Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Chumakov at UNSC open debate "Maintenance of international peace and security: strengthening the role of the African State in addressing global security and development challenges”

Mr.President,

We thank you for convening this important meeting. We also thank the African Union Commissioner and Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission for their briefings.

Given its geopolitical importance and significant socio-economic and demographic potential, Africa clearly has an active role to play in global governance, peace and development. Indeed, it is a logical continuation of the work of Africans in responding to the complex cross-border challenges that the African continent faces.

In recent years, African countries have made serious efforts with the support of the UN and the international community, to optimize crisis management tools, including response and prevention, preventive diplomacy and mediation, good offices and confidence-building measures. We welcome the progressive development of the partnership between the UN Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. We share the aspiration of the pan-African organization to make the dialogue between the two Councils more substantive and more “alive”, and to harmonize their agenda as regards the problems of the continent.

As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, we will continue to focus the Council's activities on developing clear and realistic mandates for United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions and ensuring strict control over their implementation. In adopting the relevant resolutions and other decisions of the Council, we are guided by the consolidated position of the African Union, as conveyed by the three African member states on the Security Council.

In particular, last December we supported the framework resolution of the UN Security Council on financing peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the African Union, prepared by Ghana, Gabon and Mozambique. It is fundamentally important that this document will make it possible to increase the predictability, reliability and flexibility of resources for African peacekeeping. We note that many are raising this topic today.

Speaking about the work of the United Nations Security Council, I would like to emphasize that we support its reform in order to make the Council more representative and effective. First and foremost, we must correct the historical injustice with regard to Africa, whose current representation in the Council does not correspond either to the total number of African states or to their role in international affairs. By contrast, Western countries that strictly adhere to bloc approaches are already significantly overrepresented in the Council.

The demands of African countries to build a fair and non-discriminatory global financial architecture are well justified, i.a. through the reform of the Bretton Woods institutions, because when they were established, most of Africa was still colonized. Inclusion of the African Union in the G-20 and the strengthening of the positions of African countries on the boards of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been the steps in the right direction.

We also attach importance to the expansion of Africa's representation in BRICS - since the beginning of the year, Egypt and Ethiopia have joined the association, which will open up opportunities for greater consideration of the continent's priorities in discussions on key global issues at the BRICS platform.

Of course, just getting a seat at the negotiating table is not enough to effectively increase their role in solving global problems. African States face the task of strengthening their economic sustainability and self-sufficiency. We share the idea that, once this is done, threats to peace and security will diminish. This being said, I would like to dwell on the peace-development nexus in more detail.

Mr.President,

Everyone is well aware that we always use caution when it comes to linking the tasks of sustaining peace, peacebuilding and peacekeeping to sustainable development. Of course, there is a link, but not always a direct one. Peace alone does not guarantee development, and vice versa. The very fact that peace and development issues are regularly raised in the Security Council allows us to say with certainty that the international financial institutions and the UN development system are failing their tasks. Unfortunately, the main responsibility for this lies with the main donors of the UN development system, who are not interested in having the recipients of aid gain true independence. Instead, in line with the colonial approaches, they are only interested in in enriching themselves and solving their opportunistic tasks at the expense of poor countries.

The consequences can be seen particularly well in Africa. The current financial system creates a situation in which money flows out of the countries that need it most. For example, African countries' debt servicing costs are now 30% higher than investments in education and health care. At the same time, the weighted average interest rates on loans for these countries are 3-4 times higher than for developed one. The African Union estimates that the continent loses $150 billion annually to illicit financial flows. The amount of official development assistance received by African countries is simply not comparable to that amount. In 2023, it amounted to only $42 billion. At the same time, most traditional donors are still not meeting their commitments to bring development aid to 0.7% of GNP. At the same time, as we have repeatedly noted, aid to Ukraine, including its militarization, is growing exorbitantly, including to the detriment of aid to developing countries. The ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development, which took place in April, proved this with concrete figures.

One of the important milestones on the way to resolving the problem of leakage of funds was the adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution initiated by a group of African states, which launched the process of developing a UN framework convention on international tax cooperation. Its goal is to reform the existing unfair international tax system, the rules of which are determined by a narrow circle of developed states, often to the detriment of development interests and, ultimately, the security of the Global South. Russia has undoubtedly supported this process and will continue to do so.

Summing up, we regret to say that African governments are expected to ensure peace, security and stability in the absence of economic security. Without African leadership, it will not be possible to find solutions to these problems.

Mr.President, 

It is well known that the Soviet Union once provided great support to the peoples of Africa in their struggle against colonialism and helped many African countries to establish statehood, build the foundations of national economies and train personnel. Russia continues to provide assistance to peace and development in Africa so that states of the region can build their own crisis response capacities.

The second Russia-Africa summit held in July 2023 was an important milestone in determining priority areas of cooperation with African countries. We intend to work systematically to implement the Action Plan adopted at the Summit, which includes security, economic, and socio-cultural measures.

We pay great attention to the issues of transfer of technology and expertise without preconditions, development of industry and critical infrastructure on the African continent. We are also developing cooperation on such pressing issues as education and health care, including epidemic safety. Russia is providing the opportunity for more and more Africans to study free of charge in Russian universities to master highly demanded professions. We are providing development assistance. To strengthen food security, Russia supplies tens of thousands of tons of grain and fertilizers free of charge to the neediest African partners. In the near future, we intend to launch a UN program to support sustainable agriculture in the Sahel region. We believe that these efforts will contribute to increasing the sustainability and self-sufficiency of African countries.

Mr.President, 

Enhancing the role of African states in responding to global challenges to peace and development is not only possible but necessary - it is the key to a just, stable and prosperous world. To achieve that goal, it is important to strengthen the political and economic sovereignty of African countries. Russia stands ready to provide them with the necessary assistance.

Thank you.