United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on Sunday lauded the solid partnership between the African Union and the UN saying it was grounded on sound principles of human rights and good governance.
Addressing the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, Mr. Guterres said the UN and the AU were working together successfully across the continent.
“With Africa firmly in the lead, we can and will do more,” he told African leaders gathered for their January Summit in Addis Ababa.
“I stand here on behalf of the United Nations system and reaffirm our strong commitment to the Member States and the people of Africa. I strongly believe Africa is one of the greatest forces for good in our world,” said Mr. Guterres.
He outlined five areas for strengthened partnership between the two organizations.
– Peace and Security
– Inclusive, sustainable development
– Climate Change
– Fighting Corruption
Mr. Guterres thanked African governments for leading the way in contributing troops and police to help save lives and keep the peace around the world.
“We will never forget the service and sacrifice of all those who have given their lives for peace,” he said, adding; “Our first shared obligation is to confront the root causes of conflict by strengthening prevention through diplomacy and mediation.”
“We also have an obligation to do much more to end conflicts and forge peace,” said Mr. Guterres, adding the United Nations-African Union partnership on peace and security was fundamental to building a safer world for all.
“It is rooted in solutions that are Africa-owned, Africa-driven and Africa-led,” he said.
UN peacekeeping, Mr. Guterres added, was, however, not the solution to all crisis situations.
“We need different missions for different contexts, including peace enforcement and counter-terrorist operations. Partnership with the African Union and sub-regional organizations offers us the means to achieve this,” the UNSG said, adding more should be done to tackle terrorism on the continent.
Mr. Guterres also said there was need for strengthened partnership to ensure inclusive, sustainable development in Africa through Agendas 2030 and Agenda 2063, which he said are mutually reinforcing.
Women and young people, he said, must lead the development agenda.
“Women’s full participation makes economies stronger and peace processes more successful,” said Mr. Guterres, adding ending violence against women and girls and child marriage, and increasing women’s participation in decision-making, were prerequisites for the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.
He lauded the AUC for making 2018 the African Anti-Corruption Year.
“I commend your decision to highlight this scourge, and offer you our strong support,” said the UNSG.
For his part, AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the fight against corruption was crucial for Africa’s inclusive development.
He also talked about other issues, including the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and regional integration and why this was important for Africa.
“There should be free movement of people on the continent,” said Mr. Mahamat.
The summit ends with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda taking over the chairmanship of the AU from President Alpha Conde of Guinea.