Support to African peace support operations

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Since its establishment, many of the peace support operations (PSOs) established by the African Union have received support—whether financial, logistical or both—from the United Nations. The Security Council can authorize regional arrangements such as the African Union to take action to deal with matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, though it has also—as in the case of AMISOM—authorized African Union PSOs to take action under Chapter VII.

The United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) in Addis Ababa is the primary liaison between the United Nations and the African Union on questions of peace and security. At Headquarters, the two main organizational units involved in support to PSOs are the African Union Partnership Team in the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa (political and substantive issues) and the Support Partnerships Service within the Department of Operational Support (mission support issues).

African Union peace support operations

African Union PSOs are mandated by the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), and responsibility for resource mobilization, accountability, oversight and management rests with the African Union Commission. All African Union PSOs, past and present, are listed below. Current missions are denoted in bold.

Peace support operation Countries Established Closed Notes
African Union Mission in Burundi (AMIB) Burundi 2003 2004 Transitioned to ONUB with adoption of SCR 1545(2004)
African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) Sudan (Darfur) 2004 2007 Transitioned to UNAMID with adoption of SCR 1769(2007)
African Union Observer Mission in the Comoros (MIOC) Comoros 2004 2004
African Union Mission for Support to the Elections in the Comoros (AMISEC) Comoros 2006 2006
African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) Somalia 2007 Ongoing AMISOM replaced proposed IGAD mission (IGASOM) and was originally envisaged to transition to a UN peacekeeping operation; was reconfigured into ATMIS in March 2022 with the adoption of SCR 2628 (2022)
African Union Electoral and Security Assistance Mission in the Comoros (MAES) Comoros 2007 2008
African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) Sudan (Darfur) 2007 2020 Hybrid mission administered by the UN
African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) Mali 2012 2013 Transitioned to MINUSMA with adoption of SCR 2100 (2013)
African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) Central African Republic 2013 2014 Transitioned to MINUSCA with adoption of SCR 2149 (2014)

In addition, a number of missions have been authorized by the AUPSC but are not managed by the African Union Commission.

Mission Countries Established Closed Notes
Operation Democracy in the Comoros Comoros 2008 2008
Regional Coordination Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA) Central African Republic, DRC, South Sudan, Uganda 2011 Ongoing Included the AU Regional Task Force (AU-RTF), which became defunct in 2017 following the end of U.S.-provided logistical support and the subsequent withdrawal of its main TCC (Uganda)
Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria 2005 Ongoing
G5 Sahel Joint Force (FC-G5S) Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger 2017 2023

Financing of African Union-led peace support operations

On 21 December 2023, the Security Council adopted resolution 2719 (2023) in which it

Agrees to consider on a case-by-case basis…requests from the African Union Peace and Security Council seeking authorisation from the United Nations Security Council for African Union-led peace support operations under chapters VII and VIII of the Charter to have access to United Nations assessed contributions

Determines that African Union-led peace support operations that are authorized by the Security Council will have access to funding from the United Nations assessed contributions not exceeding 75 percent of their annual budgets, with the remaining amount to be jointly mobilized by the African Union and United Nations from the international community as extra-budgetary resources and commits to consider all viable options in the event of significant shortfalls in resource mobilization

Relevant Security Council decisions

The Security Council has taken a number of decisions regarding United Nations support to African Union PSOs, including the following:

Decision Date Notes
Security Council presidential statement 2006/55 12 December 2006 Call for deployment of LSP, HSP and hybrid operation in Darfur
Security Council resolution 1809 (2008) 16 April 2008 Welcomed SG proposal to establish a high-level UN-AU panel to consider modalities of support to AU peacekeeping
Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) 16 January 2009 Established the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA)
Security Council presidential statement 2009/3 18 March 2009 Requested practical ways to provide effective support to the African Union; led to issuance of S/2009/470
Security Council resolution 2036 (2012) 22 February 2012 Expanded UNSOA support to include reimbursement for major equipment to AMISOM TCCs
Security Council presidential statement 2014/27 16 December 2014 Requested annual report on ways to strengthen the partnership between the UN and AU
Security Council resolution 2245 (2015) 9 November 2015 Replaced UNSOA with UNSOS; expanded support to include self-sustainment reimbursement
Security Council resolution 2320 (2016) 18 November 2016 Expressed readiness to consider proposals for future authorization and support to African Union PSOs; led to issuance of S/2017/454
Security Council resolution 2378 (2017) 20 September 2017 Expressed intention to give further consideration to practical steps to partly finance AU PSOs through UN assessed contributions on a case by case basis
Security Council resolution 2391 (2017) 8 December 2017 Authorized provision of logistical support to G5 Sahel through MINUSMA
Security Council resolution 2719 (2023) 21 December 2023 Authorized use of UN assessed contributions to pay up to 75% of costs on a case-by-case basis
Security Council presidential statement 2024/2 23 May 2024

Key documents

  • S/2008/186 Report of the Secretary-General on the relationship between the UN and regional organizations, in particular the AU, in the maintenance of international peace and security
  • A/63/666–S/2008/813 Report of the AU-UN panel on modalities for support to AU peacekeeping operations (Prodi Report)
  • A/64/359–S/2009/470 Support to AU peacekeeping operations authorized by the UN: Report of the Secretary-General
  • A/71/410–S/2016/809 Report of the joint AU-UN review of available mechanisms to finance and support AU peace support operations authorized by the UN Security Council
  • S/2017/454 Options for authorization and support for AU peace support operations: Report of the Secretary-General
  • S/2020/1020 Letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council on the independent assessment of United Nations-African Union cooperation and the structure and capacity of the United Nations Office to the African Union
  • S/2023/303 Implementation of resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017) and considerations related to the financing of African Union peace support operations mandated by the Security Council

For the list of annual reports on strengthening the partnership between the UN and the AU on issues of peace and security in Africa, including on the work of the United Nations Office to the African Union, please see the article on UNOAU.

Options for support to specific PSOs

Reports in which the Secretary-General proposed options to support specific African Union PSOs are provided below and should be read in conjunction with the above Security Council decisions.

    • S/2008/804 Somalia: next steps for the military/peacekeeping track (see paragraphs 7 and 8)
    • S/2009/60 Details of support to be provided to the African Union Mission in Somalia
    • S/2011/591 Letter dated 21 September 2011 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council
    • S/2012/74 Special report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (see section V on support implications; proposed reimbursement for contingent-owned equipment)
    • S/2015/762 Letter dated 7 October 2015 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (paragraph 38 proposes reimbursement for self-sustainment)
  • G5 Sahel Joint Force
    • S/2017/869 Report on the G5 Sahel Joint Force (see section V on options for United Nations support)
    • S/2020/476 Situation in Mali (see section IV on the implementation of paragraph 13 of resolution 2391)
    • S/2023/865 Letter dated 10 November 2023 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (on termination of support mandate with the closure of MINUSMA)

Lessons learned

  • S/2015/3 Lessons-learned on the transitions from AU peace operations to UN peacekeeping operations in Mali and in the Central African Republic
  • S/2021/1099 Summary report on lessons learned from the experience of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur

See also