Will Resolution 2719 be a game-changer for ATMIS?

Somalia’s bidding to access UN funds should be carefully reviewed and examined by the PSC.

Last December, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted Resolution 2719 to consider case-by-case requests from the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) to access UN-assessed contributions for peace support operations (PSOs).

The resolution, which said the UN would contribute 75% and the remaining 25% would be jointly mobilised by the two organisations, is a major milestone for the UN-AU partnership on Africa’s peace and security. After decades of exchanges between the two, the resolution passed with several lingering questions about how the UN and AU would coordinate to implement it.

Deliberations around jointly mobilising funds, human rights compliance and adherence to other regulatory and administrative frameworks led to heated discussions within policy corridors in New York and Addis Ababa before and after the resolution was passed.

Application of Resolution 2719

One of the major considerations rests on which case will be used to apply Resolution 2719. Questions have also emerged as to whether it will be used to supplement existing PSOs, or if the AU will use the opportunity to create a new mission.

The possibility of the AU requesting UN funds to bolster the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has also emerged. Despite ATMIS’s scheduled December 2024 drawdown and exit, proposed strategies assume a post-ATMIS mission. PSC Report sources say a new mission could expand the number and scope of troop-contributing countries to include contingents from East and Southern African countries.

To this end, it would be useful to examine how Resolution 2719 could be used to support a post-ATMIS setup. And would this be the most useful application of the resolution in light of the continent’s plethora of conflicts?

Somalia’s request

Somalia briefed the PSC’s 1 205th meeting on 26 March on its proposal for a post-ATMIS security arrangement starting on 1 January 2025. Wanting to keep its gains in the fight against al-Shabaab, Somalia requested further capacity building of the Somali Security Forces to avoid a security vacuum when ATMIS leaves.

Will Resolution 2719 supplement existing peace support operations, or will the AU create a new mission?

The PSC repeated Somalia’s concerns and stressed the need for adequate, sustainable and predictable funding through UN Resolution 2719 – despite its earlier decision to close ATMIS with a third drawdown phase scheduled for 30 June. The drawdown of 4 000 personnel by June indicates contradictions: both the PSC and the Federal Government support the drawdown, but a request for another PSO is emerging. Will the drawdown in Somalia continue, only to be replaced by another AU-led mission?

Some Council members have shown preference for Somalia to be the first country to use UN-accessed funds through Resolution 2719. An AU Commission high-level delegation led by the PSO Division during a recent field mission reassured Somalis there would be no security vacuum following ATMIS’s withdrawal. A representative said there were plans to establish a post-ATMIS force to help protect strategic population centres, UN facilities and key government installations. Such a mission would have strong regional support, particularly from current troop- and police-contributing countries, some of whom are PSC members.

Somalia’s Federal Government is eager to pursue a post-ATMIS mission through this resolution. In May its Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry formally asked the UNSC president for termination of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). Somalia’s request to terminate UNSOM’s mandate is perceived as an attempt to lay the foundations for a PSO post-ATMIS in light of UN member states voicing their concerns around funding multiple initiatives in Somalia.

PSC and UNSC deliberations should centre on whether UN funds would better fund UNSOM, which capacitates and strengthens state institutions, or ATMIS, in comparing the expenditure and outcomes of both. It’s equally important to consider these initiatives’ timing and sequencing and whether stabilisation should precede or simultaneously adjoin capacitation of state institutions. This requires a clear decision and articulation about whether Somalia’s current context requires peace enforcement or peacebuilding.


There are several pros and cons to using Resolution 2719 for a post-ATMIS mission. There are legitimate concerns that ATMIS’s exit would create a security vacuum in Somalia for al-Shabaab to capitalise on. Even as new army units are being trained, and despite the successful handover of seven security bases to Somali forces, al-Shabaab attacks continue. Recent gains by the government, with ATMIS’s help, in central Somalia could be overturned.

The decision to deploy a new mission in Somalia should consider current and emerging crises

However, considering that these recent successes are thanks to a joint campaign with clan militias, the need for Somali forces to establish holding forces, work for communal reconciliation, and meet local communities’ service expectations should be prioritised.

As the Federal Government, AU and UN Support Office in Somalia form a Tripartite Committee to ensure the smooth transfer of responsibility to the Somali Security Forces, it’s important to distinguish between the AU Mission in Somalia, ATMIS, and post-ATMIS missions.

Furthermore, the AU Commission’s strategic assessment to inform the PSC’s decision making should reflect the requirements regarding troop, police and civilian components, the concept of operations, the budgetary implications, and such a mission’s ultimate exit. This strategic assessment should also engage the AU’s Military Staff Committee, who should undertake its own assessment mission and report, and provide both the PSC and AU Commission with recommendations.

Looking beyond Somalia

The decision to deploy a new mission in Somalia should also be considered against the backdrop of current protracted and emerging crises. The eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo conflict has reached breaking point with recent M23 rebel group advancements displacing saw 250 000 people.

The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC, which lacked buy-in and support from local communities and political elite, is expected to exit in December 2024. The meagrely resourced Southern African Development Community’s Mission in the DRC could serve as a PSO in the Resolution 2719 framework, with domestic support and sustainable funding.

There are legitimate concerns that ATMIS’s exit could create a security vacuum for al-Shabaab

Sudan’s civil war similarly needs an AU intervention in line with Resolution 2719. The war has seen the collapse of state institutions, a massive death and humanitarian toll, and displacement of around eight million people. Where the UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur provided lessons, an AU-mandated mission could significantly tip the scales, result in short-term stabilisation and provide impetus towards a ceasefire. The chart below provides possible locations of prospective operations within the 2719 framework.

Locations of Prospective AU-UN Operations

Source: Africa Center for Strategic Studies


The PSC is expected to meet and discuss how to use Resolution 2719 to help stabilise countries in conflict. Considerations will also hinge on whether the AU will focus on a single ‘test case’ or apply the resolution to various contexts. This would require a deeper analysis of the conflicts and each context’s potential advantages and challenges. 

In Somalia, Resolution 2719 presents an opportunity to enhance and practically apply the UN-AU partnership on peace and security. The resolution also proffers a unique opportunity to the AU Commission and PSC to fully operationalise the African Standby Force as originally conceived. It’s an opportunity for an AU-authorised, -mandated and -led mission that ensures collective security, especially where troops outside of East Africa are deployed.

Resolution 2719 may not be implemented before the end of 2024 as protracted discussions take place to iron out the challenges. In the meantime, AU policymakers should seriously contend the future of ATMIS and whether a new PSO would tip the scale in favour of long-lasting peace and stability in Somalia.

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