Speaking at the 56th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, held in Abuja on 21 December 2019, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, said that to definitively defeat and eradicate terrorism, we must complement the military and security approaches with developmental approaches that address the root causes of this scourge, adding that UNOWAS will continue to enhance collaboration with ECOWAS, the G5 Sahel, the LCBC, especially its Governors’ Forum, and other partners within the framework of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and long-term stabilization.
Referring to the political situation in the sub-region, the Special Representative underlined that the on-going political dialogue and electoral processes illustrate the determination of the governments and people of West Africa to use democratic means to resolve political disputes and ensure national cohesion. He pointed out that despite the progress made in improving the normative and institutional frameworks, constitutional and electoral processes remain a potential source of conflict. Ensuring consensus, respect of human rights and the rule of law, and promoting inclusivity particularly of women, youth and other vulnerable groups, such as refugees and internally displaced persons, will significantly enhance the legitimacy and credibility of these processes.
On the importance of the partnership between the UN and ECOWAS, the Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel said that the United Nations is cognizant of ECOWAS as a true embodiment of multilateralism in West Africa, a shining example in Africa and beyond of political cooperation, sub-regional integration, partnership and solidarity. UN is committed to enhancing its engagement with ECOWAS towards improving governance including in the security sector, and addressing climate change, maritime piracy, drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime. As well, UN is determined to partner with ECOWAS to create the enabling environment for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, including promoting the role and involvement of women and youth in governance processes.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).