The United Nations and Africa: Peace, Development and Human Security

When the UN was created in 1945, its aim was “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. As a result, its structures were primarily devoted to preventing conflict between states at a time when most of the world’s nations were still under colonial rule. This report interrogates the changing nature of the relationship between African countries and the UN’s principal organs in the context of issue-driven agendas relevant to the continent, as well as the need for strategic alliances to ensure that these agendas are adopted. The meeting discussed in this paper, was the fourth in a series of seminars organised by CCR and FES to focus on aspects of the United Nations’ (UN) past, current and future roles in Africa. The Maputo meeting set out to assess the responsibility of the principal organs of the UN; to examine the activities of the UN’s specialized agencies; and to analyse the peacekeeping, governance and security functions of the UN in Africa. The deliberations over the three days addressed: Institutional and conceptual challenges facing the world body; the recent UN reform process; the UN and regional organisations; peacekeeping case studies; and humanitarian initiatives. Participants discussed ways of developing and influencing policy in order to contribute positively towards enhancing the UN’s role on the continent.