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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 15th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Security Council briefing on peace and security in Africa.
Thursday, December 12, 2013

The session dealt with Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Tchad – the countries visited by Mr. Ban Ki-moon. He did not go to Mauritania or Senegal.

The Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon said:

I came back from the visit with a clear sense that we need to do much more to fight poverty, empower women, provide employment opportunities for young people and ensure that all the people of the Sahel have what they need to build a better future.

The Sahel’s vast size and long, porous borders mean that such challenges can be addressed successfully only if the countries of the region work together.  The United Nations will continue its efforts to promote security, good governance and resilience.

We took an important first step in Mali at the regional meeting.  African ministers, as well as regional and international organizations and financial institutions, came together to improve coordination and address the Sahel’s fragility.  They welcomed the African Development Bank’s establishment of an Action Fund, which will help jump-start underfunded projects and contribute to longer-term development.
Going forward, the ministers will meet twice each year to calibrate responses to the Sahel’s challenges. Mr. M. Tete Antonio representing the African Union presented the organization’s views.

During the visit, the World Bank, and the EU, pledged $8.2 Billion for the SAHEL.

 The Secretary-General also had a very moving visit to Timbuktu, he said.  People there are struggling to recover from human rights abuses and upheaval.  I was given an opportunity to view the cultural treasures that had been damaged in attacks.  This was a terrible loss for Mali — and for our common global heritage — but with UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) help, we are moving to safeguard it.
I condemn all attacks against places of worship and call for reconciliation and accountability.

We must continue to strengthen MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali).   Mali has made progress toward re-establishing constitutional order.  The first round of legislative elections was conducted in an orderly manner.  But the political process between the Government and armed groups has been delayed.  I remain concerned about the security situation in the north.

 

Further – “Across the region, terrorist acts, the trafficking of arms, drugs and people, as well as other transnational forms of organized crime, are threatening security.  We must do more to address the food crises that plague the Sahel.  We also have to improve conditions in migrants’ communities of origin while also generating more legal opportunities for migrants to work abroad” – he said.

To put all this into context – we say the situation in this French-speaking belt of Sub-Saharan Africa – is  totally unacceptable.
The lack of positive outside involvement, and an extortive National Governments’ presence, the land is left to marauders and outside trouble-makers who take aim at the larger and richer  countries of the Arab belt of North Africa – Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt. It was through the Sahel that forces fighting the Arab Spring found their way to the North and illegal traffic by those that also control the Sahel made it impossible to do any positive work in the region.

We wait to hear of any projects that help the people there rather then the banks that manage those projects.

Nevertheless – the UNSG continued – “I look forward to the views of Council members on how we can achieve this.  And I count on all partners to live up to our promises so that this important region can break the cycle of poverty and insecurity and usher in an era of prosperity and stability for all.” This prompted statements from some delegations.

Now seeing what the Council said we would not express hopes that the Council intends to do anything about the Sahel.

it is indeed very cheap to say: “The Security Council reaffirms its continued commitment to address the complex security and political challenges in that region, which were interrelated with humanitarian and developmental issues, as well as the adverse effects of climate and ecological changes.”  We ask – indeed gentlemen – what does this mean to you and what do you intend to  do?

All right – there is a reference to a document – S/PRST/2013/20 and then what? So, yes, there is a call to the local governments – but who indeed expects them to act? What are we entitled to expect from this UN?

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