The Security Council welcomed the deployment of the Group of Five Sahel joint force (Force conjointe du G5 Sahel - FC-G5S) that would address the threat of terrorism, as well as the serious challenges posed by transnational organized crime in the region.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2359 (2017), the Council welcomed the joint force’s strategic concept of operations, saying it intended to review the deployment in four months’ time. It requested that the Secretary-General, in close coordination with the Group of Five (G5) Sahel States – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, as well as the African Union – provide an oral update within two months.
Also by that text, the Council urged the joint force of up to 5,000 military and police personnel, as well as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and French forces in that country to ensure adequate coordination and exchange of information regarding their operations, within their respective mandates. In that regard, it reiterated its request that the Secretary-General enhance cooperation between MINUSMA and the G5 Sahel States through the relevant intelligence and liaison officers.
By other terms, the Council urged the G5 Sahel States to continue efforts to make the joint force operational in a sustainable, viable and effective manner. It also welcomed the European Union’s commitment to provide €50 million in financial support, and encouraged further support from bilateral and multilateral partners.
Emphasizing the important role of women in preventing conflict and peacebuilding, the Council underlined the need to take a gender perspective into account in implementing all aspects of the strategic concept of operations.
François Delattre (France) said the text’s unanimous adoption expressed the Council’s full support for the joint force, and called for international support for the initiative, including at an upcoming donor conference. France would make it a priority during its Council Presidency in October, he added. The joint force would complement MINUSMA, enabling that Mission to focus on its priority tasks. Noting the presence of the French military “Operation Barkhane”, he said the Sahel must not become a haven for terrorism, emphasizing: “In the Sahel, all of our security is at stake.”
Issa Konfourou (Mali), speaking for the G5 Sahel countries, said there was no need to highlight the importance of the joint force for regional stability. Its creation reflected the collective will of Sahel Heads of State to pool efforts in combating terrorism, organized crime and human trafficking. It would also help to create the conditions that would enable MINUSMA to carry out its mandate, as well as an environment for implementing the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. He affirmed that the joint force would respect gender, human rights and international humanitarian law, and emphasized the need for more consistent bilateral and multilateral support. “We wish to move quickly because criminal groups will not wait,” he said, adding that the G5 Sahel States would hold a summit in Bamako on 2 July, with the President of France participating.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 10:20 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2359 (2017) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions 2295 (2016), 2253 (2015), and 2227 (2015),
“Recalling its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,
“Affirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger,
“Expressing its continued concern over the transnational dimension of the terrorist threat in the Sahel region, as well as the serious challenges posed by transnational organized crime in the Sahel region, including arms and drug trafficking, the smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, and its increasing links, in some cases, with terrorism, and underscoring the responsibility of the countries in the region in addressing these threats and challenges,
“Recalling the listing of MUJAO, the Organisation of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Ansar Eddine and its leader Iyad Ag Ghali, and Al Mourabitoun on the Al-Qaida sanctions list established by the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, reiterating its readiness, under the above-mentioned regime, to sanction further individuals, groups, undertakings and entities who are associated with Al-Qaida and other listed entities and individuals, and taking note of the merger of AQIM, Al Mourabitoun and Ansar Eddine terrorist groups into Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims), as announced by Iyad Ag Ghali on 2 March 2017,
“Recalling that any individual, group, undertaking or entity associated with ISIL or Al-Qaida is eligible for inclusion in the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List under the designation criteria set forth in resolution 2253 (2015) and that means of financing or support include but are not limited to the use of proceeds of crime, including the illicit cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotic drugs and their precursors,
“Recognizing the determination and ownership of the Governments of the Group of Five for the Sahel States (G5 Sahel) established on 19 December 2014 in Nouakchott and comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, to address the impact of terrorism and transnational organized crime, including through the conduct of cross-border joint military counter-terrorist operations, welcoming the efforts of the French forces to support these operations, and also welcoming the decision of the States of the Sahel and Sahara to establish a new counter-terrorist centre with its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt,
“Taking note of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) resolution of 6 February 2017, which decided to set up a G5 Sahel joint force (Force conjointe du G5 Sahel – FC-G5S), of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security communiqué of 13 April 2017, which endorsed the strategic concept of operations and authorized the deployment of the FC-G5S, and of the United Nations Secretary-General’s letter of 15 May 2017 transmitting the AU PSC communiqué to the members of the Council,
“Underlining the primary responsibility of the G5 Sahel States to ensure the protection of civilians in their respective territories in accordance with their obligations under international law, and underlining the need for the operations of the FC-G5S to be conducted in full compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law, as applicable and for the FC-G5S to take active steps to minimize the risk of harm to civilians in all areas of operation,
“Recalling the United Nations Zero Tolerance Policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and acknowledging the efforts carried out by the Secretary-General in this regard,
“Acknowledging the impact of the situation in Mali on the regional peace and security in the Sahel, West Africa and North African region, and underlining that all efforts to counter terrorism in Mali and in the Sahel region should be pursued with the view to support the full and effective implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Security in Mali (the “Agreement”),
“Recognizing the recent progress achieved for the implementation of the Agreement, while expressing its deep concern over the persistent delays for the full implementation of the Agreement two years after it was concluded, and urging the Government of Mali, the Plateforme and Coordination armed groups to take urgent and concrete action to fully and sincerely deliver on their obligations under the Agreement without further delay,
“Reiterating its serious concern at the continuing lack of key capabilities for MINUSMA, and urging Member States to provide the necessary capacities, including troops and enablers, in order for MINUSMA to fulfil its mandate, pursuant to resolution 2295 (2016),
“Underlining that FC-G5S efforts to counter the activities of terrorist groups and other organized criminal groups will contribute to create a more secure environment in the Sahel region, and thus facilitate the fulfilment by MINUSMA of its mandate to stabilize Mali,
“Calling for the rapid and effective implementation, in consultation with Member States of the Sahel region and bilateral partners and multilateral organizations, of regional strategies encompassing security, governance, development, human rights and humanitarian issues such as the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel,
“Expressing its support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, and for the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in their efforts to implement the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel,
“Welcoming the African Union Nouakchott process on the enhancement of the security cooperation and the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahel and Sahara region (APSA), as well as steps taken by the African Union to operationalize the African Standby Force,
“Commending the role of the European Union (EU) Missions to provide training and strategic advice to national security forces in the Sahel region, including the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali), the EU Capacity Building Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) and the EU Capacity Building Mission in Niger (EUCAP Sahel Niger), and also commending the contribution of bilateral and other multilateral partners to strengthen security capacities in the Sahel region,
“Taking note of the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Mali of 6 June 2017 (S/2017/478), including his recommendation to the Security Council to positively consider the request of the G5 Sahel States, endorsed by the African Union Peace and Security Council on 13 April 2017, to adopt a resolution that approves the deployment of the FC-G5S,
“Recalling that the situation in Mali constitutes a threat to international peace and security, and that the activities in Mali and in the Sahel region of terrorist organizations constitute a threat to peace and security in the region and beyond,
“1.”Welcomes the deployment of the FC-G5S throughout the territories of its contributing countries, with up to 5,000 military and police personnel, with a view to restoring peace and security in the Sahel region;
“2.”Welcomes the strategic concept of operations of the FC-G5S, addressed by the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council in his letter dated 15 May 2017, including its provisions related to humanitarian liaison, protection of civilians, gender, conduct and discipline;
“3.”Emphasizes the important role of women in prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, as recognized in resolution 1325 (2000), and underlines that a gender perspective should be taken into account in implementing all aspects of the strategic concept of operations of the FC-G5S;
“4.”Underlines the need for the G5 Sahel States to take into account the association of children with terrorist and transnational organized criminal groups to protect and consider as victims children who have been released or otherwise separated from those groups and to pay particular attention to the protection, release and reintegration of all children associated with those groups;
“5.”Urges the FC-G5S, MINUSMA and the French forces to ensure adequate coordination and exchange of information, through relevant mechanisms, of their operations, within their respective mandates, and reiterates in this regard its request to the Secretary-General to enhance cooperation between MINUSMA and the G5 Sahel Member States through provision of relevant intelligence and liaison officers from the G5 Sahel Member States to MINUSMA;
“6.”Recalls that the G5 Sahel States have the responsibility to provide the FC-G5S with adequate resources, urges the G5 Sahel States to continue efforts towards the sustainable, viable and effective operationalization of the FC-G5S, and welcomes the commitment of the European Union to provide financial support to the FC-G5S worth of €50 million, encourages further support from bilateral and multilateral partners including through the provision of adequate logistical, operational and financial assistance to the FC-G5S, as appropriate, and encourages bilateral and multilateral partners to expeditiously convene a planning conference to ensure coordination of donor assistance efforts to the FC-G5S;
“7.”Requests the Secretary-General, in close coordination with the G5 Sahel States and the African Union, to report to the Security Council on the activities of the FC-G5S, including on its operationalization, on challenges encountered and possible measures for further consideration, as well as on ways to mitigate any adverse impact of its military operations on the civilian population, including on women and children, with an oral update within two months of the adoption of this resolution, with a written report within four months of the adoption of this resolution, and thereafter to include these elements in regular reporting by UNOCA and UNOWAS;
“8.”Expresses its intent to review the deployment of the FC-G5S four months after the adoption of this resolution;
“9.”Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”