Discussion on the UNSC Resolution 2719(2023)

Date | 13 June 2024

Tomorrow (14 June), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1215th session to discuss the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2719 (2023) on the financing of AU-led Peace Support Operations (PSOs).

The session is expected to commence with opening remarks by Rebecca Otengo, Permanent Representative of Uganda and Chairperson of the PSC for June, followed by statement from Bankole Adeoye, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS). The representatives of the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) may also deliver statements.

While the PSC discussed the resolution in the preparation of its report submitted to the AU Assembly in February 2024, this is the first time that the PSC is convening a dedicated session on this resolution. Apart from providing the PSC with the opportunity to get updates on measures being put in place towards the operationalization of the resolution, this session can help build shared understanding of what it takes and how and when Resolution 2719 can be activated.

Tomorrow’s session serves as a follow up to the decision of the 44th ordinary session of the Executive Council of the AU held in February 2024 that called upon the Commission to submit a ‘proposal to the UNSC after adoption by the Peace and Security Council, by August 2024’ to trigger the operationalization of this funding mechanism for AU-led PSOs. As such, also of significance for tomorrow’s session is the issues of how to trigger consideration of the application of the resolution and how to proceed with using the resolution in a concrete test case.

In terms of updates, it would be of interest for the PSC members to know the steps taken at the level of the AU Commission, the UN and between the AU Commission and the UN Secretariat. In his briefing, it is expected that Adeoye would inform the PSC the establishment of a taskforce dedicated to the resolution. On the basis of this, the taskforce held internal consultations for unpacking what resolution 2719 mean and the issues that require attention for the implementation of the resolution.

On the part of the UN as well, a taskforce was established at the level of the UN Secretariat. This taskforce has been engaging both in unpacking the resolution and in identifying the processes required towards the operationalization of the resolution. As for the UNSC, while no dedicated session was held on the resolution as such, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa convened a meeting on 30 April to discuss the implementation of Resolution 2719.

Apart from the initiatives at the level of the AU and the UN respectively, the 23rd consultative meeting of the AU-UN Joint Task Force on 16 April 2024 adopted a decision for developing a joint plan on the implementation of resolution 2719. They agreed on steps towards that end, notably the holding of consultative meeting between the AU and UN taskforces.

As a follow up to the decision of the AU-UN Joint Task Force, the AU and UN held a consultative meeting between their respective taskforces. The meeting agreed on modalities for the development and finalization of a joint Roadmap for the implementation of resolution 2719. They also identified the four clusters or thematic work streams around which the joint roadmap is to be elaborated.  These are: joint planning, decision-making and reporting; mission support; financing and budgeting; human rights compliance and protection of civilians. According to information publicly shared by the AU, ‘the meeting articulated a skeleton Roadmap around: Planning, Decision-making, and Monitoring and reporting; Mission support, Financing and budgeting; Human Rights Compliance and Protection of Civilians.’

During the 23rd consultative meeting of the AU-UN Joint Task Force on 16 April 2024, the two sides also agreed to hold a follow up meeting between 17-20 June, if required. The plan is to finalize the Joint Roadmap on the implementation of the resolution for its adoption by the AU Chairperson and UN Secretary-General during the next AU-UN Annual Conference slated for October.

Apart from following up the progress made towards delivering on the request made by the Executive Council, tomorrow’s meeting also helps for the PSC members to reflect on the content of the resolution and seek to achieve shared understanding. As the concept note of the UN Ad Hoc Working Group on the Prevention and Resolution of Conflicts in Africa for its meeting on the implementation of resolution 2719 rightly put it, ‘ensuring common understanding of the resolution as well as development of detailed modalities for its implementation is critical to help guide utilisation of the resolution.’

The resolution covers wide range of issues, including decision-making and authorization, financial arrangements and procedures, compliance frameworks, and reporting and monitoring. It also envisages closer AU-UN engagement and alignment of their processes and capacities in the authorization, deployment and management of the PSOs. However, there are some key elements around which there is a need for achieving shared understanding on the part of the AU and the UN for a smooth implementation of the resolution. One of such areas is regarding joint planning, decision-making and reporting. Paragraph 2 of the resolution provides that UNSC agrees to consider requests from the PSC for AU-led PSOs authorized by UNSC to have access to UN assessed contributions on a case-by-case basis. Key questions in this respect include how the requests are developed and presented to the UNSC and most notably whether and what kind of consultations are required for submitting such a request to the UNSC.

The other area is financing and mission support, particularly the 25:75 burden-sharing formula. Paragraph 6 of the resolution determines that AU-led PSOs authorized by UNSC will have access to UN assessed contributions ‘not exceeding 75 percent of their annual budgets’, with the remaining 25 percent to be ‘jointly mobilized from the international community as extra-budgetary resources.’ UNSC commits to ‘consider all viable options in the event of significant shortfalls in resource mobilization.’ This raises a question of whether ‘all viable options’ actually includes the use of assessed contributions beyond the 75 percent cap.

It is anticipated that tomorrow’s session will also discuss the possibility of testing the use of Resolution 2719 in the specific case of implementing a post-ATMIS security arrangement in Somalia. Apart from the provision in the proposal of Somalia of the use of this resolution for financing the post-ATMIS security arrangement in Somalia, during its 1205th session on ATMIS, the PSC hinted accessing UN assessed contribution within the framework of resolution 2719 as one of the possible financial modalities for post-ATMIS mission.

Yet, there are divisions particularly in the UN on whether a post-ATMIS security arrangement can and should be made a test case. Some members of the UNSC are keen to push forward the agenda of invoking resolution 2719 for the first time on the envisaged post-ATMIS mission, even by tabling a resolution that would pave the way for the application of resolution 2719. This is despite that some other UNSC members, notably US, not being supportive of the idea.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. PSC is expected to commend the steps taken thus far towards the operationalization of the resolution, including the establishment of the Task Force at the level of the AU Commission and the convening of a technical-level meeting with the UN counterpart in May 2024. The PSC may also state that it looks forward to the conclusion of the development of the joint roadmap by the AU and the UN. The PSC may call for follow up on the Executive Council’s decision for the AU Commission to develop a ‘proposal to the UNSC after adoption by the Peace and Security Council, by August 2024’ to trigger the operationalization of this funding mechanism for AU-led PSOs. It may also in this respect call for such proposal to be developed and submitted on the specific case of the post-ATMIS security arrangement for Somalia.