Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at a UNSC debate on the United Nations-African Union partnership in peace and security

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this debate.

It is also my pleasure and honor to welcome briefers and thank them for their comprehensive presentations and expressed views.

Mr. President,

Nowadays most of the UN peace operations are deployed on the African continent. Almost 50% of the uniformed personnel in these missions are also provided by the African states. It clearly demonstrates that UN peacekeeping efforts must go in sync with close cooperation with African states.

At the same time, the UN is often slow in reacting to situations, which can evolve into full-scale conflicts or where civil population is endangered and requires rapid protection action from the international community.

In this regard, my delegation commends the African Union for having often acted as a first responder to crises even before deployment of UN peacekeepers.

Mr. President,

Nevertheless, we have to admit that challenges remain and that more should be done to strengthen further the relationship between the UN and the African Union to address effectively collective security concerns on the African continent.

One of the priority areas, where further action could bring tangible positive results, is financing. Predictability, sustainability, and flexibility of financing for AU-led peace operations has been a long-standing issue.

In this regard, the AU’s decision to raise the continent’s contribution to the cost of its peace support operations to 25% by 2020 is a highly commendable step. It will enhance the African ownership and agenda-setting of peace initiatives of the AU.

In addition, we would like to flag other areas of particular importance.

First, it is imperative to eliminate a frequently occurring flaw in many AU peace support operations – namely, a capability gap within uniformed personnel. We believe that ensuring deployment readiness and improved performance requires collective and coordinated actions by the UN and the AU.

Such cooperation, in our opinion, could include, but not be limited to, sharing of best practices and providing special trainings. For instance, the UN has already introduced Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System, which proved to be a useful tool for UN peacekeeping operations and could be emulated by the AU.

Second, just several weeks ago this Council together with other UN Member States discussed the issue of asymmetrical threats that UN operations face nowadays. It was clear from those deliberations as well as relevant reports on PKOs that UN peacekeeping missions are not a proper tool to combat terrorism. Many hold a view that military measures to counter terrorism and violent extremism are a responsibility of national governments and relevant regional organizations. Therefore, we see a lot of merit in the UN providing advice and expertise in support of respective AU’s endeavors.

Third, after recent peacekeeping and peacebuilding reviews in the UN we consider as an axiom the people-centered approach to these activities of the Organization.In this regard,we believe thatprotection of civilians is a decisive factor not only for the success of the UN operations, but also those of the AU endorsed by this Council. Thus, it is worth considering establishing an effective framework for Human Rights Due Diligence Policy in AU peace operations. From the UN PKOs experience, it is clear that there is no peace without human rights.

And last but not least, in light of the recent resolutions of the Council and General Assembly on peacebuilding architecture, it is important to look back at the 2015 UN-AU joint communiqué, which envisaged a conduct of joint UN-AU field missions to areas of conflict in Africa. We should consider implementing this commitment while organizing field missions of this Council, which we see as an important conflict prevention tool. Inviting representatives of PBC country-specific configurations to such missions could also improve efficiency and effectiveness of the Council’s visits.

In conclusion, Ukraine would like to reiterate its position that as an elected member of the Council we stand ready to engage constructively on each and every initiative aimed at enhancing UN-AU cooperation on issues related to peace keeping, peace supporting and peace building on the African continent. In many parts of this great continent people have suffered for way too long and the international community has a moral responsibility to make every effort to achieve a lasting peace and stability wherever that may be needed.

Thank you, Mr. President.