Since the transformation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU) in 2002 and particularly since the 2004 launching of the AU peace and security architecture, there has been strong support among the UN and its Member States for closer UN cooperation with the AU. In 2005, the World Summit underscored the need to devote attention to the special needs of Africa. In follow-up to the World Summit, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in the 2006 Addis Ababa Declaration “Enhancing UN-AU Cooperation: Framework for the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union”, pledged UN support for the development and strengthening of the AU Commission, focusing “with priority, on conflict prevention, mediation and good offices, peacekeeping and peace building”. In 2007, the General Assembly adopted GA Resolution 61/296 on cooperation between the UN and the AU and requested the Secretary-General to take appropriate steps to strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat to meet the special needs of Africa.
The United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) was established on 1 July 2010 by UN General Assembly Resolution 64/288. The Office integrated three existing offices: Department of Political Affairs (DPA) Liaison Office, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) AU Peace Support Team and the Department of Field Support (DFS) Planning Team for Somalia to support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as the support component of the United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Joint Support Coordination Mechanism (JCM) office in Addis Ababa.
In 2016, the AUPSC Members adopted the 628th Communiqué on the partnership between the UN and the AU on issues of peace and security in Africa. Later the UN Security Council (SC) adopted resolution 2320 (2016) on partnership between the UN and Regional Organizations, in particular with the African Union. Afterwards, the UN Secretary-General report was presented on a new level of partnership. This was further strengthened by the new UN Secretary-General, through his expressed vision and priorities in which he stressed the fact that UN and AU must continue to keep a strong strategic partnership in the area of peace and security, through the implementation of both organizations programmes namely Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On 19 April 2017, at the first UN-AU Annual Conference held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the UN Secretary-General, H.E. António Guterres and the AU Commission (AUC) Chairperson H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat endorsed a Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security as a basis for collaboration through joint mechanisms and regular consultations. In a Joint UN-AU Communique SG/2239 of 19 April 2017, the Secretary-General and the Chairperson reiterated their strong commitment to working hand in hand towards achieving the continent’s development goals.
The integrated Office has three core aims:
- Enhance the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in the area of peace and security;
- Provide coordinated and consistent United Nations advice to the African Union on long-term capacity-building and short-term operational support matters;
- Streamline the United Nations presence in Addis Ababa to make it cost-effective and efficient in delivering UN assistance to the AU.
Where is United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU)