During its 72nd regular session held September 19 and 20, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72) unanimously approved a draft resolution on peacekeeping.
The draft resolution, tabled by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, called for reforming of the peace-keeping mission under UN oversight, with increasing financial backing from member states. The full endorsement was hailed as an “important” reward for Ethiopia’s foreign policy that coincided with the time when the country is holding the chair of the UN Security Council, commentators noted.
The Ethiopian premier, the current president of the Security Council, Wednesday chaired a forum, dubbed “the High Level Open Debate on Reform of United Nations Peacekeeping” before it was voted with no objection.
Secretary-General António Guterres, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki and former President of Timor Leste and Chair of the High Level Panel on the Review of Peace Operations (HIPPO) José Ramos-Horta briefed the council on the theme of the debate.
As seen by The Reporter, the proposed resolution calls for accelerating reform and welcomes efforts being made by the secretary-general in this regard. It also lays emphasis on enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping and underscores the need for peacekeepers to be equipped with the necessary capabilities. In this regard, it calls for the existing gaps to be addressed while it also recognizes the importance of enhancing partnerships, particularly between the UN and the AU.
The council agreed to consider taking practical steps on financing AU-led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council on a case-by-case basis.
All council members have decided to co-sponsor the draft resolution and several other non-members are also expressing interest in co-sponsoring it.
“This is indeed a big success for Ethiopia which as a leading troop-contributing country attaches great importance to strengthening UN peacekeeping,” said a statement released by Ethiopia’s Permanent Mission to the UN.
“This is also one of the most important priorities of Ethiopia in its activities in the Security Council,” it added.
One day before the resolution got voted, Secretary-General Guterres praised PM Hailemariam for the commitment in designing the draft, saying “Your personnel are on the frontlines in some of our most challenging missions, and we are extremely grateful for that commitment.”
Security Council Resolution 2320 of November 18, 2016, which largely built on the HIPPO report, stressed that the AU-UN partnership should be underpinned by mutual consultation between the Council and the AU’s Peace and Security Council. The resolution highlighted that such cooperation should be “based on respective comparative advantage, burden sharing, consultative decision making, joint analysis and planning missions and assessment visits by the UN and AU, monitoring and evaluation, transparency and accountability.”
The HIPPO report made over 160 recommendations on how to ensure better design and delivery of UN peace operations, focusing particularly on how to make peacekeeping more responsive and fit-for-purpose.