Terrorism in Africa is also a global threat and therefore: counter-terrorism deserves global support.
President, we thank you for organising this meeting. And thank you for personally chairing this debate.
I thank the briefers for their insights. And let me turn to the questions you have posed to us:
First: How can UN missions in Africa better support regional counter-terrorism efforts?
As a starting point, UN missions are not set up to conduct counterterrorism – due to: geographical limitations in their mandates; Troops or PCC restrictions; and the risk of neutral blue helmets getting too involved in local conflicts. Counterterrorism must primarily be a national responsibility.
Yet, the situation in the Sahel shows us that cooperation between nations is also key.
We see UN missions –both peacekeeping and political– as complementary to national and regional counter-terrorism efforts.
Working side-by-side with counterterrorism operations, UN missions can contribute greatly to spheres of stability, and the protection of civilians, including by supporting viable political solutions through the coordinated use of “good offices”.
They can also offer capacity-building for governance, service delivery, and human rights protection.
The close and operational partnerships between UNSOM and ATMIS proves that this is possible.
Moving to the second question: In what ways can the UN support building resilience to curb terrorism and violent extremism?
This was also the topic during last week’s debate on Resilience-Building and Sustainable Peace.
And as we affirmed then: Military solutions alone can never be enough.
To achieve sustainable peace, affected States must act holistically: Both countering immediate terrorist threats, and addressing underlying conditions that cause radicalisation and violent extremism.
This requires integrating counterterrorism efforts within a broader political strategy.
One that is conflict-sensitive, pursues sustainable development goals, and protects and promotes human rights.
National efforts can also be strengthened by close cooperation with civil society, bilateral, and multilateral partners. In this regard, consulting with women’s organisations, and ensuring women’s participation, is key.
Preventive UN missions, like UNOWAS, should thus be further enabled.
Including to work with the UN Counterterrorism Coordination Compact, in pursuit of a whole-of-UN approach to support national counterterrorism efforts.
And finally on your third question: Which sustainable funding mechanism can be leveraged against terrorism in the Sahel region and Coastal West Africa?
While on the Security Council, Norway has used our place at this table to back the Secretary-General’s call for a UN support office for the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
We have done so based on a conviction that regional operations with AU mandates can supplement UN peacekeeping – especially in cross-border, counter-terrorist responses.
The UN Security Council should not shy away from serious discussions on predictable, sustainable, and flexible funding for AU-led and regional operations.
At the same time, it is necessary that any UN funding is matched by sufficient human rights due diligence and AU compliance frameworks – building on the good work already done in the AU over many years.
On both funding and compliance, we have seen progress on the AU side -- which should pave the way for new, serious discussions, on UN support.
There is a need to think innovatively about how regional-led, AU mandated, peace operations can contribute to holistic solutions.
We need to bring out the best of: UN, AU, and other regional initiatives.
This is why Norway actively supports the High-Level Panel on Security, Development and Governance in the Sahel – and we look forward to its proposals.