Security Council, in Presidential Statement, Recommits to Addressing Sahel‘s Complex Challenges while Commending Regional Initiatives

27 August 2014
SC/11535

Security Council, in Presidential Statement, Recommits to Addressing Sahel‘s Complex Challenges while Commending Regional Initiatives

27 August 2014
Security Council
SC/11535
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

7249th Meeting (AM)

Security Council, in Presidential Statement, Recommits to Addressing

Sahel‘s Complex Challenges while Commending Regional Initiatives

 

The Security Council today, reiterating its concern about the alarming situation in the Sahel region, reaffirmed its continued commitment to address the complex security and political challenges in the region.

In a presidential statement issued today, the 15-nation body expressed grave concern about terrorist activities in the Sahel region, including by the Organization of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram), Ansar Eddine, Mouvement pour l’Unification et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest and Al Mourabitoun.

Strongly condemning recent attacks, it also voiced concern over the serious threats to peace and security posed by armed conflict, arms proliferation and transnational organized crime in the Sahel, as well as drug trafficking, and the increasing links, in some cases, with terrorism.

In order to respond to the threats and address their root causes, the Council once again emphasized the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated approach that encompassed governance, security, humanitarian, human rights, developmental and environmental aspects.  It underscored the importance of national and regional ownership of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, and encouraged close consultation among all relevant actors, donors and partners.

In that connection, the Council commended the growing leadership role assumed by the countries of the region and the establishment of the Group of Five for the Sahel, which aimed to address the threats to peace and security and development.  It welcomed the initiatives by the Group of Five to appoint national focal points to improve coordination with the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, and to establish a group to meet regularly in New York to share information and follow up with the United Nations Secretariat on implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

The Council encouraged close cooperation between the Office of the Special Envoy and the Group of Five and other regional and international actors to tackle the threats, and welcomed the establishment of the Ministerial Coordination Platform for the Sahel to discuss common priorities under a rotating chairmanship, held by Mali from 2014 to 2015.  That platform, which included three United Nations interagency working groups on governance, security and resilience, would ensure a coordinated and coherent response to the challenges, it stated.

Also welcome was the relocation of the Special Envoy’s Office to the premises of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) in Dakar, Senegal, in order to fully and directly anchor the Strategy’s implementation in the region and maximize synergies with the relevant entities of the United Nations system.

The meeting began at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 10:01 a.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of S/PRST/2014/17 reads as follows:

“The Security Council reiterates its continued concern about the alarming situation in the Sahel region and reaffirms its continued commitment to address the complex security and political challenges to the stability and development of the region despite the collective efforts undertaken by the region and the international community and reaffirms its continued commitment to address these challenges, which are interrelated with humanitarian and developmental issues, as well as the adverse effects of climate and ecological changes.  The Security Council reiterates the importance of a coherent, comprehensive and coordinated approach encompassing governance, security, humanitarian, human rights, developmental and environmental aspects to respond to the threats across the Sahel region, as well as to address the root causes of these challenges.

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of countries of the Sahel region and reiterates the importance of national and regional ownership of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.  The Security Council encourages further close consultation between Member States of the Sahel, West Africa and the Maghreb, as well as with regional, multilateral and other bilateral donors and partners to enhance the efforts to implement the Strategy.  The Security Council commends the growing leadership role assumed by the countries of the region, and welcomes in this regard, the establishment of the Group of Five for the Sahel, which aims to enhance ownership of the initiatives focused on addressing the threats to peace and security and development in the Sahel.  The Security Council encourages the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahel to work closely with the Group of Five countries, as well as other countries of the region, and regional and international actors to tackle these threats.

“The Security Council welcomes the high-level visit to the region undertaken in November 2013 by the United Nations Secretary-General, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the President of the World Bank Group, the President of the African Development Bank and the European Union Development Commissioner, which was an important mission to promote closer coordination and cooperation among the countries of the Sahel and their partners.  The Security Council encourages the reinvigoration of the vision set out during the visit, in order to translate the will and commitment of the international community into tangible results.  The Security Council, in this regard, welcomes the initiatives taken by the countries of the Group of Five to appoint national focal points to improve coordination with the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, as well as the initiative to establish a follow up group composed of the Permanent Representatives of the Group of Five and other Sahel countries in New York, to regularly meet, share information and follow up with the United Nations Secretariat on the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

“The Security Council welcomes the establishment of the Ministerial Coordination Platform for the Sahel, to discuss common priorities for initiatives in the Sahel under a rotating chairmanship, held by Mali from 2014-2015. The Security Council takes note of the conclusions of the two meetings of the Ministerial Coordination Platform held in Bamako on 5 November 2013 and 16 May 2014 and calls on the international community, including the United Nations and the African Union, as co-Chairs of the technical secretariat, to support the functioning of the platform. The Security Council welcomes the efforts made by Mali, as current Chair of the Platform to consolidate these initiatives for the Sahel and looks forward to further progress in the months ahead.

“The Security Council welcomes the establishment of the coordination mechanism within the United Nations system, including three UN interagency working groups on governance, security and resilience, to ensure a coordinated and coherent response to the challenges in the region.  The Security Council welcomes the relocation of the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the premises of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) in Dakar, Senegal, as part of its efforts to more fully and directly anchor the implementation of the Strategy in the region and maximize synergies with the relevant entities of the United Nations system.

“The Security Council continues to be gravely concerned about the activities in the Sahel region of terrorist organizations, including the Organization of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram), Ansar Eddine, the Mouvement pour l’Unification et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest and Al Mourabitoun, and reiterates its strong condemnation of the recent terrorist attacks perpetrated in the region.  The Security Council also reiterates its concern over the serious threats to peace and security posed by armed conflict, the proliferation of arms and transnational organized crime and other illicit activities such as drug trafficking in the Sahel region, and the increasing links, in some cases, with terrorism.

“The Security Council recalls that sanctions are an important tool in countering terrorism and recalls that the groups mentioned in paragraph 6 are included on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List and subject to the sanctions measures.  The Security Council commends the initiative of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and its Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team to engage with Member States of the Sahel, Maghreb and adjoining regions to consider ways in which the sanctions regime can support and enhance the inputs of affected States, in order to be integrated into national and regional responses to the Al-Qaida threat in the region.

“The Security Council welcomes the efforts of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate to ensure the full implementation of resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005) and to facilitate technical assistance to Member States, and in this regard commends the focused approach of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) aimed at addressing the counter-terrorism needs of Member States in the Sahel and Maghreb regions, primarily in the area of border control and developing comprehensive counter-terrorism strategies.  The Security Council encourages CTED to continue to work with Member States, at their request, and to assess and facilitate technical assistance, in particular, in close cooperation within the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, as well as with all bilateral and multilateral technical assistance providers.

“The Security Council welcomes the Nouakchott Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation and the Operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahel and Sahara region, launched on 17 March 2013 and takes note of the conclusions of the ministerial meetings in N’Djamena, on 11 September 2013, and Niamey, on 19 February 2014, as well as of the five meetings of the Heads of Intelligence and Security Services organized by the African Union Commission.  The Security Council also takes note of the conclusions of the Sommet de Paris pour la sécurité au Nigéria, held on 17 May 2014, as well as the London Ministerial on Security in Nigeria, held on 12 June 2014, which reaffirmed the commitment of the countries of the region and international partners to increase security cooperation to more effectively address the threat of terrorism in the region, including by efforts to contribute to the revitalization of the Multinational Joint Task Force to patrol the Lake Chad region and to create a Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit.

“The Security Council reaffirms the sovereign prerogative of Member States to secure their borders and calls on those of the Sahel region to strengthen border security and consider establishing special units to undertake regional patrols, to effectively constrain the spread of transnational threats in the region. The Security Council welcomes the commitment made by the African leaders at the Malabo Summit of 26-27 June 2014 and steps taken by the African Union to operationalize the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis and encourages the Member States of the African Union to generate substantive pledges to this initiative.

“The Security Council, underscoring that terrorism, together with transnational organized crime and other illicit activities, such as drug trafficking, are recurrent threats in the Sahel, encourages the Member States of the Sahel region to improve the coordination of their efforts to combat these threats more effectively.  The Security Council welcomes the cooperation between the countries of the Sahel and their bilateral and multilateral partners in combating terrorism in the region and encourages international partners to provide support for the enhancement of their national and regional capabilities including their capacity to conduct regional patrols, to establish and maintain joint coordination centers and joint information-sharing centres.  The Security Council recalls the importance of upholding human rights and the rule of law in the fight against terrorism.  The Security Council calls on the countries of the Sahel to intensify cross-border and interregional cooperation and coordination in order to counter more effectively the threats to peace and security in the region.

“The Security Council takes note of the report (S/2014/397) of the Secretary-General on progress towards the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and stresses the importance of ensuring the implementation of all three pillars of the Strategy, namely, security, governance and resilience, which are interdependent.  The Security Council underscores the importance of including civil society in the implementation of the Strategy and stresses the need for the Governments of the Sahel region to continue to demonstrate the sustained political will necessary to enable the effective and durable implementation of the Strategy.

“The Security Council remains concerned about the extremely fragile humanitarian situation in the Sahel region where at least 20 million people remain at risk of food insecurity and nearly 5 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition.  The Security Council commends the efforts of the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, with the support of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other humanitarian actors and agencies, to build and strengthen resilience at the local, national and regional levels with the aim of mitigating the impact of such disasters.  The Security Council, in this regard, commends the support provided by the countries of the region and other donors, and calls on the international community to strengthen its support in areas which require immediate attention.

“The Security Council expresses its appreciation to the former Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, for having facilitated the development of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and also expresses its appreciation for the efforts of the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit, in supporting the implementation of the Strategy.

“The Security Council welcomes the appointment of the new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahel, Ms. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, and expresses its full support for the fulfillment of her mandate.  The Security Council encourages the Special Envoy to pursue her efforts and good offices in order to enhance regional and interregional cooperation and strengthen coordinated international assistance to the countries of the Sahel region in close coordination with the Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa.

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to inform it of the progress toward the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel through an oral briefing by 15 December 2014, and through a report and a briefing no later than 30 November 2015.”

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.