IPI HomePublicationsPolicy PapersPeace Operations, the African Union, and the United Nations: Toward More Effective Partnerships

 

print print  |  share share back back

Policy Papers - April 23, 2013

Peace Operations, the African Union, and the United Nations: Toward More Effective Partnerships

Arthur Boutellis and Paul D. Williams

 

 

This paper analyzes the recent history of relations between the UN Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) with respect to peace operations. Collaboration in this area was born out of the comparative advantages of both institutions, but it has suffered from several problems, including the AU’s weak bureaucratic, logistical, and financial capabilities. This has resulted in an unequal partnership where the AU’s major peace operations remain dependent on the UN and other partners for support.

Nevertheless, peace operations in Africa are once again in high demand with possible new deployments in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and Sudan. UN deployments in Africa remain steady with approximately 80 percent of all blue helmets deployed on the continent, although the UN is currently debating whether to deploy another large UN multidimensional peace operation to Mali. African Union deployments have also increased to an all-time high, largely due to AU-UN collaboration in the Somalia and Mali theaters.

The paper gives recommendations intended to help overcome the challenges to enhanced collaboration. It is important to recall, however, that the essence of the relationship between the two councils and their members is political. Consequently, no amount of institutional reconfiguration will completely dispel the political frictions that are bound to occur when controversial issues and crises are discussed.

About the authors:
Arthur Boutellis is a Research Fellow, Adviser to the Peace Operations and Africa Programs at the International Peace Institute.

Paul D. Williams is a Non-resident Senior Adviser at IPI and Associate Professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, where he is also Associate Director of the Security Policy Studies program.

The Global Observatory

UN at "Heart of the Dysfunction" in Humanitarian Aid, New Report Finds
In a new report, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) offers a blunt critique of the humanitarian system, and the UN's role in it. IPI's Marie O'Reilly spoke with Sandrine Tiller, one of the authors.

Key Global Events to Watch in July
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

July 01, 2014
SRSG Johnson: South Sudan Crisis Changed UNMISS “Mindset”
Hilde Johnson, the outgoing Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), gave an overflow IPI audience a dramatic account of the challenging situation that has faced the United Nations in the country since the eruption of mass violence at the end of last year.

June 25, 2014
Mousavian: Iran and US Have Serious Chance for Rapprochement
From Iraq to Syria, from energy to counterterrorism, Iran and the United States share many common interests across the Middle East and ought to put aside their decades of hostility, said author and former Iranian diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian.

June 23, 2014
National Ownership Is Essential For Peacebuilding to Succeed in CAR
With the Central African Republic (CAR) steeped in ethnic and inter-religious violence, a group of UN officials, government representatives, and members of civil society gathered at IPI on June 23rd and discussed the best way forward for the war-torn country.

View More