4 June 2015

In Message to Central African Security Forum, Secretary-General Calls for Regional Action on Armed Groups, Criminal Activity

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the fortieth ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), delivered by Abdoulaye Bathily, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), in Luanda today:

I thank His Excellency Mr. Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola, as well as the Government and people of Angola, for hosting the fortieth ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC).  For over two decades, UNSAC has served as an important mechanism for Central African States to review and address peace and security issues in a concerted manner.

This fortieth meeting takes place in a context of mounting regional security and political challenges.  Central Africa has entered an electoral cycle that will end in 2018.  Political differences and disputes over constitutional issues are already leading to violence in some States.  I call on all parties to reject violence and address political differences during electoral periods through dialogue and advances the consolidation of democracy.  

Armed groups in the Central Africa region, including those active in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as the Lord’s Resistance Army, represent a continuous threat to local populations.  I remain concerned by persisting reports of illicit wildlife trafficking in Central Africa and its links to the financing of armed groups in the region.  I welcome the holding of the recent international conference on illegal exploitation and illicit trade in wild flora and fauna in Africa in Brazzaville, as well as ongoing efforts between the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to tackle this growing problem.  I strongly encourage Central African Governments to elaborate a subregional strategy to address this destructive trend.

Attacks by Boko Haram continue to threaten countries across the Lake Chad Basin region, with significant, and growing, humanitarian, human rights and socioeconomic consequences for Central African States.  I welcome regional efforts to address this growing threat as well as the recent establishment of the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force in Chad.  I urge Central and West African States to pursue and enhance their cooperation and I encourage ECCAS and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to hold the planned meeting of Heads of State to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency and address its root causes in a holistic and integrated manner, including through emphasizing protection of human rights, rule of law and socioeconomic development.  In this context, I welcome the active engagement of Central African States and the progress achieved in the development of the Integrated Strategy on Counter-Terrorism and Non-Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons for Central Africa. 

I remain concerned about the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the impact on its people and the subregion.  However, I am encouraged by the recent conclusion of the Bangui Forum as a demonstration of national unity and ownership of the reconciliation process.  I would like to salute the people of the Central African Republic for their individual and collective contributions to the successful holding of the Forum and welcome the important role of the international mediation on CAR in this process.  The Forum provides new momentum for peace.  It is important that the necessary resources be made available to ensure that the Forum’s recommendations are implemented swiftly.  In this respect, I salute Angola’s contribution to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts in CAR.

Maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea represents a threat to the stability of Central African States.  I encourage States, through ECCAS, ECOWAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, to redouble their efforts to fully implement the decisions of the Yaoundé Summit.  I urge regional States to mobilize the necessary resources to ensure the adequate functioning of the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) and the operationalization of the Regional Centre for Maritime Security in Central Africa (CRESMAC).

UNOCA will continue to support your efforts to promote stability in the subregion in collaboration with the relevant United Nations entities.  It is imperative that UNOCA’s resources be strengthened, in line with the recommendation of the recent strategic review mission, so that the Office can effectively support the subregion.  I therefore invite UNSAC member States to endorse the mission’s recommendations and to support the strengthening of the regional office.

I wish you great success in your deliberations.

For information media. Not an official record.