Statement delivered by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council meeting on the cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security: African Union —
Mr. President, thanks for organizing this briefing, very timely and opportune.
I also want to thank the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Mr. Smaïl Chergui, the High Representative for the AU Peace Fund, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, and the Chef of Cabinet, Madame Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti for their insightful briefings.
The AU-UN Framework Agreement signed on April 19, the Secretary General’s report on the joint UN-AU review of mechanisms to finance and support African Union Peace Operations authorized by this Council and the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the same theme are the beginning of a new strengthened partnership between the two Organizations.
Italy fully support the mechanism described in the SG report for a joint planning and mandating of AU Peace operations, which preserves the prerogatives of the Security Council, at the same time providing for African ownership and paving the way for “African solutions to African problems”.
As regard financing, the SG Report envisages different options to provide financial support which can be chosen on a case by case basis. We are fully favorable to explore the use of assessed contributions by the UN to African Union, as firstly put out by the “Prodi Report” in 2008, to secure a predictable and sustainable source of financing.
In this respect, we welcome the commitment taken by the African Union Heads of State and Government at the Kigali Summit in July 2016 to contribute 25% of the AU peace support operations, as reaffirmed in the Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission. It is a commitment that will increase significantly the contribution of African States to peace operations (around six times more than the current contribution from the 54 African Countries that amount to US $40 million, less than half a percent of the UN’s peacekeeping budget).
An enhanced strategic cooperation with African Union is therefore one of the ways leading to smart and cost-effective peace operations and a fundamental element of the reform of the peace and security architecture envisaged by the Secretary General.
AU peace operations have comparative advantages in terms of flexibility, rapid deployment in challenging environments with limited resources and capacity to perform robust mandates tasks, such as peace enforcement and counter-terrorism, that UN peacekeeping operations cannot perform.
We have already some fields of action where to test AU-UN cooperation, such as AMISOM in Somalia or UNAMID in Darfur.
I would like also to recall the Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, whose revitalization we deem essential for the entire region, and the recent creation of the G5 Sahel Force that can have a fruitful cooperation with MINUSMA and with the EU missions in the region (EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Mali e EUCAP Sahel Niger).
Concerning adherence to UN rules and standards, it is paramount to secure high standards of accountability and conduct and discipline for the UN-mandated peace operations undertaken by African Union.
We welcome therefore the engagement stated in the AU Commission Chairperson Report to strengthen AU’s Human Rights Due Diligence capabilities, including preventing and combating sexual exploitation and abuse in AU-lead peace operations.
In this respect, training, in particular pre-deployment and mandate-oriented, is of course key, and allow me to recall that Italy has a strong record in training of national military and police personnel for peace operations. Respect of human rights, protection of civilians and gender perspective are embedded in national military training curricula.
We stand ready to strengthen our engagement in capacity building in favor of police and military units of Member States willing to contribute to African Union missions and to help UN devise new training instruments in support of African specific needs.
I thank you, Mr. President.