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Introduction: impacts of AU–UN collaboration

The regional-global security partnership has become a key tenet of the global policymaking on peace and security (Kennedy and Felicio 2006; UNGA-UNSC 2006: para. 3). In the post-Cold War period the relationship between regional organisations and the United Nations (UN) has been developed and strengthened. This tendency has enabled hitherto unimaginable regional involvement and influence in the global body’s pursuit of international peace and security. Traditionally, regional actors were relied on by the UN Security Council (UNSC) to manage smaller, localised conflicts or those where it is broadly understood that international involvement might be detrimental.1 During the Cold War, regional agencies were far less active in conflict management than the framers of the UN Charter anticipated. In cases where strong superpower interests were involved, it happened that the United States or Soviet Union tried to first address conflicts at the regional level to avoid the risk of a rival blocking action by using a veto on the UNSC. However, in recent times regional actors and other arrangements have taken on peacekeeping and peace enforcement roles in intrastate conflicts. On an ad hoc basis, they have been asked to respond to conflicts considered threats to international peace and security, often involvingmass atrocity crimes against the civilian population committed by non-state parties but frequently also by the sovereign

government. More formally, the 2005 UN Summit assigned a role to regional organisations as prospective partners in responsibility to protect situations (UNGA 2005b: para. 139). To date, their involvement in such challenging scenarios has had a mixed balance sheet. This book focuses on the collaboration that takes place in the field of conflict management between the UN and African regional organisations.