Solid peace in West Africa requires collaboration in meeting challenges – UN report

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

19 January 2009 – West Africa continues to strengthen its hold on peace and stability, but the 15-nation region needs a well-coordinated approach to overcome food uncertainty and the effects of the global financial downturn, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report released today.

Mr. Ban calls on the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) to continue to facilitate closer cooperation among UN agencies, sub-regional organizations and other actors to meet those challenges, as well as election-related issues, security sector reform, human rights, transitional justice, and the rule of law.

He says that UNOWA, the groundbreaking regional peace-building office based in Dakar, will continue to play a mediation role in cross-border conflicts, including the follow-up on the settlement of the Nigeria-Cameroon dispute over the Bakassi Peninsula.

He encourages the Office, while fostering closer collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Mano River Union, the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU), to continue working closely with other international organizations to promote coordinated support for the sub-region.

According to the report, the Office will place a stronger emphasis on conflict prevention and peace-building in general, and should be encouraged to boost its role in addressing the threat of drug trafficking in the region, in coordination with ECOWAS and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

In December 2007, the Security Council extended the mandate of UNOWA – based in Dakar, Senegal and currently headed by Said Djinnit of Algeria – until 21 December 2010.

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