‘Africa Knows Best’, Delegates Stress, Urging More Investment, Support for Nationally Led Strategies to Tackle Continent’s Challenges
Highlighting the links between effective governance, peace, security and development in Africa, speakers urged greater international investment and support for nationally led efforts, stressing “Africa knows best” how to resolve its own problems, as the Security Council concluded a two-day open debate on stopping violence and building the capacity for peace and growth on the continent.
Bankole Adeoye, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, said that Africa’s scorecard on governance, peace and security performance “has mixed results”. While its partnerships with the United Nations for peacekeeping and peacebuilding are well-articulated, the adverse effects of climate change threaten the livelihoods of millions in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and the continent “bleeds from illicit financial flows”. Given what Africa faces today in terms of defeating terrorism and violent extremism, the international community must further develop the required capacity for peace enforcement, with a focus on the role of youth and women and transformative leadership between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council through both military and whole-of-society approaches.
Cristina Duarte, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, outlined factors — such as the COVID-19 pandemic, corruption and non-inclusive planning and budgeting — that hinder African countries’ ability to provide effective, efficient public services. Curbing illicit financial flows would generate the same amount of revenue as official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI) together, while also addressing a main source of financing for transnational crime and terrorism. Investing in institutional and security infrastructure and closer cooperation with national and local authorities can prevent gaps exploited by terrorist groups and non-State actors, including to capture children. On that point, she noted the Organization’s “A pen for a gun” education initiative, which promotes social cohesion and peace on the continent.
Likewise, Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Bangladesh), Chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, said it is critical to support nationally owned and led efforts to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions. African regions have shown greater interest in consulting with the Commission to expand and strengthen their capacities for peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Citing examples, he said the Government of the Central African Republic has prioritized the fight against impunity, including convening criminal sessions and the creation of a rapid response unit to investigate sexual and gender-based violence. He highlighted progress in gender equality in Liberia and the Burundi Government’s promotion of youth in socioeconomic development; and further cited efforts by the Lake Chad Basin Commission to support governors in Basin areas affected by Boko Haram to articulate their locally owned initiative, the Territorial Action Plans.
In the ensuing debate, Council Member States and other States’ representatives stressed that Africa must generate its own institutions, strategies and remedies to fight terrorism, emerge from and prevent conflict — while calling on the international community to honour its financing responsibilities and commitments for both peace and security, and development.
Thailand’s representative affirmed that “with regard to Africa, Africa knows best” — calling for stronger attention to their priorities and African-driven processes culminating in domestic solutions. Expressing support for the close cooperation between the Council and Africa, he said particular attention must be paid to the views of its African members in relevant deliberations. Moreover, the United Nations and the international community must continue to provide support from peacekeeping operations to peacebuilding missions.
Rwanda’s delegate cited that country’s anguished violent past when, after the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, there were no adequately functioning systems and people had low to no trust in Government institutions. Rwanda’s rebirth relied on its homegrown solutions, including Gacaca courts and mediation committees in its justice system. Gacaca Jurisdiction handled over 1.6 million cases of genocide perpetrators in 10 years, something that could have taken hundreds of years for classic courts. The Peacebuilding Commission is therefore essential.
Kenya’s delegate stressed that Africa’s energetic and young population, its abundance of resources and its diversity can catapult the continent into an immense driver of global peace and prosperity. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 is a blueprint to transform Africa into a global economic and political powerhouse, including the successful implementation of the “Silencing the Guns” road map for peace, and the Continental Free Trade Area for prosperity. However, in almost all African regions, militant and terrorist groups are challenging States and destroying many innocent lives.
Echoing that sentiment, Gabon’s delegate noted that, in hot spots in the Great Lakes region, it is essential to take a holistic approach that includes the root causes of conflict, peacebuilding activities and post-conflict reconstruction. A sustainable peace process must provide education, poverty eradication and jobs for young people in order to shield them from the ills of society. It is the international community’s responsibility to support States and regional organizations in implementing strategies to strengthen their political, social and economic institutions, along with international financing.
India’s delegate concurred, stressing that African countries — much like the majority of the global South — suffer from a historical disadvantage in institutional capacity due to their colonial past. “No one can know Africa better than Africans themselves,” he emphasized, and capacity-building in critical areas such as education, health, agriculture and infrastructure “is the need of the hour”. While the Council focuses more than half of its work exclusively on Africa, the systematic exclusion of those States from permanent Council membership “is a blot on our collective credibility”.
Canada’s representative affirmed that national ownership is crucial to building and sustaining peace, citing Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. Worryingly, some Governments are undertaking actions which risk undermining the United Nations ability to support their efforts to sustain peace. He further cited the African Union Commissioner’s warning that climate change represents a clear threat to peace and security in Africa, while rising food insecurity, exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions on the continent.
Sounding a note of optimism, the representative of Norway emphasized that — notwithstanding the Black Sea Grain Initiative — “Africa has its own potential to become the world’s breadbasket” and ensure that food-related items are available at reasonable prices. The long-term solution is increased investment in food production and resilience in Africa alongside humanitarian efforts. Greater political support from Member States is needed, as is predictable, sustainable and flexible funding. “Signing peace agreements does not alone bring peace,” he stated, emphasizing that political will is key to addressing the root causes and drivers of conflict.
Also speaking were the representatives of China, Ireland, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil, United States, Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Albania, France, Senegal, Switzerland, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Algeria, Republic of Korea, Poland, Germany, Malta, Portugal, Ecuador, Mozambique, Denmark (also for Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Morocco, Slovenia, Ethiopia, Slovakia, Australia, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Ukraine, Argentina and Bangladesh, as well as the European Union.
The meeting began on Monday, 8 August, at 10:03 a.m. and suspended 1:17 p.m. It resumed on Tuesday, 9 August, at 3:02 p.m. and ended at 5:29 p.m.
BANKOLE ADEOYE, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, spotlighting the “symbiotic relationship between effective governance, peace, security and development”, briefed the Council that a scorecard on Africa’s governance, peace and security performance “has mixed results”. The adverse effects of climate change threaten the livelihoods of millions in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and he also stressed that “our continent bleeds from illicit financial flows”. Against that backdrop, he underscored the need for the African Union and the United Nations to increase collaboration aimed at building capacity to create and sustain peace. Further, while partnerships for peacekeeping and peacebuilding are well-articulated and appreciated, the international community must go further, also developing the required capacity for peace enforcement. This is what Africa faces today in terms of defeating terrorism and violence extremism, he said.
He went on to detail several lessons learned over the years, calling first for better implementation of African governance and peace and security architecture and spotlighting the African Union’s “Silencing the Guns by 2020” initiative and Agenda 2063. Building the required capacity to enhance governance, peace and security will place Africa in a strong position to realize Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, and the African Union is currently working to reenergize the continental early warning system by building required capacity in the mediation and conflict-prevention sectors. He also stressed the need to focus on the ability of women and youth to build and sustain peace, along with post-conflict reconstruction. On that point, he pointed out that the recently launched Centre for Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development in Cairo will boost post-conflict-management capacity on the continent.
Emphasizing that capacity challenges must be addressed collectively, he called for joint, transformative leadership between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council that focuses on building capacity for peace operations through both military and whole-of-society approaches. Financial challenges associated with peace operations must also be addressed. Additionally, he stressed the need to enhance capacity for participatory, inclusive political transitions in order to strengthen democracy. For its part, the African Union is ready to recommit to implementing Goal 16, and he added a call to foster inclusive, effective and accountable institutions in the peace sector.
CRISTINA DUARTE, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, underscored that capacity-building has a direct and fundamental impact on delivering sustainable peace, and cited a 2021 report of the Secretary-General on the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, which identifies ways in which public service delivery can become a trigger of conflict and stability. Outlining factors that affect the capacity of African countries to provide effective, efficient public services, she pointed out that, most often, exclusion is not the result of a decision to exclude. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic hindered access to education in Africa, resulting in the exclusion of millions of children due to lack of access to electricity or technological tools. Other factors that affect the provision of public services include non-transparent or non-inclusive planning and budgeting processes, as well as corruption, which not only diverts funds that should be used for service delivery, but delegitimizes the State.
Turning to the challenges for effective capacity-building in Africa, she said clear, objective, just planning and monitoring systems and policy frameworks are needed. Also needed is sustainable financing through strong domestic resource mobilization systems to build institutions and develop capacities for public service delivery. Among all the sources of domestic resource mobilization, the most urgent one from a peace and security standpoint are illicit financial flows. Curbing illicit financial flows in Africa would not only generate the same amount of revenue as official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI) together, it would also address one of the main sources of financing of transnational crime and terrorism.
Outlining recommendations to address those challenges, she said investing in institutional infrastructure is essential to build capacities to tackle the internal causes of violence. Also needed is technical cooperation to create policy and institutional capacity must be a priority in all conflict situations. Closer cooperation with national and local authorities, from both a security and institution-building perspective, could create opportunities for increasing the presence of the State and enhancing the delivery of services, preventing gaps that can be leveraged by terrorist groups and non-State actors, she added.
In that context, she highlighted school feeding programmes as an example of a public service with great potential to contribute to long-term peace and stability. Aimed at addressing low educational attainment, school dropout, malnutrition, stunting and overall food insecurity, they also help to promote local economies and women’s empowerment, strengthen local food systems and create cohesive communities. When children are retained in school, they have a lower risk of being captured by terrorist groups and non-State actors. In that regard, she said the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa has launched the initiative, “A pen for a gun”, that fosters the role of school meals in promoting social cohesion and peace on the continent, and seeks to strengthen African countries’ capacities to deliver peace and security through development.
MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh), Chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, said the challenges to peace and security have multiplied with the onset of a global pandemic, an economic downturn and changing conflict dynamics. African regions have shown greater interest in working with the Commission to expand and strengthen their capacities for peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The Commission has consistently supported Africa and provided a platform for national peacebuilding priorities and garnered support to strength institutional capacity.
Citing examples, he said that, in the Central African Republic, the Government has prioritized the fight against impunity and the reinforcement of access to justice. The Minister for Justice, Human Rights Promotion and Governance presented the Government’s peacebuilding initiatives during a meeting with the Commission. This included reforms and measures in the judicial and penitentiary sectors, such as the adoption of a justice sector policy, the convening of criminal sessions at the Bangui Court of Appeals and the creation of a rapid response unit within the police and gendarmerie to investigate sexual and gender-based violence.
Briefing the Commission in June, Liberia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection highlighted the notable progress in gender equality through the adoption of the Revised National Gender Policy 2018-2022, the second National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security 2019-2023 and the gender-responsive Local Governance and Land Rights Act. In Burundi, the Government has promoted the decisive role of youth in socioeconomic development through the National Programme for Peace Capitalization, Social Stability and the Promotion of Economic Growth, with initiatives to support youth entrepreneurship and job creation, as well as education and training. In the Lake Chad Basin, the Lake Chad Basin Commission has made consistent efforts to translate its Regional Strategy for Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience into an implementable plan. Its Executive Secretary updated the Peacebuilding Commission in April on newly created coordination and management structures and the building of vertical and horizontal partnerships. The Lake Chad Basin Commission has also supported governors in Basin areas affected by Boko Haram to articulate their locally owned initiative, the Territorial Action Plans, in support of the regional Strategy.
Based on these and other Commission engagements in Africa, he said it is critical to support nationally owned and led efforts to build effective, accountable, inclusive and responsive institutions at the national and local levels to protect and empower citizens. “Enhancing capacity-building for sustaining peace is indeed a complex process, one that must be carried out in a step-by-step manner with measures tailored to the specific conditions of each country and region,” he emphasized. The Commission promotes the role of regional, South-South and triangular cooperation to address common challenges to peacebuilding, he said, stressing its commitment to work more closely with the African Union and its Peace and Security Council to support these strategies and mobilize peacebuilding tools to sustain peace. Acknowledging the invaluable contributions of the Peacebuilding Fund to support inclusive national and local institutions and organizations, he reiterated the Commission’s calls for adequate, predictable and sustainable financing for peacebuilding.
ZHANG JUN (China), Council President for August, spoke in his national capacity, noting that Africa is “a land long-steeped in hardships” caused by the slave trade, racial discrimination, colonial rule and foreign interference. African countries have always been on the receiving end of collateral damage from conflicts outside the region and the Council “must do some deep thinking” on how to help the continent achieve lasting peace. Capacity-building is critical in this regard, and the international community must support African countries in strengthening governance capacity. Governments are the most important actors in responding to crises and promoting development and reconstruction. In providing assistance, the international community must respect and trust African Governments and not attach political conditions. Further, holding elections in post-conflict countries is only the first step towards recovery, and the international community must deliver on the many tasks that follow such processes. It must also work to support African countries in improving security sector capacity to address threats posed by terrorism, violent extremism and intercommunal conflict. In this regard, external forces cannot be a substitute for internal capacity. Helping Africa build capacity is a common responsibility for the international community, he added, stressing that African issues cannot be marginalized in light of other international crises.
MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya), stressing that Africa’s energetic and young population, its abundance of resources and its diversity, can catapult the continent into an immense driver of global peace and prosperity, said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 is a blueprint to transform Africa into a global economic and political powerhouse. A key pillar in its achievement is the successful implementation of the “Silencing of the Guns” road map for peace, and the Continental Free Trade Area for prosperity. In almost all African regions, militant and terrorist groups are challenging States and destroying many innocent lives. Climate change is exacerbating the conflicts and undermining livelihoods and economies. Outlining three recommendations for capacity-building, he noted that peacekeeping is not working as it should. The United Nations must rethink and recalibrate the role and functioning of special political missions and peacekeeping operations so they respond to the actual political and security dynamics more than the perceptions or interests of external actors. Secondly, sanctions and embargoes imposed by the Council — which have compromised the capacity of States to offer adequate security to citizens — must be realistic and achievable and aligned to the capabilities of the State to deliver. In addition, the Peacebuilding Commission and other United Nations peacebuilding initiatives must be used. The World Bank and the United Nations, working together more effectively, can deliver significant wins in peacebuilding.
CÁIT MORAN (Ireland), noting that local populations in many subregions of Africa bear the brunt of the crises in the region, said it is critical that the international community listen and pay heed to women leaders, youth, human rights defenders and civil society. By providing capacity-building for those local peacebuilders and enabling their work, Member States can promote inclusion, better governance and lasting peace. The international community can support African partners to build sustainable peace by addressing the root causes and drivers of conflict. This includes mitigating against the multiple shocks of climate change; investing in education, particularly of women and girls, as well as health-care and food systems; and developing and strengthening national human rights frameworks and supporting good governance initiatives. The African Union-European Union partnership shows how regional organizations can work together for peace and security, she said, expressing her delegation’s support for the strengthening of national security and defence capacities of its African partners through European Union missions and operations.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India) pointed out that African countries — much like the majority of the global South — suffer from a historical disadvantage in institutional capacity due to their colonial past. Therefore, human-resource development and capacity-building should be at the core of the international community’s efforts in Africa. Noting that Africa’s growth can be facilitated by partnerships that genuinely foster economic sustainability — without conditions and in line with African expectations — he stressed that national Governments must steer priorities and strategies for sustaining peace at all stages of conflict. “No one can know Africa better than Africans themselves,” he emphasized, calling on the international community to heed African voices and wisdom. Stressing that capacity-building in critical areas such as education, health, agriculture and infrastructure “is the need of the hour”, he detailed his country’s partnership efforts with African countries. He added that, while the Council focuses more than half of its work exclusively on Africa, “the systematic exclusion of our African brothers and sisters in the permanent category of Council membership is a blot on our collective credibility”.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said that to build Africa’s capacity, it is necessary to build more resiliency. In the hot spots in the Great Lakes region, for example, it is essential to take a holistic approach that includes the root causes of conflict, peacebuilding activities and post-conflict reconstruction. Agenda 2063 has prepared a blueprint and a vision that is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, he said, underscoring that a sustainable peace process needs to deal with the root causes of conflict. Further, it needs to provide mechanisms for education, poverty eradication and jobs for young people in order to shield them from the ills of society. It is the international community’s responsibility to support States and regional organizations to implement strategies to strengthen their political, social and economic institutions. In addition, international financing plays a central role that can provide training programmes, job creation, disarmament mechanisms and reintegration programmes. It is crucial that women and young children are included in the peace process, he added.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) underscored that political instability is one of the main challenges to peace, security and development in Africa. Breaks in the constitutional order of countries such as Chad, Mali and Sudan, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, have created even more barriers to progress in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Given the impact of climate change, capacity creation for mitigation and adaptation, as well as agricultural processes and energy generation, are urgently needed. In that regard, the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt would be a good opportunity to review and close the gaps in investment. Capacity-building must also fully include women, using the women, peace and security agenda as a guide. Mediation, conflict prevention and conflict resolution can be strengthened through the abilities and the leadership of women. Noting the challenges to security posed by illicit weapons trafficking, he said customs and border authorities and their capacities must be developed, and legal mechanisms and international commitments strengthened to contain that phenomenon. It is also important to strengthen the rule of law and institutions, alongside security sector reforms, to make them accountable and transparent.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) voiced deep concern over challenges facing many African countries today, notably caused by COVID-19, the effects of climate change and the war against Ukraine. Through the new international development strategy, the United Kingdom is working with Governments and civil society to “get on track” with the Sustainable Development Goals, notably by providing capacity-building support to strengthen institutions. For example, it is working in partnership with the African Union, to reconfigure the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia. It also hosted the second United Kingdom-Ghana Security Dialogue, agreeing to support regional approaches to tackling instability in coastal West African States. “There are no shortcuts,” he said. Development gains and fragile peace can be lost if large parts of a population are marginalized, or human rights are abused. Internationally, he called for a model of cooperation that prioritizes the values of openness and inclusion. Peacebuilding and development must be people-centred if they are to be sustainable.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) said sustaining peace in Africa requires a comprehensive and integrated approach to address the economic, political and social dimensions of conflicts. Yet, the conditions for economic and social development have been denied to African societies. ODA, whether multilateral or bilateral, humanitarian or development driven, is important but essentially a stopgap solution. Developing countries, particularly those in Africa, need a global economic, financial and trade architecture that lets them fulfil their potential. The Peacebuilding Commission is uniquely placed to mobilize international attention and support nationally defined peacebuilding priorities, both in terms of financing and expertise. As well, technical cooperation, notably South-South cooperation, plays a key role in capacity-building. He emphasized conflict prevention as key to develop peace and security capacities in Africa and welcomed steps to deepen the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in peace and security issues.
ODD INGE KVALHEIM (Norway) said that, while the Black Sea Grain Initiative — if implemented – can ensure that food-related items are available at reasonable prices, the long-term solution is to increase sustainable food production in Africa. “Africa has its own potential to become the world’s breadbasket,” he pointed out, calling for increased investment in food production and resilience in Africa alongside humanitarian efforts. Additionally, while the United Nations and African Union have made progress in promoting structured, strategic cooperation, greater political support from Member States is needed, as is predictable, sustainable and flexible funding. Norway supports the Secretary-General’s call for a United Nations support office for the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) joint force, and remains open to using assessed contributions to African Union and regionally led missions “when conditions are right”, he noted. Adding that “signing peace agreements does not alone bring peace”, he emphasized that political will is key to addressing the root causes and drivers of conflict, and that such will is most effectively generated by the region itself. He also said that the Council must reflect today’s geopolitical realities, supporting efforts to expand the organ and increase the number of seats for Africa, both permanent and non-permanent.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States), underscoring that “peace cannot wait in Africa”, stressed it must come from African leaders and institutions for the benefit of Africa’s people. Recalling her recent visit to the continent and spotlighting the upcoming United States-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., in December, she said that her country will work with partners to strengthen trade relations, economic development and prosperity on the continent. The African Union is key to peace in Africa through its efforts to mediate conflict and support regional economic communities, she said, also welcoming its progress in developing human rights and international humanitarian law frameworks. Underscoring the important role that United Nations arms embargoes play in sustaining peace in Africa, she said that exemptions thereto ensure that Governments can procure what the need while providing transparency for weapon flows into conflict areas, limiting belligerents’ ability to engage in hostilities; this results in saving lives. She added that the Council cannot discuss sustainable peace in Africa without acknowledging “the tumultuous times in which we find ourselves”, including rising food insecurity caused in part by the Russian Federation’s “war of choice” in Ukraine.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said African States need international support to build their capacity as the continent faces conflicts, terrorism and other challenges. He recognized the work of Africans themselves, such as Agenda 2063. Noting that African topics account for more than half of the Council’s agenda and that patronizing remarks have been made that African States need democratic reforms, he questioned how many of Africa’s problems are Council business. Imposing Western economic models on African countries could be counterproductive. The pressures and threats of sanctions should not be used for political domination or economic blackmail. Social and economic assistance is necessary for Africa to strengthen institutions and prevent a brain drain. For stability in Africa, it is necessary to silence the guns. Regional efforts are irreplaceable as Africans know the local context, he said, stressing that African mediation efforts cannot be undermined by outside players. The Russian Federation has always supported African States and is not imposing anything on anyone and not teaching anyone any lessons. There has been much talk about the Russian Federation exporting hunger. This is completely baseless and hides the real reasons for the rise in food prices.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) said that, since its founding, his country has steadily expanded its relationships with partners across Africa. Today, those partnerships have flourished into dynamic cooperation in critical fields such as renewable energy, food security, counter-terrorism and public health. African solutions for African challenges must begin with engaging the continent’s repertoire of conflict resolution and peacebuilding practices. The Council must recognize that African solutions, not just challenges, have global dimensions, he said, pointing out that global peacebuilding approaches which incorporate communal dialogues women’s networks and reconciliation, borrow extensively from African practices. Supporting capacity-building to sustain peace in Africa is both a moral imperative and a strategic investment that directly benefits the entire world. As the pandemic, food security crisis and commodity price increases have placed public sectors and economies under immense strain, protecting and ensuring access to basic goods and services, and stabilizing food and energy prices, must be central to any effort to sustain peace, he said.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said the coordination mechanisms between the African Union and the United Nations, such as the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, should be enhanced through a more regular exchange of information, joint briefings by Special Representatives and Envoys of the two organizations, as well as joint field visits by senior officials. Such measures would help avoid duplication of efforts, improve complementarities and reinforce coherent implementation of actions for peace and security based on continental priorities and actions. In addition, the Council must clarify the conditions under which African regional forces, acting under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations can meet the requirement for predictable, adequate and sustainable financing, especially from assessed contributions. Underscoring the African Governments’ responsibility to build trust with their populations and put in place requisite institutions, he said that youth, women and girls must be fully integrated in all aspects of decision-making and public policy implementation. He also called for genuine international commitment and support for the implementation of the 2030 and 2063 development agendas within Africa, noting that the international community can assist African countries in the mobilization of financial resources, climate change adaptation and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, among others.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania), noting that providing basic services is key to peace and security and that infrastructure is vital for delivering results, expressed concern that public goods and services — including schools and health facilities — are targeted in armed conflicts across Africa. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the issues of institutional weakness and lack of capacity to formulate and implement policies, which is a common challenge faced in many developing countries that requires continued effort to strengthen institutional capacity for development. To properly address some of the root causes of conflicts in Africa, he called for investment in good governance; more inclusive and effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes; genuine accountability; and strengthened, diversified trade relations. Public and private investment in Africa must be promoted, with greater emphasis on the green and blue economies. On the nexus between climate, security and rising food insecurity, he stressed that the issue of droughts in the Horn of Africa is of paramount importance to Africa and the world, and that “the lack of a quick, robust and appropriate response will become the sign of a collective failure”.
NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France) stressed that only a growth in national capacity, underpinned by solid training actions over the long-term, will create conditions to allow the withdrawal of peacekeeping operations. France will continue to support countries in the Sahel region in building capacity for security forces, which is crucial for avoiding the spread of mercenaries — such as the Wagner Group — who commit abuses and pillage resources. She also noted that arms embargoes do not hinder capacity-building because exemptions are provided to this end. She went on to emphasize that capacity-building must be based on trust and cannot be done without political commitment and accountability from the State benefitting therefrom. Further, this approach must be inclusive to be effective, and therefore the full participation of women and young people must be ensured. Additionally, the international community must seek innovative solutions for partnerships, and she spotlighted in this regard the cooperation between the African Union, European Union and Member States in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that increased financing for climate change adaptation measures will contribute to preventing conflict.
CHIEKH NIANG (Senegal) said Africa still dominates the Council agenda even as it tries to end the scourge of terrorism, conflict and humanitarian disasters. It is necessary to act to optimize the continent’s potential. African subregional organizations are playing an important role in providing stability and peace yet there is not adequate financing. It is crucial to build the capacity of regional defence forces, he said, adding that Africa is bearing more responsibility for peacekeeping, yet there is a lack of adequate financing to support African Union operations authorized by the Council. In addition to security measures, preventive approaches need to be supported. There must be consistent partnerships for peacebuilding efforts. There are many actors with different interests working without clear objectives, he said, calling for a coordinated framework to clarify the relationship between stakeholders and an integrated approach respond to security threats.
ADRIAN DOMINIK HAURI (Switzerland) said his country works with multilateral, regional and local actors in Africa, in support of Member State priorities and in line with both the 2030 Agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063. In Mozambique, for example, Switzerland supports improved access to land by strengthening dialogue among local government, civil society and the private sector. He pointed to the United Nations African Union Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership on Peace and Security as a good practice and welcomed the work of African regional organizations on food security and climate change. He also voiced support for the establishment of sufficient, predictable and sustainable funding for peacebuilding, noting that Switzerland is one of the top 10 donors to the Peacebuilding Fund. Switzerland will participate in negotiations, facilitated by Kenya and Sweden, for a resolution on peacebuilding financing, as well as in Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) negotiations on the possibility of statutory contributions to the Fund.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said his country has been contributing to peace and security efforts on both the international and regional levels through the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development. His country has also hosted the African Centre for the Promotion of Peacebuilding Activities in Africa. The Council should prioritize African issues to prevent conflicts and settle conflicts away from polarization and narrow interests, he said, pointing out that such polarization has hindered the Council’s ability to fulfil its responsibilities set forth in the Charter. Moreover, the Council must take a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding, support State institutions and take into account the regional dimensions of peacebuilding, as well as transborder challenges. Local capacities must be built to enable the provision of basis services to rural and border regions, he said, calling on the international community to provide sustainable funding for peacebuilding efforts.
OSUGA TAKESHI (Japan) said that, since its inception in 1993, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development has emphasized the importance of Africa’s capacity-building. Noting key elements for it and for sustaining peace, he stressed that African-led efforts for conflict prevention and peacebuilding must be supported. Efforts to consolidate democracy, restore constitutional order, and promote sustainable development, are among topics that will be discussed at the upcoming eighth conference to be held later this month in Tunisia. Institution-building must be prioritized to bring stability to conflict-affected countries, he added, noting that Japan provided assistance to African countries to strengthen their institutional capacity in the judicial, administrative and legislative sectors to ensure the rule of law. Moreover, strong institutions are essential for delivering socioeconomic services to people and for building their trust in the Government. His country’s support to strengthen health and medical systems in Africa has proven instrumental in their effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MATHU JOYINI (South Africa), emphasizing the need to view capacity-building broadly, urged the international community to explore practical measures to promote sustainable economic development in conflict-affected, post-conflict and transition countries. The private sector should play an increased role in peacebuilding, including building economic resilience. Capacity-building should not be viewed in isolation from other issues that concern sustaining peace. Further, national ownership should underpin any peacebuilding support directed to concerned countries. In addition, stakeholders should recognize the significant strides made by the African Union and other subregional organizations. Such efforts should be supported, she said, spotlighting the African Union’s transitional justice policy along with other initiatives. He also called for the creation of synergy between African Union and United Nations activities, including the harmonization of efforts between the Centre for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development and the Peacebuilding Commission. She added that access to adequate, predictable and sustainable financing is at the core of any capacity-building activity, and that peacebuilding activities should be financed from assessed contributions.
MOHAMED ENNADIR LARBAOUI (Algeria) said capacity-building is an important issue that must be taken seriously as a cornerstone of international efforts to build peace in Africa. There is no doubt that African Union States have made significant progress in their national capacity-building, as shown by human development indices. Yet, additional efforts are needed to address the root causes of conflicts. Strengthening economic structures is an immediate priority. He stressed the importance of including all stakeholders, such as young people and women, and Agenda 2063 training projects and programmes. Regarding the security challenges facing the continent, he said subregional organizations should be part of peacebuilding efforts. Support programmes that encourage economic growth are vital. The Algerian Government is sharing its experience in mediation and national reconciliation with African States, providing training sessions. As a founding member of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Algeria is working to create a forward-looking continent with an expansive vision. The Trans-Saharan Highway and the Trans-Saharan Backbone optical fibre project are essential parts of this vision.
Mr. HWANG (Republic of Korea) said it is essential to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions in Africa through capacity-building and an integrated approach, as complex challenges in the region are interlinked and must be tackled in a holistic, whole-of-Government manner. He emphasized the importance of partnerships between Governments, the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations — notably the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) — based on the principle of African ownership. He also underscored the importance of an inclusive approach to rebuilding from the pandemic, with voices of youth, women and other marginalized populations included in those efforts. The Republic of Korea is deeply committed to capacity-building for sustaining peace in Africa. Since 2016, it provided $16 million to African Union peace and security activities, notably for the deployment of a level II mobile hospital in Mali. It contributed 16 MD-500 helicopters to peacekeeping missions, and hosted with the African Union the fifth Korea-Africa Forum, where the Seoul declaration and cooperation framework 2022-2026 was adopted, outlining priority areas for cooperation. It will support medical capacity-building for peacekeepers, providing contributions to African Union training centres.
MATEUSZ SAKOWICZ (Poland) said 5 of the 10 priority countries targeted in his country’s development programmes are in sub-Saharan Africa. He underscored Poland’s political and financial commitment to the Peacebuilding Fund, stressing the priority importance of examining the link between climate change and security, as well as the colonial past and its neo-colonial legacy. Many of the causes of challenges in Africa are environment-related peace and security risks, such as desertification, deforestation and sea-level rise, which drive conflict by producing underdevelopment and inequality. Colonialism meanwhile has determined State lines on the map, altering the fabric of political, economic and social realities in ways that are felt today, he said, pointing to the latest string of coups d’état and social unrest. As a country with no colonial history, Poland is particularly sensitive to any forms of violent subjugation. He called on the Russian Federation to drop its neo-colonial agenda and stop its senseless war in Ukraine, underscoring the need to modify the perception of Africa by focusing on its enormous largely untapped potential. With this message, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda will travel to Western Africa in September.
THOMAS PETER ZAHNEISEN (Germany), aligning himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, stressed that there can never be a “one-size-fits-all” solution for sustaining peace in Africa. Every effort must account for the heterogeneous nature of conflict on the continent, as well as the rich diversity of African societies. Further, tackling the drivers of fragility in Africa requires a comprehensive approach that links conflict resolution and peacebuilding to sustainable development initiatives, always under strong African leadership. He went on to detail Germany’s efforts in this area, including its financial support to the African Union in the amount of €500 million and its political and financial support for African peace and security architecture in the areas of early warning and good governance. This support is complemented by Germany’s security cooperation with African countries, including in the Lake Chad Basin. Pointing out that local actors are better placed to sustainably pacify local conflicts — provided such actors are well-trained and -equipped and act under the rule of law — he encouraged Member States to support African-owned conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding efforts.
SILVIO GONZATO, European Union delegation, speaking in its capacity as observer, noted that the bloc provides more than 60 per cent of the funding for the Peacebuilding Fund. He called for greater cooperation and finding links among peacebuilding actors, such as the United Nations, European Union, international finance institutions and regional development banks, adding that the European Union looks forward to the negotiation on peacebuilding financing, facilitated by Kenya and Sweden. Security cooperation is only one part of the bloc’s integrated approach to the crisis in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, as its support includes humanitarian, development and peacebuilding actions. “African women laid the foundation for the women, peace and security agenda and have shown the world repeatedly that they are formidable peacebuilders,” he stressed. He called for removing all barriers to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and specifically the provision of financing for women-led and women-centred organizations. While welcoming the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he said the global food security crisis compounds pressure on fragile societies in Africa. He highlighted efforts to mobilize domestic resources and invest in both sustainable agriculture and pandemic preparedness as examples of capacity building that will lead to long-term resilience. He added that, through the Global Gateway Initiative, the European Union aims to support sustainable and resilient food systems in Africa.
ADAM KUYMIZAKIS (Malta) said the international community’s priorities for sustainable development should be aimed at building effective and reliable policy frameworks and institutions, solidified by sustainable investments in connectivity, digital technology and infrastructure; access to innovative sources of finance to increase domestic fiscal space, as well as to clean energy sources. His country is proud to support the European Union’s Global Gateway Initiative which aims to mobilize investments of up to €300 billion between 2021 and 2027, as well as the commitments made at the European Union level during the European Union-African Union Summit in February. Those efforts are fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the values of good governance, multi-stakeholder partnerships, education and research, and climate-neutral and security-focused strategies. “It is only by providing an enabling environment that we can close structural gaps and achieve a resilient and inclusive future to our African partners,” he said. Open, affordable and non-discriminatory access to vaccines should remain at the cornerstone of international efforts. As such, his country has shared vaccines and provided financial support towards the delivery of vaccines to African countries.
ANA PAULA ZACARIAS (Portugal), associating herself with the European Union, noted the pandemic, one of most severe droughts in decades and the food security consequences of the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine have drastically affected development and the ability to deal with conflict. Peacebuilding must not just be approached from a security point of view, but also through conflict prevention, peacebuilding and promoting human rights, and the 2030 Agenda. Portugal participates in three peacekeeping missions — in Central African Republic, Mali and South Sudan — and is present in 8 of the 11 European Union training initiatives in Africa, and further supports institutional capacity-building in good governance, the rule of law and health. Noting increased interest from African States in engaging with the Commission, she called for adequate and predictable financing therein. The international community must strengthen cooperation with regional organizations, like the African Union, which promotes trust and dialogue — also requiring predictable and flexible funding for peace initiatives by regional and subregional organizations. Expressing concern over the expansion of violence, extremism and terrorism across Africa, she stressed addressing the root causes – and also generating opportunities for youth, with greater contribution from the international financial institutions and development banks. She further urged that the work of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism training hub be replicated in other areas throughout the continent.
CRISTIAN ESPINOZA (Ecuador) said that during consultations with colleagues from African countries as Ecuador took its seat on the Security Council, he heard the most diverse perspectives expressed on how to overcome challenges on the continent. The common denominator was that countries want to own the solutions. This does not mean African solutions exclude contributions from other countries. Capacity-building implies the exercise of international responsibility, by meeting commitments for development cooperation, assistance, development financing and peacebuilding. Noting that Ecuador hopes to occupy the open seat in the Peacebuilding Commission, he said Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice, strong institutions cannot be achieved if needs and challenges in Africa are forgotten, whether in Mali, Somalia or elsewhere. The Council’s efforts therefore should consider that many challenges in Africa are transnational, supranational and global in nature, from climate change, terrorism and organized crime to arms trafficking and food insecurity. The Council should state clearly its position on the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he added.
PEDRO COMISSARIO (Mozambique) said that capacity-building is a fundamental tool for building effective States, also serving as an enabler for peace and security and for addressing the root causes of conflict and instability. Combating terrorism — a global scourge of the twenty-first century that is corroding the fabric of African States and societies — demands cooperation and capacity-building. Such efforts should be aimed at asserting, building or restoring State authority and governance structures, which must be able to perform their basic duties for their people. He went on to detail several factors that should be accounted for in the processes of peacebuilding and State-building, including promoting socioeconomic development, investing in human resources and infrastructure, fostering a deeper understanding of African societies among development partners and addressing the immediate needs of post-conflict States to prevent a return to hostilities. Additionally, he called for a high degree of coherence and coordination in peacebuilding efforts, particularly in activities jointly carried out by the United Nations and the African Union.
RICHARD ARBEITER (Canada) cited Liberia’s peaceful transition, the efforts of the African Union to improve early warning, and the tireless work of civil society networks throughout the Sahel — not just “African solutions to African problems”, but inspiration to better prevent conflicts. Peacebuilding means building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, as inequalities can lead to conflict — while capacity-building means investing in and supporting local efforts, rather than importing and then exporting outside know-how. Foreign-only teams designing infrastructure or mediating protracted conflicts in Africa or elsewhere are warning signs of problems ahead, he emphasized, encouraging the Council to make better use of the advisory and liaison role of the Peacebuilding Commission. National ownership is crucial to building and sustaining peace, he stressed, citing Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. Worryingly, some Governments are undertaking actions which risk undermining the United Nations ability to support their efforts to sustain peace. Canada is working closely with the African Union Commission, including through a $10 million grant over 5 years, and through $5 million dedicated funding to support local “grass-roots” women peacebuilders. He cited the African Union Commissioner’s warning that climate change represents a clear threat to peace and security in Africa. Rising food insecurity, exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions on the continent. The Council must listen to the voices of African States, regional organizations and civil society, and address these threats with the priority and attention that they deserve.
MARTIN BILLE HERMANN (Denmark), also speaking for Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, said that, in the context of peacebuilding, regional and subregional organizations are often the first to react in crises, engage with concerned parties and ensure the protection of civilians. Further, they are uniquely placed to build trust and promote dialogue, offer support in mediation and reconciliation and advocate for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and youth in all aspects of peace and security. As such, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden will continue to strengthen cooperation with such organizations, focusing support on adequate training, capacity-building and equipment for African-led peace operations.
He went on to emphasize that an integral part of capacity-building for sustaining peace is strengthening the capacity of judicial actors and law enforcement officials to ensure accountability for conflict-related crimes, particularly conflict-related sexual violence. In this, ensuring access to comprehensive services — including sexual and reproductive health — for survivors of such violence and fighting impunity for perpetrators thereof should be fundamental to any peace effort. He added a call for increased interaction with civil society and support for local women’s organizations and women peacebuilders, as their contextual, local expertise is crucial for the full implementation of the women, peace and security agenda.
SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand) said that, “with regard to Africa, Africa knows best”. As such, stronger attention to African priorities and African-driven processes culminating in home-grown solutions are needed. Expressing support for the close cooperation between the Council and Africa, he said particular attention must be paid to the views of the African members of the Council in deliberations about the continent. Moreover, the United Nations and the international community must continue to provide support from peacekeeping operations to peacebuilding missions. As a member of the Peacebuilding Commission, Thailand will continue to play its part in supporting global and regional endeavours for Africa, including by encouraging greater consultations and coordination between the Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Economic and Social Council to better mobilize capacity-building assistance and resources to support African countries in conflict settings. Moreover, through its 300 Thai personnel currently deployed to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), his country will continue to make an active contribution to peace in Africa.
MARCO ROMITI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, noted that his country supports the African Peace and Security Architecture with financial assistance, training and capacity-building programmes. He expressed support for using United Nations-assessed contributions for African-led peace operations, provided that appropriate standards are met. To this end, he highlighted the work of the Carabinieri corps, entrusted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the mandate to cooperate with African Union partners on capacity-building of police and security forces. The issue of Africa’s presence in United Nations institutions should also be addressed, specifically the Security Council, to make it more representative, democratic, accountable, transparent and effective. The role of the Peacebuilding Commission is also key, as its priorities are drivers of peace and stability. Investing in resilience, social cohesion and in the active participation of women and youth in conflict-prevention and capacity-building can foster virtuous cycles that can lay the foundation for sustainable peace. During Italy’s presidency of the Group of 20 (G20), the fight against climate change was at the very core of its international agenda, building on efforts to enhance climate finance from developed countries and debt-reduction for African countries. Moreover, his country is particularly active in the Global Coalition against Sahel. “There is no single solution to sustain peace and security in Africa, but collectively we are called to make every effort in this direction, aware that multilateralism remains key,” he emphasized.
PHILIPPE KRIDELKA (Belgium), aligning himself with the European Union, underscored that any peacekeeping efforts are done in vain if they do not address the root causes of conflict. Stressing that collaboration on capacity-building must be African-led, he detailed his country’s support to the continent, including in the Sahel and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Security sector reform is also crucial for establishing lasting peace in Africa, he said, as is national ownership of such processes that involves local communities, provides democratic oversight and recognizes the essential nexus between humanitarian action, development and security. He also highlighted the importance of human rights in capacity-building, pointing out his country’s commitment in this regard to transitional justice through the assigning of a judge of Belgian nationality to the Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court in May 2021.
MARK ZELLENRATH (Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union, said that the African continent has huge possibilities and great aspirations, but faces a myriad of challenges in sustaining peace. In that regard, peacebuilding, which is highly effective, has received funding that is inadequate, unpredictable and unsustainable. Investing in more United Nations capacity towards sustaining peace is “not only the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do”, he said, calling on all States to support efforts for sustainable financing. In addition, building capacity for sustainable peace means ensuring the meaningful and equal participation of women and youth in peace processes, as well as healing the wounds of conflict though mental health and psychosocial support. The closing and drawdown of peacekeeping missions can result in sudden capability gaps which put sustainable peacebuilding at risk. This requires further cooperation and dialogue between the United Nations and the African Union, and sustainable financing for national capacity-building. Building capacity and resilience in African societies are key to withstanding the challenges the African continent is facing, including the rising food and energy prices exacerbated by the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and climate change that is hitting African countries hard. There is a need to break cycles of conflict and prevent new and re-emerging conflicts from happening.
OMAR KADIRI (Morocco) noted his country, as a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council, works to prevent conflict, with sustaining peace a priority in all its diplomatic activities. Morocco has been active in that domain since the 1960s, he said, calling for the international community to support progress and national ownership. Regional, subregional and international financial institutions, and civil society organizations must work in a holistic approach — especially in view of the effects of the pandemic at every level of society. He urged the international community to implement its commitments on predictable and sustainable financing for development in Africa. Voicing support for the Secretary-General’s call for $100 million in financing from assessed contributions to the Peacebuilding Fund, he further noted the African Union’s legitimate request for financing for peacekeeping operations authorized by the Security Council. Africa is witnessing an unprecedented increase in terror threats, he stressed, citing the proven links among terrorism, transnational criminal and separatist groups. A comprehensive approach to the scourge is therefore required, combining the security dimension with economic and human development. Morocco is advancing a new model based on solidarity, he stated, promoting integration and collective responsibility — and noting there are over 1,000 African partnership agreements in multiple development sectors.
BOŠTJAN MALOVRH (Slovenia) emphasized the need for African solutions to African problems. While the African Union and other subregional organizations are best placed to support the needs of African States, a stronger African Union-United Nations partnership, as well as African Union-European Union cooperation, could further empower African States to bolster conflict prevention capability, strengthen peace, security and governance architecture, and promote the relationship between civil society and regional organizations. The international community must support efforts of African States and regions with predictable and flexible financing that enables the use both of formal and informal peacebuilding capacities that already exist on the continent. Almost 30 per cent of Slovenian humanitarian aid is spent on post-conflict activities, the majority of which focuses on peacebuilding, support to women and children and post-conflict rehabilitation. He also expressed concern over the impact of fake news, adding that more needs to be done to tackle misinformation. The international community must also increase its fight against terrorism in Africa. Any capacity-building for sustaining peace must take into account societies as a whole and should, in spirit of the 2030 Agenda, leave no one behind. This also includes meaningful and equal participation of women and youth in peace processes, as this paves the way for more equal societies and greater respect for human rights in the future.
TAYE ATSKE SELASSIE AMDE (Ethiopia) said Africa’s economic potential is the best security policy of all, including poverty reduction and the expansion of opportunities for the increasing population. Ownership, and self-reliance must be embedded in the short-, medium- and long-term plans for Africa. “To this end, we in Africa, need to strengthen our national security institutions and foster progressing inter-Africa cooperation in the areas of institution-building, training of manpower, intelligence-sharing and live up to our obligations to resolve our own challenges,” he said. States must determine “freely, in full sovereignty and complete freedom, their political institutions” as encompassed under the African Union resolution on the right of States to decide on their political options without foreign interference. To that end, the African Peace and Security Architecture sets out the continent’s plans to enhance regional capacity, address conflicts and ensure the African Union plays a central role in bringing security and stability to the continent. However, it must be backed by sufficient capacity and resources. In this regard, the United Nations, and particularly the Security Council, must assume its rightful role and responsibility to bridge the capacity deficit. The African continent remains the only security complex excluded from decision-making power at the Security Council. Supporting African peace operations that are adopted with the full ownership and participation of African States will help the Council address the credibility and trust deficit it is encountering in relation to United Nations missions in the African continent.
CLAVER GATETE (Rwanda) said that, after the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, there were no adequately functioning systems and people had low to no trust in Government institutions. Based on that experience, he made several suggestions, including that a comprehensive security sector reform is key to ensuring that national security institutions are realigned to meet new challenges and should be restructured with the inclusive views of the people to ensure trust and confidence. Rwanda’s rebirth relied on its homegrown solutions, including Gacaca courts and mediation committees in its justice system which overcame many issues that would not have been resolved by the classic justice system. Describing Rwanda’s peacebuilding process as “fruitful”, he noted that Gacaca Jurisdiction handled over 1.6 million cases of genocide perpetrators in 10 years, something that could have taken hundreds of years for classic courts. In that regard, the Peacebuilding Commission is essential and financing its activities are a matter of great significance. On the issue of terrorism, he called for a common approach because it is a global challenge. Africa suffers from various angles, including the physical damages caused by the act of terror itself, and the impact of the interpretation of terrorism when it is on African soil. For some Governments calling some terrorists “activists or political opposition leaders” is counterproductive. Furthermore, the tendency to label and acknowledge only terror targeting certain parts of the world and not others is not helpful. It is equally important to respect the independence of the justice systems in African countries when handling cases of terrorism, he added.
MICHAL MLYNÁR (Slovakia) said that experience from many United Nations and African Union peace missions and operations clearly shows that a nationally led and inclusive security sector reform process can progressively deal with the root causes of insecurity and create an enabling environment for sustainable development and peace to take place. However, it is evident that in the current security environment the United Nations can no longer solely rely on traditional methods to counter emerging threats and challenges. “We need to step up to new challenges before so-called spoilers disrupt delicate peace processes,” he stressed. Citing the Secretary-General’s report, he noted that security sector reform is not only a key role in sustaining peace, but also facilitating sustainable development, thus illustrating the interlinkage between such reforms and the 2030 Agenda as mutually reinforcing frameworks. On top of every crisis in the region, the world is also witnessing a crisis of rising food and energy prices, which has been exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s illegal and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. The prevention of grain export and other essential food staples has caused price hikes that hit Africa particularly hard. In that regard, he welcomed the United Nations and Türkiye for brokering the Black Sea Grain Initiative and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Secretary-General’s leadership, including the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, which has provided a framework for the world’s response and a road map for collective efforts.
FIONA WEBSTER (Australia) expressed grave concern over the decline in peace and security in parts of Africa, pointing to extraconstitutional changes of Government and an erosion of democratic institutions. She recognized the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission, African Union Peace and Security Council, subregional organizations and African leaders in negotiating peaceful resolutions to conflict, stressing that international capacity-building should support these institutions in delivering outcomes. She urged Member States to contribute to the Peacebuilding Fund, providing more flexible, transparent, sustainable and predictable resources to facilitate a shift to conflict prevention from crisis response. She pointed to human rights abuses by the Russian Federation’s Wagner Group and other private military companies, underscoring Australia’s commitment to support Africa-led counter-terrorism efforts, including through the Counter-Terrorism Office in Morocco and the International Academy for the Fight against Terrorism in Côte d’Ivoire. Noting that Moscow’s unjust, illegal invasion of Ukraine has had grave implications for human security in African countries, she welcomed the grain shipments under the deal brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye.
TAREK LADEB (Tunisia) said that, despite United Nations efforts, several countries and regions in Africa are experiencing conflicts, amplifying the humanitarian plight throughout the continent. COVID-19, climate change and recent global events have all exacerbated these challenges. He called for preventing violence, strengthening stability and dealing with the root causes of conflict, namely exclusion, marginalization, the absence of the State and weak governance, notably in imposing the rule of law and providing basic services. Preserving peace requires a long-term vision that includes the role of institutions and guarantees resilience. He called for strategies that tackle emerging climate, security, peacebuilding and human rights challenges, while granting a special role to women, civil society and the private sector in such endeavours. Partnerships between United Nations, Governments, regional and subregional organizations and international financial institutions help to guarantee the efficacy of such approaches, he said, also calling for efforts to strengthen the United Nations peacebuilding structure through new and innovative financing mechanisms.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) pointed out that traditional conflicts are increasingly coexisting with non-traditional security problems, such as transnational crime, cybersecurity, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change and maritime piracy. In the face of such complex, diverse threats to security, multilateral cooperation must be strengthened in a manner that considers African concerns, respects the will of and choices made by African countries and eliminates the underlying causes of conflict. While noting that the number of violent conflicts in Africa has diminished in recent years, he emphasized that the conflicts still ongoing are significant and exacerbated by the existence of lawless areas, persistent corruption, illicit financial flows and the illegal exploitation of natural resources. He went on to express concern over the adverse effects arising from Security Council sanctions regimes in certain countries — such as the Central African Republic — where instability is increasing due to limitations placed on the ability of democratically elected Governments to acquire arms to fight the groups that are destabilizing their countries.
SERHII DVORNYK (Ukraine), recognizing the representative of “Putin’s regime” in the permanent seat of the Soviet Union, said his country enjoys well-developed relationships with many African countries, having contributed to infrastructure and education. Until 24 February, Ukraine contributed to five United Nations peacekeeping missions on the continent. African countries have been taken hostage by the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, which has placed the lives and health of 400 million people who depend on Ukrainian grain exports at risk. As long as Russian forces set fire to Ukraine’s fields, shell its farms and grain storage facilities, and steal its agricultural hardware, the threat of famine looms and food prices will continue to rise. He pointed to the Black Sea Grain Initiative as proof of Ukraine’s resolve to address the food crisis, noting that, despite Russian rocket fire on Odesa, 10 ships have been sent from Ukrainian ports. It is now up to international partners to ensure Russian compliance in the safe functioning of the grain corridor. Clarifying that “the threat of hunger would be ultimately removed if the Russian war of aggression is halted”, he said the war is the cause of food insecurity, whereas sanctions are simply a response to the aggressor. More broadly, he pointed to the first ever Strategy for the Development of Ukraine’s Relations with African States, recently approved with a Special Representative appointed by the President. He also cited initiatives to activate “the parliamentary dimension” of Ukraine’s cooperation.
MARÍA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina) recognized that the responsibility for peace and security in Africa, including the ability to address the root causes of conflicts, falls primarily on African countries — with the support of the international community and the United Nations. Creating a virtuous circle of development and peace requires structural changes within countries to resolve poverty and exclusion, increase health and education services and reduce inequalities, along with addressing food insecurity, environmental degradation and lack of water. An alliance between the African Union and the United Nations will help accelerate implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda, she noted — while Governments must take the necessary measures to end internal conflicts, civil wars, armed gangs, transnational crime and terrorist groups. She cited the Joint Agreement between the United Nations and the African Union for the Association for Peace and Security, signed on 19 April, which solidified the relationship between the two organizations and their shared quest for peace and security in Africa. Argentina has participated in peacekeeping operations since 1958, and is currently collaborating with the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and with UNMISS police observers.
Mr. MUHITH (Bangladesh), speaking in his national capacity, said that, since the 1960s, there have been more than 30 peacekeeping missions in Africa. Over 6,500 peacekeepers from Bangladesh have been deployed in six missions across the continent, engaged in providing medical facilities, building and protecting schools, conducting training for local authorities and providing assistance for agricultural development, to name a few areas. Moreover, female judges from Bangladesh are involved in strengthening the rule of law in African countries. Leveraging the expertise of peacekeepers can help build capacity in Africa, he said, calling for more programmatic funding to scale up these efforts within peacekeeping missions. The Council must consider this aspect from the start when creating missions. He emphasized the role and contributions of non-governmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations and other civil-society actors in building the capacities of national and local authorities, and in supplementing national priorities to sustain peace. Highlighting the role of the Peacebuilding Commission in supporting the priorities of African countries, he said its convening role should be leveraged in taking a coordinated approach. He also pointed to the role of South-South and triangular cooperation in resolving challenges related to climate change, the digital divide, resource mobilization and capacity-building for local and national institutions.
Source: UN Security Council