Delivered by Mrs. Ameirah Alhefeiti Deputy Permanent Representative
First, I would like to thank Ms. Martha Pobee, and Mr. Eric Tiare, for their comprehensive briefing. We also listened carefully to Mr. Zakaria Ramadane.
The UAE attaches great importance to peace and security in the Sahel region. Despite the extremely complex challenges the region continues to face, there remains hope that the Sahel countries can overcome these difficulties to achieve a more stable and prosperous future for its people, 60% of whom, according to UNICEF, are under the age of 24. This means we are talking about the future of more than 300 million young men and women who deserve a real opportunity to contribute to building their communities.
Addressing the challenges in the region will not be possible without continued and intensified regional cooperation and strong support from the international community. We note here the important role that the G5 Sahel and its Joint Force continue to play with regard to identifying gaps that undermine stability, presenting recommendations on how to resolve them, as well as exchanging information and unifying efforts to support stability in the region.
We stress in this regard the importance of maintaining and building upon the current diplomatic efforts between the countries of the region to continue serving the interests of these countries and the aspirations of their people. As highlighted by the Peacebuilding Commission, preserving the political unity of the G5 Sahel is of the utmost importance. We also reiterate that dialogue and cooperation between the countries of the region, ECOWAS, and the African Union remain essential, and we note the ongoing positive exchanges between ECOWAS and the authorities in Mali, which we hope will contribute to addressing regional challenges including the scourge of extremism and terrorism.
We are all aware of the alarming security threats in the Sahel region due to the growing activities of terrorist groups, which continue to undermine development efforts, tear apart the social fabric, and pose a threat to the authority of states. While there are many initiatives launched to confront these challenges – whether in bilateral cooperation or multilateral action – the road ahead is still long, and we must all continue to focus on countering extremism and terrorism. For this reason, the UAE supports the G5 Sahel and its Joint Force and commends the continued technical support provided by MINUSMA to the Joint Force. We hope the recommendations of the Independent High-Level Panel, led by His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, will give us a clearer view of the needs of the region and help find effective solutions to the complex regional challenges.
Achieving stability in the long run requires an integrated and multisectoral approach that is tailored to each country’s local context and addresses the root causes of violence, protects communities from extremism and terrorism, and promotes investment in human capital. It is equally vital to continue empowering the countries in the region and building their capacities to comprehensively deliver basic services to all populations. Therefore, it is crucial to continue efforts to implement the United Nations’ integrated strategy for the Sahel region, which combines sustainable development, security, and strengthening the capabilities of states in building their institutions. We further reiterate, in this context, the necessity of ensuring the participation of women and youth in these efforts, their economic empowerment, and providing them with opportunities to enable them in playing active roles in their communities.
It is also important to address the impact of climate change on the security and stability of the Sahel region, which is unfortunately exposed to the risks such as desertification, droughts, floods. The impacts of climate change are exacerbating humanitarian crises in the region and have led to tensions between farmers and herders as a result of competition over limited resources. There are also concerns associated with the sharp decline in water levels in Lake Chad and the high levels of desertification in the Lake Chad Basin. The UAE believes that there is an urgent need to provide more support to increase resilience in the face of the repercussions of climate change, including the pastoral system, which is a source of income for more than 20 million people in the region.
In conclusion, Mr. President, the UAE reaffirms its commitment to supporting the G5 Sahel countries and the people in the broader region in their quest for stability, security, and prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. President.