POLICY BRIEF: Fifteen Diplomats on a Powder Keg: Africa and the United Nations (UN) Security Council

Posted on January 25, 2023

On 24 October 2022, the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship and the Nordic Africa Institute co-hosted a day long high-level policy dialogue on "Fifteen Diplomats on a Powder Keg: Africa and the United Nations (UN) Security Council". In early 2023, a policy brief on this dialogue was published. 

The event hosted senior diplomats from across the globe, heads of United Nations (UN) agencies, and numerous scholars, with the intetion to engage in key challenges facing the UN Security Countil, and the specific role of the UN, European Union (EU) and African regional bodies in addressing these issues. 

The policy dialogue had three key aims: to craft ideas to ensure an effective division of labour between the UN and African regional organisations and civil society actors; to consider how strengthening the effectiveness of the Security Council’s 10 non-permanent members could promote positive peacekeeping outcomes in African cases; and to reflect on the meaningful participation of women, human rights priorities and the implementation of the Sustainable Developmental Goals.

The resulting policy brief provided 10 key recommedations on the refrom of the UNSC and the challenges that need to be focused on moving forward. 

Though half of the Security Council’s resolutions over the last two decades have related to Africa, only 6.5 per cent of these have had a sole African pen-holder drafting them. Perversely, France, Britain, and America write all the Security Council resolutions in 11 out of 13 African cases, as if continuing colonial spheres of influence. Currently, Russia drafts two resolutions (on Central Asia and the Golan Heights), while China drafts none. African and other regional powers were therefore urged to seize these pens from the hyperactive Western trio, and ensure that they become pen-holders on cases relating especially to the continent

You can also watch the event sessions below: 
  1. Welcome and framing the debate: 

  1. Session 1: The United Nations in an Uncertain World

  1. Session 2: Blue Berets, Burning Brushfires: Africa and the UN Security Council

  1. Session 3: From Military to Human Security: Human Rights, Gender, and the UN Security Council in Africa

  1. Session 4: Ubuntu Diplomacy: South Africa and the UN Security Council

  1. Session 5: Strengthening Multilateralism: Germany, Sweden, and the UN Security Council in Africa

  1. Closing Remarks

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