Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Open Debate of the Security Council on the AU-UN Panel Report
18 March 2009
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
First of all, I also would like to congratulate the appointment of the new Permanent Representative of Libya and a friend of us.
First of all, I would like to thank H.E. Mr. Prodi for the introduction of the very important report. I also would like to welcome the presence of AU Commissioner Lamamra and Dr. Zuma, Foreign Minister of South Africa, at today's meeting. These high-level representatives demonstrate the importance that African Union members attach to this challenging issue.
(Relationship between the AU and the UN)
The Security Council has been devoting its considerable time and energy in addressing many issues of peace and stability in Africa. Therefore it is gratifying that the African Union has been playing an increasingly important role in the maintenance of peace and security on the African continent. We commend the efforts undertaken by African countries.
It is important for the United Nations to make full use of the strength and advantage of regional organizations whenever appropriate, consistent with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. We concur on the need to reinforce practical cooperation between the UN and the AU. More specific steps should be taken to strengthen cooperation between the UN Secretariat and the AU Commission. We should also further promote the existing good cooperation between the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council.
The cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations should be developed in a way that reflects the principle that the Security Council has the primary responsibility for peace and security according to the Charter. In particular, when peacekeeping operations initiated and led by regional organizations are considered to be transferred to UN peacekeeping operations, the United Nations and the relevant regional organizations must start, at an early stage, consultation, coordination and information sharing.
(Reinforcement of AU capacity)
Japan has promoted enhanced peacekeeping capabilities of the African countries, the African Union and regional organizations. The Security Council should encourage the international community to mobilize traditional but also new, non-conventional donors to continue to extend support for the capacity-building of AU Headquarters, African Union peacekeeping operations and individual troop-contributing countries. The importance of capacity-building through better training and better equipment cannot be overemphasized and should be given particular attention. In TICAD IV, held in Japan last year, the support to capacity-building of African peacekeeping efforts was stressed as an essential element of consolidation of peace and stability in Africa. We therefore welcome the ongoing efforts made by the AU support team within the UN Secretariat, and Japan will continue to provide its assistance to support training centers of peacekeeping operations in many African countries.
The most crucial factor for effective action is African ownership, and we welcome the growing commitment on the part of the African Union. In this respect, it is interesting to note that a recommendation contained in the Panel report was to establish a system for financial support for peacekeeping operations through AU assessed contributions.
We recognize the Panel's emphasis that one of the major constraints is resources: how to secure predictable, sustainable and flexible resources. We naturally welcome initiatives by regional organizations such as the African Union to maintain regional peace and security. However, an authorization given by the Security Council for such an operation itself is meant for activities of regional organizations and does not automatically qualify for financial support by the UN.
In our view, we need to clarify practical, legal, administrative and financial aspects and should further study to determine what would be credible and realistic conditions in order for such support to be made available.
When it comes to the use of the UN assessed budget, we must stress the importance of respecting the established rules and mechanisms of the United Nations. As clearly stated in the UN Charter, including Article 17, only the expenses of the UN itself shall be borne by Member States through assessed contributions.
We should also examine how to ensure accountability and transparency in a credible manner, on the part of the UN Secretariat and also on the part of the African Union.
With regard to the possibility of a trust fund based on voluntary contributions, we should examine the relationship with existing mechanisms and also modalities, how to effectively manage it, plan it, implement it and evaluate it.
We note many interesting ideas presented in the Panel's report, and we are committed to supporting the African Union and other regional organizations in Africa and ready to consider carefully every feasible option.
The Panel report addresses a wide variety of issues which would require detailed technical examination. We believe it would be useful to set the priorities and timeframe for the Council's review. We appreciate, in this regard, the assessment and analysis by the Secretary-General of the Panel's recommendations, on which basis the Security Council should examine the most appropriate way to follow up the recommendations.
Finally, let me reiterate that peace and security in Africa are fundamental to the continent's economic and social stability. Japan, mindful of this overriding imperative, continues to promote peace and security in Africa and support for the efforts of the African Union and its sub-regional organizations. We place particular priorities in this regard on enhancing Africa's peacekeeping capabilities and strengthening the African peace and security architecture, funding issues and effective peacebuilding strategy.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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