UNSC open debate on Peace and Security in Africa: Capacity-building for Sustaining Peace
The narrative on Africa that has often been given prominence in the global media is a continent full of conflicts, misery, and pain. This narrative, which at best is only partly true, belies Africa’s resilience and determined effort to consolidate its peace, unleash its socio-economic transformation through continental integration, and achieve for its youthful population the aspirations of a prosperous continent. We therefore believe it necessary that the international narrative and understanding of the complexities of the problems of Africa should be aligned with the Continent’s aspirations and efforts, in order to more effectively interlock global partnerships and support towards sustainable African solutions.
It is this context, Mr. President, that Ghana welcomes China’s organisation of this open debate that facilitates reflections on how best the wider international community can support the African continent in its efforts to consolidate peace and security through the development of African capacities and institutions. We thank H.E. Bankole Adeoye, H.E. Muhammad Abdul Muhith and USG Cristina Duarte for sharing their rich perspectives and views about today’s open debate.
The African context, particularly as it relates to the search for durable peace and sustainable development is often characterised by a combination of both accomplishments and unresolved challenges. Despite the continent’s many achievements, an extensive array of threats to its peace and security continue to exist, including from terrorism and violent extremism, maritime insecurity, cross-border and transnational crimes, cybercrimes, and unconstitutional changes in government. Underlying these threats have been factors such as increased youth unemployment, the effects of climate change, institutional fragility, food insecurity, and poverty, which are instigated by structural challenges such as the imbalance in global development and national governance and institutional deficits, but also major global crises such as the situation in Libya since 2011, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the knock-on effects of the prevailing aggression against Ukraine. These unfortunate situations provide fodder for the recruitment of youths into terrorist organisations and armed groups, fuel intercommunal clashes, and ignite farmer-herder conflicts, among others. In our view, the way to support the capacity of Africa to build sustainable peace and security does not lie in externally-driven objectives but remain anchored around the strengthening and effective operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture as well the African Governance Architecture.
We would in this debate share four (4) key messages on how we can increase the capacity of both the AU and African countries to ensure durable peace and security on the continent:
First, the coordination mechanisms between the AU and UN such as the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security and the annual joint consultative meetings between the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council should be enhanced through a more regular exchange of information, joint briefings by special representatives and envoys of the two organisations, and joint field visits by senior officials. Such measures would help avoid duplication of efforts, improve complementarities, and reinforce coherent implementation of actions for peace and security based on continental priorities and actions.
Secondly, global support for an effective African Peace and Security Architecture, including its mechanisms for early warning, conflict prevention, mediation, peace support operations, and post-conflict reconstruction, has a much better chance of creating sustainable peace given the nature of the intra-State conflicts we are beginning to witness, involving terrorist and extremist groups. While there has been significant progress achieved since the turn of this century in harmonising continental doctrines and strategy as well as the planning and management of peace support operations, the sustenance of such operations under the African Standby Force continues to be suffer due to logistical and financial constraints. In responding to the capacity needs of Africa, therefore, it is important that this Council clarify the conditions under which African regional forces, acting under Chapter VIII of the Charter can meet the requirement for predictable, adequate, and sustainable financing, especially from assessed contributions.
Thirdly, the current context of Africa requires, in line with SDG 16, enhanced support for the implementation of the AU Shared Values, including those contained in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance as well as core governance functions in public service delivery and public financial management domains.
We underscore the responsibility of African Governments to build trust with their populations and put in place the requisite institutions and structures that will strengthen the social contract and reduce public frustration, exclusion and inequality, and particularly urge that the youth, women and girls should be fully integrated in all aspects of decision-making and public policy implementation in order to address deep-rooted public grievances to prevent violent public outbursts and disturbances to peace and security.
Fourthly, in recognition of the fact that peace is more than the absence of conflict, we urge real international commitment and support for the implementation of the 2030 and 2063 development agendas within Africa. Within this development framework, the international community can assist African countries in the mobilisation of new and additional financial resources, adaptation to climate change, attraction of innovative investments, transfer of environmentally sound technologies, and the strengthening national systems for more resilient societies that have a greater capacity for sustaining peace. In all such partnerships we encourage the involvement of African civil society networks as well as networks of women and youth groups as an effective tool towards ensuring accountability and peace.
In times of national and regional turmoil, African countries and regional organisations including the African Union (AU) and Africa’s Regional Economic Communities such as ECOWAS, SADC, ECCAS and the EAC have mobilised the available capacities and demonstrated a commitment to restore calm and order. Despite the demonstrated strengths, there is still the need for enhanced collaboration between the UN and the AU to ensure that the capacities of both the AU and sub-regional organisations are strengthened.
Let me conclude by reiterating that capacity-building is therefore of utmost importance in the consolidation of peace and stability in Africa. We encourage such support, mindful of the need for African leadership and ownership over such processes.
I thank you.