United Nations Security Council Briefing and Consultation on G5 Sahel

Ambassador Harold Agyeman



Madam President,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the members of the A3 namely Gabon, Mozambique and Ghana. We welcome the report of the Secretary-General and thank ASG Martha Pobee as well as Amb. Eric Tiare, the Executive Secretary of the G5 Sahel Group for their comprehensive briefing and pertinent insights on the situation
in the Sahel. We also welcome the remarks of Ms. Aïssatou Diouf who spoke on behalf of Enda Energy and the Climate Action Network for West and Central Africa


Madam President,
We welcome the positive developments that have taken place within the G5 Sahel Group since the last briefing to the Council, including the 20th February Heads of State Summit which witnessed the successful rotation of the Presidency of the Group to Mauritania and the subsequent Ministerial meeting of 20th March, which discussed the revitalization of the Group’s security architecture as well as its efforts to sustain dialogue with Mali. We also welcome the support provided by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the G5 Sahel Joint Force relating to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Compliance Framework and also commend the latter for its determination to comply with existing obligations.


Despite these positive developments, we remain worried about the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel which has been characterized by increasing incidents of terrorist attacks and the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). While strongly condemning such attacks against civilian and security personnel in the region, including in Burkina Faso, we pay tribute to the gallant soldiers who continue to sacrifice their lives for peace in the region and commiserate with the families of all those who lost their lives.


The A3 recalls that the destabilization of the Sahel region is directly connected with the destabilization of Libya, as we note with concern, the spill-over effect on the Sahel of the lingering crisis in Libya as well as its spread to coastal
countries such as Togo and Benin. We therefore call for coordinated action to help manage the adverse impact of this development on countries in the region, and provide the G5 Sahel Joint Force the support it requires to enable
it to operate effectively. In this regard, we note that the Joint Force, which had been successful in carrying out major operations against terrorist organisations and insurgency groups, has in recent times not enjoyed the same measure of financial support. Indeed, we believe that, notwithstanding its challenges, the G5 Sahel Joint Force remains an essential complementary mechanism in addressing the evolving security situation in the Sahel. It is therefore pertinent to enhance our collective efforts in galvanizing the required support for the Joint Force.


Madam President,
Further to the above, the A3 wishes to highlight the following points which we consider as critical in enhancing the responsiveness of the joint Force:


First, we encourage the further efforts of the Heads of State and Ministers of the Group to revitalise the Joint Force through the adoption of a reconfigured Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and operational arrangements to meet the
new security dynamics. We also welcome the nomination of a new Force Commander and the adoption of additional prudential measures to operate a more cost-effective Group and Joint Force.


Second, we welcome the prioritization of efforts to address governance and development challenges that would undercut the radicalization agenda of terrorists and other armed groups that have targeted the youth and local communities in their efforts to destabilise the countries of the G5 Sahel Group, while looting their natural resources. In this context, we encourage coordination across the three pillars of governance, resilience, and security in
the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) and urge the leveraging of the commitment made at the recent meetings of the Heads of State and Ministers of the Group. We encourage further investments in non-kinetic measures in tackling the underlying causes of instability including the governance and development deficits. We consider it useful to embrace a multi-dimensional and whole-of society approach that empowers, at all levels, critical agents of change such as women and the youth in the development, conflict prevention and governance processes of the countries of the Sahel. Equally important is the intervening role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in addressing the dire socio-economic conditions including through agricultural self employment, and other developmental interventions such as quick impact community projects. In this regard, we welcome the forward-looking recommendations contained in the advisory note of the PBC for this meeting.


Third, we also encourage further support from Member States, especially donor partners in addressing the infrastructure deficits of the Joint Force, which has been manifested in persisting technical and operational challenges as a result of the lack of storage capacity at some battalion locations, insufficient maintenance of storage equipment, as well as insecurity along supply routes.


Fourth, while underscoring the critical logistical and operational support provided by MINUSMA to the Force, we remain worried about the logistical and operational challenges facing MINUSMA itself, including as a result of
the gradual withdrawal of some TCCs from the Mission. The consistent call by the Secretary-General for this Council to have convergence of views in addressing the logistical and funding challenges facing the Mission to enhance
its robustness is essential in this regard. While we reflect on the options provided by the Secretary-General in the strategic review report of the Mission, it is important for us to do so in a manner that would enable us to arrive at an option that would make MINUSMA effective, and also able to sustain its support to the G5 Sahel Force in responding to the challenging security environment.


Fifth, we need to leverage on the complementary role of other regional mechanisms such as the Accra Initiative, the Nouakchott Process and the Multinational Joint Task Force in addressing the security challenges of the Sahel. We remain hopeful that the wide consultation being done by the Issoufou-led Panel on the strategic assessment on the Sahel would provide practical and forward-looking recommendations that would help harmonize all these relevant regional mechanisms to consolidate the gains made in tackling the security situation in the Sahel.


Lastly, we remain concerned about the dire humanitarian situation arising from heightened insecurity in the region, including increased displacements. The adverse impact of climate change on the security and humanitarian situation also requires greater attention. While appealing to development and donor partners to consider scaling up funding support to the region’s humanitarian fund, we also urge a prioritization of support for building climate resilience among member countries. Equally important is for this Council to unite its views on providing support to the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) to execute its mandate, including in the area of advocacy on the impact of climate on security.


In concluding, the A3 believes that it is important for this Council to move beyond the narrative of affirming support for the critical role of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, by adhering to the long-standing call to provide predictable funding to help deal with the logistical and operational challenges affecting its effectiveness. The future of the Sahelian region is threatened by the deteriorating security situation, and now more than ever we need to embrace both stronger political will and deeper cooperation at the national, regional and international levels to salvage the situation. The A3 stand in solidarity with the Sahelian populations, and we reaffirm our respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries of the region. There is no better time to act than now!


I thank you