Press conference by Secretary-General António Guterres at the African Union Summit
30 January 2017, Addis Ababa
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, thank you very much for your presence.
I am extremely happy with the results of my contacts during this African Union Summit. I think we have created the conditions to establish a new higher platform of cooperation between the African Union and the UN.
As I said in my speech, I’m here with the expression of total solidarity and respect – respect for African leadership, both in relation to the African development process and in relation to the African capacity to deal with the problems of peace and security in the region, but solidarity, which means support of the UN and hopefully support of the international community as a whole to the very important actions that the African Union and the different African regional organizations have been developing in order to guarantee the future of the continent.
And I think we need to change the narrative about Africa in the international community. Usually, I see people discussing – in Europe, in the Americas, in Asia – the situation in Africa based on all the crises that exist in African countries. But that is a partial view. And I think we need to have a narrative that recognizes that Africa is a continent with an enormous potential, that Africa is the continent that has higher economic growth in the last ten years, that in Africa we have extraordinary success stories from the point of view of economic development and governance, and that in Africa, we have as we have seen just a few days ago, important success stories that show the capacity of African countries to come together and solve the problems that exist in the continent. The way ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] was able to act in relation to the situation in Gambia with the support of the African Union and the support of the UN, is something exemplary that I would hope could be copied in many other parts of the world.
So I want here to pay tribute to the African Union, to their very important work on behalf of the continent, and to say that the UN will be entirely at the disposal of the African Union to fully support its activities. And I was very happy with the fact that President [Idriss] Deby [of the Republic of Chad] has announced that every year in January, I will have, as it was the case yesterday, a breakfast allowing me to interact with all African Heads of State and to be able to have a very meaningful discussion about the relations of the African Union and the UN.
I’d also like to say that I’ve understood from the African Heads of State their frustration with the fact that Africa is today a weight in international organizations, namely in the UN, that is much smaller compared with the weight that Africa has in today’s world. I understood that frustration, and I also understood the African concerns with the problems of many peacekeeping operations that take place in areas where there is no peace to keep and the need to have an intense dialogue between the African Union and the UN to see how better we can work together in relation to also the problems of peace and security.
But having said so, development must be in the centre of our cooperation. The best prevention of conflicts is sustainable and inclusive development. And we have agreed that the Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the Agenda 2030 that was approved by the Summit in New York in relation to the whole international community – these two agendas on sustainable development will be aligned and that will be only one reporting line and that UN country teams will be supporting governments in the implementation of both agendas in a coherent way in order to have the maximum benefit for the African peoples under the leadership of the African governments and to have the strongest capacity to take profit of the different instruments that we have at our disposal, namely according to the Addis Ababa programme of action in relation to funding to make sure that we are successful in these extremely important objectives recognised both by the AU and the UN.
Having said this, I cannot disguise the fact that I also came with a deep personal concern and a deep personal commitment. I was High Commissioner for Refugees and when I started my functions the 15th of June 2005, the 18th of June I was in Uganda in a refugee camp to prepare for the celebration of World Refugee Day with South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. And then I had the chance to help support the return of half a million South Sudanese coming back to their country with joy and hoping that there would be a future of peace and prosperity for them, for their families and for their country. Unfortunately, we have been witnessing a level of suffering of the South Sudanese people that is extremely troubling and that I think should be of concern for the whole international community.
And so, since the beginning of the exercise of my mandate, I’ve been concentrating a lot of attention to see how the UN can help African leadership in dealing successfully with the problem of South Sudan. And I’m very happy to be able to confirm that we had yesterday a meeting of the leadership of the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development], the leadership of the African Union and myself, and we were able to have a full agreement between the IGAD, the African Union and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. A full agreement, in relation to the need to work together with one voice. A full agreement, in underlining the mandate of President [Alpha Oumar] Konaré on behalf of the African Union, with total support of the UN, and also the work of President [Festus] Mogae of IGAD in his mission in relation to the verification of the peace agreement, and that we all believe in the need to have in South Sudan a national dialogue that is fully inclusive of all parties, to move to a political solution in South Sudan, and that I had the opportunity to discuss with President Salva Kiir and with the key neighbours of the country and I think that we have a consensus on the way forward. There will be difficulties, there will be problems, there will be gaps but I leave Addis with hope that we can find a common way to address the dramatic situation of South Sudan, a common way to help the South Sudanese come together and solve their problems.
Of course, there are different other problems that I had the occasion to discuss with the African leaders, namely today with the Group of Five in relation to the situation in Mali — very important discussions about the future of peacekeeping operations; how better the UN can support the AU in the missions of the AU that are also covered by Security Council decisions, as it is the case with AMISOM; how we can really work together better also in relation to the prevention of conflict, conflict resolution and sustaining peace. But, I repeat, the best prevention is always development, inclusive and sustainable development, and this will be the very centre of our cooperation.
I’m at your disposal for any question that you might want to ask.
Q: On reform of Security Council – African participation.
SG: This was one of the issues that were raised by Heads of State. I have said several times that in my opinion reform of the United Nations will not be completed without reform of the Security Council, but it is not in the hands of the Secretary-General to do it. This is a decision that needs a change in the Charter of the United Nations and needs to be approved by the General Assembly, by a qualified majority, with the five concurring votes of the five permanent members of the Security Council. So this is an area in which, of course, I would be very interested in the dialogue in order to see if it is possible to move forward, but I recognise and it is important to say that the fact that there is no African permanent member of the Security council doesn’t correspond to the present situation in the world and the weight of Africa in the international community.
Q: (In French) On the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
SG: Pas seulement inquiet, mais déterminé. J’ai eu l’occasion d’avoir un entretien avec le Vice-Premier ministre de la République Démocratique du Congo, en attirant son attention sur le besoin de faire que l’accord soit effectivement traduit dans la pratique et que la situation puisse s’améliorer dans tous les domaines que vous avez mentionnés. Mais j’ai aussi parlé avec les voisins de la République Démocratique du Congo en demandant à tous de maintenir un dialogue permanent avec les autorités congolaises pour que cet accord puisse vraiment être concrétisé et pour que la République Démocratique du Congo puisse avoir une solution politique pour une situation qui traine déjà depuis longtemps.
Q: On US threats to cut UN budget.
SG: Of course, this is a matter of concern, but I am determined to engage, and I already had a constructive meeting with the new ambassador of the US to the United Nations. I am determined to work in order for, as President Trump said, the UN has enormous potential. We need to make sure that that potential translates itself into full reality. That is what I think is the basis for a constructive dialogue and cooperation, and I hope that we will be able to build a relationship based on trust, allowing for the UN activities to go on without any dramatic evolution.
Q: Thoughts on US announcement re ban on refugees; where will they go?
SG: First of all, I would like to underline that this is an African Union Summit, not a summit of the Organization of American States. Having said so, it is clear to me that refugee protection is something that is absolutely essential to guarantee, that access by refugees to where they can find adequate protection is of extreme importance. The US has a large tradition of refugee protection, and I strongly hope that measures that were taken will be only temporary. I strongly hope that refugee protection will become again high in the agenda of the United States of America.
Q: On South Sudan – sexual violence.
SG: There is a decision by the African Union together with South Sudan for accountability in a special court, and obviously that will have the full support of the UN.
Q: On Kenya and spat regarding South Sudan.
SG: I had a very positive and constructive meeting with the President of Kenya. I am very grateful for his very positive attitude. Obviously all the neighbours of South Sudan are absolutely crucial for the solution of this problem. I count a lot on the role of Kenya in all aspects, in all aspects, including the military one. I have a long experience of cooperation with Kenya in my past capacity and I am very encouraged by the excellent meeting I had with the President of your country.
Q: If Morocco is accepted to the AU, it implicitly reaffirms the independence of Western Sahara but the UN has yet to recognize. Do you think in your tenure that might change?
SG: As you know, there is a process and the resolution of the Security Council in relation to Western Sahara. This has nothing to do with the decisions the African Union might take about membership. This is an area where we have no interference at all. It is a sovereign decision of the African Union. Thank you very much.
Secretary-General’s remarks to the African Union Summit
Addis Ababa, 30 January 2017
Your Excellency Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad and Chairperson of the African Union,
Your Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
All protocol observed,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to be with you.
I humbly join you in profound solidarity and respect.
As the late Samora Machel, the first President of the independent Mozambique, once said, solidarity “is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objectives. The foremost of these objectives is to assist in the development of humanity to the highest level possible.”
The African Union is working every day for unity, peace and progress for all people in every corner of this great continent.
I congratulate President Idriss Deby Itno for his leadership over the past 12 months, and I also commend the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, her Deputy, Erastus Mwencha, and the AU Commissioners for their efforts to promote Africa’s socio-economic transformation.
I wish Madame Zuma all the best in her future endeavours. I look forward to working closely with her successor.
The United Nations is proud to be your partner. And I am proud to be your partner.
I am convinced we have much to gain from African wisdom, African ideas, African solutions.
It is that spirit of possibility and partnership that draws me here.
I also come with a deep sense of gratitude.
Africa provides the majority of United Nations peacekeepers around the world. Yesterday, during our breakfast meeting, I took good note of your concerns about the challenges faced by several peacekeeping missions in countries where there is effectively no peace to keep; and also by the [statement] by several African countries and sub-regional organizations to be ready for peace enforcing operations, provided that they have the appropriate mandate from the Security Council and the resources that are necessary to implement those operations.
African nations are also among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees. African borders remain open for those in need of protection, when so many borders are being closed, even in the most developed countries in the world.
Africa also includes some of the world’s fastest growing economies.
And so, I am here to listen to you, learn from you and work with you for the people of Africa and the wider world.
I am proud to have selected Ms. Amina Mohammed of Nigeria as Deputy Secretary-General.
She is an accomplished leader in international development and will give an extremely important contribution to the management of the United Nations Secretariat.
I sincerely thank President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria for his generosity in availing her to serve in this important global role.
Looking forward, I welcome your ideas on how to best strengthen our cooperation and partnership based on the priorities and the needs of the people of Africa.
I see several areas ripe for discussion.
First, by raising the level of our strategic partnership — in implementing Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda, and in promoting peace and security and human rights together.
Second: we look forward to working with you to enhance the UN’s partnership with Africa’s eight Regional Economic Communities.
They have been at the forefront of efforts to achieve peace and security on the continent and they are driving forces for achieving Africa’s development aims.
The extraordinary union showed by ECOWAS is even a lesson to the world. It was so fair and so just [from President Dlamini Zuma] to acknowledge it – when recognizing that at the present moment, when we see so many conflicts multiplying, the only way to allow the international community to be able to address those conflicts, the only way to allow the international community to act boldly, is with unity of the countries of the region, able to serve together and in the same universal principles.
Third: the African Governance Architecture, including the African Peer Review Mechanism, has contributed to improved governance in many countries.
The United Nations will step up its support to further promote good governance and reinforce the nexus between peace, security and development.
Fourth: the United Nations will support African efforts to realize your initiative to “Silence the Guns by 2020”, or even before, including by strengthening support for the African Peace and Security Architecture.
I intend to work with the AU to present a set of concrete proposals to the Security Council on predictable, reliable and sustainable financing for AU peace operations.
It is also very important that we are able to promote long-term thinking and commitment to building and maintaining peace after conflict ends to prevent backsliding.
Fifth: the United Nations will support regional integration, including efforts to establish the Continental Free Trade Area.
I know you have identified this as vital for achieving Agenda 2063.
I am here as your partner and as your friend. I am here in gratitude to Africa’s enormous contributions to a better world.
And I am here to pledge my full commitment to work with you in solidarity and respect to advance peace and security on the continent and realize the vision of Agenda 2063 and its promise of building “the Africa we want”.
Statement attributable to the Spokesman of the Secretary-General on Central African Republic, New York, 27 June 2016
The Secretary-General condemns the killing of a peacekeeper from the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 24 June in Bangui. The peacekeeper was shot dead by unidentified armed men in circumstances that are still unclear. The Secretary-General offers his sincere condolences to the family of the fallen peacekeeper and to the Government of Senegal.
The Secretary-General expresses concern about recent security trends in the country, including in Bangui. He calls on President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, the Central African Government and all relevant actors to continue pursuing a comprehensive process to achieve the disarmament of the armed groups in a spirit of national reconciliation and inclusiveness.
The Secretary-General reiterates that attacks against those who are working towards peace and security in the Central African Republic are unacceptable. He calls on the Government to ensure that the circumstances of the crime are fully investigated and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
رسالة الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة بمناسبة يوم أفريقيا، 25 أيار/مايو 2016
يُحتفل بيوم أفريقيا لعام 2016 دعما للموضوع الذي اختاره الاتحاد الأفريقي لهذا العام ألا وهو: ’’حقوق الإنسان مع التركيز بوجه خاص على حقوق المرأة‘‘. وهذا يبرهن على الالتزام الذي قطعه قادة أفريقيا بجعل النساء – باعتبارهن عوامل وعناصر تمكين رئيسية – في صدارة ومحور جميع الجهود المبذولة لتنفيذ خطة التنمية المستدامة لعام 2030 وخطة الاتحاد الأفريقي لعام 2063.
ويتقاسم كلا الإطارين مبادئ استراتيجية مماثلة، إذ يركزان على الإنسان والرفاه والاستدامة البيئية والعدالة وحقوق الإنسان والشراكات المتسمة بالمساءلة المتبادلة. وتقتضي المواءمة بين الخطط العالمية والقارية اتباع نهج منسق في التخطيط والتنفيذ والرصد.
وفي إطار خطة عام 2063، تشمل أولويات أفريقيا الاستثمار في سكانها، مع التركيز على النساء والشباب؛ وتنمية الصناعة التحويلية وصناعة تجهيز المنتجات الزراعية؛ وبناء الهياكل الأساسية للنقل، والمياه، والصرف الصحي، والطاقة، وتكنولوجيا المعلومات والاتصالات؛ وتعبئة الموارد المحلية ووقف التدفقات المالية غير المشروعة؛ وإنهاء النزاعات؛ وتعزيز حقوق الإنسان؛ والتوسع في الحكم الديمقراطي. كما أن أمام أفريقيا فرصة سانحة للسعي إلى التصنيع بطريقة أكثر استدامة من الناحية البيئية، بطرق منها اعتماد أساليب الزراعة الذكية مناخيا، واستخدام الطاقة المتجددة، ووضع حد لإزالة الغابات. وأشجع البلدان الأفريقية وشركاءها على ألا يدخروا جهدا في سبيل الدفع قدما بهذه الأولويات. والأمم المتحدة ملتزمة بتقديم الدعم في هذا الصدد.
وعلى الرغم من الغموض الذي يكتنف المشهد الاقتصادي العالمي، فإن التوقعات الاقتصادية لأفريقيا جيدة. إذ يتوقع فيها حدوث زيادة في النمو ليصل إلى 4.4 في المائة في عام 2016، مقابل 3.7 في المائة في عام 2015. وأحث قادة أفريقيا على الاستفادة من هذه المكاسب لمعالجة التفاوتات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية المتزايدة، وكفالة ألا يخلف الركب أي أفريقي وراءه. ويكتسي هذا أهمية حاسمة للتصدي للأسباب الجذرية للنزاعات، والإرهاب، والتطرف العنيف، ولتعزيز السلام والاستقرار. وأود أيضا أن أشيد بمبادرة أفريقيا الجريئة بعنوان ’’وقف أزيز الأسلحة بحلول العام 2020“، التي تعد من المشاريع الرئيسية في خطة التنفيذ في السنوات العشر الأولى لخطة عام 2063.
وسيقتضي النجاح في تنفيذ هذه الخطط الجديدة قيام شراكة مجددة من أجل التعاون الإنمائي بين الحكومات الأفريقية، ووكالات الأمم المتحدة، ومفوضية الاتحاد الأفريقي، ووكالة الشراكة الجديدة من أجل تنمية أفريقيا، والجماعات الاقتصادية الإقليمية، والشركاء الإنمائيين. وللقطاع الخاص أيضا دور رئيسي يؤديه في إيجاد فرص العمل، وتشجيع الابتكار في التكنولوجيات والخدمات، ودعم التحول الهائل اللازم في الهياكل الأساسية لتحقيق أهداف التنمية المستدامة لأفريقيا.
وبمناسبة يوم أفريقيا هذا، أحث جميع أصحاب المصلحة على تأييد هذه الرؤية التحولية المبينة في أهداف التنمية المستدامة وخطة عام 2063. فما هو خير لأفريقيا هو خير للعالم.
UN Secretary-General’s message on Africa Day, 25 May 2016
Africa Day 2016 is being celebrated in furtherance of the African Union’s theme for this year: “Human Rights with a Particular Focus on the Rights of Women”. This demonstrates the commitment of Africa’s leaders to place women – as key drivers and enablers – at the front and centre of all efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Both frameworks share similar strategic principles, with a focus on people, prosperity, environmental sustainability, justice, human rights and mutually accountable partnerships. The alignment between the global and the continental agendas calls for a harmonized approach in planning, implementation and monitoring.
Under Agenda 2063, Africa’s priorities include investing in its people, with an emphasis on women and youth; developing manufacturing and agro-processing; building transport, water, sanitation, energy and ICT infrastructure; domestic resource mobilization and stemming illicit financial flows; ending conflict; promoting human rights; and expanding democratic governance. Africa also has the opportunity to pursue industrialization in a more environmentally sustainable manner, including through climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy and arresting deforestation. I encourage African nations and their partners to spare no effort in advancing these priorities. The United Nations is committed in its support.
Africa’s economic prospects are good, despite the uncertain global economic landscape. Growth is projected to increase to 4.4 per cent in 2016, from 3.7 percent in 2015. I urge Africa’s leaders to use these gains to address rising social and economic inequalities, and ensure that no African is left behind. This is crucial for tackling root causes of conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, and fostering peace and stability. I also commend Africa’s bold initiative on “Silencing the Guns by 2020”, which is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063’s First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.
The successful implementation of these new agendas will require a renewed partnership for development cooperation among African governments, UN entities, the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency, the Regional Economic Communities and the development partners. The private sector also has a key role to play in creating jobs, promoting innovation in technologies and services, and supporting the massive infrastructure transition needed to fulfil Africa’s sustainable development objectives.
On this Africa Day, I urge all stakeholders to rally behind the transformative vision set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063. What is good for Africa is good for the world.
UN Deputy Sercretary-General’s remarks to High-Level Forum on “The Africa We Want in 2030, 2063 and Beyond”, New York, 20 April 2016
I thank the African Union and the Government of Sweden for organizing this timely High Level Forum together with UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, Mr. Maged Abdelaziz.
I thank you for offering me this opportunity to reflect on how we can better integrate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Last year, when the world adopted the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Africa adopted its own transformative Agenda 2063 and Ten-Year Implementation Plan.
These global and regional frameworks share a focus on people and their well-being on a healthier planet. They include pledges on justice and are rooted in respect of human rights.
Both agendas, through their aspirations and goals, aim at structural transformation and a more equitable sharing of income and wealth. They both stress inclusive growth and sustainable development.
These high ambitions require bold and decisive action from everyone involved. The people of the world are looking to their leaders on all levels to act and to be accountable for their actions.
The broad and comprehensive nature of these two agendas calls for setting priorities from the start. I would like to focus attention on three points in particular.
First, women’s empowerment is a vital area for our joint work and one of the main themes of this meeting. SDG 5 calls for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Goal 17 of Agenda 2063 requires full gender equality in every sphere of life. Women are key drivers of development. If women and girls are given their rightful place and their empowerment – everyone benefits. It is a win-win proposition. Conversely, preventing half a population from full participation in social and economic development is a shameful waste of human potential and a systemic obstacle to progress.
Second, both agendas stress the urgency of ending conflict, through SDG 16 and Agenda 2063’s aspiration for “A peaceful and secure Africa”. People living in fragile and conflict-affected countries make up for 15 per cent of the world’s population. But they also represent more than 30 per cent of people living in extreme poverty. Countries affected by conflict were among the poorest performers of the Millennium Development Goals. They also every year place in the lowest ranks of the Human Development Index. Recognizing this, the SDGs and Agenda 2063 require governments, regional organizations and the international community to focus on the root causes of conflict and fragility. These causes range from poverty, inequality and exclusion to governance failures, the lack of decent work and the flow of weapons.
Here, I would like to commend the African Union for its commitment to silence the guns by 2020 is ambitious but critically important.
Third, sufficient resources, both in terms of capacity and financing, will play a decisive role in tackling the UN and African agendas. Development aid will remain important, particularly for the Least Developed Countries. The global partnership agreed in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda is crucial. We must also achieve better mobilization of domestic resources through more efficient and equitable tax regimes, supported by tougher international measures to fight tax evasion.
Stemming the illicit flow of billions of dollars worth of resources from the African continent is vital. Last year’s joint United Nations/African Union report presents important steps that can be taken towards this goal.Carrying out these agendas will require stronger policy-making capacities and effective cooperation and coordination. And there is work to be done on data, indicators, and monitoring mechanisms.
The entire UN system stands ready to support governments with the tools and expertise at its disposal at this crucial stage of converting the SDGs into national planning and strategies.
These huge undertakings demand wise leadership and a spirit of commitment from all sides to improve the lives of billions of people in the world, not least on the African continent. People are rightly at the center of these agendas, in the spirit of “We the Peoples” of the UN Charter.
Let us together mobilize all good forces to support the people of Africa in realizing their hopes and aspirations for peace, development and human rights. In this pursuit, the United Nations and the African continent are working as One.
I thank you, and I wish you a successful meeting.
Secretary-General’s press conference at the 26th African Union Summit [with Q&A]
Addis Ababa, 31 January 2016
Good morning ladies and gentlemen, bonjour mesdames et messieurs. I am very pleased to be here with some of our senior advisers of the United Nations, who are sitting in the front line and are sitting with me.
I will start with a few words on the talks in Geneva that are aimed at bringing an end to the horrific five-year-long conflict in Syria.
I am glad these talks have started. The Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura is now leading the talks. These talks are long overdue.
I urge all parties to put the people of Syria at the heart of their discussions, and above partisan interests. Civilians, including children and women, have been bearing the brunt of this conflict. We must urgently see an end to the fighting, the sieges and the other terrible human rights abuses that have characterized this war.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Now I will say a few words about the business of this very important and interesting summit. The African Union is a key regional partner for the United Nations. We count on our strong relationship to support African governments in realizing the aspirations of their people for peace, sustainable development and human rights.
I commend this year’s summit theme: 2016, the African year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women.
The African Union has solid legal instruments backing human rights and women’s empowerment, and it is making great progress in putting these into action.
The trial of the former President of Chad, Hissène Habré, in Senegal is a significant step, and the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan sent a strong signal that the African Union will not stand by while civilians are slaughtered and leaders fail to lead.
Respecting human rights means accountability for the most serious crimes of international concern.
In my meetings with African leaders, we discussed the importance of ending the conflict in Burundi including regional and international efforts to encourage political dialogue. I expressed the support of the United Nations for the African Union’s efforts.
On South Sudan, I expressed my concern that leaders have failed to meet the deadline for formation of a Transitional Government. This is essential and urgent to end the unimaginable suffering of the South Sudanese people.
In my discussions on Libya, I underscored the need to build upon the agreement on the government of National Accord and encouraged all Libyan actors to support and join this effort, to help restore peace and stability.
And on Somalia, I discussed with regional leaders the importance of increasing support to AMISOM, to consolidate gains and provide the necessary support to national security forces. I thank all the countries that are contributing to this effort.
Our partnership with the AU on conflict prevention and resolution, and countering violent extremism, is critical.
And as we work to address the threat of violent extremism around the world, we must never lose sight of the importance of respecting human rights. Counter-terrorism policy that ignores people’s rights or tramples on their dignity is counter-productive. I call on all African Governments to support the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism that I presented earlier this month to the United Nations General Assembly.
Good governance is another important area for cooperation. I salute the countries on this continent that held peaceful and democratic elections in the past year, including Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Tanzania and others.
I hope this positive trend will continue. We have all seen the tragic results when leaders use legal loopholes to ignore the will of their people and cling to power.
Last year’s landmark agreements on a Sustainable Development Agenda and climate change could not have happened without the constructive and active engagement and leadership of African governments.
I have asked African leaders to take strong ownership and implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement on Climate Change. I hope as many senior leaders as possible will come to New York on 22nd April to sign this agreement, which promises great gains for the people of Africa.
The World Humanitarian Summit that will be held in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May will build on these agreements. It will be the first opportunity for the world to come together and act on the pledge to leave no one behind, and to help those furthest behind first.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This afternoon, I will visit Ziway Dugda Woreda in Oromia region to see for myself the impact of the long spell of drought caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.
I will be accompanied by His Excellency Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and Ms. Ertharin Cousin, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, and by the Deputy Emergency Coordinator, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, and others.
Through this field visit, we will be able to understand the health, food security and water challenges and distribution problems people face. We will be meeting local officials and people affected by the drought.
After that, I will leave Addis Ababa with many indelible impressions and memories of the African Union.
Today is an emotional moment for me: my final day at my last African Union summit in Addis Ababa as Secretary-General. But I will return to Africa many times before the end of the year, and I will continue to work hard on African issues until the last day of my term.
You, the media, are an important part of this summit and I wish you every success in your work.
Questions on reform for better representation of Africa in the United Nations and the situation in Somalia.
Secretary-General I will answer your first question. The first part of your question about reform of the United Nations, including the Security Council: Member States have been working very hard to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations system, including the Secretariat and particularly, the Security Council.
ECOSOC, Economic and Social Council, has already taken quite significant reform measures and the General Assembly also has taken quite significant reform measures to strengthen the role of the General Assembly. Now, at the core of this reform of the United Nations, I think there is the Security Council reform.
Member States have been discussing that matter longer than two decades. I understand that there is almost a consensus, widely shared belief that the Security Council should be reformed in a more democratic, representative and transparent manner. In fact, Member States have been working very hard, first through a Working Group then recently, during the last six-seven years, in a informal General Assembly negotiations – on a negotiations basis.
I think they have identified many important elements to make the Security Council reform possible and effective. At the same time, it is true that many Member States, almost all the Member States, have presented all different ideas which have not been able to be reconciled among so many important elements. It is a matter of how they reconcile all these very seemingly important elements to make some consolidated proposals to Member States. That is up to Member States now.
The General Assembly President has been appointing a facilitator who has been trying to accelerate this process. I sincerely hope that they will continue reflecting the views of many parties, including the African Union. That is my wish and on my part, as Secretary-General, I have also been working very hard to make the Secretariat more effective and transparent and efficient. Thank you very much.
On your second question, on Somalia, I met with President MMthis morning and the peace and security and human rights issues in Somalia have been a very important agenda and topic for the African Union. How to consolidate the stability, the peace and stability of Somalia, fighting back against Al Shabaab terrorist actions has been a key concern of the international community.
There have been as you said progress and some setbacks but largely, Somalia is going on the right track, they are moving and are making significant progress. I have urged the President of Somalia this morning that wherever they have been able to recover territories from the control of Al Shabaab, they should expand their role and power as much as possible, and there should be good governance.
The United Nations, led by UNSOM and my Special Representative, are working very hard and we are ready to provide all the support. But it’s not only the Somali people or the United Nations: we need all support from the international community. I think we should be proud of what we have been achieving so far but I told him [Somalia President] that it was not time to relax, we have to move on to make sure that there is a clear political roadmap.
One encouraging thing is this political roadmap, including the establishment of a bicameral parliament, particularly with minimum 30% representation in the parliament. That is quite commendable leadership. Thank you.
Question about Burundi and the sending of peacekeepers in the country.
Secretary-General: First of all, I would like to appreciate and commend the leadership of the East African Community and the African Union’s role for their consistent diplomatic efforts to bring peace and stability in Burundi. Unfortunately, the situation in Burundi has been deteriorating. Many people have been killed and almost every day, we see such kind of violence taking place. There have been many people, I think at least one million people, who have been [affected], displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries. Therefore, this security situation and political instability and humanitarian crisis have been deteriorating.
The United Nations has been always urging, particularly Burundian political leaders, including President Nkurunziza to engage in inclusive dialogue, listening carefully what the concerns and aspirations of Burundian people are. At the same time, I have been discussing this matter, working very closely with African leaders, starting from AU Commissioner Madame Zuma, then former President Kikwete who was chairing EAC, and President Museveni and many other leaders, urging them to help resolve this situation.
But first and foremost, it is not the United Nations, it is not the neighbouring countries’ leaders, it is basically Burundian people and Government that should resolve this issue through inclusive dialogue. Since we have not seen much expected outcome, it has become source of great concern, not only in the region but in the continent, and in the world.
That is why I met the Second Vice-President of Burundi yesterday, with the Foreign Minister, and in my interactions with the African leaders yesterday and today, the Burundian situation has been one of the top priorities and I am exerting all my efforts through my Special Adviser, Mr. Benomar who is now sitting here – if you have any further questions you may direct them to him, any additional question. Anyway, we are very much committed to bring peace and stability, and human dignity to Burundian people.
Question on whether the Secretary-General is disappointed that the AU dropped the project of sending peacekeepers in Burundi.
Secretary-General: Nous sommes très preoccupés par la situation qui continue au Burundi. Je suis en train de travailler étroitement avec les dirigeants de l’Union africaine et aussi en particulier au travers de mon Conseiller spécial, Jamal Benomar, pour faciliter le dialogue inclusif. J’exhorte le Président Nkurunziza de s’engager dans un dialogue inclusif avec toutes les parties du Burundi. J’espère la paix et la stabilité. Les droits de l’homme devraient être protégés. Je suis engagé, je ferai de mon mieux pour travailler avec les dirigeants burundais et aussi avec les dirigeants de l’Union africaine.
About the proposal of deploying peacekeepers, either by the United Nations or the African Union, I have taken note of the decision by the African Union Peace and Security Council to deploy at least 5,000 peacekeepers there. It hasn’t been agreed upon with the Burundian Government. I myself have proposed to the Security Council, as one of the options – one of the options – the idea of deploying some peacekeepers. That was one of the ideas.
I want to support all possible options which can help in contributing to peace and stability, and protecting human rights in Burundi. But basically, it is up to the African Union, and also in close consultation with the Burundian Government, what kind of measures should be deployed.
As far as the United Nations is concerned, in accordance with the Security Council resolution and with the consent of the Burundian Government, we have deployed a small political mission led by Mr. Jamal Benomar. We are now trying to use this special political mission as a way, as a means, to help facilitate a dialogue, [this work] is still ongoing.
I have been urging African leaders to speak and act in one voice. It is a matter of human dignity and human rights. The longer this situation continues, the more people will be killed and affected, and we have almost one million people who have been affected, refugees and displaced people. We cannot wait any longer, that is why it is a matter of urgency, that I am urging African leaders to act in one voice, and also particularly urging President Nkurunziza and his Government to listen very carefully and engage in inclusive dialogue.
Question on global terrorism
Secretary-General: Your question may cover broad aspects of our world, starting from peace and stability, security, development and human rights issues. We are very much concerned that this world is now suffering and experiencing an unprecedented number of conflicts and crises, humanitarian crises and crises caused by violence and conflicts.
Why are we having so many crises at once? Never in the past have we seen so many crises happening all at one time. At this moment, we have crises in at least 37 countries and places. This is a fact of life. We have so many people who have been affected, more than 120 million people need humanitarian assistance. If we add all these 120 million people scattered around the world who need our support, if we established a country with these people, this country would become the eleventh largest, with the eleventh largest population. That is a huge challenge, how to address this.
We are still lacking funding to provide humanitarian assistance to these people. We have not been seeing much progress in facilitating dialogue and resolving these crises, starting with Syria, which has been continuing for five years, and come March, it will be the sixth year.
More than 250,000 people have been killed, half of the population has been displaced and are refugees. This kind of situation has been happening in many places, especially on this continent, therefore I am urging world leaders first of all to respect human dignity and good governance. That should be the guide of their leadership.
Yesterday in my statement I have been asking world leaders, particularly African leaders, to respect human rights, to respect the Rule of Law and to respect the constitutional processes rather than clinging to power. Without engaging in inclusive dialogue, without listening to the views and aspirations and concerns of the people, then we have seen too many crises and demonstrations by the people. That’s the beginning of crises.
As far as the United Nations is concerned, we are putting more priority on preventive diplomacy. When there are certain symptoms, then leaders should address these symptoms, before these symptoms fester into an eruption of crisis. That’s my advice and my earnest appeal to world leaders, but somehow unfortunately we have not been able to see a harmonious and peaceful world at this time.
At the same time, world leaders have given some good sense of hope and promise last year.
Last year they adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals and for the first time they adopted the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. I believe that if world leaders implement these visions, the sustainable development vison and commitment on climate change, then we will be able to deliver much, much more, making sure people will be able to live in a much more sustainable and healthier world, and we will be able to maintain the environment in a sustainable way.
I could go on but because of the time limit I am answering your question in a general way.
Question on United Nations reform
Secretary-General: It’s not only African leaders who have been urging reform of the Security Council. I think all world leaders have been raising this issue. It is one of the top concerns and priorities of the United Nations to see the Security Council more representative, and more accountable, and more democratic. Security Council members themselves have been trying to improve the way they conduct their business, in a more transparent way.
But the core elements of reform: how to expand, how many members should be sitting in the Council, who should be given seats as permanent or non-permanent members, what about [indistinct because of cellphone ringing], there are many very complicated and difficult elements when it comes to Security Council reform.
I would suggest that Member States should show some unity of purpose rather than promoting their own individual elements based on their national interests or individual interests. When Member States are engaging based on their national and regional interests, I don’t think Security Council reform will be realised.
Even the African Union, while they have made their proposals in the African Union’s name, when you go down to the details, still I think the African Union has different views among the countries. So it’s important that the African Union should speak with one voice when it goes down to the details.
Security Council Press Statement on Mali
The members of the Security Council heard a briefing on 11 January 2016 by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping operations, Mr. Hervé Ladsous, on the situation in Mali.
The members of the Security Council stressed that the Government of Mali, the Plateforme and Coordination armed groups bear the primary responsibility for achieving lasting peace in Mali. The members of the Security Council welcomed in this regard the first positive steps taken to implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali and urged the Government of Mali, the Plateforme and Coordination armed groups to continue to engage constructively with sustained political will and in good faith to fully and effectively implement the Agreement without further delay.
The members of the Security Council urged the Government of Mali, the Plateforme and Coordination armed groups to prioritize the implementation of key provisions of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali in order to bring concrete peace dividends to the populations of Mali. They urged them, in this regard, to take without delay the necessary measures to advance the deployment of joint security patrols in the North of Mali and the cantonment, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed combatants, as well as the decentralization process, consistent with the provisions of the Agreement.
The members of the Security Council expressed their appreciation to Mr Mongi Hamdi for his service as SRSG for Mali and head of MINUSMA, his tireless efforts in supporting the Malian peace process and his personal initiatives to defuse intercommunal tensions.
The members of the Security Council expressed their full support to the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Mali and head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Mr Mahamat Saleh Annadif, and reiterated their full support for MINUSMA and the French forces that support it.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their strong support for the SRSG for Mali and MINUSMA to support the Government of Mali, the Plateforme and Coordination armed groups in the implementation of the Agreement. They requested the SRSG for Mali, through his good offices mandate, to play a key role to support and oversee the implementation of the Agreement, notably by heading the Secretariat of the Comité de suivi de l’Accord (CSA).
The members of the Security Council urged the Government of Mali, the Plateforme and Coordination armed groups to cooperate fully and to coordinate with the SRSG for Mali and MINUSMA, in particular on the implementation of the Agreement. They encouraged the Government of Mali and MINUSMA to further strengthen their cooperation. They called on the members of the CSA and other relevant international partners to coordinate their efforts with the SRSG for Mali and MINUSMA.
The members of the Security Council expressed their concern about the security situation, including the expansion of terrorist and criminal activities into central and southern Mali. They noted that the full implementation of the Agreement and the intensification of efforts to overcome asymmetric threats can help to contribute to improving the security situation across Mali.
The members of the Security Council called on the Secretary-General and all MINUSMA troop- and police-contributing countries, as well as bilateral donors, to continue their efforts to ensure that MINUSMA contingents have the necessary equipment and training to fulfill their mandate. They stressed the importance of ensuring adequate protection of MINUSMA personnel, in the light of the evolution of security threats MINUSMA faces, to effectively implement its mandate.
The Members of the Security Council called for the effective fulfilment of the commitments made during the International Conference for the economic recovery and development of Mali, held on 22 October 2015 in Paris.
12 January 2016
Chad: UN provides emergency funds for tens of thousands displaced by Boko Haram violence
8 January 2016 – With nearly 200,000 people in Chad in need of urgent aid – 50,000 of them uprooted by Boko Haram terrorists from Nigeria – the United Nations emergency fund today announced a $7 million grant, the second in five months, and called on international donors to provide much more.
“This funding is crucial, because in spite of all the efforts made by humanitarian actors since the beginning of the year 2015, the situation remains of deep concern,” UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Chad Director Florent Méhaule said.
“The humanitarian response faces several challenges, including difficulties in accessing the populations in need due to insecurity, as well as a lack of resources,” he said.
The funds come from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), set up 10 years ago to provide immediate financing for both sudden-onset and long-festering crises, which in August awarded $21 million to UN partners in Sudan and Chad to sustain basic services and protection for millions of people who have fled Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region.
The new aid will assist over 50,000 Chadians forced by violence and insecurity to flee the islands of Lake Chad over the past six months for refuge in dozens of displaced people’s sites, villages and districts in the prefectures of Baga-Sola, Bol, Daboua, Kangalom and Liwa.
In addition, 15,000 Chadian returnees from Nigeria, 14,000 Nigerian refugees and over 700 third-country nationals need urgent aid. The displacements have also affected vulnerable host communities, among whom 112,000 people are in need of assistance.
“Our priority through this CERF funding, is to bring life-saving assistance to the people mostly affected by this crisis: displaced persons, refugees, and vulnerable host populations, whose livelihood activities – fishing, agriculture, and pastoralism – are limited by insecurity,” Stephen Tull, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Chad, declared.
With nine CERF-approved projects over the next six months, UN agencies along with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and State services will provide food, protection, health, and education.
The funds will be managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The situation remains very volatile in the lake region, where over 16,000 newly displaced people, not covered by this CERF allocation, have been identified in the western area due to the latest military operations.
“CERF is the main donor for this crisis,” Mr. Tull said. “Considering the severity of the situation, this funding alone will not cover all needs. Broader donor mobilization is essential in order to respond to most urgent needs and also – in medium and long term – to support the development of this region, including access to basic services and the strengthening of livelihoods.”