Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Cooperation between the UN and the African Union
National statement delivered by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Sweden, Annika Söder, on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations (African Union), 18 July 2018, New York.
I want to start by thanking the Special Representative Zewde and Commissioner Chergui for their very important briefings to the Council this afternoon.
As we have heard, the recent developments in Africa give us cause for optimism. The Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship signed by the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, represents a courageous step towards a new beginning of peace and cooperation for the people concerned, for their neighbours, for the region, and the neighbouring region.
Sweden remains a steadfast supporter of an enhanced strategic partnership between the United Nations and regional and not least sub-regional organizations in Africa. The emerging security challenges we face are common, and increasingly interconnected. They require a collective response. Regional actors have a thorough understanding of the issues at stake on the ground, they are invested in resolving crises in their neighbourhood, and they have established relationships at local levels. We commend the African Union and its sub-regional partners for all of what you are doing, and you can serve as an inspiration to other regions, lacking regional security and collaborative arrangements. You work in environments where the UN cannot, and can often deploy quickly. And we must not forget that when African countries respond, in the face of increasingly complex and interconnected challenges, they respond on behalf of all of us. The importance of partnership between the AU and the UN with regards to more efficient peace operations constitutes an important part of our ongoing discussions on "Action for Peacekeeping".
We therefore really welcome the renewed momentum and concrete steps being taken to advance the UN – AU partnership, not least thanks to the commitment and dedication of the leadership in both organizations. We just heard about the second annual African Union – United Nations conference in Addis Ababa, where the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the AU commission announced their commitment to further deepen the partnership. We welcome the move towards a more structured cooperation between the two organisations over the last 18 months, through the two important agreements adopted, mentioned earlier here today. The joint visit by USG Lacroix and Commissioner Chergui to Sudan and the Central African Republic is another tangible example of closer cooperation.
The need for flexible, predictable and sustainable funding of AU peace operations is clear. We commend the African mobilization of funding within the AU Peace Fund. The conversation that we presently conduct on alternatives and modalities is really urgent. Sweden looks positively on the access to assessed UN contributions for AU conducted peace operations. We welcome the agreement with regards to fiduciary reporting as an important and concrete step in the right direction. We also note progress in the development of the compliance framework.
In addition to enhancing our collaboration around peace operations, we also need to invest time and energy into UN-AU cooperation in the field of conflict prevention and conflict resolution. The annual consultation with the AU-PSC tomorrow provides an important opportunity to explore both issues further.
Yesterday in Brussels, Sweden together with the EU and President Farmajo, hosted the Somalia Partnership Forum. The UN and AU had important roles at the Forum. Successful UN-AU cooperation in Somalia – where UN provides operational support to AU-led AMISOM, in turn operating on a UN mandate – is a precondition for continued progress in Somalia's state-building process.
The joint UN-AU mission to the Sahel two weeks ago, in which the Swedish Foreign minister also participated, is an encouraging sign of the much-needed cooperation to advance the women, peace and security agenda. As we said then, missions like this should become regular. We are also encouraged by the work carried out by the African Women Leadership Network to build on and harness women's participation throughout the region. This is not a women's issue, it is a peace and security issue.
I am confident that tomorrow's joint meeting between the Security Council and the AU PSC will contribute to deepening our joint cooperation. Such meetings are critically important for building the relationship between the Councils, and we would welcome more opportunities for informal interactions between the two Councils.
I look forward to the adoption of the joint communique that has been discussed, and it will serve to signal our joint commitment.
Peace is best pursued in partnership. Moving forward on this agenda will require our substantial and sustained political investment, and we look forward to doing our part.