|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Chairman’s Summary of High-Level Meeting on the Sahel at United Nations
Headquarters, New York, 26 September 2012
1. A High-Level Meeting on the Sahel took place in New York on 26 September 2012, at the invitation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. Member States of the United Nations and representatives of regional and international organizations participated in the meeting.
2. The meeting recognized that over the past year, the region of the Sahel has contended with political turmoil and a dire humanitarian crisis, which has exacerbated the vulnerability of households and communities in the face of extreme climatic conditions and rising insecurity in the region. Alleviating poverty and promoting sustainable development were key in promoting the resilience of communities and preventing further crises. The meeting emphasized the complex, multidimensional and cross-border nature of the threats facing the Sahel region, from arms proliferation and trafficking, to forced displacements and changing grazing patterns. The increased presence of terrorist groups in the region, human trafficking, drug trafficking and arms smuggling were mentioned as some of the most pressing challenges threatening security in the region. The meeting further recognized the leadership of the Governments of the Sahel in addressing the crisis.
3. Participants supported the development of the United Nations Integrated Regional Strategy for the Sahel and emphasized the need for further consultation with national, regional and subregional organizations, as well as with other partners, on the finalization and implementation of the strategy. The participants welcomed the regional nature of the strategy while anchored in national ownership, highlighting that the onus for solving the crisis in the Sahel, and in particular, promoting democratic governance, rested with the Governments of the region. The participants highlighted building synergies with the African Union, European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the World Bank as implementing partners.
4. Participants reaffirmed their commitment to assist and support the people of the Sahel, including through the Regional Integrated Strategy and through mechanisms already in place, each outlining some of the key contributions of their particular countries.
5. The meeting discussed the situation in Mali vis-à-vis its impact on the Sahel. The participants expressed their determination to support the full restoration of constitutional order in Mali and to help it restore its territorial integrity. Participants called for a clear transitional road map leading to a resolution of the conflict in the north and the holding of elections as soon as possible. Participants emphasised that the internal situation in Mali required special considerations and support. They noted that the impact of the political transition, the continued deterioration of the security situation and reported human rights abuses in the north of the country posed a threat to the stability of the entire region and the international community. Participants also emphasized that a solution to the crisis in Mali was key in bringing stability to the Sahel region but a solution could only be achieved if the Malian Government and the Malian people owned the process and led the dialogue. Participants called on ECOWAS, the African Union, the United Nations and neighbouring States to work with the interim Government of Mali to promote a solution for the crisis in the country. Many speakers stressed the need for urgent, concerted action to address the dire security threat posed by the presence and activities of terrorist groups in northern Mali with far-reaching implications for the region and beyond. Participants called on the Security Council to adopt a resolution on Mali, which would build upon resolution 2056 (2012) in mobilizing international efforts to support Mali in restoring its territorial integrity.
6. Participants expressed their determination to stand by the people of the Sahel and strengthen the resilience of communities through the provision of technical support, expertise and funding, while reiterating the importance of working under a coordinated approach from the international community.
7. Participants welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to appoint a Special Envoy for the Sahel to undertake broad consultations with countries of the region and international partners on the Integrated Regional Strategy for the Sahel and on the modalities for its implementation. They expressed support for the efforts of the Special Envoy and looked forward to working with him or her to achieve greater international cooperation.
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