Delivered by: Amierah AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative

Madam President,

I thank the Assistant Secretary-General Ms. Martha Pobee and the Executive Secretary Mr. Eric Tiare for their comprehensive briefings. We also thank the Peacebuilding Commission for its valuable recommendations, including on the importance of a regional approach to promote stability and security in the region.

Madam President,

The UAE believes that the Sahel region offers ample opportunities to achieve security and development for its people. This requires continued coordination and strengthening of efforts to address the various challenges affecting the region, especially as terrorism is spreading to the West African coast, which poses threats to regional and international peace and security. In this context, we welcome the outcomes of the recent meeting of the Sahel Group leaders and the subsequent ministerial meeting. We commend their efforts to reformulate their collective approach in tackling common challenges and their endeavors to overcome obstacles.

In the context of today’s meeting, I would like to discuss four important points to focus on in order to achieve sustainable peace:

First, it is important to achieve tangible progress in the transitional processes that are ongoing across several countries in the region. This necessitates inclusive political processes that can ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women and provide youth with opportunities to take part in building institutions that reflect their aspirations.

Here, we commend the efforts of regional and subregional organizations, such as the AU and ECOWAS, in supporting political processes. This includes assisting the concerned states in promoting good governance and returning to constitutional systems, while considering the specific contexts of each state. Cooperation and dialogue must also continue between the countries of the region and with regional and international actors. This is important to build bridges and reach understandings on ways to achieve stability.

Second, we must continue to support regional initiatives and mechanisms established to address transnational threats, such as terrorism and organized crime. We should likewise explore ways to make this support more effective by actively listening to the views of regional leaders and understanding their needs. Strengthening coordination and consultations between these regional initiatives would undoubtedly contribute to exchanging experiences and information, ensuring cohesive efforts, and achieving better results across different levels. The G5 Joint Force is a critical tool that requires support. The Council should also consider the best approaches to ensure its efficient and sustained operations. In the same vein, we look forward to the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Security and Development. Given the complex nature of the challenges facing the region, it is essential for the international community to continually update its methods to keep pace with the evolving conditions on the ground.

Third, we must focus on addressing the root causes of conflicts and extremism, with the aim of promoting principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. It is therefore essential to implement development initiatives that bridge social and economic gaps and meet the needs of the population. By doing so, we can prevent the creation of vacuums that extremist and terrorist groups could exploit to spread their destructive ideologies.

In this respect, OCHA’s reports of the closure of approximately nine thousand schools due to violence in the central Sahel are deeply concerning. Education stands as one of the most critical pillars for safeguarding societies against extremism and empowering younger generations to establish a promising future. Within this context, we emphasize the importance of aligning the United Nations’ integrated strategy for the Sahel region with national priorities and needs to achieve the desired results.

Fourth, the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region necessitates finding effective ways to respond to the urgent needs of the population. According to the OCHA, there are nearly thirty million people in need of assistance. The UAE, for its part, has been proactive in addressing these conditions by providing over six hundred million US dollars to the five Sahel countries over the past five years. Recently, we have also focused on providing relief aid to cope with the influx of displaced people from Sudan to Chad.

Finally, it is crucial to prioritize sustainable approaches in addressing food insecurity and achieving security and stability in the region. Therefore, we must continue to deepen our understanding of the interconnections between climate change and instability in the Sahel. The impacts of climate change on agriculture, for example, increase food insecurity and continues to exacerbate conflict. We value the briefing of Mrs. Aissatou Diouf, which highlighted important aspects related to climate action in the region. In this regard, we commend the projects supported by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, such as the Liptako-Gourma region project in Mali, which aims to address conflict patterns associated with climate change. We hope to continue building on these efforts.

Thank you, Madam President.