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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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Bamako, Mali, 5 November 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Ministerial Meeting on the Sahel [scroll down for full English text]

ALLOCUTION PRONONCÉE À LA RÉUNION MINISTÉRIELLE SUR LE SAHEL
Bamako, le 5 novembre 2013

[As delivered]

Je remercie le Gouvernement malien d’accueillir cette réunion. Je salue le Président Keïta pour son leadership dynamique.

J’applaudis les pays de la région pour cette manifestation d’unité.

Et je rends hommage aux Sahéliens. Face à de grandes épreuves, vous avez fait preuve d’une grande résilience.

Ce que je suis venu vous dire, c’est avant tout ceci : nous sommes à vos côtés. La communauté internationale est solidaire des Sahéliens.

J’en veux pour preuve l’impressionnante délégation qui m’accompagne.

Les plus hauts représentants de l’Union africaine, de la Banque mondiale et de l’ONU, ainsi que de la Banque africaine de développement et de l’Union européenne, et aussi l’OIC [Organisation de Coopération Islamique] sont ici pour écouter, afin que vos priorités puissent orienter nos travaux.

C’est la deuxième fois que M. Kim de la Banque mondiale et moi-même venons ensemble en Afrique; ces voyages communs des dirigeants de l’ONU et de la Banque mondiale sont une nouveauté sans précédent. Je remercie Président Kim de son rôle crucial et de son leadership.

Il y a une raison à ce partenariat qui sort de l’ordinaire : nous savons que le Sahel a besoin d’efforts sortant de l’ordinaire.

Nous devons dépasser les frontières institutionnelles et trouver le moyen d’intégrer à l’échelle de la région les initiatives portant sur la situation politique, la sécurité, le développement et l’aide humanitaire.

C’est maintenant qu’il faut agir.

Governments across the region face enormously complex governance, economic, social development and security challenges.

Yet despite the headwinds, there is much to build upon.

At this time last year, Mali was in the midst of a deep political and security crisis. 

Since then, our collective efforts have helped not only improve the situation in this country but also address some of the broader challenges in the Sahel. 

We are supporting Governments on emergency response and longer-term development planning to address the underlying issues of poverty and hunger. 

Communities and households are becoming more resilient. 

But the Sahel still faces many challenges. 

We have been working together and making progress in each of your countries.  But the challenges of the region respect no borders and neither should our solutions.  That is why we have launched a strategy to connect our efforts across issues and the region as a whole.

The United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel – endorsed by the Security Council -- stresses the need to strengthen mechanisms for economic governance; to put in place early warning systems to address security threats; and to build capacity to address cross-border dangers, including terrorism.  It puts a priority on governance, security and resilience.  It stresses the importance of human rights, ensuring the full participation of women and expanding opportunities for young people.

We must also place special emphasis on enhancing coordination and mobilizing resources for regional infrastructure projects that can support inclusive economic growth.

I thank my Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, for his work.  I also thank Mr. Koenders, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his leadership in keeping MINUSMA up to the expectations of the international community.

The countries of the region have spoken loud and clear -- ambitious plans on paper must translate into real action by strong political commitment of the leaders present here this morning.

The joint visit of our five institutions is a symbol of our commitment.  We are here to express our solidarity through words and to show it through action.  I am pleased that our visit has already mobilized more than $8 billion in new investments in development.  I salute the World Bank and the European Union for the combined commitments announced yesterday. This is exactly what we want and we are ready to work with all of you in the region.

Nous sommes déterminés à collaborer de près avec les gouvernements des pays de la région et les organisations régionales et sous-régionales.

Nous suivrons la direction imprimée par les gouvernements des pays du Sahel pour régler les problèmes de la région.

Depuis des années, le public voit du Sahel de bien tristes images.

Des terres dévastées par la sécheresse. Des familles arrivant à peine à survivre. Des groupes humains soumis à d’horribles violations des droits de l’homme.

Ensemble, nous pouvons changer ce tableau.

Nous pouvons vous aider à progresser plus vite, à mettre fin à la succession des crises et à avancer vers la paix, la sécurité et le développement.

Le Sahel peut avancer, et il avancera; mais seulement s’il est uni.

Engageons-nous à continuer de resserrer notre partenariat pour aider les Sahéliens à surmonter la précarité et à forger l’avenir de stabilité dont ils ont besoin, et qu’ils méritent.

Merci de votre leadership.


REMARKS TO MINISTERIAL MEETING ON THE SAHEL

I thank the Government of Mali for hosting this gathering.  I commend President Keïta for his strong leadership. 

I applaud the countries of the region for coming together in this way. 

And I salute the people of the Sahel.  You have shown great resilience in the face of great hardship.

I come here carrying one message above all:  We are here for you.  The international community stands with the people of the Sahel. 

That solidarity is demonstrated by the impressive delegation that joins me today. 

The African Union, the World Bank, the United Nations – along with the African Development Bank and the European Union and the OIC-- are here at the highest levels to listen and let your priorities guide our work.

President Kim of the World Bank and I are on our second trip to Africa – the first such visits ever by the heads of the UN and the World Bank.  I thank him for his crucial role and his leadership.

We have partnered together in this extraordinary way because we recognize that the Sahel region needs an extraordinary effort. 

We need an approach that breaks down institutional barriers and joins-up political, security, development and humanitarian efforts throughout the region.

Now is the time for action.

Governments across the region face enormously complex governance, economic, social development and security challenges.

Yet despite the headwinds, there is much to build upon.

At this time last year, Mali was in the midst of a deep political and security crisis. 

Since then, our collective efforts have helped not only improve the situation in this country but also address some of the broader challenges in the Sahel. 

We are supporting Governments on emergency response and longer-term development planning to address the underlying issues of poverty and hunger. 

Communities and households are becoming more resilient. 

But the Sahel still faces many challenges. 

We have been working together and making progress in each of your countries.  But the challenges of the region respect no borders and neither should our solutions.  That is why we have launched a strategy to connect our efforts across issues and the region as a whole.

The United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel – endorsed by the Security Council -- stresses the need to strengthen mechanisms for economic governance; to put in place early warning systems to address security threats; and to build capacity to address cross-border dangers, including terrorism.  It puts a priority on governance, security and resilience.  It stresses the importance of human rights, ensuring the full participation of women and expanding opportunities for young people.

We must also place special emphasis on enhancing coordination and mobilizing resources for regional infrastructure projects that can support inclusive economic growth.

I thank my Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, for his work.  I also thank Mr. Koenders, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his leadership in keeping MINUSMA up to the expectations of the international community.

The countries of the region have spoken loud and clear -- ambitious plans on paper must translate into real action by strong political commitment of the leaders present here this morning.

The joint visit of our five institutions is a symbol of our commitment.  We are here to express our solidarity through words and to show it through action.  I am pleased that our visit has already mobilized more than $8 billion in new investments in development.  I salute the World Bank and the European Union for the combined commitments announced yesterday. This is exactly what we want and we are ready to work with all of you in the region.

We are committed to working closely with national governments and regional and sub-regional organizations to make it happen.

We will follow the leadership of the Governments of the Sahel in solving the Sahel’s problems.

For years, bleak images from the Sahel have penetrated the public consciousness.

Drought-stricken land.  Families struggling to eke a living.  Communities reeling from horrendous violations of human rights. 

Together we can change this picture. 

We can help accelerate your progress, break the cycles of crises and move the region towards peace, security and development.

The Sahel region can and will go forward – but it can only do so together.

Let us pledge to further strengthen our partnership to help the people of the Sahel move from fragility to the sustainability they need and deserve.

Thank you for your leadership.


Statements on 5 November 2013