Let me join others in thanking the Libyan presidency for organizing this open debate, and in welcoming AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra and former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
Norway welcomes the report of the African Union-United Nations panel on modalities for support to African Union peacekeeping operations. The report points to a number of critical issues for UN peacekeeping operations in general, and underlines the challenges in managing conflicts and maintaining peace and security on the African continent in particular.
The AU has a commendable record on mediation, crises management and peacekeeping. But we know it is challenging to sustain such work over time. This is why the international community needs to assist in this effort, be it with funding, logistics, equipment or by other means.
Norway supports the idea of establishing a multi-donor trust fund to finance long-term capacity building of the African Union. We also favour a mutually agreed and standardized system of reporting for this. Such a fund could encourage greater support and better coordination of donor contributions. However, one key issue here is the need to differentiate between projects that qualify as official development assistance (ODA) and projects that do not. This could be done by creating a separate window in the Trust Fund for ODA funding for non-military and civilian purposes.
Norway has also taken note of the Panel’s recommendations on the use of assessed contributions in support of UN authorized AU peace operations. We believe that such support should be given on a case-by-case basis. The go-ahead given by the Security Council to use assessed contributions to finance a logistics support package for AMISOM could be an interesting test case.
When further developing funding mechanisms, we must also address the need to develop the AU’s institutional structures for financial management. This is important to ensure AU ownership and accountability to the donors.
Norway supports the idea of establishing a joint UN/AU team to examine the detailed modalities to support the recommendations made by the panel. One of the first tasks of that team should be to define the strategic relationship between the two organisations. The role of other partners is also important here. Regional organisations such as the EU and NATO as well as individual countries all have a role to play in augmenting African peacekeeping capacity, and the emerging African Peace and Security Architecture.
We believe it is important that regional organisations take greater responsibility for international peace and security. But the primary responsibility for responding to threats to international peace and security remains with this Council. When regional organizations act in crisis situations under Chapter VIII of the Charter, it should always be mandated and coordinated by the Security Council. Norway agrees with the Panel on the need for a clearer strategic vision for the relationship and the collaboration between the Security Council and the African Union on issues concerning peace and security.
We also fully support the efforts undertaken by the African Union to develop a new African Peace and Security Architecture, including the establishment of an African Standby Force, and efforts to enhance its capacity for conflict prevention, mediation and addressing post-conflict situations. Norway remains committed to supporting the African Union in all these fields.
Military capability must be supplemented by non-military means to build a lasting peace. Civilian and police components are increasingly important in peacekeeping operations, not least with regard to the protection of civilians. Appropriate training is key, and for the past 14 years, Norway and African partners have run a successful capacity building program to enhance civilian and police capacity for African peacekeeping, “Training for Peace”. Norway is also planning to support the civilian capacity in the AU Peace Support Operations Department.
In conclusion, let me reiterate Norway’s strong commitment to supporting the AU in its peacekeeping and peace building efforts. We appreciate the Panel’s important contribution to the discussion on how to proceed from here, and hope this debate will open the path to new and better ways to help the large number of people in Africa who are in urgent need of a more robust peacekeeping effort.