9635th Meeting (AM)

Concerned by Ongoing Conflict in West Africa, Sahel, Security Council Adopts Presidential Statement Aimed at Tackling Political, Humanitarian Challenges

‘Members Call on Relevant Stakeholder to Engage Constructively and Fully’ with Secretary-General’s Newly Appointed Special Representative for Region

The Security Council today unanimously adopted a presidential statement aimed at addressing security, political and humanitarian challenges in West Africa and the Sahel.

Through the text (to be issued as S/PRST/2024/3), the 15-member organ welcomed the appointment of Leonardo Santos Simão on 2 May 2023 as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), calling on all relevant stakeholders to “engage constructively and fully” with him.

On the security front, the Council welcomed efforts by countries in that region, ECOWAS and the African Union to strengthen regional cooperation in preventing and addressing challenges, but expressed “great concern at the violent actions of non-State actors, including individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida”.

In that regard, the Council reaffirmed “the importance of addressing, in a manner consistent with international law, the underlying conditions conducive to terrorism,” including by implementing the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and its support plan.  Furthermore, the Council called upon all parties to armed conflict to end and prevent all six grave violations against children, urging compliance with their obligations under international law, and to respect the rights of the child.

Also by the text, the Council recognized the adverse impact of climate change, ecological changes and natural disasters — including floods, drought, desertification, and land degradation — as well as how they exacerbate food security and other humanitarian, social and economic challenges, “which impact the security and stability of West Africa and the Sahel region”.  Stressing the “particular relevance” of these elements to the specific situation in West Africa and the Sahel, the Council acknowledged the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement as the primary international, intergovernmental forums for negotiating the global response to climate change.

The Council also commended the efforts of civil society and religious and community leaders to resolve conflict in the Sahel, emphasizing the importance of the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and youth in all stages of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes.

On the political front, the Council expressed serious concern at the unconstitutional changes of Governments and attempted coup d’états and underscored the importance of the timely, nationally owned transition processes and restoration of constitutional order in the concerned regional countries.  In that vein, the Council expressed the importance of UNOWAS’s good-office roles to prevent conflict and election- and transition-related tensions, as well as to sustain peace and consolidate peacebuilding efforts and political stability.

Regarding the humanitarian situation, the Council expressed serious concern at deteriorating conditions in some parts of the region, caused by armed conflicts and exacerbated by violations of international humanitarian law, climate change, and development, social and economic challenges.  It, therefore, called for full, safe, rapid and unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian and medical aid to all persons in need, including timely and non-discriminatory access to sexual and reproductive health care, mental health and psychosocial services for survivors of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.

For information media. Not an official record.