By Prudence Arobani
Ms Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, has called for a holistic and integrated strategy to address the protracted security situation in the Sahel region.
She said on Wednesday that there was no purely military solution to the myriad of crisis ravaging the region.
Mohammed made the suggestion at a meeting on the Situation in the Sahel, jointly organised by the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and Peacebuilding Commission (PBC).
She urged all to support consistent efforts to reassert State authority and avoid a disproportionate emphasis on security.
“Given the trans-border and multidimensional nature of instability in the Sahel region, there can be no purely military solution.
“Recognising this and acting on it is the only way to end the marginalisation of the poor, rural societies frustrated by a lack of access to basic social services including water, electricity, healthcare and education.
“The key to addressing the root causes of instability and fragility lies in sustainable development and good governance, as well as resolving local conflicts driven by competition for resources.
“These sustained security and development efforts must be based on increased financing by national governments and regional and international partners,” she said.
Mohammed described how transnational organised crime, violent extremism and terrorism had become growing threats to stability in the Sahel region.
She said the scarcity of food and challenging living conditions had spurred a steady flow of migrants on dangerous, sometimes deadly, journeys through the desert towards the Mediterranean and beyond.
“The continuing deterioration of security in the Sahel is the result of several unresolved underlying causes of instability, including a lack of development, good governance and respect for human rights,” she said.
According to her, the region has also chronically suffered from harsh climatic conditions, exacerbated by climate change.
“More than 30 million people struggle daily with food insecurity; one in five children under the age of five suffers from acute malnutrition; and close to 5 million people are displaced and require humanitarian assistance and protection.”
Mohammed said the UN remained deeply committed to supporting governments in the Sahel, including those of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, in navigating “this balance” through the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the New Way of Working between humanitarian and development actors, and other relevant mechanisms.
She welcomed the UN-G5 Sahel Road-map for Cooperation.
According to her, the Force will consist of up to 5,000 military and police, who will be deployed throughout its contributing countries
On his part, ECOSOC President Frederick Makamure Shava, stressed “forging closer collaboration between ECOSOC and the PBC” to achieve the 2030 Agenda and to sustain peace”.
“It is widely acknowledged that if we want to make the SDGs a reality for all, we need to make sustaining peace an integral part of a coordinated and coherent approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.
Also addressing the meeting, the Chair of the Peace building Commission, Cho Tae-yul, explained how the Commission has been using its convening role to assist the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) in implementing the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. (NAN)