U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson spoke to the African Union summit in Ethiopia. He said strong coordination between both bodies would make each organization better.
"This will in turn strengthen both our organizations, in our collective resolve, to discharge the responsibilities incumbent upon us all for the well-being of the people of this great continent and the world," Eliasson said.
African leaders are grappling with security and political challenges that surfaced in the aftermath of a coup in Mali early this year. Regional drought, meanwhile, has put 18 million people in the region at risk of starvation.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week delivered a similar message of collaboration to the Arab League. Delegates from the United Nations and the Arab League met in Vienna for their first joint meeting since 2008.
Ban, in a statement, said "dramatic changes" in the region proved collaboration was essential.