Date | 12 November 2023

Tomorrow (13 November 2023) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1185th session. The session is dedicated to the 6th annual informal consultative meeting between the PSC and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (UN PBC).

The consultative meeting will commence with an opening remark from the chair of the month, Abdi Mahmoud Eyb, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti followed by a remark from the Permanent Representative of Croatia to the United Nations (UN) and Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Ivan Šimonovic. The opening remarks are expected to be followed by statements from three representatives, Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the AU and Head of the United Nations Office to the AU (UNAOU) and Elizabeth Spehar, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support all stressing the need for enhanced collaboration and coordination between the PSC and the UN PBC given the increasing insecurities across the continent as well as the world.

Over the years, the PSC and the UN PBC have had consultations on various issues in relation to peacebuilding. In the past four consultative meetings, the issues they addressed include African countries undergoing political transitions with peacebuilding tools and more recently climate change and peacebuilding in Africa. Although the AU PSC and the UN PBC have held an annual consecutive session on enhanced cooperation, this particular session comes against the backdrop of the recent Policy Brief ‘Our Common Agenda: A New Agenda for Peace’ released in July of this year by the UN Secretary-General. The New Agenda for Peace (NAP) puts particular emphasis on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The NAP, which also emphasizes support to AU’s role in peace support operations including through the use of UN-assessed contributions, thus serves as an important reference point for this year’s consultation of the PSC with PBC.

One issue that deserves attention during tomorrow’s consultation is the follow-up to the outcomes of previous consultations. Of particular interest in this respect are the operationalization of close working relationship at operational levels in the designing and implementation of peacebuilding interventions and policy coordination in the country and in region-specific engagements including in integrating priority themes identified in earlier consultations

Additionally, tomorrow’s consultation is expected to consider identifying tangible collaborations based on common interests, including jointly classifying countries and regions of mutual interest for enhanced conflict prevention and peacebuilding; sharing of national prevention strategies by AU Member states with the UN based on recommendations provided to the UN on national preventative strategies and lastly the establishment of a “Sustainable Peace Network” of regional actors expressed during the recent UN PBC Ministerial meeting held in September.

Tomorrow’s session also comes at a time when advances have been made in institutional and policy developments pertaining to the AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) policy framework. The PCRD center achieved progress in its operationalization with the appointment of its head and ongoing efforts to expand its staffing. During the PSC session dedicated to PCRD last year, the PSC requested for the Commission to work in close coordination with the UN PBC and other UN agencies to establish a common Action Plan to utilize the UN Peacebuilding fund to support PCRD efforts on the continent. At a policy level, a major development that is of interest for tomorrow’s session is key outcome of the Cairo Workshop which conducted a review of the PCRD policy, particularly the aspect on how the UN can support the establishment and full operationalization of the PCRD working groups and PSC Sub Committee. In this context, the other related issue expected to feature in the deliberations concerns joint action plans between the PSC and UN PBC on pathways to ensure adequate and sustainable financing for PCRD efforts in Africa.

Finally, the session will be concluded with closing remarks provided by the Chair of UN PBC, Ambassador Ivan Šimonovic and Ambassador Abdi Mahmoud Eybe, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti and Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council (PSC). Beyond the engagement with the PSC, the PBC is expected to have informal meeting with the wider stakeholders based in Addis Ababa during the week.

The expected outcome of the meeting will be presented in the form of a joint statement by the two entities where the Co-chairs will provide a media briefing at the end. It is expected that the two bodies may welcome the increasing collaboration between the offices particularly recognizing the various efforts by different bodies within the AU and the UN to enhance the joint UN-AU framework for enhanced peace and security. It is expected that they take note of the continued constraints that exist in regard to peace support operations and welcome the efforts by the UN and the AU to create a route for the use of assessed contributions to support the existing efforts of peace support operations on the continent. With regards to Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD), they may indicate PSC member’s expectation to revive the revised PCRD Policy Framework for their consideration for the revitalization of the AU PCRD. The parties may also take note of the progress made thus far in mobilizing the PCRD while also calling for the need to create a joint action plan for the further operationalization of the PCRD. In anticipation of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in November and in consideration of the focus of the last consultative meeting on this theme, the PSC and PBC may also call for the need for a concerted effort to address the impact of climate change on conflict with an emphasis on the employment of the African Continental Climate Security Risk Assessment Report on Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus and the Report of the Chairperson of AUC on the Study on the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace and Security in Africa.