Delivered By: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I want to begin by thanking SRSG Wane for his valuable briefing today and welcome the presence of Foreign Minister Diop at this meeting.
The UAE is committed to supporting Mali in this challenging period in full complementarity with the aspirations of the Malian people, and we took careful note of the report of the Secretary-General.
In this respect, I’d like to make three points.
First, we must maintain a resolute focus on a sustainable political transition in Mali.
The electoral timeline over the next twelve months will be crucial, including the constitutional referendum in two days’ time and the Presidential elections set for February 2024.
The UAE firmly believes that these political processes should be inclusive to shape the right approach to sustainable conflict prevention, resolution, and peacebuilding.
The full, equal, and meaningful participation of women is critical to achieving this.
A welcome step in this direction would be the effective implementation by the Malian authorities of the country’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
Also, in a country where roughly 50% of the population is under the age of 15, the perspectives of the country’s youth must be part of that process.
Dialogue is the cornerstone of overcoming difference and fostering trust. In this context, the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in Mali remains essential, and we encourage the parties to engage openly with international mediation efforts.
Second, the myriad security threats facing the country have clearly intensified. Among them, terrorist attacks, including transnational outbreaks, are the most pressing.
We offer our condolences for the lives lost. Burkina Faso and Mali accounted for 73 per cent of terrorism-related deaths in the Sahel in 2022 and 52 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.
This escalation in violence is meanwhile spreading to neighbouring countries, and so coordination on a national level alone is not enough. Domestic efforts must be complemented by bilateral and regional approaches, and to be successful, they must be developed with the views of the communities most affected in mind.
It is clear that these security challenges feed into the devastating humanitarian situation across the country, which I will now turn to.
This year thus far, 8.8 million Malians need humanitarian assistance and protection across the country – a 17 per cent increase from last year. As always, women and girls are hardest hit: women-headed households are twice as likely to suffer from food insecurity.
In May this year, the overall displaced population was nearing 400,000 people. We are particularly concerned about levels of insecurity in central Mali, Gao, and Menaka, where the most intense fighting is occurring and numbers of those internally displaced continue to grow.
The absence of adequate action and basic services renders this dire situation even more fragile and undermines confidence in the state. The international community must continue to collectively support Mali’s efforts to increase state presence to ensure the protection of all civilians.
Amidst this increasingly challenging security and humanitarian environment, climate change is acting as a risk multiplier.
The UAE has consistently flagged the connection between climate change, peace, and security.
Mali is a place where we see these circumstances writ large.
Increased desertification and reduced rainfall is shrinking the already scarce food and water situation in the country. This hinders seasonal agricultural work, leaving Malians without food, employment, and other basic needs, rendering them increasingly vulnerable to recruitment into Mali’s armed groups.
In this regard, we reiterate the need to ensure that the Secretary-General’s reporting on Mali includes data and analysis on how the adverse effects of climate change could drive conflict or instability in Mali.
In the same vein, we welcome Mali’s launch of a new project – with support from the UNDP – aimed at enhancing climate security and sustainable management of natural resources for consolidating peace.
Third, the UN’s work on the ground through MINUSMA remains essential to creating and maintaining a stabilizing environment in Mali.
As such, we believe that it is imperative that this Council renews MINUSMA’s mandate and supports its work on the ground.
The best chance of success for this mandate will come about if Malian authorities and MINUSMA build a stronger relationship based on cooperation. Greater dialogue between the UN and Malian authorities is an opportunity to have their security concerns met and for a deeper cooperation to emerge. This would be welcome to the UAE.
This will also help combat the problem of disinformation and misinformation that we have witnessed there.
This week, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2686 to this effect, condemning misinformation, disinformation, and incitement to violence against UN peacekeeping operations as harmful to peace and security.
Mali is a case in point.
By capitalizing on Resolution 2686, MINUSMA can better monitor data related hate speech, racism, and acts of extremism that might impact peace and security and lead to increased threats against peacekeepers on the ground.
The UAE remains committed to ensuring a safer, more peaceful future for the people of Mali.
Finally, let me take this opportunity to extend the UAE’s congratulations to Mozambique for its successful completion of its disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process.