Not a Silver Bullet: The Push for Assessed Contributions for African-led Peace Support Operations

Publication: Policy Brief

The United Nations (UN) secretary-general has revitalized the stalled effort to provide African-led peace support operations with access to UN assessed contributions through his call for a new generation of peace enforcement operations led by regional forces, with guaranteed, predictable funding.

The push to provide African-led peace support operations with access to UN assessed contributions is both a political signal of support for the African Union (AU) partnership as well as an opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of African-led operations. As such, it is important for the deliberations in the Security Council on financing to take technical issues into account to ensure that expectations are properly managed, and that any decision taken by the Security Council leads to a more effective approach to responding to peace and security challenges in Africa.

This paper, which should be read in conjunction with the 2023 report of the secretary-general on considerations related to the financing of AU peace support operations, focuses on technical questions relevant to the use of assessed contributions. Access to assessed contributions can enhance the effectiveness of African-led peace support operations (PSOs) by providing more adequate, sustainable, and predictable funding. However, access to UN assessed contributions is not a silver bullet because UN support arrangements are not optimized for African-led PSOs and because certain types of support are only appropriate for certain types of PSOs. Moreover, assessed contributions come with drawbacks that may erode the comparative advantage of African-led PSOs in rapid response.

Access to assessed contributions comes with strings attached, including the political oversight of the Security Council as well as the financial oversight of the General Assembly through the onerous ACABQ and Fifth Committee review and approval processes.

Eugene Chen, Director, Prevention, Peacebuilding, and Protracted Crises, NYU Center on International Cooperation

Download the policy brief: Not a Silver Bullet: The push for assessed contributions for African-led peace support operations

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