In Burkina Faso, UN chief praises country's hard-won gains to consolidate democracy and development

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (shaking hands) arrives at Ouagadougou International Airport where he was met by Foreign Minister Alpha Barry of Burkina Faso. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

3 March 2016 – Burkina Faso is making a solid comeback, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in the country's capital, Ouagadougou, where he praised the Burkinabe Government and people for their perseverance during a series of tests in recent years, and who with UN support, are firmly on a path to consolidating democratic gains and ensure sustainable development.

"I just talked with President [Roch Marc Christian] Kaboré. I gave him my admiration for the courage of the people of Burkina Faso, who have gone through very painful moments – from the insurrection of October 2014, the coup of September 2015 and the deadly attacks of 15 January,” said Mr. Ban at a joint press conference with the Burkinabe leader.

Assuring the President that the United Nations remained committed to the country, Mr. Ban said the Organization is proud of its partnership with Burkina Faso and will support the National Development Plan the Government would present in a few weeks.

“The stakes are high: the country is on the path of prosperity and long-term reforms, including that of the security sector,” he stressed.

The UN chief also welcomed the willingness of Burkina Faso to align its national actions with the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, particularly the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change.

"The World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in Istanbul in May, will be another opportunity to promote international solidarity. It will help to mobilize assistance to the most vulnerable populations of this region and the rest of the world, and can allow us to move from the era of aid delivery to that of the late needs," Mr. Ban explained.

He went on to welcome the active role played by Burkina Faso in the Sahel region, particularly in the context of the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The Secretary-General said he was deeply concerned about the terrorist attacks in the region and noted that the response to terrorism must be comprehensive and conducted in strict compliance with human rights and international humanitarian law.

"The President and I both believe that while addressing security issues, the Sahel countries need to focus on the root causes of instability: poverty, unemployment, social exclusion, discrimination and impunity,” Mr. Ban underscored, adding that he would continue to call on the wider international community to keep up its support to the Sahel region.

During his trip to Burkina Faso, which began Wednesday, the Secretary General also visited a paediatric unit of nutritional recovery in Shifra Medical Center.

He welcomed the efforts of the Burkinabe authorities to reduce malnutrition as part of the 'Scaling Up Nutrition' initiative.

"The number of children suffering from acute malnutrition which benefit from treatment has tripled [rising] from 40,000 in 2011 to 120,000 last year. Thousands of lives are being saved each year. This avoids the terrible human suffering and ensure the future of this great country," he noted.


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