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UNOWAS Magazine N11 - June 2020

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An active and coordinated response is necessary to fight COVID-19

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our habits. Faced with an unprecedented global health crisis, it was imperative that we adapt quickly while at the same time putting the necessary means in place to deal with this crisis.
As a major regional actor in West Africa and the Sahel, our office, UNOWAS, took the necessary measures from the very beginning of the crisis through an effective and coordinated response.

First, at the internal level, through its Crisis Management Team, UNOWAS took swift action to protect its staff, while putting in place administrative and logistical arrangements to ensure continuity in the implementation of its mandate.
The measures taken by UNOWAS, which are reviewed regularly, are part of a coordinated UN system-wide response with the Senegalese authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN entity in charge of managing the COVID-19 crisis.

While protecting our staff, we, like the other United Nations agencies, not only continued our commitment, but also supported the efforts of the countries of the sub-region in their fight against the spread of the pandemic.

In the face of a pandemic that knows no borders, no religion, and no ethnicity, it was necessary - and still is- to act in unity and solidarity to defeat the COVID-19 and start the post-pandemic stage.

This is the sense of the UNOWAS approach under the leadership of the Special Representative, Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

Several activities and commitments have been undertaken - and others are ongoing - with the countries of the sub-region and various regional and international partners to support and strengthen solidarity-based responses that integrate the protection of vulnerable populations and take into account respect for human rights.

At a time when many countries in the world and in our sub-region are beginning to lift the restrictive measures imposed since the beginning of the crisis, it is very important that we maintain our vigilance and continue, with patience and solidarity, to respect the health protection measures to put an end to this pandemic.

This editorial is being written as I arrive at the end of my career with the United Nations and I leave the United Nations with a strong conviction that multilateralism is necessary to respond to the critical challenges the world faces.