Beyond 2020: Exploring the Potential for a Strong UN-AU Peacebuilding Partnership

Effective and sustainable multilateral peace and security initiatives in Africa depend on a strong partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. While their strategic partnership has grown since 2017, collective peacebuilding efforts still lag behind cooperation in other areas. Different institutional mandates, policy frameworks, and operational practices have led them to carve out distinct roles in the multilateral peacebuilding space, often impeding closer cooperation.

This report—a joint publication of IPI and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS)—analyzes the UN and AU’s approaches to peacebuilding and identifies opportunities for a more robust and effective peacebuilding partnership. These include aligning their political strategies, fostering cooperation between the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the UN Peacebuilding Commission (UNPBC), reconciling differences in their peacebuilding approaches, securing sustainable financing, and capitalizing on emergent peacebuilding approaches. The paper concludes with recommendations for UN and AU member states and officials:

  • UN and AU member states should build consensus around shared peacebuilding concerns, better institutionalize the working relationship between the AUPSC and the UN Africa Group, and strengthen implementation of the recommendations from the 2018 meeting between the AUPSC and UNPBC.
  • UN and AU officials should include peacebuilding and development personnel in annual engagements on peace and security, explore opportunities for joint analysis and planning for peacebuilding activities, and share more analysis and expertise at the working level.