Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa

National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa, 19 July 2017, New York.

Mr President,

Thank you for organizing today's important discussion. Let me also thank the Secretary-General and the African Union Commissioner for their very valuable input on this important issue. Sweden aligns itself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union and the statement by Denmark on behalf of the Nordic countries.

Mr President,

We live in a world where most of the challenges we face are common, and increasingly interconnected. Transnational crime, illicit financial flows, the negative effects of climate change, and the threat of terrorism – to name but a few - have little respect for national borders. This is no less true on the African continent than anywhere else. The security threats facing African countries are the threats that face us all. They are regional manifestations of global phenomena. So, when African countries respond, they respond on all of our behalf.

Supporting and further strengthening African capabilities to deal with threats to peace and security is therefore essential to our common and global efforts. In Africa, the AU, working with other regional and sub-regional actors, is already playing a central role in enabling regional unity and action.

The recent Council resolution welcoming the G5-Sahel joint force is an important example of the Security Council moving towards supporting enhanced regional cooperation and ownership to address these common security threats.

As we all know, prevention is the best cure. The response to the crisis in the Gambia earlier this year illustrates how active diplomacy at the sub-regional level through ECOWAS, reinforced at the regional level by the AU, and with strong backing of a united Security Council, contributed to ending the crisis. There are important lessons from the Gambia experience, particularly regarding the importance of regional unity and aligned action, which can help guide action in similar situations in Africa and beyond.

Tomorrow we will discuss the crisis in South Sudan. Close coordination between IGAD, the AU and the UN is essential to achieving a ceasefire and resuming an inclusive political process.

Mr President,

Enhanced regional capacities will allow regional actors to undertake operations and work in environments where they are best placed to do so. We welcome the current momentum around the UN – AU Partnership agenda. We must now act to seize this win-win opportunity.

The leadership is in place. Since the very beginning of his tenure the Secretary-General has rightly underscored the importance of a mutually beneficial partnership between the UN and Africa as central to the sustaining peace agenda – a partnership that is mutually beneficial. And, the Secretary-General has a partner in the AU leadership, represented here today by the Commissioner for peace and security.

The framework for collaboration and cooperation is also in place. The recently signed Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security underlines our shared commitment. The joint efforts by the Secretary-General and the Commission Chairperson to advance the partnership, not least through recent reports the implementation of Resolution 2320 (2016), are welcome and encouraging.

With the leadership and framework in place, what is now needed to realise the full potential of this partnership is stronger financial and better calibrated political support.

Mr President,

We recognize the need for flexible, predictable and sustainable funding of AU peace operations, including access to assessed UN contributions, and look forward to a continued discussion on modalities. Sweden is ready to play its part and we look forward to engaging further on this issue based on the proposals laid out in the Secretary-General's report. In addition, as a member of the EU, we are proud of the long-standing and considerable EU support to the AU's peace operations and the African Peace and Security Architecture, not least through the African Peace Facility.

In Somalia, we see important work being carried out by the AU, EU and UN, separately as well as through genuine collaboration. In this context, let me also underline the need for continued financing for AMISOM, which is crucial for stability and peace in Somalia. We also understand that the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia is part of the global fight against terrorism. Based on the positive experience in Somalia, we would welcome further opportunities for a trilateral collaborative platform between the three organizations. Moving forward on this agenda will require substantial – and sustained – political investment also from the Security Council.

Mr President,

Our efforts to enhance African capabilities must go beyond strengthening military responses. Holistic approaches to peacebuilding across the conflict cycle are needed. Such approaches include structural prevention, including building strong and inclusive institutions. They also require scaled up efforts to address the root causes of conflict and underdevelopment, including by ensuring respect for human rights, also in peace operations, and the inclusion of women in mediation and peace processes. Taken together the AU's Agenda 2063, the UN's Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustaining Peace Agenda can offer a framework for this work.

Mr President,

The upcoming Annual Consultation with the AU Peace and Security Council followed by the UN General Assembly, both in September, the AU – EU Summit in Abidjan in November, as well as a sequence discussions planned in this Council all offer opportunities to move forward with this agenda. Let's fully seize these opportunities.

I thank you.

Contact

Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis