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Regional groups must play growing role with UN in today's crises, Council says

13 January 2010 – The Security Council today discussed ways of further enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in tackling global crises, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling for greater flexibility in facing the “new landscape” of ever more complex problems.

“Hardly a crisis confronts us that does not require actors to cooperate at multiple levels in the search for solutions,” Mr. Ban said in an opening speech, fresh from a two-day retreat exploring “new avenues for cooperation” with leaders of more than a dozen regional groups, ranging from the African Union (AU) and Arab League to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organization of American States (OAS) and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

“That is why the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations is so important. They are part of a new landscape, one in which the problems we face are so complex and interlinked that no one can work in isolation, and no one can afford to do without the benefits of cooperation and burden-sharing.”

Many of the regional group leaders attended the Council session at which Mr. Ban cited already existing cooperation such as UN support for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the AU-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in Sudan, a wide-ranging relationship with the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Balkans, and other operations from Honduras to Iraq.

“Yet we can and must go further still,” he said. “The United Nations continues to bolster its capacity to prevent conflicts and mediate solutions. We continue to improve our ability to deploy more effective peacekeeping, peacebuilding and humanitarian presences. These investments have positioned us to be a better partner to our regional counterparts.”

In a presidential statement, the Council promised further steps to promote closer cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations in the fields of conflict early warning, prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

“The Security Council is resolved to strengthen United Nations support for the peaceful settlement of disputes through improved interaction and cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations,” said the statement, read by Ambassador Zhang Yesui of China, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for January.

It stressed the role that regional and sub-regional organizations can play in post-conflict situations in peacebuilding, recovery, reconstruction and development, and called for cooperation between the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the organizations.

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