A Joint Framework for Cooperation on Peace and Security between IGAD and the UN Department for Political Affairs was signed this afternoon in Djibouti City in the presence of IGAD Member States, the Secretariats of IGAD and the UN, UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes and the African Union in Djibouti City.
Through the Framework, IGAD and the UN Secretariats intend to institutionalize their partnership to enhance the region’s resilience and its ability to effectively manage conflicts by taking advantage of the complementarities of the two institutions.
IGAD and the UN discussed options for strengthening their cooperation in the field of peace and security, particularly in consolidating their partnership in conflict prevention, conflict management, peace making and peace building and counter-terrorism. The High Level Dialogue also provided an occasion to explore opportunities for cooperation in mitigating the effects and addressing the root causes of instability in the IGAD region and to outline joint strategies for action.
Concerning threats to peace and security, IGAD and the UN concurred that the rising violent extremism in the IGAD region was one of the most serious threats to regional peace and security, which could undermine longstanding efforts to foster sustainable development, enable humanitarian action, and protect human rights in the region. IGAD and the UN agreed on the urgent need for a comprehensive approach, which should not only encompass security-based counter-terrorism measures, but also include multi-pronged prevention-based approaches that would help directly address the drivers of violent extremism. The two organizations stressed that the promotion and protection of human rights must be central to such an approach. The participants emphasized the need for a stronger and more integrated capacity-building focus in the region to prevent violent extremism and terrorism from spreading. The participants also agreed on the need to address other outstanding sources of tension in the IGAD region.
With regard to peace processes and mediation, IGAD and the UN underlined the primacy of political solutions as well as the importance of bringing prevention and mediation back to the fore and ensuring the meaningful participation of women and local communities in these processes to improve effectiveness and sustainability of the outcomes. They noted that enhancing partnerships remained critical to making mediation more effective in the IGAD region. To this end, the two organizations noted that clarity of roles and responsibilities based on comparative advantages, the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity of efforts was essential. The UN welcomed IGAD’s efforts to strengthen its mediation capability and mediation support structures.
The participants noted their cooperation so far and discussed potential areas of future cooperation, which include conducting joint analysis, sharing information and expertise on mediation processes as well as exploring further opportunities for capacity development. In the discussions on past mediation experiences, IGAD shared examples from its engagements in conflict mediation in the region. The participants also highlighted cooperation between IGAD and UN in these processes, noting the continued need for further improvements.
IGAD and the UN underscored the need to promote conflict-sensitive management of natural resources and agreed to work together to share experiences and good practices, identify gaps and strengthen capacities in this regard. They stressed that natural resources, such as fresh water and rivers, oil, gas and mineral reserves, agricultural land and marine resources, could promote social development and economic growth, or could become triggers for conflicts if not managed in a conflict-sensitive manner. Recalling existing IGAD normative frameworks and initiatives, the parties expressed their determination to continue to strengthen the existing IGAD implementation and mediation capacities and further work on early warning indicators to monitor emerging natural resource and environmental challenges in the IGAD region.
IGAD and the UN Secretariats stressed their willingness to strengthen partnership in the areas identified in the framework, notably: a) conflict analysis and research; b) addressing existing and emerging security threats; c) conflict early warning and early response; d) conflict management and resolution; e) promoting democracy and good governance; and f) resource mobilization. Participants acknowledged and welcomed the joint Framework of Cooperation as an important step to further strengthen the cooperation between the two Organizations’ commitment in pursuit of sustainable solutions to peace and security challenges in the IGAD region. The participants agreed, in conclusion, that a joint approach by all – political, humanitarian and development actors – remains essential for achieving sustainable solutions for peace and security challenges in the IGAD region.
In the closing remarks of the Executive Secretary of IGAD H.E (Amb.) Mahboub Maalim expressed his appreciation for the time committed by the parties and pledged IGAD’s support and sees the Joint Framework as a great opportunity for the organisations to give the region great and promised results to the IGAD region and continent as a whole.
In the same spirit Mr. Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant –Secretary General for Political Affairs, United Nations said the Joint Framework will no doubt give mutual benefits to IGAD, the UN and IGAD Member States by jointly working together the manifestations will soon be felt and seen by all stakeholders ###