Sumario: 18 March 2009, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Mr. Martin Palouš, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on Peace and Security in Africa at the Security Council Open Debate
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
We welcome your participation at today's open debate. We are also pleased to welcome the Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mr. Ramtane Lamamra and former Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Romano Prodi. At the same time, I would like to thank the Libyan Presidency of the Security Council, which currently also holds the Chairmanship of the African Union, for organizing this open debate, the Secretary-General for his informative briefing and Mr. Prodi for introducing the report on behalf of the AU - UN Panel established by the Secretary-General.
Let me begin by saying that the European Union attaches great importance to the existing and further developing partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. I would also like to highlight, right from the outset, how much we appreciate recent key efforts of the African Union in the area of peace and security, including deployment of AU peace-support operations and the African Peace and Security Architecture. These efforts are fully in line with the principle of African ownership, which the EU is also fully committed to. In this context, the European Union appreciates the efforts of the AU - UN Panel led by Mr. Prodi in preparing the report.
The United Nations co-operation with regional, sub-regional and other international organisations, under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, has (for a number of years now) been in the spotlight of the Security Council. This has been duly reflected in several Security Council decisions. Let me highlight at least two of such resolutions: 1631 (2005) and 1809 (2008). These are truly strategic partnerships. The EU strongly believes in such partnerships and fully supports any effective, focused and well- co-ordinated effort, be it on the side of the UN Secretariat or on the side of the UN Member States, to further develop and operationalise them.
The European Union is proud to be building one of such strategic partnerships with the United Nations in many fields, including in the area of international peace and security, the maintenance of which, under the UN Charter, is the primary responsibility of the Security Council. Today, the EU and the UN increasingly develop together thematic, strategic responses and operations. Let me recall here today the example of the Artemis operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2003, which was a landmark of the particularly close EU - UN cooperation in crisis management. It was subsequently formalised in the first joint EU - UN Declaration signed on 24 September 2003 and supplemented by a joint statement of 7 June 2007.
In recent years, approximately twenty EU military and civilian operations under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) have been launched in all continents. Many of them are carried out under the UN Security Council mandate, including in cases when the UN is no longer present in the particular territories. In 2006, for example, mainly in response to the call by the UN Secretary-General for reinforcement of the UN operation in the DRC (MONUC), the EU launched mission EUFOR DR Congo. In January 2008, the EU launched the bridging operation EUFOR Tchad/RCA in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic, whose main task was to set the ground for a full-fledged UN operation in the same territory (MINURCAT). Only three days ago (on March 15, 2009), based on close partnership and effective co-ordination between the UN and the EU, most members of EUFOR Tchad/RCA were re-hatted and today the UN mission MINURCAT 2 operates with its own military component with around 1650 nationals of European Union Member States in it. Most recently (as of December 2008), the EU launched military operation EU NAVFOR Somalia ("Atalanta"), which is conducted in support of UN Security Council resolutions 1814 (2008), 1816 (2008), 1838 (2008) and 1846 (2008).
Of course, what I have just mentioned is in no way a complete account of the various forms of EU - UN partnership and co-operation in the area of international peace and security. I have mentioned these examples mainly in order to clearly demonstrate that partnerships between the UN and its regional and sub-regional partners, such as the one between the UN and the EU, are not only important but that they are effective and that they make a tremendous difference on the ground. The EU fully supports efforts aimed at enhancing dialogue and interaction between the Security Council and representatives of regional, sub-regional and other international organisations. This is directly linked to providing for a more effective and efficient carry-out of the Security Council work and to contributing to making the Security Council deliberations more strategically oriented, as well as to ensuring that better account is taken of the current realities on the ground. The expertise, first-hand inputs and the leverage that regional and sub-regional organisations have to offer are major assets that the United Nations and the Security Council can truly benefit from.
It is a well-known fact that today many challenges to international peace and security lie in Africa. Nine of nineteen current UN peacekeeping operations and numerous other types of UN missions and offices are situated in Africa. About 70 % of UN peacekeepers and 73 % of the UN peacekeeping budget goes to Africa. Just from these basic facts, it is obvious that it is essential for the UN to have established and further develop effective partnerships and co-operation with the African Union.
The European Union fully supports efforts aimed at widening and strengthening UN co-operation with the African Union. In practical terms, close co-operation between the AU and the UN institutions and relevant bodies should be developed. We are encouraged by the fact that the modalities and parameters of such co-operation have been well established thus far, including through regular interactions between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council. These interactions are fundamental also in the view of the relevant decision-making processes on peace-support operations. They can, inter alia, provide for a better understanding of conflict situations and challenges at hand and also contribute to ensuring clarity of shared goals.
As I have already mentioned, the EU highly appreciates recent endeavours of African regional and sub-regional organisations, in particular of the African Union, to deliver peace in the continent and commends progress made in this regard so far. This is in line with the principle of African ownership, which the EU fully supports. The AU Mission in Darfur (AMIS) and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as efforts aimed at creating an African stand-by force, are recent most visible demonstrations in this respect. For its part, the EU has provided major support to those AU Missions and will continue to do so, including through its naval operation EU NAVFOR Atalanta by contributing to the protection at sea of the UN vessels delivering logistical support package to AMISOM.
The immensity of the tasks, which stems from increasingly difficult conflict environments and other related challenges, requires substantial institutional and operational capacity, also on the part of the African Union. Among these tasks and challenges, the EU attaches high importance to protection of civilians as an integral part of most peacekeeping operations, as well as to the attainment of highest standards in peacekeeping, including and in particular of the principle of zero tolerance to sexual exploitation and abuse. The EU is committed to assisting the AU in developing its peacekeeping capabilities and human capacities and fully supports similar endeavours in relations between the AU and the UN. Support in the area of logistics and training are essential elements of such cooperation. Furthermore, the EU supports the idea of a multi-donor trust fund to finance long-term AU capacity building. In this context, the EU believes it will be pertinent to address specific modalities of such a fund, as well as its relations with existing funding mechanisms, including the EU African Peace Facility, in order to provide additional resources to the AU. As regards, in particular, funding mechanisms of AU peace operations carried out under the UN mandate, the EU understands the need for predictability and sustainability. Sustainable and predictable funding mechanisms should be reflective of the different scope and nature of the United Nations and its regional partners and should avoid restraining the independence of the respective partners in their specific spheres of competence and responsibility. These conditions fully apply, for example, to the instrument of a multi-donor trust fund, which could, inter alia, enable donors to assist the AU and the troop-contributing countries during operations. On the use of UN assessed funds, additional discussions will be needed. The EU looks forward to the assessment that the Secretary-General will prepare, taking into account the report of the panel, as well as the implementation of Resolution 1863 (2009).
The European Union strongly believes that security is a precondition for development. The EU is the biggest donor of development aid to Africa. The EU and the AU have a well-established partnership and the EU is fully committed to developing it further. A cornerstone of the EU - AU partnership is the Joint Africa - EU Strategy, agreed upon in 2007, which is accompanied by an ambitious and concrete three-year action plan for the period until 2010. It focuses on important objectives that range from security to democratic governance, human rights and development. The first of the eight strategic partnerships under the Strategy is the Partnership for Peace and Security. It includes projects such as joint evaluation missions to conflict and post-conflict areas, comprehensive consultation mechanisms, training of experts, development of joint strategies, etc. Joint EU - AU activities in this regard also include frequent political dialogue, strengthening the African Continental Early Warning System, ongoing assistance to AU political-military structures or extensive training programmes. The three priority areas of the Partnership for Peace and Security are: