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The Peacebuilding Commission: Sahel

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Odd-Inge Kvalheim at the UN Peacebuilding Commission virtual meeting on the Sahel, 28 April 2021.

Thank you for this briefing on the UN strategy for the Sahel and the current situation in the region. Allow me to start by presenting our condolences to the Chadian people on the sudden death of president Deby.

Norway is deeply concerned about the recent development in Chad, and the potential consequences for the stability in the region if the situation deteriorates further. We expect to see a rapid restoration of constitutional order and handing over of political power to civilian authorities in accordance with the Chadian Constitution. Just a few weeks ago, the G5 Sahel Summit was held in N’djamena, and declared the intention to implement a “civil and political surge” to combat violent conflict and terrorism.

We would like to reiterate the Secretary General’s message to the G5 Sahel countries, that beyond the security response alone, development, the rule of law and good governance are the cornerstones of stability in the region. 

The Peacebuilding Fund, working in close cooperation with the respective governments Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams, has has made important investments in conflict prevention and promotion of security and social cohesion across the region.

In particular, the PBF has shown leadership by prioritizing the vast and fragile border regions of the Sahel.

More must be done, building on experiences from successful interventions in these areas, to provide security, development opportunities and hope for the local populations.

Local mediation efforts and inclusive dialogue should be supported to mitigate conflicts and reduce violence.

Women's full, equal and meaningful participation is essential, and we appreciate the $64,9 million provided by the Peacebuilding Fund to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Sahel.

Chair,

We must strengthen efforts to increase the protection of civilians, including the protection of children, to achieve sustainable peace.

Norway has increased its engagement and assistance to the Sahel region over the last years, and attaches great importance to implementing the humanitarian, development, and peace nexus.

In that regard, we warmly welcome the appointment of Mr. Annadif Mahamat Saleh as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNOWAS, and Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye as the Special Coordinator for development in the Sahel. More than ever, we need strong UN leadership to ensure an integrated approach.