Sahel : to take action on the political, security and development pillars [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 20 December 2018
At the outset, I would like to thank Côte d’Ivoire for having made the Sahel a priority of its Security Council presidency. We strongly support that choice because we are convinced that the challenges facing the Sahel region call for an ambitious and coordinated response by the international community within the framework of the priorities set by the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.
I thank the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for the Sahel, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw; the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Ambassador Ion Jinga; the Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Mr. Hafez Ghanem; and the representative of the Sahel Alliance, the Director General of the Agence Française de Développement, Mr. Rémy Rioux, for their briefings, which illustrate the extent of international mobilization in support of the Sahel that exists today. They also show how complementary and coordinated the respective actions of the various stakeholders on the ground are. France is convinced that our collective commitment to the stabilization of the Sahel must necessarily be based on joint action on the political, security and development pillars.
First and foremost is the political pillar, for there can be no lasting stabilization in the Sahel without the full implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, which is becoming increasingly urgent. The Security Council has established a robust framework to support the Malian parties in that regard, in accordance with the terms of the Peace Agreement itself. Recent progress, including the effective launch of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, is encouraging but must be further consolidated. We believe that the international community must use all those levers by the March deadline set by resolution 2432 (2018). The sanctions adopted a few minutes ago against three individuals obstructing the implementation of the Peace Agreement are a case in point. They mark an important moment in time — the international community is taking concrete action against those who seek to prevent peace in order to continue to prosper at the expense of the general population. Those measures will be complemented by other such measures in the future, if necessary.
Secondly, we must consider the security pillar — because there can be no stability in the Sahel without a merciless fight against the terrorist groups that threaten the populations and the stability of the States of the region. In that regard, we must continue to enhance the partnerships among the various security forces deployed in Mali and the Sahel — national armies, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel) Joint Force, Operation Barkhane and the European missions — each of which has its own added value and all of which pursue the same strategic objective.It is also our responsibility to strengthen multilateral support for the G-5 Sahel Joint Force, which is an innovative and sustainable response by the G-5 States against a threat to international peace and security whose causes and implications extend beyond their subregion. As the Council recalled in its press statement of 15 November (SC/13584), the Joint Force must now continue its operations while building on the funding already disbursed, which will allow the Council to review its international support in the near future.
Finally, with regard to the development pillar, there can be no stability in the Sahel without the creation of sustainable prospects for the people of the Sahel, and in particular for its youth. We all must act within the framework established in the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, which is intended to serve as a compass in order to avoid any dilution or duplication of effort. In that regard, we welcome the work carried out in recent months to update and revitalize that Strategy, particularly under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General.
The Sahel Alliance is fully in line with the guidelines set by that shared framework. It is a space for coordination among major donors that aims to deliver aid in a faster, better coordinated and more targeted way to the most vulnerable populations, including in areas that have proven difficult to access for development. That effort can be successful only in close coordination with the Sahel countries, because a development strategy devised exclusively in the northern capitals will not succeed. That is why, in early December in Nouakchott, the Sahel Alliance announced that it would provide €1.3 billion in funding for the G-5 Sahel Priority Investment Programme, which was created and designed by experts on the Sahel. Of that sum, €266 million has been set aside for projects set to begin right away in the Joint Force’s most vulnerable regions of operation.
The United Nations has a central role to play on each of those elements by ensuring the coherence and effectiveness of everyone’s engagement. That includes coordinated action by all actors in the United Nations system in efforts ranging from prevention to peacebuilding and peacekeeping. The Peacebuilding Commission has a major role to play in strengthening that integrated approach. It can help to strengthen coordination among the different pillars of the United Nations system, but also among the United Nations, the region, Governments and societies in the Sahel. We hope that the Commission will continue to mobilize on the Sahel issue, as it did a few weeks ago at its annual session. I would also like to welcome the increasing and especially relevant and useful involvement of the Peacebuilding Fund in the countries of the Sahel.
France will continue to raise the various aspects of the issue of the stabilization of the Sahel in the Security Council. The permanent link between our political, security and development efforts is essential in that regard. The Council can count on our determination to provide responses to the challenges facing the region. That responsibility falls on us all.