Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations during the Security Council Briefing on Peace and security in Africa (the Sahel Strategy) (12 December 2013)

Thank you Mr. President,

We thank Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Special Representative of the Secretary General Romano Prodi, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and representatives of African Union and the European Union for their statements.

  1. We welcome the continued international focus on the Sahel region. The Secretary General has demonstrated deep personal commitment and leadership in this regard by first convening the High Level Meeting on the situation in the Sahel, on the margins of the 68th General Assembly, and then the recent joint visit to the Sahel region by the Secretary General and the President of the World Bank Group. along with the African Union, European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and African Development Bank.
  2. This is synergy in action. This has not only raised international awareness about the problems in the Sahel region but helped mobilize political and economic support to address them.
  3. We also appreciate the focused efforts made by the Special Envoy for his commendable work.

Mr. President,

  1. The Sahel region continues to face diverse challenges including weak governance, worsening humanitarian situation, food insecurity, adverse impact of climate change, rise in organized crime and youth unemployment. The speed and gravity of the crisis in Mali last year was a stark reminder of the underlying vulnerabilities and critical mass of marginalization that the region continues to suffer from. Furthermore, institutional shortcomings, capacity gaps and lack of resources faced by the countries of the region further extenuate these problems.
  2. As a member of the UN Security Council, Pakistan has persistently expressed grave concern over the rise of organized crime, including drug and weapons trafficking, and terrorism in West Africa and the Sahel and contributed towards the concerted efforts within the Council to address these threats. We have maintained that tackling these threats requires greater regional cooperation in border management, as well as justice and law enforcement sectors. Moreover, the international community in the short and the medium terms, must continue to provide effective assistance to the relevant countries and regional organizations to enable them to strengthen their state institutions, based on the principle of national ownership and in close consultation with concerned countries.
  3. The wider regional ramifications of the Libyan and Malian conflicts required a strategy that went beyond the conventional security and political responses. The region needed a new paradigm. The Security Council and the Secretary General, working together, have launched this new paradigm.
  4. The Sahel strategy encompassing governance security, humanitarian, human rights and developmental aspects, epitomizes that new and emerging paradigm in the international response. A very similar approach has been adopted for the Great Lakes Region in the form of the Peace, Security and Cooperation framework for the region, which already is giving dividends on ground.
  5. This new paradigm has not only been the recognizes that political and social instability is to a large extent a direct consequence of poverty, marginalization and deprivation and underscores no security or political strategy would succeed without adding the economic development dimension to the international response. We, therefore, welcome the newfound partnership between the World Bank and the United Nations in the Sahel region and hope that it would continue to become stronger in the years to come.

Mr. President,

  1. The real challenge is to implement this strategy to produce tangible results. This is not an easy task and will require strong and persistent support and commitments from both the international community as well as the regional countries. The international community at this critical juncture must step-up its efforts to fulfill its responsibilities towards the region, especially through mobilizing resources for the successful implementation of the strategy. At the same time, the regional states will have to demonstrate continued political will to implement their commitments and take advantage of this opportunity to translate this strategy into tangible and meaningful dividends for the region.
  2. We welcome the holding of the Ministerial meeting on the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, in Bamako, Mali on 5 November 2013 in this regard and express hope that it will help towards a coordinated approach towards the implementation of the Sahel strategy.
  3. On its part, Pakistan will continue to provide full political support to the UN Strategy and play its role both within and outside the UN Security Council for the long-term peace and stability in the Sahel region.
  4. Finally we thank Morocco for its the Presidential Statement on the Sahel region to be adopted at the end of this briefing and express our full support for it.

I thank you Mr. President.