Strengthened ties between UN, Africa needed

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New York - Strengthened ties between the United Nations (UN) and regional organisations on the African continent is necessary now more than ever.

"Today, the need to strengthen and enhance the relationship between the UN and regional organisations remains important more than ever before.

"This is because we are seeing an increased reliance on regional organizations in addressing and resolving some of the conflicts facing us," the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said on Wednesday.

The minister was speaking at the UN Security Council Debate on Peace and Security in Africa on Wednesday, ahead of a meeting with the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday.

She said the improved cooperation between the UN and the African Union (AU) over the past few years was encouraging.

"Recent partnership between the UN and the AU in the deployment of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is testimony to the fact that UN cooperation and partnership with regional organisations is crucial, " said the minister.

She further commended the UN Security Council's decision to adopt its resolution which approved proposals to strengthen and provide support to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The minister said while the Security Council remained the main international body entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security, South Africa believed strongly that the UN and South Africa should coordinate their collective security efforts.

Resolution 1809, which was adopted as a result of South Africa's tenure as a non permanent member of the Security Council, also recognised the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organisations when undertaking peacekeeping under UN authority.

The resolution led to the creation of the AU-UN Panel which considered ways of supporting peacekeeping operations. The panel created a report containing recommendations which was welcomed by South Africa.

"It should, however, be noted that these recommendations reflect work in progress and do not provide conclusive answers on ensuring necessary resources for African peacekeeping operations undertaken by the African Union," she said.

Funding of regional peacekeeping operations remains central to enhancing and streamlining the relationship between the UN and AU.

One of the AU-UN Panel's recommendations of the report related to the use of UN funds.

"We believe that this recommendation is the first important step towards addressing the most important constraint that limits Africa's capacity to resolve conflicts on our continent," explained Ms Dlamini Zuma.

South Africa has endorsed the panel's recommendation that a joint UN-AU team be established to examine the report's recommendations.