SC: West Africa and the Sahel

Statement by Permanent Representative Ambassador Mona Juul in the Security Council meeting on the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), 10 January 2022.

I thank the briefers for their insights.

First: SRSG Annadif, we thank UNOWAS for your work on everything from elections; to Women, Peace and Security; and for staying ahead of the curve on climate and security.

We also share your concern about unconstitutional extensions of presidential mandates and coups d’état in the region- and welcome your efforts to strengthen protocols on democracy and good governance. We are pleased to see increased co-operation between UNOWAS and other key players, such as UNOCA, and the critically important ECOWAS.

In a situation where we see terrorism, and other security and humanitarian challenges spreading across borders: cooperation is the master key to solutions.  In this context, we repeat our call for UN support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force as a cross-border solution – which must be in full compliance with international law, including international human rights law. We commend the G5 for its plan of action on gender equality.

Second: As Executive Director Wadi and others have said, maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea persists as a menace to the region, and to seafarers who pass through. 
Almost all kidnappings at sea happen in the Gulf of Guinea. And we agree with the Secretary-General when he says that: “Member States should collaborate urgently to address this issue”. Especially as we approach the 10-year anniversary of the Yaoundé framework, it is appropriate to assess what is working; And what can be improved.

Therefore - and as our A3 colleagues have already mentioned- we ask for your cooperation towards a first Security Council resolution on this topic in ten years. 

Third: As civil society so often do: Ms. Yougbaré and the People's Coalition for the Sahel have reminded us why we should think holistically. It is also clear that the protection of civilians should be at the heart of all efforts. What the People's Coalition appropriately call the four “people's pillars”, are fundamental to ensuring sustainable development and peace in people's lives.

In conclusion: 2022 should be a year for action.

And stopping the disastrous spiral of the closures of schools would be a good place to start.

Through resolution 2601, the Security Council has sent a clear message that safe access to education provides a vital contribution to the achievement of international peace and security. 

Thank you.