New York

20 October 2020

Secretary-General's video message for Humanitarian Ministerial Roundtable on Central Sahel

[Watch the video on]

The central Sahel region is at a breaking point.  

Humanitarian needs in the border region between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have reached record levels.

The security situation has deteriorated sharply, harshly affecting people’s daily lives.

Violence is rising, and women and girls are especially vulnerable. 

Internal displacement has increased twenty-fold in less than two years. 

The number of families facing hunger has tripled. 

Climate change is threatening people’s livelihoods.

And COVID-19 is making all of it worse.  

We need to reverse this downward spiral with a renewed push for peace and reconciliation.  

And we need to make space for vital humanitarian assistance and investments in development and people. 

The Sahel is a microcosm of cascading global risks converging in one region.  It is a warning sign for us all requiring urgent attention and resolution. 

I have appealed for an immediate global ceasefire — this is crucial for the people of the central Sahel.

We also need much more humanitarian aid.  It is no solution to the violence, but it saves lives.

UN agencies and NGOs are on the ground to complement national humanitarian response efforts. 

Their actions have protected and saved millions of lives with food, basic physical and mental health services, water and sanitation, shelter and education.

With better funding, we can do much more. 

That is why we are appealing for $2.4 billion to cover the remaining months of 2020 and provide emergency assistance through 2021.

I urge your strong support.

Long-term solutions will come through sustainable development, good governance, and equal opportunities for all, especially young people.

That will not happen overnight.  But we can prevent the crisis from growing deadlier and costlier in the future.

We must act -- and act now.  

Thank you.