UNOWAS, an active and mobilized partner to support countries of the sub-region
Mahamat Saleh ANNADIF
of the United Nations Secretary General
for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS)
“UNOWAS will continue to act in close coordination with the countries of the subregion, the United Nations system, and regional and international partners, to make West Africa and the Sahel an area of peace and development
West Africa and the Sahel is a region facing two recurring realities: on the one hand, the persistence of multiple challenges that hamper its development, and on the other, the existence of human and material resources, necessary to development.
These two realities arouse frustrations, and engender fatalism, because the challenges persist, and the means likely to contain them, do not give the expected results.
Indeed, the persistence of challenges can be seen and experienced every day. This is the case with insecurity and the terrorist threat, violent extremism, drug trafficking and organized crime of all kinds, climate change and its impact on the populations’ living conditions and security.
In addition, despite notable progress noted in all the countries of the sub-region, which must be welcomed and supported, there are political tensions and crises, often linked to elections, the lack of consensus on political and institutional reforms.
But people in West Africa and the Sahel, especially young people and women, yearn for a better life and future, and continue to ask for more development, social justice, the rule of law and security. We must – all together - raise our level of commitment to meet this legitimate and vital expectation if we are to change this reality and protect future generations.
Since taking office as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, last May, I have intensified meetings and consultations with various actors as well as national, regional and international partners to reaffirm the support of the United Nations in general, and of UNOWAS in particular, to the countries of the sub-region in their fight against the multiple challenges mentioned above, and to encourage them to stay mobilized to further consolidate peace and stability.
It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic, added to the already full list of challenges, has had a severe impact on the economies of the countries of the sub-region, and has disrupted their development programs.
Undoubtedly, the momentum of international solidarity displayed since the beginning of the health crisis will have to be maintained and - even reinforced - to help the countries of the sub-region curb this pandemic and its consequences, both health and socialeconomic.
This ordeal, as difficult as it is, is also an opportunity to revitalize our commitments in favor of development, good governance, and the consolidation of peace and democracy.
UNOWAS, through its activities and its role entrusted to it by the United Nations Security Council, will continue to act in close coordination with the countries of the sub-region, the United Nations system, and regional partners and international organizations, so that West Africa and the Sahel become a space of peace and development.