Security Council Open Debate: Strengthening Peacekeeping Operations in Africa

Statement by Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York

New York, 20 November 2018

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

We thank China for convening this important debate at a crucial moment in time. Additionally, we thank Secretary-General Guterres and Commissioner Chergui for their informative briefings.

As the concept note states, the AU is and remains an important partner for UN peacekeeping operations in Africa. We fully agree. We therefore hope that this debate will serve as another step in strengthening the partnership between the UN and AU in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

We align ourselves with the statement to be made by the European Union. The EU’s contribution to peace and security in Africa is considerable, to both peace operations, and support to the African Union

Mr. President, I will focus today on three aspects of strengthening this strategic partnership between the UN and the AU:

  • Enhancing the partnership;
  • Enhancing collaboration between TCC’s and other partners; and
  • Financing for AU Peace Support Operations.

1. Operationalizing the AU-UN partnership

Mr. President, on my first point: enhancing the AU-UN strategic partnership. AU and UN peacekeeping operations have the potential to be mutually reinforcing.

A strong partnership enables the UN and the AU to respond more swiftly and decisively in addressing challenges to peace and security in Africa. The AU’s ability to act as a first responder and to move in quickly should be facilitated as much as possible.

We attach great value to partnerships, as an essential element of Action for Peacekeeping. Closer collaboration between the AU and the UN as enshrined in resolution 2320 therefore is essential.

In order to enhance the partnership, we encourage joint AU-UN analysis, planning and decision-making, including through the increased issuance of joint statements. By sharing and jointly developing early warning information and analysis, we can reach a common understanding of emerging conflicts. Through consultative decision-making, we can develop collaborative approaches in effectively responding to conflicts.

2. Enhancing collaboration between TCC’s

Mr. President, on my second point: the strength of both UN and AU peace support operations is dependent on Troop Contributing Countries. And we pay tribute to the countries who contribute troops and police.  

We just commemorated the death of 6 Malawian and 1 Tanzanian Peacekeepers, last week. They paid the highest price in the DRC. We welcome their efforts, and we honour their sacrifices.

We need well-trained and equipped peacekeepers who are able and willing to act quickly when citizens, the troops, or the mission are at risk. The Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping is an opportunity to enhance collaboration between TCC’s and partners on peacekeeping performance, as stressed in resolution 2436.

For peacekeeping to be effective, troops must meet the highest standards. In this regard, we welcome the close collaboration with Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia in the lead-up to the A4P Declaration of Shared Commitments. We continue to work together with Cote d’Ivoire on a resolution that provides follow up to the A4P Declaration by improving peacekeeping mandates. And we continue to work with Cote d’Ivoire on a resolution that focuses on Peace, Justice and Corrections in the context of peacekeeping operations.

Additionally, we express our appreciation for our collaboration with Rwanda, on the Kigali Principles and for the peacekeeping preparatory conference in The Hague in January 2019.

We would also like to welcome the ongoing collaboration with Ghana, Zambia, Senegal and South Africa on the Elsie initiative. An initiative that focuses on strengthening the role of women in peacekeeping operations. We encourage other TCCs to join us in this endeavour.

We still have much to accomplish when it comes to performance in peacekeeping and an enhanced AU-UN Partnership will help to achieve that. Strengthening the AU-UN Partnership should also lead to enhanced dialogue and clearer standards with regard to the performance of peacekeepers.

3. Predictable and sustainable financing for AU Peace Support Operations

Mr. President, on my third point: the need for predictable and sustainable financing to the African Union. AU’s role in peace operations in Africa is essential, as Resolution 2320 clearly states. We all need to invest in the AU’s capacities.

We should agree on a different mode of financing between the UN and the AU. Sustainable, predictable and flexible financing is needed to enhance the effectiveness of AU peacekeeping.

We should also agree on compliance to relevant agreed standards on international humanitarian law, human rights, and strategic and financial oversight.

We encourage the continued drafting and implementation of a robust and comprehensive compliance framework by the AU, in collaboration with the UN.

Next steps

Mr. President, in conclusion, we need to make progress on the following:

  • Implementing resolution 2320;
  • Enhancing peacekeeping performance through dialogue with TCCs and PCCs; and
  • Ensuring conditions for predictable and sustainable financing for the AU.

The AU will continue to find a partner in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for efforts to strengthen the strategic partnership on peace and security. We count on the engagement and support of this Council on the two resolutions we are currently working on together with Cote d’Ivoire: Action for Peacekeeping and Peace, Justice and Corrections.

Let me reiterate our great thanks to the Secretary General for its leadership and for the AU Commissioner for their efforts.

Thank you, Mr. President.