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Journal Article

A Curious Case of Hybrid Paternalism: Conceptualizing the Relationship Between the UN and AU on Peace and Security

Thomas Kwasi Tieku and Tanzeel F. Hakak
African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review
Vol. 4, No. 2, Special Issue on The African Peace and Security Architecture (Fall 2014), pp. 129-156
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/africonfpeacrevi.4.2.129
Stable URL:
Page Count: 28
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A Curious Case of Hybrid Paternalism: Conceptualizing the Relationship Between the UN and AU on Peace and Security
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ABSTRACT This article conceptualizes the working relationship between the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN). The depth of the AU-UN partnership is unparalleled in terms of the UN's relations with other regional security institutions in the world and it even transcends the traditional classification of the UN's relations with regional organizations (ROs). We suggest that the concept of hybrid paternalism, when disaggregated and used as a multidimensional analytical framework, provides an accurate and convincing description of the complex nature of the AU-UN relationship. The article identifies five different dimensions of hybrid paternalism, namely: legal paternalism, resource-based paternalism, political paternalism, normative paternalism, and ideational paternalism. When examined from the perspective of the five elements of hybrid paternalism, it becomes clear that the relationship between AU and the UN is inherently symbiotic and codependent. Both institutions share Africa's peacemaking burden and have each other to use as a scapegoat when peacemaking activities do not go according to plan. In addition, while the UN has a partner it can use to gain consent to intervene in all the states in Africa (except Morocco), the AU has a counterpart it can go to for financial, technical, logistical, and human resources assistance to fulfill its mandate. The codependent nature of the relationship opens up opportunities for each institution to influence decision-making processes and the organizational behavior of the other. To ensure nuanced, textured, and in-depth discussion, the article draws information primarily from the relationship between the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) to illustrate the argument.

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