Delivered by Ms. Felicity Roxburgh, Political Coordinator, New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations

Mr President,

We join others today in thanking the Secretary-General and Commissioner Chergui for their briefings.

As a member of this Council when Resolution 2320 was adopted, New Zealand was strongly supportive of the UN and AU taking a more structured, complementary and integrated approach to tackling the challenges faced by the continent.

We welcome recent developments, including the Secretary-General’s May report and the Joint UN-AU Framework signed in April, and will focus today’s remarks on two priority areas:

One: making meaningful AU-UN engagement an everyday habit; and

Two: fixing financing for African-led peace operations.

First, while formal engagement between this body and the AU Peace and Security Council is important, in our view, it is through strengthening informal engagement that we will see the greatest value.

Regular and constructive exchanges on specific issues would contribute to a deeper understanding of perspectives, a greater unity of purpose, and ultimately, a stronger partnership.

Overall we need to see more cooperation through joint assessment missions, information exchanges, training and secondments.

But every Council member can also individually help make this change; simply by thinking and acting a little more broadly and strategically.

For our part, while New Zealand was on the Council we supported the inaugural E10/ AU PSC meeting in Addis Ababa at the start of 2015.

With Spain, we met the Chair of the AU Council at the start of our presidencies to discuss the joint agendas of each body.

And during our Presidency after the Council’s visit to South Sudan, we co-hosted – with the AU Commission – Council members and senior UN officials, including Special Representative Menkerios, at an off-site meeting to discuss the UN/AU strategic framework.

These actions did not require formal Council decisions, or consensus.

We would urge current Council members, both individually and collectively, to take similar steps and make meaningful engagement with the AU an everyday habit.

Second, Mr President, we need to fix the fundamental issue of financing for African-led peace operations.

This will not be easy.

But we need to agree on a new, more predictable financing model.

Fragmented, ad hoc arrangements for each new AU-led mission are simply not sustainable.

Delays lead to longer, more expensive conflicts, and less effective missions exact a cost in lives.

In his report, the Secretary-General laid out pragmatic options for the Council’s consideration.

We are supportive of these options and of the AU’s decision to have 25 percent of the cost of AU-led peace operations financed by African states.

We also are supportive of utilising UN assessed contributions to finance AU-led missions in defined circumstances.

The Council should adopt in principle, the SG’s proposal of joint AU-UN developed budgets.

New Zealand stands ready to assist, including by lending our support to any resolutions that may come to the Fifth Committee, the General Assembly, or this Council.

But we urge you to take action as a matter of priority.

In return you, the Council, will get a strengthened partner to assist in tackling shared challenges, likely at a significantly lower cost than the UN, and will make an important, and practical, contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.

I thank you.