Your Excellency, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission,
Your Excellency’s, briefers, Mr. Mar Dieye, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, Ms. Biha, Deputy SRSG; and Ms. Nayaya,
Distinguished representatives from regional and international organizations,
The EU remains committed to the Sahel, ever more so as its stability is under serious threat, as we have again seen in Chad, and the humanitarian and development situations are worsening.
The profound security crisis in the Sahel is the product of mutually reinforcing factors. These include extreme poverty, weak state institutions, an expansion of terrorist’ activity, intensification of intercommunal conflicts, impunity, exclusion of women and youth, climate change and demographic pressure.
Over the past years, the EU mobilised all its instruments: from political and diplomatic action, to humanitarian assistance, Common Security and Defence Policy missions, and significant development cooperation, amounting to 4.7 billion euro since 2014.
On 19 April, the EU adopted a revised Sahel Strategy, reaffirming the importance of the solid partnership between the EU and the Sahel. With this ambitious strategy, the EU intends to intensify its political efforts, based on the principle of mutual accountability.
One lesson that we drew is that the current violence is also the result of a governance crisis, of broken trust between governments and their citizens. To build and sustain peace, there is a need to mend this social contract by supporting democratic and accountable governance. An inclusive approach should be promoted, focused on political processes, root-causes of conflict and strengthening capabilities of governmental and non-governmental actors to build community resilience. Participation of youth and actions to ensure women’s rights are essential.
In line with efforts under the Sahel Coalition, the EU joins the Sahel in calling for a 'civil and political surge’ focused on stabilisation in articulation with prospects for sustainable social, environmental and economic development. This will depend on the state being present and able to provide equal access to basic public services, especially in fragile areas. Constituencies that face exclusion in society deserve more attention, to help build resilience to conflict and promote a peace culture. Together with the G5, the EU plays a key support role in operationalising this surge, given its responsibility for the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel and participation in the Sahel Alliance. The upcoming Summit of the Coalition will be a major milestone.
There is an evident need for fundamental reforms in the fight against impunity, strengthening democratic institutions, and decentralization. The protection of human rights remains at the heart of EU support, as will rule of law and anti-corruption. Recognizing past and emerging trends, the EU will continue to support efforts of Sahel partners in fighting terrorism and in effecting security sector reforms.
The EU is committed to strengthen the multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core, alongside regional organisations, especially the African Union, ECOWAS and G5 Sahel. Regional organisations can be the entry point to local and regional actors for peace. The mobilization and unity of the international community is fundamental: we must act together and speak with one voice. Multilateral cooperation is essential for peacebuilding, perhaps more in the Sahel than anywhere else, considering the wide range of actors involved.
There are many points of clear convergence between the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the EU Sahel Strategy, for instance on promoting access to justice, human rights and fight against impunity.
The EU pays tribute to the role of MINUSMA, in particular in supporting the Mali Peace Agreement, for which the EU and UN are members of the Follow-up Committee. We continue to accompany the operationalisation of the technical agreement between the EU, UN and G5 providing support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, as well as support to its human rights compliance framework. In parallel, the EU also stands ready to contribute to the reflection on stable and predictable funding for the Joint Force.
The EU welcomes the PBC Chair briefing to the UN Security Council on the G5 Sahel in May. This will help us promote a common analysis and an integrated approach, connecting the humanitarian, development and peace aspects, in particular at an operational level.
Finally, we closely follow developments in Mali and Chad. The announced transitions need to be inclusive, peaceful and with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and limited in time, allowing for the organisation of inclusive elections.