Bamako, Mali

18 November 2014

Secretary-General's message to the Third Meeting of the Ministerial Coordination Platform for the Sahel [delivered by Ms. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahel]

Thank you all for your leadership and partnership with the United Nations on the Sahel. I thank the Government and people of Mali for hosting this meeting and the Malian Chairmanship for its efforts to maintain the attention of all stakeholders on the Sahel.

I commend the continued determination of all partners to address the multiple challenges facing the region and to support the efforts of the five core Sahelian countries and their neighbours towards development and stability.

Increased insecurity across the Sahel is extremely worrying. In this regard, the peace talks between the Malian government and armed groups that resumed this week in Algiers will be of crucial importance for the whole region. The situation in North-East Nigeria has also deteriorated, and instability in Libya continues to have a direct impact on the Sahel. Political dialogue remains key to addressing the root causes of these problems. 

Due in part to this increased insecurity, the humanitarian situation across the region is also of grave concern. Food security and malnutrition rates are deteriorating, and growing numbers of people are so vulnerable that they may easily be pushed into crisis. These are long-term challenges, but they still need to be addressed urgently. 

Since the Coordination Platform was established a year ago, at the time of my visit to the region, there has been progress on sustaining international engagement, building regional coalitions and promoting investments. Governments in the region and their international partners are working to implement solutions to the challenges facing the Sahel, particularly in the areas of governance, development, security, and resilience. This will require continued investment by regional and international organizations and financial institutions as well as commitment from the Sahelian countries to continue working together.

With the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel as our guide, the UN is determined to reinforce our coordination with national, regional, and international partners, and to support the implementation of the Roadmap of the Malian chairmanship to help improve the lives of millions of people across the Sahel region. I reaffirm the solidarity and commitment of the whole UN system to the people of this region that I expressed, together with leaders from the African Union, the European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, during our joint visit last year. 

The United Nations will continue to ensure that its initiatives are designed in close coordination with the countries of the region, regional and sub-regional organizations, as well as with civil society, to provide the support that the Sahel region needs. I call on all partners to help improve the living conditions and enable the participation of women and young people in processes that promote development, improve governance, and strengthen democratic institutions.

I wish you success in your deliberations. 

Thank you.