Security Council Open Debate: Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security

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

New York, 6 December 2018

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Mr. President, dear Minister Amon-Tanoh, we express our sincere thanks to you personally for chairing this important debate. And we congratulate Cote d’Ivoire on a successful presidency thus far. And we are honored by your personal presence.

We also thank Secretary-General Gutteres, AU Commission Chairperson Faki and ECOWAS Commission President Brou for their briefings.

We aligns itself with the statement to be made later by the European Union. Conflict prevention and peacebuilding are at the core of the EU’s external action. And cooperation of the UN with regional and sub-regional organizations is a key element for prevention and peacebuilding.

In that context, Mr. President, I will highlight three points:

  • The need to strengthen cooperation;
  • The need for complementarity; and
  • The need to better use the Peacebuilding Commission.

1. The need to strengthen cooperation

Mr. President, on my first point: enhanced cooperation of sub-regional and regional organizations with the UN is crucial in preventing the outbreak of conflicts.

A example of this is the cooperation between ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN in preventing the outbreak of conflict in the Gambia last year, when Italy was in this chair during our two-year split-term on this Council.

Further institutionalizing cooperation will strengthen our efforts in prevention. A good example of this is joint risk assessments and joint analysis. In particular we would welcome joint risk assessment for all root causes of conflict. And this includes especially the adverse effects of climate change and water stress.

Various UN Security Council mandates, AU-PSC conclusions and EU Council Conclusions recognize the link between climate change and conflict. This recognition creates the possibility to work together to address climate-related risks.

If relevant regional and international organizations better work together to assess, analyze and address these kind of security risks, we ensure collective thinking for collective action.

2. Complementarity versus subsidiarity

Mr. President, my second point concerns complementarity.

One of the priorities of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative is Partnerships. Through their signing of the A4P Declaration of Shared Commitments, 151 member states so far have committed to enhance collaboration between international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

Partnerships are essential to really improve peacekeeping. And there are several examples of this. One example is the EU-UN strategic partnership on crisis management. And the trilateral cooperation between the AU, EU and UN in peacekeeping is another prime example of this cooperation and should be further institutionalized.

Joint fact-finding missions should be the rule, rather than the exception. Examples of this are those with the UN Security Council, AU-PSC and the EU Political and Security Committee to countries on the Council’s agenda. Regional and sub-regional organizations should enhance partnerships through these joint missions.

Additionally, let me emphasize the need for sustainable funding and streamlined compliance mechanisms for future AU Peace Support Operations. We feel the time has come for a resolution in this context by this Council. It will strengthen the cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union. And we commend the leadership of Cote d’Ivoire on this and on peacekeeping more in general.

As previous Secretary-General reports have rightfully observed, regional interests as well as proximity of neighbors sometimes complicate conflict prevention and efforts to resolve conflict.

Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations should therefore be determined by comparative advantage, complementarity, and organizations’ willingness to act.

3. The convening role of the PBC

Mr. President, this brings me to my third point: the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission.

In the UN Secretary-General’s prevention and sustaining peace agenda’s, peacebuilding is increasingly important, and the Peacebuilding Commission has to play a central role.

The Peacebuilding Commission is a hinge, between the UN, host governments and affected countries. It is also a hinge between the UN and regional organizations, sub-regional organizations and civil society.

In building sustainable peace, the role of the Peacebuilding Commission is essential and should be enhanced. The Commission should ensure that experiences on the ground are shared here in New York, both with the UN system as well as with other countries. And especially in transitional situations, the PBC can provide sub-regional and regional organizations with a link to this Council, in this way ensuring that peacebuilding is inclusive.


In conclusion, Mr. President, enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations is imperative in all phases of the conflict cycle. By better working together we can do what this Charter calls upon us to do. And let me quote:

“To unite our strength, to maintain international peace and security.”

Thank you very much, Mr. President.