West African challenges include terrorism and deteriorating humanitarian conditions – UN Security Council


The UN Security Council welcomes recent positive political developments in some West African countries but remains concerned about terrorism in the region.
“The Security Council strongly condemns all terrorist attacks carried out in the region, in particular in northern and central Mali and the Lake Chad Basin region, notably by Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” said the Security Council President for July, Liu Jieyi, in a presidential statement.

On behalf of the Council, he expressed particular concern over attacks on civilians – the primary victims of terrorist violence – while underscoring the importance of a holistic approach to degrade and defeat terrorists in compliance with international law.
“The Security Council encourages Member States and multilateral partners to lend their support to the MNJTF (Multi-national Joint Task Force) to ensure its full operationalisation, including provision of modalities to increase timely and effective exchange of intelligence to further collective efforts to combat Boko Haram, whenever possible and appropriate,” said the statement.

The Council stressed its commitment to work through the UN Office in West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) to strengthen co-operation in addressing cross-border security threats and curbing the spread of terrorism.
“The Security Council notes collaboration between UNOWAS and the Peacebuilding Commission and encourages continued close and effective co-operation in support of sustainable peace in the region,” the statement said.

It also made reference to the dire humanitarian situation caused by terrorist activities in the Lake Chad Basin region and called on the international community to “immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria,” including by fulfilling the UN appeal for the Lake Chad Basin region.

The Council also urged regional governments to facilitate humanitarian access and work with the UN in developing aid delivery options.

On the Ivory Coast the Security Council welcomed progress made on peace, stability and economic prosperity following the June closure of the UN Operation in the country (UNOCI) and emphasised the importance of UNOWAS’ engagement during the transition period.

Concerned about piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as trafficking of people, drugs and other illicit goods, the Council stressed the need to strengthen the fight against illicit activities in the sub-region.

The statement welcomed West African leadership spearheading initiatives addressing terrorism challenges and encouraged collaboration between Member States, regional and sub-regional organisations, the UN and other stakeholders “to enhance social cohesion and to address challenges to good governance”.

It also welcomed positive political developments in several West African countries, particularly the free and transparent legislative elections in April in the Gambia – commending diplomatic efforts by ECOWAS Heads of State that resulted in the peaceful transition of power to the democratically elected President Adama Barrow.

The Council encouraged “bilateral and multilateral partners to provide appropriate support to the efforts of the Government of the Gambia to restore the rule of law, reconciliation, and development for the citizens of the Gambia.”