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Note to correspondents: Final Joint Communiqué of the Fifth African Union-United Nations Annual Conference

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United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres and African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat today welcomed the continuing strong cooperation between the two organizations.

The leaders, meeting at UN Headquarters for the Fifth African Union-United Nations Annual Conference, also reviewed progress in the implementation of the “UN-AU Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security” and the “AU-UN Framework for the Implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and discussed a joint framework on human rights.

The leaders called on the international community to scale up the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and accelerate vaccine distribution, adhering to standards of quality, predictability and shelf life. In this regard, they expressed concern over the emergence of new Omicron variant. They also recognized recent progress with vaccine supply and uptake, with 6.7 percent of Africa’s population now fully vaccinated. They commended the cooperation between WHO and the Africa CDC in supporting African States during the COVID-19 response.

The Secretary-General and the Chairperson stressed the importance of strengthening the African Continental Free Trade Area to engender domestic economic recovery. They also highlighted the need to support sustainable and inclusive development, with Agendas 2030 and 2063 at the heart of their common efforts, to address the drivers of conflict and achieve a future of peace and prosperity for all.

They affirmed that African countries are in urgent need of Foreign Direct Investment, liquidity and debt relief to create jobs, expand social protection and reverse poverty trends. Recovery must be grounded in advancing just transitions in key areas such as energy, food systems, digital connectivity and infrastructure, they noted, and called for urgent action to support the increase of Governments’ fiscal space. They further agreed on the need to redouble the commitment to strengthening just and accountable institutions to respond to the needs of all people — especially women, youth, and minorities.

The Chairperson and Secretary-General pointed to the role of climate change as a structural driver affecting peace and security and recalled that although Africa has barely contributed to climate change (4 percent of global CO2 emissions), it is among those hardest hit by its consequences.

The two leaders welcomed progress made at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow and were encouraged by efforts to address the cascading effects of climate change on stability in Africa. They emphasized the importance of increasing efforts to integrate climate change considerations into conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. The UN and the AU agreed to further cooperate towards COP27 arrangements and in analysing climate-related security risks and develop effective risk management strategies, including in Central Africa, the Horn of Africa, and West Africa and the Sahel.

The United Nations Secretariat and the African Union Commission agreed to enhance the joint implementation of Agenda 2030 and the 2063 Agenda by promoting a results-based approach focused on energy access, connectivity and climate action, financing for development and governance.

The Annual Conference also reviewed current challenges to peace, security, development and human rights on the continent, including in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. The leaders expressed concern over the multiple recent unconstitutional changes of government and the deterioration of human rights in some parts of the continent.

The Secretary-General and the Chairperson commended the strengthened collaboration between the Secretariat and the Commission, underscored the need to proactively nurture timely and joint triangular AU-UN-REC/RMs joint good offices missions and conflict prevention initiatives, and commended the establishment of the monitoring mechanism on the transition in Guinea involving the AU, ECOWAS and the UN as an example of such joint initiatives.

They reiterated their commitment towards predictable, sustainable, and flexible financing for AU-led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council. They welcomed the significant progress achieved in the operationalization of the AU Peace Fund as well as the discussions towards a Common African Position on the financing of AU-led peace support operations through UN assessed contributions. They agreed to continue with the technical-level work pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2320 (2016) and 2378 (2017) and sustain the high-level political engagement and dialogue in that regard.

On the Central African Republic, they welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire by President Touadéra which gave new impetus to advance the peace process and called on all parties to abide by the ceasefire and strictly abide by human rights and international humanitarian law. They reiterated the need to ensure that the peace process is inclusive at every step.

The meeting also reflected on the grave situation in Ethiopia. The two Principals underlined the need for a ceasefire as a matter of urgency and called on the parties to prioritize the welfare of the civilians, including by ensuring safe and unhindered humanitarian assistance and ensuring human rights protections. They reiterated the importance of an inclusive, genuine and comprehensive national dialogue to sustaining peace, stability, democracy, good governance and reconciliation in Ethiopia, and reaffirmed full support to the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, in his ongoing efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

On the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue, they reiterated full support to the AU Chairperson, President Tshisekedi, and the AU Commission in their ongoing efforts towards a peaceful and constructive resolution over the GERD.

On Libya, they reiterated the commitment of the two organizations in support of the Libyan political process, the full implementation of the 23 October 2020 ceasefire agreement and the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 December 2021, in accordance with the Libyan political roadmap, Security Council resolutions 2570 and 2571 (2021) and the Berlin II conference conclusions. They called on all actors to commit to a rights-based national reconciliation process and reiterated their readiness to offer comprehensive support. They encouraged the African Union efforts in that regard.

On the Sahel region, they acknowledged promising developments, such as the peaceful holding of elections in Burkina Faso and Niger, while continuing to express concern over the degrading security and humanitarian situation. They stressed the need to redouble efforts to safeguard the rule of law and work together to rebuild the social contract. To that end, they called for the revitalization of the Ministerial Coordination Platform, which is uniquely placed to drive initiatives in the broader Sahel region.

They expressed grave concern over the spread of terrorism and insecurity and reiterated their strong support to the G5-Sahel Joint Force. The AU and the UN agreed to work together to galvanize greater international support and sustainable resourcing to the G5 Sahel and its Joint Defence Force.

They expressed the hope that Malian stakeholders will achieve a broad consensus around the necessary reforms to make progress on the political transition and to ensure a return to constitutional order as soon as possible. They also reiterated the importance of advancing the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.

On Somalia, the African Union and the United Nations underscored the need for continued engagement among Somalia’s leaders towards completion of the elections as soon as possible. They noted the importance of reaching agreement on international support to Somalia’s security environment post-2021 to ensure that the gains made by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are not reversed. In this regard, they agreed to establish a joint AU-UN technical team to engage with key stakeholders on the Somalia Transition Plan (STP) and to develop a joint proposal to be submitted to the Security Council in line with Security Council resolution 2568 (2021). They also called on international partners to provide support for the implementation of the STP and predictable and sustainable funding for an AU mission in Somalia post-2021, and to undertake joint advocacy on this issue.

On South Sudan, the Secretary-General and the Chairperson expressed concern regarding the delays in the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement and stressed the need to expeditiously finalize the establishment of the transitional security arrangements. They reaffirmed the continued commitment of UN and AU to support, in close coordination with IGAD, the achievement of inclusive and sustainable peace for the people of South Sudan.

On Sudan, the AU-UN Annual Conference welcomed the release of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and expressed its hope that the 21 November 2021 Agreement serves to deescalate tensions, accelerates the release of all remaining detainees, and provides for a return to the constitutional decree and the Juba Peace Agreement. The meeting stressed the importance of urgently addressing all unresolved issues to complete the political transition, including the establishment of key institutions. It further recognised the right of peaceful assembly and reconfirmed the commitment of the UN and AU to work in close collaboration to support an inclusive transition that realizes the Sudanese people’s aspirations for peace, inclusive development, and democracy.

The Secretary-General and the Chairperson agreed to convene the Sixth AU-UN Annual Conference in 2022 at a date to be mutually agreed.