Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : The changing nature of conflict in Africa requires adaptation to respond to evolving peace and security challenges – UK statement at the Security Council [May 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 25 May 2023.

Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Africa.

Thank you, President, for convening this morning’s debate.

As we mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, let me begin by paying tribute to all those who have contributed to UN peacekeeping over the past 75 years, in particular those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of peace and stability.

I would also like to congratulate all of our colleagues of African descent on this Africa Day.

We welcome the Secretary-General’s 28 April report. I would also like to thank USG DiCarlo, African Union Commissioner Bankole and Ms Tadesse for their statements.

President, the changing nature of conflict in Africa requires both the UN and the AU to adapt their different capabilities to prevent, mitigate and respond to evolving peace and security challenges.

A key one of those challenges at hand is how to address funding gaps and capability shortfalls that have affected performance. Council members have returned to the issue of using UN-assessed contributions to fund AU-led operations a number of times in recent years. The United Kingdom supported the framework set out in resolution 2320, but we recognise that this has not translated into practical support. So how can we make progress? I have three suggestions.

First, since financing for each operation will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, we must ensure the UN Secretariat supports work to determine options for future operations and that the Security Council has an early role in determining the scope of joint UN-AU assessment and planning.

Second, the AU has made significant progress to determine its compliance framework for international humanitarian law, human rights, conduct and discipline. It must now be applied to new operations effectively. We encourage continued development of these essential compliance frameworks.

Third, we should establish openly and clearly how we intend to share the financial burden between the United Nations and the African Union. Any scope for misinterpretation will cause new initiatives to stall.

President, while the international community has predominantly relied on UN peacekeeping to date, we acknowledge the comparative advantage that AU and other Africa-led peace support operations can offer, with an ability to deploy more rapidly and respond more robustly to certain emerging threats. Threats for which UN peacekeeping operations are not always the appropriate response.

In conclusion, the United Kingdom is committed to working with all countries, particularly our African partners, to develop a working financial mechanism that enables predictable and sustainable support.

Thank you.