Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 25, 2023
Thank you, Madam President. And thank you to Switzerland for hosting this critical meeting, and we welcome your participation with us here today. Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo, Commissioner Bankole, Program Director Tadesse, thank you for your insightful perspectives.
During the annual protection of civilians open debate earlier this week, we heard about the threats far too many people in Africa face. Food insecurity, forced displacement, conflict and violence, persecution, human rights violations and abuses. This year’s Protection of Civilians report is chilling, and it demands a response.
As the AU Commission Chairperson rightly noted at the February AU Summit, Africa’s evolving security challenges call for new and innovative tools. And the AU peace support operations are one of those important tools.
Colleagues, we know the lack of predictable, sustainable, flexible funding has been an impediment to AU peace support operations. The United States supports, in principle, the use of UN assessed contributions for AU peace support operations.
We believe such contributions must be subject to Security Council authorization and the important conditions set forth in Resolution 2320 and 2378, and must be consistent with standards we apply to all UN peacekeeping missions.
The AU’s past track record of peace support operations show it often has the political will, regional expertise, language skills, and ability to quickly deploy to address African conflicts. The bottom line is this: the AU is sometimes best positioned to respond to the continent’s security challenges. At the same time, we recognize the potential oversight and accountability requirements associated with using UN assessed funds for AU peace support operations.
We will all need to work together to ensure there are mechanisms in place to mitigate challenges and risks, including by ensuring the appropriate authorization standards and mechanisms I just outlined. We welcome the progress the AU has already made in this regard, including through its compliance framework. As we move forward in these discussions, there are four areas, as outlined in previous Council resolutions, where we look forward to working with Security Council members and the AU to achieve progress.
First, we hope to reaffirm the importance we attach to Security Council authorization, primacy, and oversight. As outlined in previous Council resolutions, it is key that we ensure the Security Council authorizes AU peace support operations on a case-by-case basis, while retaining oversight, just as it does for UN peace operations elsewhere.
Second, regarding financial oversight, as it does for all UN peacekeeping missions, the UN General Assembly should have budgetary oversight and approval consistent with UN regulations, rules, policies, and procedures.
Third, we’re glad to see the AU has made progress in developing human rights, conduct and discipline, and performance frameworks over the last several years. We expect to see full implementation of these frameworks, as the United States is eager to support these efforts. In that vein, we want to ensure AU peace support operations, if authorized under Chapter 7, would use force under the framework of a protection of civilians Security Council mandate. And any operation must work toward a political solution, as already outlined in the AU Peace Support Operations Doctrine.
Finally, we remain committed to meaningful burden-sharing of the AU peace support operations costs, as outlined in Security Council Resolution 2320. We are aware of the challenges here. But we look forward to working with our fellow Council members and the AU to explore creative paths forward. Just as we look forward to working with the full range of partners, including all Council members, the AU and its Member States, the UN, and civil society groups, as well as the U.S. Congress, to move this issue forward.
By working in these four areas, we believe we can – and we will – advance our shared goals of an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa in line with the AU’s Agenda 2063.
Happy Africa Day. Thank you Madam President.