8327th Security Council Meeting: Peace Consolidation in West Africa

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10-Aug-2018 00:01:05
Concerned about terrorism, organized crime in West Africa, Security Council stresses regional office needs adequate resources for conflict prevention at 8327th meeting.

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Noting the increased demands on the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWAS), the Security Council today underscored the need for adequate resources, while reiterating its concern about the region’s challenging security situation, notably threats posed by terrorism and transnational organized crime.

In presidential statement S/PRST/2018/16 — presented by Stephen Hickey (United Kingdom), Council President for August — the 15‑member organ expresses full support to the Special Representative in carrying out his mandate and encourages further cooperation among United Nations offices, particularly UNOWAS and the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), in sustaining peace in West Africa and the Sahel.

Reiterating its recognition of the role of UNOWAS in contributing to continuous strategic analysis of the opportunities and challenges to sustain peace, the Council looks forward to efforts to enhance activities undertaken by UNOWAS in the area of conflict prevention. It underscores the need for the African Union, Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to cooperate on early warning systems.

The Security Council reiterates its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of all countries in West Africa and the Sahel and emphasizes the need for national stakeholders to work together to facilitate the holding of peaceful and credible elections.

Further, it welcomes continued regional efforts to assist national stakeholders in Togo to overcome their differences peacefully and in line with the democratic aspirations of the Togolese people. Calling upon all stakeholders in Guinea‑Bissau to uphold the provisions of the Conakry Accords, the Council emphasizes the importance of holding credible elections in Guinea‑Bissau scheduled for November 2018 and reiterates the important role of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea‑Bissau (UNIOGBIS).

The Council also welcomes continued international engagement to support the authorities and people of the Gambia in their efforts towards consolidating peace, carrying out political reforms, supporting the implementation of the National Development Plan and regional integration in West Africa. The Council encourages the consolidation of ongoing political reforms in the region to prevent violence and instability, in particular in the Mano River Basin region, and further welcomes the closure of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). The Council also emphasizes the important role of women in prevention and resolution of conflicts, and in peacebuilding.

It welcomes the recent high‑level United Nations‑African Union mission to the Sahel and the successful holding of the joint summit of ECOWAS and ECCAS on peace, security, stability and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in Lomé, Togo, on 30 July. It further welcomes the leadership demonstrated by countries in West Africa and the Sahel in spearheading initiatives to address security challenges. Any measures taken to counter terrorism must comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law and international humanitarian law, the Council reaffirms.

It encourages ECOWAS and its member States, with the support of UNOWAS, to address challenges in a holistic manner, as it expresses deep concern about the intensification of intercommunal violence in central Mali. The Council recalls that the illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons continue to pose threats to international peace, cause significant loss of lives, and contribute to instability in West Africa and the Sahel.

Reaffirming its condemnation of all instances of trafficking in persons, including for the purpose of forced labour and slavery, the Council reiterates the need to ensure coherence in efforts to address such trafficking in areas affected by armed conflict or in post-conflict situations. It further encourages cooperation between the European Union, African Union and United Nations aimed at saving and protecting the lives of migrants and refugees along routes.

Expressing concern over the humanitarian situation in the region, characterized by the impact of armed conflict and terrorism, extreme poverty, food insecurity, forced displacement, and human rights violations, the Council calls for significant humanitarian and development action as well as the disbursement of previously pledged funds. It further recognizes the adverse effects of climate change on the stability of West Africa and the Sahel region, including through drought, desertification and land degradation, and continues to stress the need for long‑term strategies.

The Council also underlines the need for a cross‑pillar approach across the development, humanitarian, and peace and security nexus, including to address root causes of crises, tackle exclusion and poverty, and promote good governance. It also welcomes collective efforts, under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary‑General, towards recalibrating the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel to expedite its impact. It welcomes the appointment of the Secretary‑General’s Special Adviser for the Sahel and requests the Secretary‑General to continue to provide information on UNOWAS efforts.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 10:05 a.m.
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