|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6601st Meeting* (AM)
Head of United Nations Office for Central Africa Urges Security Council
to Help Promote Preventive Diplomacy, Security in Subregion
The head of the newly established United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa this morning called on the Security Council to provide ongoing support for its efforts to stem cross-border threats to security in the region such as piracy, illicit small arms traffic, rebel militias and massive refugee returns due to the instability in Libya.
“We are counting on the support of the Council in order to muster the requisite political will to promote preventive diplomacy as a veritable tool for peace and security in the subregion,” Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa, said. He also expressed gratitude to the 15-member body for its work to establish the Office — known as UNOCA — located in Libreville, Gabon, which was inaugurated on 2 March 2011 and was now 80 per cent staffed.
He said that in fulfilling its mandate to boost cooperation between Member States of the region, the United Nations country teams and other international partners in the region, his Office was in the process of making courtesy visits, thus far to Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and the Central African Republic. He intended to complete such visits in the coming weeks.
Preliminary observations from discussions held to date, he said, had confirmed the need for enhanced United Nations support in the subregion to help Member States address security, peacebuilding and conflict-prevention challenges; the need to strengthen support for internal political dialogue within relevant States; and the need for support for capacity-building of subregional institutions, including the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission.
The primary cross-border threats discussed, he said, included piracy, resource poaching and narcotics trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea, and rebel groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the militia led by Baba Ladde, which moved between Chad and the Central African Republic.
In addition, he said, the situation in Libya had caused close to 80,000 Chadians to return home by the end of July, presenting challenges such as the loss of remittances, increase of the circulation of small arms and light weapons and the possible recruitment of returnees into armed groups and criminal activity.
Mr. Moussa said he was encouraged, however, by the renewed determination of countries in the subregion to work together to address such threats. Of particular importance in that regard was the signing on 23 May of a joint mechanism to promote border security and stability and strengthen mutual ties by Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic at their tripartite summit meeting in Khartoum.
In the coming period, he said, he would be working “to translate the mandate of UNOCA into cohesive subregional initiatives facilitating coordination and information exchange between United Nations entities and other partners towards supporting such peacebuilding and preventive diplomacy initiatives in the subregion”.
As part of that effort, he noted, the Secretary-General had transferred the secretarial functions of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Issues in Central Africa (UNSAC) from the Office of Disarmament Affairs to the Department of Political Affairs, so they could be assumed by UNOCA.
He pledged to ensure that UNSAC’s disarmament policy accomplishments were implemented, and its other areas of concern were adequately addressed, including the situation of Mbororo nomads, climate change and conflict, small arms, illegal exploitation of natural resources, human trafficking and child labour, and matters regarding women, peace and security.
To that end, he said, he would dedicate staff to help Member Sates develop concrete initiatives from the policy instruments they had created, including the Central African Convention on the control of small arms and light weapons, known as the 2010 “Kinshasa Convention”, which represented, he stressed, a major legal breakthrough on the subject.
The meeting, which was opened at 10:08 a.m., was adjourned at 10:25 a.m.
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* The 6600th Meeting was closed.