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Joint A3 statement on the situation in the Central African Region

Joint A3 statement (Ghana, Kenya, Gabon)

By H.E Michel Xavier BIANG,

Ambassador, Permanent Representative

June 08, 2022

Security Council

Madam President,

1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the A3 members of the Security Council: Ghana, Kenya and my own country Gabon.

2. We pay a warm tribute to Mr. François Louncény Fall who has reached the end of his mandate as SRSG. We commend him for the work he accomplished over the past 5 years as the head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).

3. We thank him for his dedication and commitment in working with all the countries of the region, political actors, civil society and partners, to strengthen cooperation among the countries of Central Africa and the United Nations for a peaceful region.

4. We thank the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Ms. Martha POBEE, and ECCAS President, M. Gilberto Da Piedade Verrissimo for their briefing. We welcome the PBC advisory on this meeting.

Madam President,

5. Our statement will dwell on the political, security and humanitarian situation in the region.

6. At the political level, the A3 welcomes the measures taken by several countries in the sub-region to prepare for the next elections to be held between 2022 and 2023.

7. These elections represent an opportunity for Central Africa region to consolidate its democratic gains. We welcome the smooth progress of these preparations and encourage the authorities to continue taking all necessary measures to deliver free, credible, transparent, and inclusive elections.

8. We acknowledge the active participation of women and youth in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding and call for their greater involvement in the ongoing electoral processes.

9. We encourage the organization of inclusive national dialogues involving all stakeholders, in countries plagued by intense political tensions. Successful national dialogue can contribute significantly to reducing social and political tensions and to providing peaceful solutions to the expectations of the populations.

10.In this regard, we welcome Chad's organization of the pre-dialogue in Doha and hope that this discussion platform will pave the way for an inclusive peace agreement. The envisaged agreement should integrate a DDR programme for armed groups present in Chad as well as returning fighters from neighbouring countries in particular, Libya.

11.We call for the full implementation of all the recommendations emanating from these forums of dialogue. In this regard, we note with satisfaction the actions of the Government of Cameroon, which have led to the adoption of measures in terms of consolidating the decentralization process and strengthening the capacities of local institutions.

Mr. President,

12. The A3 welcomes the strengthening of relations among the Member States of the region and encourages this positive dynamic of constant dialogue, enhanced cooperation and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

13.We encourage the diplomatic engagements between Burundi and Rwanda aimed at improving their bilateral relations and strengthen cooperation.

14.We welcome the lifting of the financial and budgetary sanctions imposed by the European Union on Burundi, which reflects positively the progress observed in the country.

15.The A3 welcomes the ongoing Nairobi process aimed at addressing the decades long insecurity caused by armed groups in Eastern DRC. We reiterate our call to all these groups to unconditionally lay down their arms and participate in the inter-Congolese consultation.

16.The A3 is however concerned with emerging tensions between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. We reiterate the call of Chairman of the African Union, for the resolution of the differences through diplomatic channels, with the support of regional mechanisms. We welcome the mediation initiated by Angola in this regard.

17.The A3 highlights the importance of strengthening cooperation between governments in the region and regional, subregional and international organizations. This is critical in improving coordination and creating synergies with international partners.

18. In view of the challenges facing Africa, we encourage harmonization of UNOCA and UNOWAS efforts, to improve coordination in tackling cross cutting issues including maritime security and the fight against terrorism and organized crime.

19.We also welcome the close cooperation between UNOCA and ECCAS. In this regard, it is the wish of ECCAS countries that the Security Council reaches a compromise for the quick adoption of the PSRT in effective support of the mandate of UNOCA.

Mr. President, concerning security,

20.The region faces complex and multidimensional challenges that need to be addressed. These include terrorism and violent extremism, cross-border crime, the persistence of armed groups, maritime insecurity, illicit exploitation of natural resources, and intercommunal clashes, exacerbated by the growing effects of climate change.

21.Noting the decrease in acts of maritime piracy, the A3 welcomes the decision taken at the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on 19 January 2022 to organize its 1st Maritime Conference. In this regard, we commend the Council for the successful adoption of the maritime piracy resolution in the Gulf of Guinea.

22.We also welcome the strengthening of the ECCAS peace and security architecture and the measures to promote structural conflict prevention in the subregion.

23.While we welcome the just concluded African Union Summit which focused on the fight against terrorism, the threat in some countries in Central African region is worrying.

24.The tenacity of terrorist groups such as Daesh, Boko Haram, and ADF despite the security measures taken by States, continues to have a negative impact on the lives of the populations and undermining the economic development of the countries of the region.

25.We welcome the determination of Cameroon, Chad and the DRC to fight these terrorist groups and welcome the voluntary surrender of 6,000 ex-combatants mostly linked to Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin over the past few months.

26.The A3 calls for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address the root causes of this scourge in the countries of the region. We welcome the decision during the last African Union Summit, to reactivate the Sub-committee of the Peace and Security Council responsible for combating terrorism.

Mr President,

27.The A3 condemns in the strongest terms the persistent attacks against civilian populations, United Nations personnel and humanitarian workers. We particularly deplore, the use of explosive devices, attacks on schools and hospitals by armed groups as well as terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin and Congo Basin regions. The groups must immediately stop the attacks

28.We commend the continued efforts of humanitarian actors to provide assistance to those in need in spite of the insecurity. We echo the Secretary-General's call on international partners to further support the funding of humanitarian response plans in the region.

29.The A3 underscores the centrality of climate change as an aggravating factor in the humanitarian crisis for countries in the Central Africa region by undermining peace and security. We reiterate that the planet is heavily reliant on the Congo Basin rainforest, one of the last net remaining carbon sink globally hence the urgent need to preserve it.

30.Mr President, we all know that global warming, drought, desertification and natural disasters resulting from bad weather, under the combined effect of rising sea levels, floods and other related phenomena are pushing millions of people into extreme poverty. These increasingly recurrent climatic phenomena in Central Africa have negative consequences on agricultural production. It is therefore imperative that the international community respect its commitments to finance adaptation and mitigation policies.

31.We support the efforts of the relevant United Nations bodies, and more particularly UNOCA, to systematically integrate the dimensions related to climate change and natural resource management into conflict prevention, mediation, peacebuilding and development processes.

32.In conclusion, the A3 reiterates its support for the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa team and looks forward to the early appointment of the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

Thank you.

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