The United Nations-African Union Joint Task Force on Peace and Security held its fifteenth consultative meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 22 September.
The meeting reviewed the status of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, focused on the situations in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea‑Bissau, Libya, Mali/Sahel, South Sudan and the Horn of Africa, and discussed cooperation on women, peace and security, follow-up to Security Council resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017), African Union Silencing the Guns by 2020 initiative, as well as African Union and United Nations reforms and their implications on the partnership in peace and security.
The African Union Commission and the United Nations Secretariat were represented respectively by Commissioners Smaïl Chergui (Peace and Security), Minata Samaté‑Cessouma (Political Affairs); and the Under‑Secretaries‑General Rosemary DiCarlo (Political Affairs), Jean-Pierre Lacroix (Peacekeeping Operations) and Atul Khare (Field Support). They were accompanied by other senior officials from the two Organizations.
The Joint Task Force took note of the considerable progress achieved in the United Nations-African Union partnership including the holding of the Second African Union–United Nations Annual Conference in Addis Ababa on 9 July.
On Cameroon, the United Nations and African Union welcomed the Government’s humanitarian emergency response plan for the Anglophone regions and called for access to humanitarian and human rights organizations. They noted the political developments in the country and, at the same time, they underlined the need for an inclusive dialogue to address the root causes of the crisis, reiterating their readiness to support such efforts. They underscored the importance of conducting a peaceful presidential election on 7 October.
On the situation in the Central African Republic, the United Nations and African Union welcomed the progress made in the peace process and underlined the need to strengthen it within the framework of the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation. The meeting called on all international partners involved to work together in a coordinated fashion to achieve stability in the country. The meeting also noted that the high-level ministerial meeting on the Central African Republic, organized in the margins of the General Assembly on 27 September, will be an opportunity to reaffirm the resolve of the international community, particularly the region, to bring about lasting peace in the country. The United Nations and African Union welcomed the support provided to the Central African defence and internal security forces and, in this regard, stressed that coordinated efforts will be essential.
On Comoros, the Joint Task Force called on the Government of the Comoros to create an environment conducive to a genuine and inclusive dialogue under the African Union’s auspices. The African Union and United Nations express their hope that a dialogue under the African Union’s auspices can bring all stakeholders to a consensus on the next steps post-referendum and put an end to a cycle of tenuous transitional processes in that country.
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Joint Task Force welcomed progress made by the Congolese Government and the Electoral Commission in meeting key milestones in preparations for the holding of presidential and legislative elections on 23 December. The Joint Task Force called on Congolese stakeholders to remain actively engaged in ensuring the full implementation of commitments made under the 31 December 2016 political agreement. The meeting agreed to remain committed to sustaining efforts towards stability in the post-electoral period in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On Guinea-Bissau, the United Nations and African Union welcomed the progress achieved toward resolving the political crisis facing Guinea-Bissau and stressed the importance of holding legislative elections on schedule on 18 November. The United Nations and African Union reiterated their commitment to continue to support Guinea-Bissau in addressing the challenges facing the country, in collaboration with other international partners.
On Libya, the Joint Task Force expressed concerns at the prevailing situation on the ground and exchanged views on the best way forward. The meeting stressed the importance of United Nations-African Union coordination, information sharing and joint analysis to support the peace process in close consultations with the Libyan actors.
On Mali/Sahel, the African Union and United Nations acknowledged the need to ensure complementarity of their ongoing efforts for the promotion of development as well as prevention and sustaining peace. Discussions also focused on the growing insecurity in the Sahel region. The United Nations and African Union agreed to work together to mobilize the resources needed for the region, including supporting the [Group of Five] G5 Joint Force. The Joint Task Force stressed the importance of adequate measures to ensure accountability for any human rights violations. The meeting noted that the recent conclusion of the presidential elections in Mali provides an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the peace agreement.
On South Sudan, the Joint Task Force welcomed the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan on 12 September and commended the efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries. The Joint Task Force called upon all parties to fully commit to the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, including immediate adherence to the permanent ceasefire, security sector reform and resolution of the issues concerning the number and boundaries of States and the permanent constitution making process. It also expressed support for the expeditious establishment of key institutions such as the Commission on Truth, Healing and Reconciliation, the Compensation and Reparations Authority and the Hybrid Court. The Joint Task Force reaffirmed the continued commitment of the United Nations and African Union to support, in close coordination with IGAD, the achievement of a fair, inclusive and sustainable peace for the people of South Sudan. The meeting looked forward to the upcoming African Union-United Nations joint visit in South Sudan in support to the peace process.
The African Union and United Nations welcomed recent positive developments in the Horn of Africa as steps in the consolidation of peace and security in the region. The Joint Task Force commended the bold and strategic leadership displayed by regional leaders to resolve the issues among the countries of the region which sets a great example for the broader continental endeavours to resolve challenges. The African Union and United Nations stand ready to support the Horn of Africa region in consolidating these developments as deemed appropriate. The African Union proposed the setting up of a United Nations-African Union Working Group on the Horn.
The meeting exchanged views on women, peace and security in Africa in line with resolution 1325 (2000). Participants reiterated their commitment to the promotion and facilitation of women’s full participation in peace processes, including mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and the importance of ensuring the full engagement of women in the design and implementation of comprehensive strategies to address the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism. The African Union and United Nations agreed to work closely together on achieving their respective gender parity objectives.
Regarding the follow-up to resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017) on securing predictable and sustainable financing for African Union-led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council, the Joint Task Force underlined the priority areas of work as the development of modalities for joint assessment and planning, of reporting and compliance frameworks, as well as the operationalization of the AU Peace Fund, and encouraged further cooperation on this issue.
The Joint Task Force welcomed the priority given by the African Union to fast-track the implementation of the Agenda 2063 flagship Silencing the Guns by 2020 initiative including new projects initiated by the United Nations in 2018 to support the initiative.
With regard to African Union and United Nations reforms and their implications on the partnership in peace and security, the Joint Task Force noted how the United Nations joint regional structure responsible for peace and security in Africa and the new Support Partnerships Service in the new Department of Operational Support, to be effective as of January 2019, would help better support the partnership with the African Union. The meeting also acknowledged the progress made in peacekeeping reform, including through the Action for Peacekeeping. On African Union reform, the meeting welcomed the highest level of contributions received by African Union Peace Fund since its creation in 1993 and African Union efforts to reduce its priority areas and establish a clear division of labour with sub-regional organizations.
The next statutory meeting of the Joint Task Force will take place in January 2019, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the margins of the thirty-first Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.