Predictable financing of AU peace support operations

The UN Secretary-General has called for a new generation of peace enforcement missions, led by regional forces, with guaranteed and predictable funding, which could supplement UN’s established spectrum of peace operations. It is key for AU and UN to find ways to finance AU PSO’s in a more systematic manner.

Key takeaways from CAF23:

  1. UN assessed contributions. Sustainable and predictable financing of peace support operations is of fundamental importance to AU, and to the world. There is growing consensus that time has come for UN assessed contributions to complement and address funding shortfalls in AU PSO’s, in fulfilment of the UN’s primary responsibility for peace and security as part of global solidarity as enshrined in the UN Charter, and in compliance with International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Fundamentally, this model should be applicable to all continents, but with a current and needs-based focus on Africa.
  2. Funding models. Previous reports indicate a preference toward two models: 1) the establishment of a UN support office financed through UN assessed contributions; 2) a joint financing of an UN-AU hybrid mission. Although both models have been tested, further innovative calibration of UN support is needed for time-critical high pace AU PSO’s. A key question is whether existing support and financing models are adequate or whether there needs to be ‘out of the current toolkit’ thinking. Certain types of support are appropriate for some AU missions while others are not,
  3. Financing is not the panacea. It is important to emphasise that funding is not the silver bullet solving all problems. Questions remains over AU absorption capacities and broader capability issues, including requisite personnel, institutional set-up, and infrastructure, to deliver on what might be increased demands for AU PSO’s. It may be essential to revisit the AU’s framework for undertaking PSO’s, including the African Standby Force, considering current peace and security challenges.
  4. Burden-sharing. It is crucial that the entire international community remains committed to financing AU PSO’s as part of global solidarity as highlighted in the NAP. Progress has been made in operationalising the AU Peace Fund, which is projected to have US$400 million by the end of 2023, with most contributions from AU Member States. However, continued commitment from African Member States is needed. Amid diminishing resources and growing demands, there is a need for more solidarity as well as more political and financial commitment from African countries for Africa.