Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I would first like to thank Special Representative Rugwabiza for her comprehensive briefing. I also thank Ambassador Hilale for briefing us and for Morocco’s notable contribution as chair of the Central African Republic configuration of the Peace-building Commission. This is another good example of the value-add of the PBC’s engagement with the Security Council and is to be encouraged. I also welcome the participation of Foreign Minister Baipo-Temon to this meeting.
Through MINUSCA, this Council has committed itself to achieving peace and sta-bility in the Central African Republic. The UAE reiterates our full support to the SRSG and the Mission, and we underscore that a constructive relationship between MINUSCA and the government is essential for its success. MINUSCA’s effective-ness will be amplified by the recent decision regarding the operation of night flights, which we welcome. We hope that that this constructive engagement contin-ues and that it can be expanded to address other key issues to enable the full im-plementation of MINUSCA’s mandate.
I would like to raise three points that underline the importance of dialogue and pragmatism for the road ahead.
First, despite a complex array of challenges, it is important to take a moment to acknowledge the progress that the government and people of CAR continue to make. Some important developments include:
- Plans towards holding elections in 2023,
- government ownership over implementation of the Peace Agreement and the Luanda Roadmap,
- and efforts at institution-building and the improved provision of basic ser-vices.
All of these represent improvements that must be safeguarded.
To help preserve these gains, the Council, Member States, regional actors, and the UN must continue to support CAR. Sustained assistance will be critical, whether that be through capacity building, or through technical and financial support.
Second, given the persistence of insecurity in CAR, protecting civilians must re-main at the heart of UN, regional, and international responses.
Special attention must be paid to protecting women and girls from rampant sexual violence, which many reports continue to highlight. For women to be truly em-powered, they must be full, equal, and meaningful participants in the country’s po-litical processes. Any attempts to harm them or prevent their participation must be halted. The UAE is clear-eyed about the challenges confronting MINUSCA as it executes this core element of its mandate. Chief among them is the expansion of the activities of armed groups and the grave risk they pose to civilians. Bangui and its neighbors need to work together, alongside multinational and regional actors, in order to counter the expansion of these groups and sever their regional networks.
The complexity of CAR’s situation must not overshadow our conviction that build-ing peace through inclusive dialogue is achievable. In the face of the ongoing esca-lation in intercommunal and interreligious tensions, intercultural and interfaith dia-logue remain key to preserving the country’s social fabric. That is why MINUSCA and the CAR government should redouble their efforts to counter the spread of misinformation and disinformation that fuel hate speech. The recent dissolution of four armed groups is an encouraging development. It is important for MINUSCA and the government to continue focusing on disarmament, demobilization, and re-integration, with emphasis on community-level violence reduction programs.
Third, I’d like to draw attention to the links between climate change and conflict. We have seen in the past that the arrival of the dry season is often accompanied by increased activity among armed groups. With increased mobility, they are able to pillage resources and expand their footprint further.
There is a clear and urgent need to tackle climate change and its ramifications in CAR, including its ongoing impact on food insecurity.
In CAR, some 3.4 million people — over half of the population — are in a critically acute state of food insecurity. Climate change is forcing farmers to contend with less reliable rainy seasons and ever-more extreme weather patterns. This has result-ed not only in rising food insecurity, but also increased farmer-herder tensions, more fragility, and further destabilization. As co-chair of the Informal Expert Group of Members of the Security Council on Climate and Security, and incoming president of COP28, we intend to convene critical discussions to address this issue. We need to better understand the intersection of climate and fragility, and to identi-fy and deploy the tools at our disposal to address that nexus.
In conclusion, we must continue to support the work of the United Nations in CAR, while building on the leadership of the AU, ECCAS, and the ICGLR. We must all work together to support the Central African Republic on its path to peace and stability.