security and development challenges, bearing in mind their respective mandates. They further reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed, and reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
Welcomed the steps taken by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Chairperson of the AU Commission to initiate a joint independent assessment on security and development in the Sahel together with ECOWAS and the G5 Sahel with respect to the needs and concern of the countries in the region. They further called for enhanced cooperation between and among the actors operating in the region, namely G5 Sahel Joint Force, United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the Multi-National Joint Task Force against the Boko Haram (MNJTF), the Nouakchott Process, and the Accra Initiative, as well as individual Member States and Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanism (RECs/RMs).
On the situation in the Great Lakes Region (CAR and DRC)
Firmly Condemned all attacks perpetrated in CAR against civilians, including conflict-related sexual violence in conflict, as well as attacks, provocations and incitements to hatred and violence, against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Mission for the Stabilization of CAR (MINUSCA). They commended the Economic Community of Central African States and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) for their continued support to the peace process in the CAR. They underscored the need for advancing the implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (APPR) in CAR and the Luanda Roadmap. They welcomed, in this regard, the strategic review meeting held in Bangui on 4 June 2022 on the operationalization of the Luanda roadmap. They also underscored the importance of operationalization of the AU Military Observer Mission to the Central African Republic (MOUACA) to perform its critical role in supporting in the implementation of the APPR. The called for unconditional and immediate ceasefire by all armed groups and adhere to the national demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation programme. They appealed for continued international humanitarian support to the population in need. Underscored the importance of continuing the processes which started in April 2022 by the UN, AU, Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS) and Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) as well as neighbouring countries, aiming at finding solutions to the issues of forced displacements linked to the crisis in CAR, in accordance with the provisions of the global pact on refugees.
Expressed their deep concern over the protracted insecurity and humanitarian crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of the ongoing destabilizing activities of armed groups including the resurgent M23, the Coopérative pour le développement du Congo (CODECO), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR), the Re?sistance pour un e?tat de droit (RED-Tabara), Mai-Mai groups and all other domestic and foreign non-state armed groups. They reiterated their strong condemnation of attacks against civilians and MONUSCO, as well as all violations and abuses of human rights, including conflict-related sexual violence and violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by armed groups and called for an unconditional and immediate ceasefire by all armed groups and surrender of weapons under the national Demobilisation, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilisation Program. They reiterated the urgent need to step-up efforts to neutralize all armed groups and spoilers in the region. They also emphasized the need for sustained international humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons, and refugees, as well as the need for supporting stabilization, reconstruction, and recovery efforts in the conflict affected regions.
Reaffirmed their support to national and regional efforts to promote peace and stability in the eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region, building on the commitments made by the countries of the region under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region. They welcomed the Tripartite Summit and Joint DRC-Rwanda Permanent Commission meetings in Luanda in July, and took note of the objectives set by the International Conference of the Great Lakes region (ICGLR) Roadmap on the pacification process in the eastern region of the DRC and of the will to rebuild trust and to resolve differences in the region through dialogue. They further welcomed the Communiqués of the Second Conclave, the Septet Summit and Third Conclave of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State on the peace and security situation in the eastern part of the DRC held respectively on 21 April 2022 and on 20 June 2022 in Nairobi, which established political and security tracks. They encouraged further political engagement of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region in support of these efforts.
Acknowledging the steps taken to deploy the EAC Regional Force and its endorsement by the AU Peace and Security Council, and efforts to mobilize technical, financial and material support, including from the international community to enhance the institutional and operational capacity of the regional force and enable it to discharge its mandate effectively. They stressed the need to prioritise the protection of civilians and to carry out all operations, joint or unilateral, in strict compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law,as applicable. They encouraged close coordination and information sharing between the EAC force, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), Burundi National Defence Force, Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces and MONUSCO including to deconflict operations, and further urged countries participating in the EAC force to notify deployments in advance to the Security Council as required under resolution 1533 and subsequent resolutions. They called on all armed groups operating in eastern DRC to immediately cease all forms of violence, permanently disband and lay down their arms, and for all Congolese groups to participate in the Demobilisation, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilisation Program (P-DDRCS) and to engage unconditionally in the inter-Democratic Republic of the Congo dialogue.
Applauded the positive efforts of countries in the region in enhancing bilateral cooperation; called on the Member States of the region to continue to explore economic opportunities, in particular trade facilitation and cross-border infrastructure and cooperation, to strengthen the regional integration necessary for the consolidation of peace and security in the Great Lakes Region and to jointly address illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources and to promote the transparent and lawful management of natural resources.
On Application of sanctions in conflict situations in Africa:
Took note of the significance of application of UNSC sanctions, including arms embargoes in conflict situations in Africa. They emphasized that sanctions when required should be applied objectively, targeted, and context specific, to address threats to international peace and security and regularly reviewed to take account of the specific context as it evolves. UNSC sanctions when required should be measured and proportionate in order to be effective and limit any eventual unintended consequences. They emphasized the need to ensure that methods and practices to monitor implementation and the assessment of application of UN sanction measures are suitable to the specific context. They also emphasized the need to ensure that sanction measures are applied in accordance with international law.
Acknowledged the need to make further efforts to use sanctions regimes as a tool to undermine the capabilities of armed groups and terrorist groups. They also noted the use of benchmarking process in reviewing UN Security Council sanctions to ensure they are fit for purpose, and the need to review, adjust and terminate, when appropriate, sanctions regimes taking into account the evolution of the situation on the ground and minimize any unintended adverse humanitarian effects.
The Members of the UNSC and the AUPSC reaffirmed their commitment to continue enhancing close cooperation and collaboration in the area of peace, security and stability in Africa, which contributes to the maintenance of international peace and security and underscored the importance of full, equal and meaningful participation of women in the prevention and resolution of conflict and in peacebuilding, and the importance of the implementation of the women, peace and security and the youth peace and security agendas in Africa, as well as the need to ensure the protection of civilians, including children, and protection against sexual violence in situations of armed conflict.
The Members of the UNSC and AUPSC agreed to convene their 8th Informal Joint Seminar and the 17th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting in 2023, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at dates to be jointly agreed by the two sides in due course.
Source: UN Security Council