To ensure the G5 Sahel force becomes fully operational is the priority [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 15 November 2018
I thank President Buyoya, Mr. Maman Sidikou, Permanent Secretary of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel), Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Deputy-Secretary-General Pedro Serrano for their very enlightening briefings. I particularly welcome the presence around this table of Permanent Secretary Maman Sidikou, whose constant engagement we appreciate.
The fragility of the security situation in the Sahel and the recent extension of the terrorist threat to eastern Burkina Faso must alarm us all. The G-5 Sahel States have shouldered their responsibilities by establishing the Joint Force and by developing of common priority investment programme, which demonstrate their commitment to security and development on the ground. In that context, it is the responsibility of the international community to support the States concerned in their efforts to respond to a threat to international peace and security that concerns us all.
The establishment of the G-5 Sahel Joint Force, at the initiative of the States concerned, represents a historic initiative without any true precedent or equivalent. Given the magnitude of the task and the related challenges, we must duly assess and take stock of the significant progress made in barely more than a year.
Of course, since it is precisely a key tool in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel, everyone would have liked the process to have moved forward more quickly and for the G-5 Joint Force already to be fully operational. We all are aware of the considerable progress that remains to be made.
However, the achievements demonstrate that the process is well under way. It must be pursued with unity and determination.
I am thinking first of the fact that the Joint Force is now an operational reality, with 4,000 men deployed, functional command structures and several operations across the sectors. I am also thinking of the establishment of a human rights compliance framework unparalleled on the continent and the progress made in setting up a police component, which makes it a noble model of an African operation. The steps taken by the Malian Government following the abuses committed in Boulékéssi last May are part of that positive dynamic. Lastly, I think of the fact that the Joint Force is intended as an essential link in the security architecture deployed in the Sahel alongside the national armies, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, Operation Barkhane and the European missions. The enemies of peace understood that when targeting its headquarters in Sévaré during the tragic attack last June.
For all those reasons, it is absolutely crucial that the G-5 Sahel States continue their mobilization in order to ensure that the Joint Force becomes fully operational as soon as possible. That is the priority. And the biggest priority of all is that new operations be conducted in the next few weeks. The decision of the Heads of State of the G-5 Sahel to relocate the headquarters of the Joint Force to Bamako must also be implemented as soon as possible.
Given this unprecedented mobilization by the G-5 Sahel States, it is now the responsibility of the international community and the Council to provide them with effective support that corresponds to the level of their challenges. That includes, first and foremost, ensuring that the pledged financial contributions materialize without delay. Many have already disbursed their pledged funds or are drawing up contracts to do so, thanks to the central role played by the European Union in that regard. It is essential that countries that have not yet made their contributions do so as soon as possible. It is also critical that additional resources be provided to finance the technical support that will enable the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali to provide logistical and operational support on the ground, which is not the job of bilateral contributions.
The difficulties of generating and extracting international support, however, demonstrate that the mechanisms in place are not fully effective or capable of generating predictable, sustainable resources, which is crucial to scaling up the Joint Force in the short and medium term. We therefore fully support the Secretary-General’s recommendations for enhancing multilateral support for the Joint Force by providing a robust mandate and implementing a logistics package. We are ready to bring them to the Security Council as soon as the Joint Force is fully operational and we see the first results on the ground on the basis of the support that has already been provided. We will do it in the spirit of the quest for consensus that has always driven our efforts on this issue, but also because it is crucial that we provide the Joint Force with all of the support it needs.
France firmly believes that this exceptional security commitment to stabilizing the Sahel should be accompanied by an equivalent level of mobilization on the political and development fronts. First, on the political front the priority is the eagerly awaited full implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. The Council has put in place a robust framework in support of the Malian stakeholders. The international community must make use all of these mechanisms from now until the March deadline established in resolution 2423 (2018). We are also counting on the G-5 Sahel States to participate in the work of persuading all the Malian parties to come on board.
On the development front, the priority is creating sustainable prospects for the people of the Sahel, especially its young people. With 500 projects identified and totalling more than €7.5 billion by 2020, the Alliance for the Sahel is aiming to mobilize donors and promote good practices to ensure that the assistance reaches the most vulnerable populations quickly, particularly in cross-border areas. The United Nations Development Programme in particular has a key role to play in terms of governance. The signing of a partnership agreement between the Alliance and the G-5 Sahel is also an important step that should make it possible to implement rapid-impact projects by the end of the year in vulnerable areas identified by the G-5 Sahel, in order to prevent them from plunging into instability. We also fully support the G-5 Sahel priority investment plan and call on donors to be ready for the donor coordination conference to be held in Nouakchott on 6 December. All of those projects should be based on the broader framework established by the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, which is intended to serve as a guidepost for avoiding any diffusion or duplication of effort. Lastly, we encourage the Peacebuilding Commission to maintain its strong commitment to the Sahel issue. It represents an important setting conducive to encouraging balance and coordination between the political, security and development efforts.
The situation in the Sahel today demands our full attention and effort. All the parties must do their part — the G-5 Sahel, by conducting the Joint Force’s new operations in the next few weeks; donors, by ensuring that they make their financial contributions without delay; and the Council, by committing to revisiting its multilateral support for the Joint Force once it is fully operational. France will issue a press statement to that effect at the end of this meeting.