UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations and the African Union took a step toward increasing cooperation and coordination between their organizations Wednesday, signing a Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security.
The agreement is intended to boost cooperation in preventing and responding to conflict in Africa.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters at a joint news conference with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat that it would enhance cooperation at all levels.
"We share the vision that peace and security, inclusive and sustainable development, and human rights and good governance are dimensions that need to be seen together and that require a common vision and an enhanced cooperation between our two organizations," Guterres said.
In addition to peace and security issues, the framework also expands cooperation on electoral matters, good governance, mediation, protecting human rights, and preventing and responding to humanitarian crises.
Mahamat, who was elected African Union Chairperson in January, welcomed the agreement, which comes at a time when the continent is coping with several armed conflicts, terrorism, increased migration and displacement, and the risk of famine in three countries. At the same time, leaders are working to implement a sustainable development agenda and create jobs for an exploding youth population.
Mahamat said there is extraordinary potential on the African continent: It has significant resources, and 60 percent of its population is young.
He welcomed the new cooperation between the two organizations, and said it would help them align their individual agendas better to produce results.