Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, in the Security Council’s open debate on “Peace and Security in Africa: Enhancing African Capacities in the areas of Peace and Security” (New York, 19 July 2017)

Mr. President,

We appreciate the initiative by your Presidency to organize this debate on peace and security in Africa.

It is certainly encouraging that a permanent member of the Security Council has convened an open debate on a region that remains under-represented in the Council, despite the fact that its peace and security continues to be the Council’s main preoccupation.

We also thank the Secretary General for his briefing and insightful remarks at the start of today’s debate.

Mr. President,

The Charter of the United Nations provides that the Security Council, in matters pertaining to the maintenance of international peace and security, acts on behalf of the General Assembly. It is therefore not just useful but also imperative for the Security Council to take into account the views of the General membership on these issues.

Similarly, on regional peace and security, it only makes sense for the Council to listen closely to the opinions of member states of that particular region – after all who can better understand the challenges faced by a region than the countries of that region themselves.

Chapter VIII of the UN Charter therefore lays emphasis on a cooperative, inter-dependent and mutually reinforcing relationship between the UN and the regional organizations.

Indeed as the Secretary-General has underlined, this relationship should encompass prevention, mediation and resolution of conflicts as well as addressing the root causes of conflicts.

Mr. President,

The growing dialogue between the Security Council and the African Union for a better and effective response to peace and security issues in Africa is welcome. Security Council resolution 2320 (18 November 2016) as well as regular consultative dialogues between members of this Council and the AU Peace and Security Council (last one in May 2017) are manifestations of this trend.

Pakistan believes that the African Union is a critical link between the Security Council and the challenges being faced in Africa, especially on issues of peace and security. This linkage can be utilized through strategic partnership between the two organizations.

This partnership should be based on, inter-alia, “respective comparative advantage, burden sharing and consultative decision making”, as identified through Security Council resolution 2320 (2016). If pursued with an objective approach, such a partnership can not only augment the ability of the Security Council to effectively meet its challenges, but also help enhance the capacity of the AU Peace and Security Council to shoulder more responsibilities for peace and security in Africa.

We urge the Council to consider investing more financial and capacity building resources in enhancing the AU’s capabilities, especially in peacekeeping missions mandated by the Council itself. This support needs to be flexible, sustainable and predictable.

Pakistan also welcomes the joint UN-AU framework for enhanced partnership for peace and security, signed in April, between the UN Secretary General and the Chairperson of the AU Commission. We hope that the themes identified for cooperation as well as the mechanisms set out for operationalizing those themes would provide a good basis for further collaboration between the two organizations.

Mr. President,

As one of the world’s top troop contributors to UN Peacekeeping, security personnel from Pakistan have contributed to many of the success stories in Africa, from Liberia to Sierra Leone. Our well-trained and professional peacekeepers have protected civilians, provided much-needed medical care and rebuilt lives. They have worked in difficult, and at times dangerous circumstances, and have never shied away from fulfilling their mandate.

But our voices have remained either unsolicited or unheard when major decisions are taken with regard to new deployments, crafting mandates, devising strategies pertaining to regional and trilateral cooperation and many of the other issues directly affecting our troops. This silo culture must change if we want to make peacekeeping work at its optimum capacity. We also think the flawed notion of doing more with less should be seriously reviewed as erratic budget cuts will undermine, not promote.

Mr. President,

The Security Council’s consultative dialogues with regional organizations are a useful tool for the Council to develop regional partnerships to address relevant issues of peace and security, just as we have seen in the case of Council’s dialogue with the AU Peace and Security Council.

These tools are of pivotal importance if unburdened from issues that go beyond the purview of regional problems.

Therefore, to be of optimal use, these dialogues must continue to focus on practical approaches to resolve issues that are exclusively regional in nature. This is important to ensure that valuable time and effort is dedicated to finding pragmatic and durable solutions.

I thank you, Mr. President.