New York

07 October 2019

Secretary-General's remarks to Security Council meeting on Peace and Security in Africa: The Centrality of Preventive Diplomacy, Conflict Prevention and Resolution [Bilingual, as delivered; scroll down for all-English]

Thank you, Mr. President, for this opportunity to brief the Council on the United Nations’ work on preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention and resolution in Africa.
 
All our work on conflict prevention and resolution relies on partnerships with Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations, Regional Economic Communities and others.
 
The African Union is our key strategic partner across the continent. I welcome the leadership of His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, that has participated in many of our debates. 
 
We are making progress on conflict prevention, together with our partners, in many parts of Africa.
 
In The Gambia, for example, joint action by the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the United Nations and neighbouring countries prevented a political crisis from spiraling and supported a peaceful and democratic transition two years ago. In Madagascar, we worked with the African Union, the European Union, the Southern African Development Community and the International Organization de la Francophonie to facilitate dialogue which contributed to the peaceful presidential election last year.
 
Our good offices efforts, together with those of the African Union, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, ECOWAS and the European Union, have been instrumental in addressing political tensions in Guinea Bissau. 

I urge all parties to work for a peaceful, transparent, free and fair election next month.
 
In Cameroon, my Special Representative for Central Africa is working with the authorities and with national and regional stakeholders to support efforts to address the root causes of the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions through an inclusive dialogue.  The conclusions of the national dialogue have just been published.
 
The recent agreement in Sudan, brokered by the African Union and Ethiopia, is an opportunity for the international community to support peace at a delicate time, in a country that has seen terrible conflict and suffering.
 
And my Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel conducted joint efforts with ECOWAS and the African Union to support peaceful and inclusive election processes in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.
 
Le terrorisme est une menace croissante pour tout le continent, et avec de graves implications pour la paix et la sécurité dans le monde. 
 
Au Sahel, des groupes terroristes attaquent régulièrement les forces de sécurité locales et internationales, nous avons eu encore in mort hier, y compris nos Casques bleus de la MINUSMA. La violence se propage vers les États côtiers du golfe de Guinée.
 
Au Nigéria, Boko Haram et ses factions dissidentes terrorisent les communautés locales et attaquent les forces de sécurité, malgré les efforts de la Force multinationale mixte.
 
Nous voyons des réseaux terroristes se propager dans toute la Libye et l’Afrique du Nord, s’étendre à travers le Sahel jusqu’à la région du lac Tchad et apparaître en République démocratique du Congo et au Mozambique. C’est une bataille que nous ne sommes pas en train de gagner.
 
Il ne s’agit pas seulement d’une question régionale, mais d’un danger évident et immédiat pour la paix et la sécurité dans le monde.
 
Je me félicite du sommet de la CEDEAO qui s’est tenu le mois dernier à Ouagadougou et de l’engagement renouvelé des États membres de la CEDEAO à participer financièrement et militairement à la lutte contre le terrorisme.
 
Nous devons prendre conscience que les répercussions de la crise en Libye s’intensifient et se propagent dans toute la région, avec des armes et des combattants qui traversent sans cesse les frontières.
 
Comme vous le savez, mon représentant spécial s’emploie, avec les partenaires régionaux, nationaux, et internationaux, à prévenir une nouvelle escalade de la violence et à encourager un retour au processus politique. J’ai aussi déjà envoyé au Président du Conseil de sécurité une copie de la lettre du Président de la Commission de l’Union africaine, présentant la proposition du Conseil de paix et de sécurité de l’Union africaine envers le Conseil de sécurité et je me félicite de la perspective d’un renforcement de la coopération avec l’Union africaine sur la Libye.
 
La paix au Mali est également essentielle à la paix dans le Sahel. Malgré les terribles attentats perpétrés la semaine dernière dans la région de Mopti, j’espère que le projet d’un dialogue politique inclusif, dont les termes de références ont été approuvés, facilitera la mise en œuvre de l’accord de paix de 2015.
 
Notre mission de maintien de la paix, la MINUSMA, joue un rôle crucial dans l’appui à la mise en œuvre de cet accord et a besoin d’un soutien constant et sans faille.
 
Les opérations militaires africaines, y compris l’AMISOM, la Force conjointe du G5-Sahel, la Force multinationale mixte luttant contre Boko Haram et d’autres, méritent tout notre soutien. Je salue votre décision de lever les restrictions géographiques imposées au ravitaillement apporté par la MINUSMA à la Force conjointe du G5-Sahel. Mais il faut reconnaître, cela ne suffit pas.
 
Je vous exhorte à nouveau à donner aux opérations africaines d’imposition de la paix et de lutte contre le terrorisme des mandats clairs, portés par un financement prévisible et durable grâce à des contributions obligatoires.
 
Le développement durable et inclusif est un but en soi. C’est aussi le moyen le plus efficace de traiter les causes profondes des conflits, de l’extrémisme et du terrorisme.
 
Pour prévenir les conflits et bâtir des communautés et des sociétés résilientes, il est essentiel de lutter contre la pauvreté et les inégalités, de renforcer les institutions publiques et la société civile et de promouvoir les droits humains.
 
Ces objectifs sont au cœur du Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030 comme de l’Agenda 2063 de l’Union africaine. Grâce à notre cadre commun pour le développement durable, nous travaillons en pleine harmonie avec l’Union africaine pour promouvoir une Afrique pacifique et prospère, avec une attention toute particulière envers l’inclusion, les droits des femmes et l’égalité des sexes.
 
Une participation significative des femmes, y compris en tant que dirigeantes, renforcera notre action et contribuera de manière essentielle à une paix durable.
 
La lutte contre la crise climatique est une autre mesure préventive indispensable. Les risques liés aux phénomènes climatiques, notamment les sécheresses, les inondations et l’évolution des régimes pluviométriques, se conjuguent souvent aux facteurs politiques, sociaux et économiques. Nous devons de toute urgence réduire les émissions afin d’éviter des conséquences catastrophiques pour le développement durable et la sécurité dans toute l’Afrique, tout en renforçant notre soutien aux pays les plus touchés.
 
C’est aujourd’hui indisputable que les changements climatiques ont contribué à l’aggravation de la situation sécuritaire, notamment au Sahel.
 
Près de la moitié des 1,3 milliards de personnes vivant en Afrique ont moins de 15 ans. Offrir à cette génération des opportunités en matière d’éducation, de formation et d’emploi doit être au cœur de toute stratégie de développement.
 
Comme nous l’avons récemment vu au Soudan, les femmes et les jeunes sont des acteurs clés de l’édification de sociétés pacifiques. Je vous exhorte à travailler, avec eux et pour eux, avec beaucoup plus d’efficacité.
 
When prevention fails, the United Nations works with our partners to reduce suffering, resolve conflicts and build sustainable peace.
 
We strongly support the African Union’s ‘Silence the Guns 2020’ initiative as a basis for advancing peace and security and offering a safer and better future. I commend the Security Council for its resolution on this initiative, and for emphasizing the role of young people.
 
Our enhanced strategic partnership with the African Union on peace and security is based on the Joint Framework agreement of 2017. It was demonstrated again in February when this Council unanimously adopted resolution 2457 on steps towards ending conflict in Africa through enhanced international cooperation and partnership.  
 
Our largest peacekeeping missions are on the African continent, and more than 80,000 peacekeepers serve there. Africa is now the largest troop-contributing region. We owe these Blue Helmets our strong and united support, through robust funding and strong mandates. 
 
I commend the Council’s cooperation with the African Union, including with the AU’s Peace and Security Council. 
 
Across the continent, the United Nations is working in steadfast and close cooperation with the African Union and African sub-regional organizations to prevent and resolve conflicts.
 
The Central African Republic is just one example. The United Nations, the African Union and others are cooperating in support of the historic agreement reached in February, to end violence against civilians, strengthen the extension of State authority and bring social development to this conflict-ravaged country.
 
Conflict prevention is difficult to quantify and may not make news. But no news is good news for the people we serve. Prevention brings enormous rewards.
 
Conflict prevention and resolution depend on the engagement of the parties involved. Beyond that, they require a united international position and a commitment to shared goals.
 
The Council’s strong engagement in prevention efforts on the African continent, in collaboration with regional and sub-regional partners, is needed and appreciated more than ever.
 
Thank you.
 
*****
 
All-English version
 
Thank you for this opportunity to brief the Council on the United Nations’ work on preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention and resolution in Africa.
 
All our work on conflict prevention and resolution relies on partnerships with Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations, Regional Economic Communities and others.
 
The African Union is our key strategic partner across the continent. I welcome the leadership of His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, who is with us today.
 
We are making progress on conflict prevention, together with our partners, in many parts of Africa.
 
In The Gambia, for example, joint action by the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the United Nations and neighbouring countries prevented a political crisis from spiraling and supported a peaceful and democratic transition two years ago. In Madagascar, we worked with the African Union, the European Union, the Southern African Development Community and the International Organization of la Francophonie to facilitate dialogue which contributed to the peaceful presidential election last year.
 
Our good offices efforts, together with those of the African Union, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, ECOWAS and the European Union, have been instrumental in addressing political tensions in Guinea Bissau. 
I urge all parties to work for a peaceful, transparent, free and fair election next month.
 
In Cameroon, my Special Representative for Central Africa is working with the authorities and with national and regional stakeholders to support efforts to address the root causes of the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions through an inclusive dialogue.
 
The recent agreement in Sudan, brokered by the African Union and Ethiopia, is an opportunity for the international community to support peace at a delicate time, in a country that has seen terrible conflict and suffering.
 
And my Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel conducted joint efforts with ECOWAS and the African Union to support peaceful and inclusive election processes in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.
 
Terrorism is a growing threat across Africa, with serious implications for peace and security everywhere. 
 
In the Sahel, terrorist groups regularly attack local and international security forces – we had another death yesterday - including our Blue Helmets serving with MINUSMA. The violence is spreading to coastal states along the Gulf of Guinea.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram and its splinter factions are terrorizing local communities and attacking security forces, despite the efforts of the Multinational Joint Task Force.
We are seeing terrorist networks across Libya and North Africa, stretching through the Sahel to the Lake Chad region, and present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique.

This is a battle we are not winning.

And this is not just a regional issue, but a clear and present danger to global peace and security.

I welcome last month’s ECOWAS summit in Burkina Faso and the renewed commitment by ECOWAS Member States to participate both financially and militarily in the fight against terrorism.
 
We must recognize that the impact of the crisis in Libya is growing and spreading throughout the region, as weapons and fighters continually move across borders.
 
As you know, my Special Representative is working with regional, national and international partners to prevent a further escalation of violence and promote a return to the political process.
 
I have also already sent the President of the Security Council a copy of the letter from the President of the African Union Commission presenting the proposal from the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to this Council, and I look forward to enhanced cooperation with the African Union on Libya.
 
Peace in Mali is also essential to peace in the Sahel. Despite the terrible attacks in the Mopti region last week, I hope plans for an inclusive political dialogue – for which the Terms of Reference have been approved - will facilitate the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.
 
Our peacekeeping mission MINUSMA plays a critical role in supporting implementation of the agreement and requires continued strong support.
 
African military operations, including AMISOM, the G5-Sahel Joint Force, the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram and others, deserve our support. I welcome your decision to lift geographic restrictions on provisions by MINUSMA to the G5-Sahel Joint Force, but we have to admit that this alone is not enough.

I urge you again to provide African peace-enforcing and counter-terrorist operations with clear mandates, backed by predictable and sustainable financial support through assessed contributions.

Sustainable, inclusive development is an end in itself. It is also the most effective way to address the underlying causes of conflict, extremism and terrorism. 
 
Tackling poverty and inequality, strengthening state institutions and civil society and promoting human rights are essential to preventing conflict, and building resilient communities and societies.
 
These goals are central to both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. We are working in full alignment with the AU through our joint framework on sustainable development, for a peaceful and prosperous Africa, with a strong focus on inclusivity, women’s rights and gender equality.
 
Women’s meaningful participation and leadership will strengthen our responses and are essential to lasting peace. 
 
Addressing the climate crisis is another vital preventive measure. Climate-related risks including droughts, floods and changing rainfall patterns often intersect with political, social and economic factors. We must urgently reduce emissions to prevent catastrophic consequences for sustainable development and security across Africa, and step up support for the countries most affected.
 
Today it is indisputable that climate change has aggravated security challenges, particularly in the Sahel.
 
Nearly half of Africa’s population of 1.3 billion are under the age of 15. Education, training and job opportunities for this generation must be central to any development strategy.
 
As we saw most recently in Sudan, women and young people are key builders of peaceful societies. I urge you to work with them and for them far more effectively.
 
When prevention fails, the United Nations works with our partners to reduce suffering, resolve conflicts and build sustainable peace.
 
We strongly support the African Union’s ‘Silence the Guns 2020’ initiative as a basis for advancing peace and security and offering a safer and better future. I commend the Security Council for its resolution on this initiative, and for emphasizing the role of young people.
 
Our enhanced strategic partnership with the African Union on peace and security is based on the Joint Framework agreement of 2017. It was demonstrated again in February when this Council unanimously adopted resolution 2457 on steps towards ending conflict in Africa through enhanced international cooperation and partnership.  
 
Our largest peacekeeping missions are on the African continent, and more than 80,000 peacekeepers serve there. Africa is now the largest troop-contributing region. We owe these Blue Helmets our strong and united support, through robust funding and strong mandates. 
 
I commend this Council’s cooperation with the African Union, including with the AU’s Peace and Security Council. 
 
Across the continent, the United Nations is working in steadfast and close cooperation with the African Union and African sub-regional organizations to prevent and resolve conflicts.
 
The Central African Republic is just one example. The United Nations, the African Union and others are cooperating in support of the historic agreement reached in February, to end violence against civilians, strengthen the extension of State authority and bring social and economic development to this conflict-ravaged country.
 
Conflict prevention is difficult to quantify and may not make news. But no news is good news for the people we serve. Prevention brings enormous rewards.
 
Conflict prevention and resolution depend on the engagement of the parties involved. Beyond that, they require a united international position and a commitment to shared goals.
 
This Council’s strong engagement in prevention efforts on the African continent, in collaboration with regional and sub-regional partners, is needed and appreciated more than ever.
 
Thank you.