Check against delivery
Norway welcomes this timely initiative by the Chair to discuss the Sahel region in the Peacebuilding Commission. I would like to thank the briefers for their comprehensive overviews. We believe that the Sahel merits the Commission’s attention and that a multi-faceted regional approach is necessary.
The Sahel faces many challenges of a regional nature: poverty and climate change, unemployed youth, violent extremism, terrorism; illicit traffic of drugs, weapons and migrants. They all have a potential to undermine a peaceful and stable development in the region. The Commission could contribute to maintaining political attention and creating platforms for sustained engagement. Over the past years, Norway has increased our engagement in the region, through political dialogue and contributions to development efforts, humanitarian action, and to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Increased emphasis on the Sahel region is an important element in our strategic efforts against vulnerability, as a great part of the population in the Sahel region has had their resilience challenged and coping mechanisms exhausted by years of violence, poverty and an adverse climate.
A few days back, on 24 February, Norway, together with Germany, Nigeria and the UN, organized the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. The Conference discussed many of the issues before this Commission, in particular the need to address long-term measures to avoid recurring humanitarian disaster and sustain peace. The Conference mobilized vital support for the region, both in terms of funds pledged for humanitarian action, for development efforts in the medium and long term, and in terms of political commitment to finding solutions. In total, 672 million USD were pledged. The need to address root causes and to apply a consistent gender approach was emphasized. Many participants called for follow-up mechanisms to build resilience, counter vulnerability, and stabilize communities.
We have prepared a 10-point summary of the discussions at the Conference, which are available in the room. During the conference, our partner Germany launched an initiative for prevention and stabilization in the Lake Chad Region, including the establishment of a Consultative Group, which Norway is pleased to join. I am confident that my German colleague can give more details about this important initiative.
Norway considers the Security Council’s ongoing visit to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region most timely, and we look forward to hearing the reports when they return. The UNSC’s visit has hopefully deepened our collective insight into how we can work better together to secure and strengthen peace in that region. We hope the Mission Report will reflect a focus on the role of women and the use of gender analysis in the response to the crisis, as called for in the clear recommendations for this visit from the Security Council Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security.
In this context, Chair, I would like to propose for your consideration that a representative of the Security Council Presidency be invited informally to the PBC to brief about the mission. I believe such feedback could be useful in order to clarify future follow up and specifically, help identifying the added value and next steps within the Peacebuilding Commission in this regard.