Remarks by Ambassador Robert Wood, Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs, at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Strengthening the Role of the African State in Addressing Global Security and Development Challenges

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May 23, 2024

Thank you, Mr. President, and I wish to thank Secretary-General Guterres and Commissioner Bankole for their briefings. And thank you, Mr. President, to Mozambique for organizing this important debate on Africa’s role in addressing global security and development challenges.

African governments, institutions, and people play a crucial role in advancing global priorities. The United States is fully committed to strengthening our partnerships with African states to tackle shared challenges, including peace and security, development, human rights, and governance challenges.

First, on peace and security, the United States was proud to partner last December with other Security Council members and the African Union to support the adoption of Resolution 2719. This resolution will promote cooperation, collaboration, and sustainable burden and responsibility sharing between the AU and UN to address peace and security challenges in Africa. It will also ensure that any operation is compliant with the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and prioritizes the protection of civilians. We are committed to working with the African Union to implement Resolution 2719.

We were also proud to support the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 78/257 in December through which the Assembly approved $50 million in assessed funding for the Peacebuilding Fund.

UN Member States have clearly recognized the reality of the importance of conflict prevention and properly addressing it, including throughout Africa. The United States will continue to prioritize UN efforts aimed at fully inclusive conflict prevention, mediation, and sustaining peace efforts that empower all actors, including women and youth.

We cannot discuss peace and security in Africa without mentioning the tragedy unfolding in Sudan. Members of the Rapid Support Forces and Sudanese Armed Forces have committed war crimes and have created one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. The United States is committed to providing humanitarian assistance at scale, but the parties must allow the assistance in. We are deeply alarmed by the escalation of violence in El Fasher, which threatens the lives of its 1.8 million residents. We strongly support the efforts of the African Union and of UN Envoy Lamamra to urge the parties to reach a political resolution to the conflict before it engulfs the region.

Trade and development are important pillars of security. That’s why the United States has supported programs like the African Growth and Opportunity Act and Power Africa, that aim to create economic opportunities and improve infrastructure, in countries like Botswana, Ghana, and Zambia.

Development, respect for human rights, and the rule of law are equally interconnected in promoting security. Poor and exclusionary governance, high levels of corruption, the undermining of democratic processes, and human rights abuses have enabled terrorists and other malign actors to thrive and weaken the trust of citizens in their leaders and institutions. Democratic governance based on respect for human rights and human dignity is essential to creating opportunity for all.

Too often, we have seen in some countries abuse of power and weak institutions give way to unconstitutional changes of government, leading to greater insecurity and destabilization.

Through our Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, we are working to promote stability through a focus on good governance – such as ensuring diverse perspectives, such as those of women, youth, and other often-overlooked groups, are meaningfully included in decision-making around peace and security in Libya, Mozambique, and coastal West Africa.

The United States has been proud to deepen and expand our partnerships between the United States and African countries, like Kenya, whose president we are proud to host in Washington today. I would also like to recognize Kenya’s valuable contributions to regional peace and security in Ethiopia, the DRC, Somalia, and now Haiti.

We will continue to stand with populations, civil society, and the private sector to urge governments to be more responsive and accountable to the people they serve. Strong, accountable, and democratic institutions generate greater prosperity, deliver tangible benefits, and meet with greater success in ensuring peace.

Before I end, Mr. President, I would just like to make a couple of comments based on what was said by the representative of the Russian Federation.

The assistance that a number of countries are providing to Ukraine, for Ukraine’s defense particularly, would not have been necessary had Russia not invaded Ukraine. In my last point, the U.S. has been one of the major providers of assistance to Africa over the last 60 years. I don’t think Russia falls into that category at all.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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