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Convenience or complementarity: the African Union’s partnership with the United Nations in Sudan and South Sudan



Over the past 20 years, the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) have developed a unique partnership rooted in complementarity, respect and African ownership. To reaffirm this partnership, the United Nations Secretary-General and Chairperson of the African Union (UN) Commission signed a Joint UN-AU framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security in 2017. Nevertheless, despite previous lessons learned, gaps in collaboration and strategic thinking, and oversight exist on the ground between the AU and the UN. Drawing on the case(s) of Sudan and South Sudan to further understand the AU’s partnership with the UN through the lens of complementarity and convenience, the paper arrives at a novel conceptualisation of the AU and UN partnership through their political missions. The paper finds that the AU-UN framework is sporadically implemented, and the AU’s role in the partnership on the ground is one of convenience, whereas, in contrast, the UN’s role is one of complementarity aimed at achieving legitimacy. The paper concludes that both organisations in-country were constrained by the lack of collaboration and synergy, which led to a misalignment of joint priorities, impacting the effectiveness of the partnership.
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Journal: South African Journal of Political Studies
  • URL 1: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02589346.2023.2244849
  • URL 3: