28 July 2016, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by Mr. Carl Hallergard, Minister Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations at the Security Council Open Debate on “Peacebuilding in Africa”.
I have the pleasure to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Allow me to first of all to thank you, Mr. President, for taking the initiative to convene this open debate on an important topic and for the very good concept note. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General, the Foreign Minister of Kenya as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and the African Union Commissioner of Peace and Security for their briefings, as well as the many Ministers who have spoken today, which testifies to the importance of this debate. We also welcome the adoption today of a Presidential Statement. The timing of this debate is very opportune, particularly in view of the recent decision by the AU Summit in Kigali to operationalise the AU Peace Fund. HRVP Mogherini and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Mimica have both welcomed this development. As they stated, this decision is an important step towards a system of African Union “own resources”.
The EU is the African Union’s first partner and EU cooperation on peace and security in Africa is primarily dealt with through a continental and regional perspective in the framework of the Africa-EU Partnership. The EU remains committed to work with the African Union to ensure peace and security on the continent.
With regard to institution building, the EU has provided substantial financial support to a number of regional organisations in Africa in order to increase their capacity to develop regional policies and enforce their implementation, not only for peace and security. While there has been relatively good progress in the area of peace and security with the AU, ECOWAs and IGAD among others fulfilling clear functions, the progress of regional integration initiatives and programmes are undermined by a multitude of interrelated factors. Specific challenges vary from region to region but, overall, some issues are found everywhere:
– Member States often belong to various regional organisations with identical or overlapping mandates, in order to serve different domestic objectives and agenda;
– Political mandates and ambitions of the regions are often not sufficiently underpinned with operational capacity and resources, which in turn limit their capacity to absorb the aid provided.
The EU supports the AU and its Regional Economic Communities (RECs) first and foremost through the Africa Peace Facility (APF). Since its establishment in 2004, the APF has contributed almost EUR 1.6 billion to the African Union’s peace and security agenda. Our support is used to build the capacity of the AU and its RECs, as well as to provide core funding for their operational work (addressing emerging conflicts or ongoing crises). Recent examples include South Sudan, where IGAD is supported by the APF to run the mediation process in Addis Ababa, or to the EAC in trying to contain the crisis in Burundi. The APF has also been supporting peacebuilding work in Somalia since 2007.
The APF has been a game changer in terms of making a growing number of African-led responses to political crises on the continent possible. By providing the resources necessary for these bodies to act, the APF has enabled collective African security actions anchored in the nascent Peace and Security Council’s political role, which has enabled it to be tested and put into action.
As was confirmed by the two identical resolutions on the review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, conflict prevention is part and parcel of sustaining peace and peacebuilding. The capacity to manage tensions in a swift and effective manner is critical for the success of any peace process. Regional and continental organizations are usually the best placed to do so, as long as they have the necessary mandate and capacities. Africa has several advantages in this regard, on which we can build.
Through its African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), Africa has a well-established framework for conflict management, including conflict prevention. Furthermore, the AU and RECs/RMs have a clear will and mandate, expressed in the APSA roadmap 2016-2020, to play a pro-active role in preventing conflict on the continent and to acquire the necessary capacities to do so.
These efforts need to be supported. An effective African preventive diplomacy capacity will no doubt have a major impact on peacebuilding on the continent. The EU is already funding the development of a continental early warning system complemented by similar systems at regional level, as well as the strengthening of mediation support units, able to act on the basis of early warning analyses. The swiftness in deploying conflict prevention efforts is also key to their success. It is therefore necessary that Africa’s own funding efforts are supplemented by flexible, quickly disbursable funding. The APF has put in place an Early Recovery Mechanism aimed precisely at that.
Peace Support Operations (PSOs), deploying deterrent forces aimed at ensuring that political tensions do not translate into open conflict, can be critical to peace building in particularly fragile situations. They provide the necessary time for national Institutions to be strengthened and for the necessary trust among the parties to be established. This is an approach that has worked well in Guinea Bissau, where the ECOMIB mission (funded by the EU since June 2015) has been instrumental in ensuring that tensions among the democratic Institutions are addressed within the Constitutional framework. South Sudan unfortunately provides a negative example
While the APF cannot provide direct training to national Institutions, the mandate of the PSOs it funds can include a component to train national security Institutions such as the army or the police within the framework of a wider state building process. This is the case of Somalia, where the EU supports AMISOM for the reconstruction of a training centre for the Somali National Army and provides on the job training to police forces through joint patrolling and other activities.
The EU’s investment in conflict prevention and peace building in Africa of course goes beyond the APF. Apart from bilateral development cooperation programmes with many African countries that support good governance and inclusive participation through the European Development Fund, the EU uses other Foreign Policy Instruments, such as the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, EU Electoral Observation Missions (EOMs) and CSDP missions such as in Mali or CAR. These are complemented by other instruments such as political dialogue, the use of preventive sanctions, humanitarian assistance, the work of EUSRs and support to civil society, allowing for a comprehensive approach in fragile and conflict-affected situations.
The EU is also playing an active role a full member of all the Configurations of the Peacebuilding Commission, where it is making constructive contributions to support ongoing efforts based on the comprehensive approach outline above, thereby helping Configuration Chairs to coordinate peacebuilding efforts and generate momentum and resources for the countries on the PBC’s agenda. In the case of the CAR, for example, the EU as the largest donor in the country is hosting a donor’s conference in the fall to support the priorities of the newly elected authorities, and is doing so in full coordination with UN interlocutors, as well as the PBC Chair, with the aim of working on a Compact.
To conclude, Mr. President, the EU will continue to be a strong proponent of and contributor to peacebuilding in Africa, which is a challenge we all need to tackle in close coordination among international partners and cooperation with ever more able African governments and institutions, willing to take the lead.
I thank you.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
| Top |