Half of the 14 United Nations peacekeeping operations are in Africa, where the world body also manages political offices with conflict-prevention and peacebuilding responsibilities. The prevalence of armed confrontation in the continent led the African Union to pledge in 2013 “not to bequeath the burden of conflict to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars by 2020”. That commitment received global endorsement on 27 February 2019, when the Security Council unanimously welcomed the African Union’s “determination to rid Africa of conflicts and create conditions favorable for the growth, development and integration of the continent as encapsulated in its goal of Silencing the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020”.
“Silencing the Guns”, which aims to promote prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa, is important “not only for what it aims to do, but also for what it says about the importance of African leadership and partnership with the global community,” said Under-Secretary-General Rosemary A. DiCarlo during a discussion prior to the adoption of the resolution. Ms DiCarlo highlighted the ongoing cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union to “silence the guns”, which she emphasized also required keeping the guns from firing in the first place.
“The UN and the AU share a common mission – to prevent conflict,” she said, adding that in the last two years, the ability of both organizations to detect and defuse crises before they escalate has grown stronger, as has cooperation to help resolve conflict when it breaks out.
See below examples of where the UN-AU partnership is helping to “silence the guns”:
Title picture. The “Non-Violence” (or “Knotted Gun”) sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd on display at the UN Visitors’ Plaza. UN Photo