HomeUnited KingdomSpeech: Addressing West Africa as well as the Sahel’s security challenges and...

Speech: Addressing West Africa as well as the Sahel’s security challenges and dire humanitarian situation requires tackling the root causes of issue

President, I will create three points focusing on democracy, security and humanitarian issues. We welcome UNOWAS’s efforts to enhance coherence and coordination, including by assisting the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the Accra Initiative. UNOWAS must make use of its new mandate to pay attention to tackling the root causes of conflict. 3rd, the humanitarian situation within the Sahel remains dire, exponentially boosted by rising prices plus floods. The United Kingdom remains committed to our humanitarian efforts in the region. We call on all actors to ensure full cooperation and also safe and unimpeded entry for humanitarian assistance. For our part, the United Kingdom is certainly building our bilateral assistance through security dialogues with Ghana and Nigeria. And are enhancing multilateral assistance through the UN Development Programme’s Regional Stabilisation Facility. First, the United Kingdom is concerned by democratic backsliding, and the diminishing of civic space, the fact that region experienced in 2022. We urge progress to the restoration of constitutional government authorities in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea within decided timeframes. We commend ECOWAS and African Union initiatives to make this happen. Second, Leader, there has been a clear deterioration within the security situation in the region –– notably in Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and the River Chad Basin. We talk about concerns raised today in regards to the risk of instability growing to the coastal states. Dealing with the region’s security issues requires a holistic response. Including the need to recognise the security influence of climate change, which usually multiplies the threats faced by vulnerable populations, for instance , through changes in rainfall patterns. Thank you, President. I am grateful to our briefers for their presentations. I also thank former SRSG Mahamat Saleh Annadif for his dedicated service. 2023 will be an important year with regard to democracy in West Africa with Presidential elections in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia. UNOWAS has an important role to play, including through the good offices. The United Kingdom welcomes the focus we have heard these days on boosting women’s participation in these processes. Leader, we cannot ignore the destabilising role the Wagner Group plays in the region. They are section of the problem, not the solution. In conclusion, President, we look forward to UNOWAS’s mandate renewal and the appointment of a new SRSG so the Office can continue to support local efforts towards peace and prosperity. Thank you

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