DAKAR, Senegal, January 10, 2022 / APO Group / –
The Special Representative of the Secretary–General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mahamat Saleh ANNADIF, reported today by videoconference to the United Nations Security Council on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the activities of UNOWAS . The report covers the period from June 18, 2021 to December 21.
On the political front, the region has made democratic progress, including successful elections in Cape Verde and the Gambia. “Despite all the justified concerns raised by the current turbulence in democratic governance, these examples confirm the appeal of democracy, as the surest way to shape the future of communities,” Mr. ANNADIF told members. of the Security Council. The Special Representative also welcomed the progress made by the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission in charge of implementing the judgment of the International Court of Justice on the border conflict between the two countries, since its creation in 2002. “These achievements are positive examples of conflict resolution. , concretely demonstrating how the peaceful settlement of border disputes can strengthen trust and bilateral cooperation between neighboring countries. “
“It is true that West Africa and the Sahel continue to make progress in several areas. However, insecurity in the subregion is jeopardizing these hard-won achievements,” said Mr. ANNADIF. Despite national, regional and international efforts, the security situation remained complex and challenging. Violent extremist groups continued to expand the scope of their operations in the Sahel, particularly in the Liptako-Gourma triple border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, targeting both civilians and security forces. “In Nigeria, renewed crime and conflict between farmers and herders have diverted attention from extremist violence in the northeast, which remains widespread. Other, albeit small, incidents in northern Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and Togo demonstrate that the much-discussed threat of terrorist acts moving from the Sahel to the coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea is a reality, “the Special Representative stressed.
Mr. ANNADIF also listed the consequences of security developments, the main effect of which is the multifaceted humanitarian crisis in the region, “characterized by rising food prices, increasing poverty due to COVID-19 and the loss of crops due to drought ”.
On the topic of climate change, Mr. ANNADIF mentioned the need for a long-term approach and reported on UNOWAS support for the development of climate degradation and adaptation strategies in the West African and Sahel region. “This is to protect the most vulnerable who are victims of humanitarian emergencies and the consequent deterioration of security,” he added.
The Special Representative called for a greater commitment to the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and the Youth Agenda for Peace and Security. “Although more than 50% of voters in the subregion are women, their significant presence in decision-making bodies takes time to materialize,” said Mr. ANNADIF. “Greater political will is needed, including funding budgets for action plans,” he said.
The Special Representative reiterated UNOWAS ‘commitment to continue supporting national and regional actors to strengthen peace and stability in West Africa and the Sahel.
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