Delivered by Ambassador and Permanent Representative Lana Nusseibeh
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First, I would like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa and Peacebuilding, Ms. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, for her comprehensive briefing and tireless efforts, and Dr. Solange Bandiaky-Badji, for highlighting the serious security challenges the Sahel region is facing because of climate change. We also thank Mr. Eric Yemdaogo Tiare for his briefing in his capacity as Executive Secretary of the Joint Force of Sahel States.
The UAE appreciates the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in supporting peace and security in West Africa and the Sahel, including his recent visit to the region where he said, “Establishing peace, stability, and prosperity […] across the Sahel remains an absolute priority for the United Nations.” It is important that we all stress this issue, especially considering the difficult and complex security, political, and humanitarian challenges that the region faces.
In this regard, we need to strengthen joint action and improve coordination and cooperation at the regional and international levels to face these challenges, including through the collective efforts of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the G5 Sahel, the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the African Union.
In light of the developments in the region, I would like to emphasize three points:
First, political instability is undermining the capability of the region to respond effectively to current challenges. These challenges require comprehensive political dialogue at the domestic and regional levels to achieve necessary reforms and strengthen the capacities of political institutions in the Sahel region, especially in Mali. The international community must prioritize the needs, aspirations, and security of the people of the region, while ensuring that these efforts include the voices of local communities, especially women and youth, given their vital role in building peaceful and prosperous societies. We appreciate the important role that MINUSMA plays in supporting the achievement of these goals, and we look forward to renewing its mandate soon so that it can continue this important role in the region.
Second, the response to the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region requires constructive participation from all stakeholders, foremost of which is the joint force and its partners. This enables governments to address cross-border challenges, which can have an outsized impact on initiatives and institutions that seek to maintain regional peace and security. We must continue to combat terrorism and transnational crime in the region with a comprehensive approach that accounts for the specific context in each country, including the increase in terrorist activity well as various ongoing internal crises. We express our deep concern about the multiple terrorist attacks targeting civilians and United Nations personnel. The perpetrators of these attacks must be held accountable.
Third, the complexity of crises in the Sahel requires the international community to respond in a coordinated, urgent, and comprehensive manner. We appreciate the initiative of the Secretary-General, the Economic Community of West African States, and the G5 states to launch a joint strategic assessment to enhance support to the Sahel. The UAE looks forward to seeing the results of these efforts, as well as the results of the Independent High-Level Panel on Security and Development in the Sahel. We must also continue to support sustainable development efforts in the region and enhance the resilience of its societies, including by providing economic opportunities, empowering women, and providing basic services to the population.
Finally, and in the context of current geopolitical crises and tensions that have created global food insecurity and other spillover effects, we would like to stress the need for the Security Council to avoid these issues undermining our ability to work together to address other issues on our agenda, including the Sahel.
Thank you, Mr. President.