Burkina Faso soldier stands guard at the village of Gorgadji in the Sahel region
Burkina Faso soldier stands guard at the village of Gorgadji in the Sahel region

The United Nations-African Union Joint Task Force on Peace and Security has vowed to intensify partnership in peace and security on the African continent.

In its latest meeting at the AU headquarters here in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, the Joint Task Force dwelt upon the implementation of the AU-UN partnership, including the necessity to enhance a common understanding of the fundamentals of the partnership, respective approaches and expectations among the entities of the UN and the AU, according to a joint statement late Wednesday.

While deliberating on the situations in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali and the Sahel region, the joint task force further discussed cooperation on the support to elections on the African continent in 2020 and beyond. With a view of facilitation of strategic and operational coordination in the field where both organizations have a presence, the joint task force meeting has emphasized on the need for coordination and close cooperation among UN and AU field presences, and also the need for the inclusion of women in the ongoing peace processes on the continent.

The 18th edition of the AU-UN joint force consultative meeting has welcomed the continued cooperation in conflict prevention and mediation, and support to peace operations. The two entities have also vowed to enhance the cooperation further to effectively address emerging and ongoing peace and security issues across the continent as well as the need to work together to find practical solutions for the provision of support required to sustain AU peace support operations. Reiterating that visits held by the joint task force to a number of countries organizing elections in 2020, the meeting has agreed to foster complementarity in the area of electoral support and technical assistance to member states and undertake joint initiatives aimed at preventing and mitigating election-related crises.

The Joint Task Force further agreed to work together in supporting member states’ efforts in strengthening their electoral institutions and processes and in enhancing their capacities to organize peaceful, credible, transparent and inclusive elections. Welcoming the launch by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire of a new phase of political dialogue on the Electoral Code, ahead of the 2020 presidential election, the AU-UN joint task force has expressed concern about the growing crisis of confidence between key actors of the electoral process. They urged all stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue, to ensure broad consensus on key contentious issues pertaining to the elections, while expressing hope that national stakeholders will work together to promote a conducive environment ahead of the upcoming election in 2020.
With regard to Ethiopia, the Joint Task Force has explored areas of cooperation between the UN and the AU ahead of the 2020 elections, including technical assistance to the electoral commission.

The meeting noted the UN and AU’s continued support in the areas of dialogue, reconciliation, conflict prevention and peace-building including support to the security sector and the management of small arms and light weapons. Expressing concern over the continuing electoral-related tensions in Guinea, the AU and the UN have urged all stakeholders to promote and engage in constructive dialogue to resolve any political disagreement and encouraged them to resort to legal and peaceful means to address disputes. The AU-UN joint task force meeting has expressed the hope that national stakeholders will promote a conducive environment ahead of the legislative and presidential elections in the country.

On the situation in Mali, the Joint Task Force expressed concern on the persistent insecurity in the country and it has reaffirmed its support for the territorial integrity of Mali and the restoration of government control throughout the country. Urging the parties to refocus attention on the implementation of the 2015 Algiers peace and reconciliation agreement, the joint task force further recognized the important role MINUSMA and MISAHEL continue to play in support of the Malian parties to implement the peace agreement. Dwelling upon the situations in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, Sudan, and the Sahel region, and also expressing concern over the situations in some of the countries, the AU-UN joint task force has urged appropriate measures, pledging support to efforts made towards durable peace and stability.

The AU-UN joint task force meeting was held after the 33rd AU summit held in Addis Ababa under the theme of the year 2020, “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development,” was welcomed by the Joint Task Force. Welcoming the theme, the joint task force has hailed the decision by the AU to fast-track the implementation of the Agenda 2063 flagship initiative on Silencing the Guns in Africa, and new projects initiated by the UN in 2018 to support the initiative.

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