Delivered by Ms. Ghasaq Shaheen
Check against delivery.
I would like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Ms. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, and Ms. Jeanne-Danielle Nlate for their briefings. We are looking forward to receiving a verbal or written brief of Mr. Gilberto da Piedade Verissimo, President of the Commission of the Economic Community for Central African States.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. François Louncény Fall for his good offices over the last five years as Special Representative and Head of UNOCA.
Addressing the various security, economic and humanitarian challenges in the Central Africa region requires continued cooperation and coordination between UNOCA and regional and sub-regional actors seeking to support stability in the region, including the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and the UN Peacebuilding Commission. In this context, we would like to focus on three important aspects related to the strengthening of such cooperation:
First, with regards to security challenges – including cross-border and regional threats such as organized crime, extremism, terrorism, and piracy – there is a need to follow a comprehensive approach to tackle these threats, which undermine stability and affect the development and economic integration in the region. This includes intensifying joint action between the United Nations and regional initiatives.
Addressing these threats also requires the international community to continue supporting countries in Central Africa in countering effectively terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, including those affiliated with Da’esh, Al Qaida and others. Such support is critical especially in the countries that are experiencing an escalation of threats associated with these groups. The continued implementation of the “regional strategy for stability, recovery and resilience in the Lake Chad Basin” for the period of 2022 to 2024 is essential to support region-wide stability.
We also stress the need to address maritime piracy activities in the territorial waters of the Gulf of Guinea, a strategic imperative for the economy and security of the region. We believe that the recent Security Council resolution on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is a decisive step and one example of constructive approaches that bring together regional and local contexts to address complex challenges and contribute to long-term stability.
Second, it is critical to continue promoting inclusive political dialogue in non-mission settings, and to double efforts and coordinate with local actors in consolidating peace, resolving tensions, and preventing or mitigating political crises. To this end, the UAE appreciates the good offices of UNOCA to support mediation and conflict prevention efforts in Central Africa, including through its recent engagement in dialogue with a number of countries in the region. Within these efforts, we stress the importance of the effective and comprehensive integration of youth and women in the political processes to ensure their success.
Third, and in line with the concrete examples outlined in the Secretary-General’s report on repercussions of climate change in Central Africa, we underscore the importance of understanding the impacts of and potential solutions to these repercussions and how to better support regional efforts. We believe UNOCA’s efforts to provide a clearer picture of the impact of climate change on the region, will contribute to finding effective solutions to respond to food and water related challenges, build community resilience, and mitigate risks related to climate change.
Further, there is a need for continued international support to all affected countries in Central Africa, especially in light of the increasingly dire humanitarian situation and the current global food insecurity situation. As the Secretary-General’s report indicates reflected, more than twelve million people need humanitarian assistance in the region, this year alone, in addition to the increase in the number of internally displaced persons, particularly in Burundi, Chad and Cameroon. For its part, the UAE has contributed humanitarian and development aid to support countries in the region. Between 2016 and 2022, the UAE has provided approximatelly $55 US million dollars to help alleviate the suffering of the people in the region.
We reaffirm our support for UNOCA’s efforts and continued coordination with relevant organizations and actors to assist countries of the region achieve peace, stability, and prosperity.
Thank you, Madam President.