Insecurity in the tri-border area of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger continues to grow, a senior United Nations peace operations official told the Security Council today, highlighting the urgent need to strengthen support and advance the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region, as members discussed the appropriate scope of that response.
Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, briefing the 15-nation organ on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation in the Sahel (document S/2023/328), said that the security situation in the region remains worrying, with non-State armed groups continuing to carry out large-scale attacks against civilian and military targets, among other things. However, progress has been made in the operationalization of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) joint force in coordination of operations, following Mali’s withdrawal.
Still, insecurity in the tri-border area continues to deteriorate, she reported. With the expiry of the Tripartite Agreement among the European Union, G5 Sahel and the United Nations in June, the logistical and operational support from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to the joint force would cease to be in effect.
Eric Tiaré, Executive Secretary of the Group of Five for the Sahel, citing the joint force’s Concept of Operations — drafted by military experts with an eye towards optimal security results — underscored the need for sustainable funding and for the mobilization of all forces to uproot terrorist groups.
Aïssatou Diouf, Enda Energy, and Coordinator of the Climate Action Network for West and Central Africa, highlighted the intrinsic link between climate change and security, describing the former as a source of various phenomena causing tension, violence and conflict in the Sahel.
In the ensuing debate, Council members expressed concern about the disturbing security situation in the region, as well as the critical humanitarian situation and the need for continued coordination to address challenges affecting the region, particularly terrorism.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 11:50 a.m.