Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield during the debate on the cooperation between the UN and the AU

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Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
United States Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 11, 2022

AS DELIVERED

Thank you Minister for presiding over this high-level event. I would also like to thank Secretary-General Guterres for joining us today and welcome President Faki’s participation in this event. Colleagues, as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the African Union, this is the perfect time to highlight the strong partnership between the AU and the UN. And this is an opportunity to look for ways to build on our progress.

The United States shares the Secretary-General’s belief that our collective action in conflict prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding is absolutely vital. And in today’s discussion, we must recognize the range of factors contributing to increased insecurity, including the largest global food security crisis in decades, the adverse effects of climate change and one of the worst droughts in its history in the Horn of Africa.

These challenges should not discourage us. Rather, they must reinforce our commitment to work together and meet these challenges head-on. In this spirit, we strongly support the Joint UN-AU Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. This mobilizes the collaboration of the AU and the UN from the first indicators of potential conflict; and it is essential to conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.

Peace in Africa cannot wait. And we commend African leaders for working to resolve crises and conflicts in Ethiopia, the Great Lakes region, Sudan, the Sahel, Mozambique and Somalia. And we appreciate the United Nations giving its full support to these efforts. We are also encouraged by the growing partnership between the AU and the UN to address the crisis of children and armed conflict in Africa. We must do everything, and I repeat, everything in our power to move this work forward. And it also means strengthening the protection of children affected by conflict, something the AU is leading the charge on.

And today, let us acknowledge the collaborative efforts of the UN, AU, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, EU and the Federal Government of Somalia. These joint efforts led to the establishment of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia last April. Together, we have set ambitious goals for the reconfiguration and transition of the peacekeeping mission in Somalia, and we must redouble our efforts to achieve those goals.

The bottom line is this: with the UN, AU and regional peace operations active in some of Africa’s most fragile regions, we have a common interest in aligning our doctrines, policies and guidelines. This is exactly, exactly how we can make these efforts as effective as possible. And it also means protecting and upholding human rights in every AU initiative and mission across the continent.

We welcome the progress made by the AU in developing its own human rights and international humanitarian law frameworks, as reflected in the Secretary-General’s report. And we encourage the AU to continue to implement compliance frameworks for peace support operations in key areas, such as international humanitarian law and human rights, as well as conduct and discipline – including sexual exploitation and abuse. Efforts to strengthen training, monitoring, reporting and accountability are central to this work.

The implementation of these frameworks, along with other oversight mechanisms outlined in Security Council resolutions 2320 and 2378, remain key considerations for any discussion on the use of UN assessed contributions. This includes all actions taken by regional organizations under Chapter VIII of our Charter. The United States also appreciates the efforts of the UN, AU and ECOWAS to support the region. And we look forward to the ongoing joint strategic assessment to examine security, governance and development challenges in the Sahel.

But let’s not exaggerate: the challenges we face in this region are serious. In particular, we are deeply concerned about the spread of violent extremism across the Sahel and parts of the west coast of Africa. Terrorist groups have claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions. And if we are to address these challenges together, and we must, then I believe we need predictable and sustainable funding options for AU peace support operations.

This will give the AU the flexibility it needs to deal with these evolving threats. And we are committed to going all the way. At the same time, we believe that our institutions must evolve to reflect today’s world. As President Biden said during the General Assembly debate last month, the United States supports increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council. And that includes, for the first time ever, permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. To that end, we look forward to forging consensus around reform proposals with the aim of having a more effective, more representative and more credible Security Council.

Dear colleagues, during my last trip to Africa, I made it clear that peace in Africa must come from African leaders. It must come from the African people. Our job here at the United Nations is to serve as partners, and as allies. And we must continue this close cooperation to advance peace and security over the next 20 years and beyond. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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