Open Debate of the Security Council on “Peace operations: the UN-AU partnership and its evolution”
Statement by Ambassador Karel J.G. van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, Open Debate of the Security Council on “Peace operations: the UN-AU partnership and its evolution”, New York, 16 December 2014
Merci beaucoup, monsieur le Prėsident,
Allow me to express my appreciation for your initiative to organize this important open debate. I align myself with the statement made by the European Union.
The Kingdom of Netherlands thanks Chad for the excellent cooperation between both our contingents in MINUSMA in Mali. We commend the dedication and perseverance of your country’s peacekeepers under the harshest of circumstances in Northern Mali. We commemorate the brave Chadian peacekeepers who were killed in action. We pay tribute to their determination. We pay tribute to their contribution to the cause of peace.
(Context and Netherlands’ contributions)
The persistent and complex conflicts in Mali, South Sudan and the Central African Republic illustrate the changing nature of conflicts in Africa. They develop from conflicts between states to conflicts within states. This demands new and innovative approaches to maintaining and restoring peace and security. Poverty, inequality and lack of perspective combine into an unstable mix, and can form a breeding ground for violent extremism which can easily spill across borders. New threats, such as terrorism and transnational crime, but also Ebola, demand international cooperation and a concerted effort.
These are not just challenges for Africa, but for the international community as a whole. Enhancing the partnership between the UN and the AU is in the interest of all of us, and member-states should contribute what they can. The Netherlands aims to do its fair share.
My government is a partner for peace and security in Africa. Most of our military, police and civil experts worldwide are deployed in missions in Africa. Our contribution to MINUSMA in Mali is our largest military contribution to any mission. Moreover, we participate in anti-piracy activities in the Horn of Africa, contribute police personnel to UNMISS in South Sudan, train African peacekeepers for service in African countries, and offer logistical support through our Naval Ship HM Karel Doorman to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
In February, the Netherlands will be hosting one of the four regional peace operations conferences, as follow up to September’s UN Peacekeeping Summit and in the context of the High Level Review of Peace Operations.
(Enhancing the role of African Union)
The Netherlands firmly believes that regional organizations play an essential role in addressing issues of peace and security, complementing UN efforts. Regional and sub-regional organizations are well positioned to address threats to peace and security, as they know and understand the regional root causes of armed conflicts.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands wishes to highlight the African Union’s increasingly important role in maintaining peace and security on the continent. The African Union is rapidly developing into a stronger and more effective organization. Great progress has been made in implementing the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the Peace and Security Council has proven to be a key force behind increased action and visibility of the AU.
Recent interventions of the AU and its Regional Economic Communities (REC), such as in Mali and the Central African Republic, illustrate the readiness and determination of the AU to rapidly deploy forces and implement its mandate.
Today, AU missions are increasingly deployed ahead of UN missions. They are an important instrument to stabilize conflicts and guarantee security.
Since the establishment of the AU Peace and Security Council, a significant number of AU missions were re-hatted into some form of UN mission. This underlines the growing role of the AU. It also illustrates the need for close cooperation between the UN and the AU, especially the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council.
Financial independence of the AU would strengthen the organization and improve its ownership of peace missions. We applaud the AU’s establishment of the Commission on alternative sources of funding of the African Union.
(Comprehensive approach, prevention)
Complex conflicts demand a comprehensive approach, combining a balanced mix of diplomacy, development cooperation, defense, police, justice and trade, with a special emphasis on women, peace and security. Positive experiences with such a comprehensive approach have shaped the Dutch multilateral and bilateral approach to Mali, Somalia and South Sudan, leading to concrete results. The Netherlands believes that a comprehensive approach would further strengthen UN–AU cooperation.
The African Peace and Security Architecture contains several important instruments of prevention, early action and post-conflict reconstruction.
The Continental Early Warning System allows for early action, such as mediation or the use of the APSA’s Rapid Deployment Capacity, or the use of standby forces. Prevention not only saves lives, but also reduces costs.
Strengthening links between the African Peace and Security Architecture, the African Governance Architecture and the Regional Economic Communities, could lead to more sustainable results. Transparent and inclusive governance, respect for human rights, and post-conflict reconstructive measures lead to more stable societies, lowering the risks of return to conflict. We welcome the initiatives by the AU in these fields.
My country has the ambition to remain Africa’s Partner for Peace, Justice and Development. We are fully committed to our active role in UN peacekeeping, in particular in Africa. We wholeheartedly support your initiative to strengthen the AU’s role in maintaining peace and security on the continent, and to improve cooperation with the UN.
Thank you, merci.