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Remarks to the Security Council on Peace Operations: The UN-AU Partnership and it's evolution [as delivered]

16 Dec 2014
Ban Ki-Moon

Merci, Monsieur le Président, et merci au Gouvernement tchadien, d’organiser ce débat sur les opérations de paix et le partenariat entre les Nations Unies et l’Union africaine.

Monsieur le président, si vous le permettez, je voudrais faire une déclaration sur la situation au Pakistan.

Before addressing today’s formal agenda, I would like to say a few words about the bloodcurdling attack today in Pakistan.

The hearts of the world go out to the parents and families who have lost loved ones in the horrific attack at a school in Peshawar this morning, which has taken the lives of more than 130 people, the vast majority children.

I condemn this heinous act in the strongest possible terms. No cause can justify such brutality.  No grievance can excuse such horror.  It is an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn.

Schools must be safe and secure learning spaces.  Getting an education is every child’s right.  Going to school should not have to be an act of bravery.

I extend my deepest condolences to the people, Government and particularly those touched by today’s tragedy.

The United Nations will continue to support the efforts of the Pakistani authorities in their fight against terrorism and extremism. I urge the Government of Pakistan to make every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.

La coopération entre l’Union africaine et les Nations Unies dans le domaine de la paix et de la sécurité est cruciale et doit systématiquement intervenir aux premiers signes de crise. Il est vital que nous continuions à renforcer notre partenariat stratégique et que nous nous employions plus efficacement, ensemble, à prévenir, gérer et régler les conflits.

Je salue la Présidente de l’Union africaine, Mme Zuma, pour sa volonté de renforcer notre coopération, et tiens à souligner la contribution importante que les pays d’Afrique apportent aux activités de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies.

Mr. President,

Over the years, cooperation between the United Nations and its regional and sub-regional partners has intensified. The Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council are working together more closely, and there is increased support for African-led peace operations and their transition into UN peacekeeping operations, as we have seen in Mali and the Central African Republic. 

The UN Secretariat and the AU Commission meet regularly for the United Nations-African Union Joint Task Force on Peace and Security, mapping out joint initiatives and strategies. Through the Regional Coordination Mechanism, both organizations have taken joint planning and implementation of programmes.

Mr. President,

Our partnership must be based on a common understanding of what each organization can do in any given context, and on a realistic assessment of each other’s comparative advantages.

In the Central African Republic, for example, cooperation between the African Union, the United Nations and the Economic Community of Central African States led to the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Brazzaville in July. 

In Somalia, our two Organizations are working together with other partners, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, to support the people and the Federal Government in this critical phase of peace-building and state-building.

We are also working closely with the African Union and with sub-regional organizations in Sudan and South Sudan. 

In the Great Lakes region, strong cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Southern African Development Community has been vital to the progress that has been made under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.

However, we need to do more.

In Burkina Faso, there was close cooperation between the UN, the African Union and ECOWAS in the immediate aftermath of the uprising that led to the departure of former President Blaise Compaoré. But this crisis also points to the need for greater emphasis on preventive action.


We also need to adapt in the face of an evolving peace and security landscape.

Two-thirds of peacekeeping missions are now operating in areas where there are significant threats, including well-armed groups of terrorists and extremists, transnational organized crime and trafficking of people and drugs, serious human rights violations and impunity. 

In some cases, the Security Council has responded by approving robust mandates. However, peacekeeping missions are now being mandated to advance national reconciliation and dialogue in the absence of peace agreements, or even clear identification of the parties to the conflict.

Peacekeeping is also becoming a more crowded field, involving diverse actors and even parallel missions. In the Central African Republic, for example, the joint efforts of the African-led International Support Mission, MISCA; the French operation Sangaris; the European Union Force EUFOR-RCA and MINUSCA contributed to a significant improvement in the security situation, especially in the capital, Bangui. 

I have launched a major review of peace operations as part of efforts to address some of these challenges. The review will encompass every aspect of our peace operations, from mandates to our cooperation with key partners, including the AU, to peacebuilding and transition, the protection of civilians, accountability and the role of Special Political Missions and UN Police.

We have a responsibility to ensure that all the tools we have at our disposal are ready to face current and future demands. 

In addition to this review, and in line with resolution 2167, I am also reviewing the handover modalities from African Union to United Nations operations. And in March next year, I will submit an assessment report with recommendations on the progress of the partnerships between the United Nations and relevant regional organizations in peacekeeping operations.


Whatever the outcome of these reviews, we must continue to strengthen the role of the United Nations in conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacekeeping, and ensure the effective functioning of the collective security system established by the Charter.

In order to do so, we face significant challenges. 

First, we must build stronger political partnerships that are anchored in a clear strategic vision.

Second, we need a clear, agreed role for the African Union and sub-regional organizations. It is important to increase the predictability of our cooperation and to conduct the joint assessment missions and planning exercises that are critical to enhance joint peace operations.

Third, the United Nations, regional organizations and other partners must cooperate to enhance joint logistical capabilities. To provide the necessary mobility, capacity and robustness, we need creative approaches. These might include multinational cooperation schemes, pooled capacities and co-deployments. Member States with certain specialized capacities, from helicopters and intelligence to engineering expertise, can make invaluable contributions.

We should also strengthen our trilateral discussions with the European Union, which together with the AU is an important regional partner in deploying and managing peace operations.

Fourth, financing continues to pose a major challenge to African capability. I have advocated for further resources from within Africa, but we must find creative ways to mobilize the international community.


The time has come for us to take our partnership to a new level of clarity, practicality and predictability.

This Council knows well that crises in Africa are far from an African problem. They concern the entire international community; and they will only be resolved by all the parts of that community acting as one.

I commend the African Union for doing more than ever before to meet these operational and political challenges. I look forward to deepening our ties as we strive to meet the yearning of the continent’s people for lasting peace.

Thank you.