SC: Central Africa/UNOCA

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Trine Heimerback in the Security Council meeting on UNOCA, 08 December 2022.

I thank the briefers for their insights.

And to SRSG Abarry: It is a pleasure to see you back here in your new and important role.

Last week, our Deputy Foreign Minister shared his deep concern about the worsening humanitarian and security situation in the east during his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The human rights situation in the provinces affected by conflict, is also alarming.

We are appalled by the killing of civilians- including children- in the massacre in Kishishe village last week. The violence must end.

Norway calls on all armed groups to lay down their weapons.

We are also worried by the situation in Cameroon, including the activites of Boko Haram. A particular worry is the targeting of hospitals, health clinics, schools, teachers, and pupils.

We remind everyone that targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure is prohibited under international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.

Moving to Chad, we carefully watch the treatment of protesters in the context of the national dialogue. To ensure an effective transition, male, and female stakeholders must be included in relevant processes. And we strongly commend efforts by UNOCA, ECCAS, and the AU in supporting dialogues in these countries. 

UNOCA also has a role to play in more cross-cutting, thematic areas across the region.

First, on climate and security, we commend UNOCA for charting the way.

Your report, “Sustaining Peace in Central Africa through Addressing the Adverse Impact of Climate Change on Peace and Security”, succinctly presents the challenges the region is facing.

But also, the report’s recommendations show some of the opportunities if the climate challenge is addressed.

Secondly, Food security is another area which needs our attention.

The recent joint FAO and WFP update clearly shows that acute food insecurity has become an increasing challenge in Central Africa this year.

While we must wait for the global drivers of this to improve, the impacts of the worsening food crisis must be addressed now.

This is why Norway has taken an active role as co-host for a third Lake Chad Conference in January. The conference will seek to address both the urgent humanitarian needs and look at advancing our joint stabilisation and development efforts.

In addition: Food security and humanitarian access must be central topics in dialogues with armed group and other actors.

Preventing people from accessing food can under no circumstance be allowed as a weapon of conflict.

Lastly: on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, where momentum is continuing to build.

We see - and applaud - the first ECCAS conference on this topic in Kinshasa -- as well as the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea meeting in Abidjan.

Our hope is that this momentum can continue to grow.

By preventing fires from breaking out in the first place, UNOCA and other regional actors play often-undervalued roles. 

Too often they carry out this important preventative work despite limited resources- so we call on all colleagues to further support UNOCA.

Norway will remain a consistent partner of UNOCA, special political missions, and preventive diplomacy, also after we conclude our current term on the Security Council next month.