Security Council cites terrorism, deteriorating humanitarian conditions as challenges for West Africa

24 July 2017 &#150 The Security Council today welcomed recent positive political developments in some West African countries, but expressed concern over the threat of terrorism in the region.

&#8220The Security Council strongly condemns all terrorist attacks carried out in the region, in particular in Northern and Central Mali and the Lake Chad Basin region, notably by Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),&#8221 said the Security Council President for the month of July, Liu Jieyi, in a presidential statement.

On behalf of the Council, Mr. Liu expressed particular concern over attacks on civilians &#8211 the primary victims of terrorist violence &#8211 while underscoring the importance of a holistic approach to degrade and defeat the terrorists in compliance with international law.

&#8220The Security Council encourages Member States and multilateral partners to lend their support to the MNJTF (Multinational Joint Task Force) to ensure its full operationalization, including the provision of modalities to increase the timely and effective exchange of intelligence to further the region’s collective efforts to combat Boko Haram, whenever possible and appropriate,&#8221 said the statement.

The Council underscored its commitment to work through the UN Office in West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) to strengthen cooperation in addressing cross-border security threats and curbing the spread of terrorism.

&#8220The Security Council notes the collaboration undertaken between UNOWAS and the Peacebuilding Commission and encourages continued close and effective cooperation in support of sustainable peace in the region,&#8221 the statement stressed.

In tandem, it referenced the dire humanitarian situation caused by the terrorists&#39 activities in the Lake Chad Basin region and called the international community to &#8220immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria,&#8221 including by fulfilling the UN appeal for the Lake Chad Basin region.

The Council also urged regional governments to facilitate humanitarian access and to work with the UN in developing aid delivery options.

Turning to Côte d&#39Ivoire, the Council welcomed the progress made on peace, stability and economic prosperity following the 30 June closure of the UN Operation in the country (UNOCI) and emphasized the importance of UNOWAS&#39 engagement during the transition period.

Concerned about piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as the trafficking of humans, drugs and other illicit goods, the Council stressed the need to strengthen the fight against illicit activities in the sub-region.

The statement welcomed West African leadership in spearheading initiatives addressing terrorism challenges and encouraged collaboration between Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations, the UN and other stakeholders &#8220to enhance social cohesion and to address challenges to good governance.&#8221

It also welcomed positive political developments in several West African countries, particularly the free and transparent legislative elections on 6 April in the Gambia &#8211 commending the diplomatic efforts by ECOWAS Heads of State that resulted in the peaceful transition of power to the democratically elected President Adama Barrow.

The Council encouraged &#8220bilateral and multilateral partners to provide appropriate support to the efforts of the Government of the Gambia to restore the rule of law, reconciliation, and development for the citizens of the Gambia.&#8221

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Security Council Presidential Statement Concerned about Terrorist Threat in West Africa, Worsening Humanitarian Situation

The Security Council today welcomed recent positive political developments in some West African countries, but expressed concern over the threat of terrorism in the region — including attacks by Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) — as well as a worsening humanitarian situation.

Issuing presidential statement S/PRST/2017/10, the Council — taking note of the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) — welcomed in particular a peaceful transition of power in Gambia, as well as notable progress in Côte d’Ivoire to consolidate lasting peace and stability following the closure of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) on 30 June 2017.

According to the statement, the 15-nation Council encouraged bilateral and multilateral partners to support the Government of the Gambia to restore the rule of law, reconciliation and development, and underlined the need for UNOWAS to be engaged proactively during the transition under way in Côte d’Ivoire.

At the same time, the Council reiterated its concern over the situation in Guinea-Bissau, calling upon all its political leaders to uphold the Conakry Accord and commending efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to help find a way out of the political crisis there.

Turning to the issue of terrorism, the Council — welcoming efforts to mitigate the consequences of Boko Haram operations — encouraged Member States and multilateral partners to lend support to the Multinational Joint Task Force fighting that group, including through intelligence-sharing.

Reiterating deep concern over the dire humanitarian situation caused by Boko Haram and ISIL activities in the Lake Chad Basin, the Council also called on the international community to immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance to those most affected in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, including by fulfilling the United Nations appeal for that region.

Through the statement, the Council also welcomed the leadership of countries in West Africa and the Sahel in spearheading initiatives to address security challenges.  It also commended the engagement of UNOWAS with the African Union, ECOWAS, the Group of 5 for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel), the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Mano River Union to promote peace and stability in West Africa.

Acknowledging the impact of the situation in Mali on regional peace and security in the Sahel, the Council welcomed the deployment of the G-5 Sahel joint force (Force conjointe du G5 Sahel — FC-G5S) as well as financial support for that operation, as noted in Council resolution 2359 (2017).  It went on to encourage further progress by the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and expressed support for the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel and for UNOWAS in their efforts in that regard, while expressing concern over a lack of funds hampering three flagship projects.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 10:05 a.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2017/10 reads as follows:

“The Security Council takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Office in West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and welcomes the briefing on 13 July 2017 by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

“The Security Council expresses full support to the Special Representative and looks forward to efforts to enhance ongoing activities undertaken by UNOWAS in the areas of conflict prevention, mediation and good offices, subregional and regional cooperation to address cross-border and cross-cutting threats to peace and security, the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), as well as the promotion of good governance, respect for the rule of law and human rights, humanitarian access and assistance and gender mainstreaming.

“The Security Council welcomes the recent positive political developments in several West African countries, in particular the peaceful transition of power in the Gambia and the holding of free and transparent legislative elections on 6 April 2017.  In this regard, the Security Council commends the diplomatic efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State, supported by the SRSG, on the basis of Security Council resolution 2337 (2017), resulting in the peaceful transition of power to the democratically elected President Adama Barrow.

“The Security Council encourages bilateral and multilateral partners to provide appropriate support to the efforts of the Government of the Gambia to restore the rule of law, reconciliation, and development for the citizens of the Gambia.

“The Security Council reiterates its concern over the situation in Guinea-Bissau, calls upon all political leaders to uphold the provisions the Conakry Accords, and commends the efforts of ECOWAS to help find a way out of the political crisis.

“The Security Council welcomes the notable progress made by Côte d’Ivoire to consolidate lasting peace and stability, as well as economic prosperity, following the closure of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) on 30 June 2017 and underlines the need for UNOWAS to have a proactive engagement during the transition plan period.  In this regard, the Security Council reiterates its request in resolution 2284 (2016) and its S/PRST/2017/08 that UNOWAS make available its good offices, as necessary, to the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the United Nations Resident Coordinator and underscores the importance of continued support to Côte d’Ivoire during its transition process beyond UNOCI.

“The Security Council takes note of the adoption by ECOWAS Ministers on 10 February of four key documents to advance gender mainstreaming and the meaningful inclusion of women in political, peace and security processes.

“The Security Council expresses its concerns over the threats of terrorism, including widespread terrorist ideology in the region and their linkages to transnational organized crime, as well the worsening humanitarian situation in the region.  In this regard, the Security Council strongly condemns all terrorist attacks carried out in the region, in particular in Northern and Central Mali and the Lake Chad Basin region, notably by Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.  The Security Council stresses the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including by addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.  The Security Council expresses particular concern about attacks on civilians, who are the primary victims of this terrorist violence.

“The Security Council welcomes the subregional, regional and international efforts to mitigate the security, humanitarian and development consequences of Boko Haram’s operations.  The Security Council takes note of the progress made in the operationalization of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and urges the Members States participating in the MNJTF to further enhance regional military cooperation and coordination, deny haven to Boko Haram Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, secure the conditions to enable humanitarian access and facilitate the restoration of civilian security and the rule of law in liberated areas.  The Security Council reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular, international human rights laws, international refugee laws and international humanitarian law.

“The Security Council encourages Member States and multilateral partners to lend their support to the MNJTF to ensure its full operationalization, including the provision of modalities to increase the timely and effective exchange of intelligence to further the region’s collective efforts to combat Boko Haram, whenever possible and appropriate.  The Security Council underscores the importance of a holistic approach to degrade and defeat Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, whenever possible and appropriate, that includes coordinated security operations, conducted in accordance with applicable international law, as well as enhanced civilian efforts by regional governments to improve governance, re-establish schools and promote economic growth in the affected areas.

“The Security Council reiterates deep concern over the dire humanitarian situation caused by the activities of Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in the Lake Chad Basin region, in particular grave food insecurity and potential famine in some areas.  In this regard, the Security Council calls international community to immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, including by fulfilling the United Nations appeal for the Lake Chad Basin region.  It also urges regional governments to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations and to work with the United Nations and international partners to develop viable options for delivering aid.

“The Security Council welcomes the $458 million for humanitarian assistance pledged at the Oslo conference for 2017 and urges swift disbursement of these funds to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian crisis and to begin to address endemic development needs and strongly encourages all other/non-traditional donors to contribute in line with the needs highlighted in the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plans of each country.

“The Security Council further welcomes the Government of Nigeria’s announcement of its 2017 spending plans for north-east Nigeria which project total federal and state government expenditure of $1 billion on development and humanitarian activities, and urges swift implementation of these plans.

“The Security Council expresses continued concern about piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as the trafficking of drugs and other illicit goods, the smuggling of migrants and human trafficking and stresses the need to strengthen the fight against illicit activities in the subregion in accordance with applicable international law.

“The Security Council welcomes the leadership demonstrated by countries in West Africa and the Sahel in spearheading initiatives to address security challenges in the region and encourages further collaboration between Member States, regional and subregional organizations, relevant United Nations entities and with other relevant stakeholders to enhance social cohesion and to address challenges to good governance.

“The Security Council commends the engagement of UNOWAS with subregional and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, ECOWAS, the Group of 5 for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel), the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Mano River Union, in order to promote peace and stability in West Africa and the Sahel.  The Security Council remains committed to working closely with these organizations through UNOWAS to strengthen subregional and regional cooperation to address cross-border security threats and prevent the spread of terrorism.  In that respect, they welcome the assistance of UNOWAS to the efforts of the ECOWAS Commission to implement its Regional Framework for Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Governance and to promote a coordinated SSR approach in the region.

“The Security Council notes the collaboration undertaken between UNOWAS and the Peacebuilding Commission and encourages continued close and effective cooperation in support of sustainable peace in the region.

“The Security Council commends the efforts of the African Union and ECOWAS, as well as of Member States in West Africa and the Sahel to strengthen border security and regional cooperation, including through the G5 Sahel and the Nouakchott process on the enhancement of the security cooperation and the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahel and Sahara region.

“The Security Council Acknowledges the impact of the situation in Mali on the regional peace and security in the Sahel, West Africa and North African region and welcomes in this regard the deployment of the FC-G5S throughout the territories of its contributing countries, with up to 5,000 military and police personnel, with a view to restoring peace and security in the Sahel region.

“The Security Council also welcomes the financial support to the G5 Sahel force (FC-G5S) including, as noted OP.6 of the Security Council resolution 2359.

“The Security Council encourages further progress by the implementation of the UNISS, including through support to the G5, in order to assist in addressing the security and political challenges to the stability and development of the Sahel region and reaffirms its continued commitment to address such challenges, which are interrelated with humanitarian and development issues, as well as the adverse effects of climate and ecological changes, and, in this regard, highlights the need for adequate risk assessments and risk management strategies relating to climate change impacts.

“The Security Council expresses its support for SRSG Chambas and for the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in their efforts to implement the UNISS.  In this regard, the Council takes note of the UNISS Steering Committee meeting of 5 May 2017 to discuss ways to fast-track the recommendations of the independent review of the UNISS, and expresses concerns over lack of funds that has hampered the implementation of three important flagship projects, notably “Support for Resilient Pastoralism”, “Strengthening the resilience of mobile populations and vulnerable communities” and “Accelerating progress towards the economic empowerment of rural women to increase resilience in the Sahel”.

“The Security Council welcomes the efforts of UNOWAS to coordinate with countries of the region and all stakeholders, and to provide strategic leadership, guidance and direction to the United Nations system for the effective implementation of the UNISS, including its thematic focus, coordination arrangements, partnerships and distribution of responsibilities among United Nations entities in the field and at Headquarters and reiterates the importance of the continuing UNOWAS’ collaborative engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission.  The Security Council emphasizes in this context the importance that the United Nations and its partners enhance their programmatic capacity and focus to address cross-border challenges with a view to encouraging deeper integration and cooperation among the countries of Sahel.  The Security Council reiterates, in this regard, the importance of continuing UNOWAS’ collaborative engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission drawing on its convening role for achieving greater coherence and deeper financial and political commitments from the United Nations and its partners in the region.

“The Security Council requests UNOWAS to continue to monitor progress made in the implementation of the UNISS and to provide, in its next report, detailed information, in particular, on its efforts and initiatives to sustaining international engagement and develop programmatic coherence in the implementation of the UNISS, including through ensuring attention to all its pillars, and funding gaps, as well as streamlining and coordination of initiatives by international and regional actors in the Sahel region.”

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The Tangled Politics of Search and Rescue Operations in the Mediterranean

Since the early 1990s, North Africa has served as a jumping point for migrants trying to reach Europe. Then, as now, these are mixed migration routes where refugees and asylum seekers travel side by side with migrants in search of better economic opportunities. But as the numbers increased, from thousands to tens of thousands a year, debates over EU responsibility to rescue and save these migrants from drowning have become more contentious.

At the center of the current debate are the humanitarian NGOs trying to fill the gap left by the EU’s increasingly draconian migration policies.

Following the tragic capsize of a boat off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013 that killed more than 300 migrants, Italy launched Operation Mare Nostrum in October 2013. Led by the Italian Navy, the operation had a specific search and rescue mandate and worked near the Libyan coast, enabling the ships to rescue thousands of refugees and migrants attempting the dangerous central Mediterranean crossing. But the cost of the operation – estimated at 9 million Euros a month – fell solely to Italy. Despite repeated requests for additional funding from other EU member states, no funding emerged and Italy shut down Mare Nostrum in October 2014, just a year after it launched.

As the number of refugees and migrants crossing into Europe spiked in 2015, this debate over search and rescue continued. The head of Frontex, the EU border agency, explicitly stated that saving migrant lives was not a priority for the agency even as the number of deaths soared. In fact, the Frontex-led Operation Triton that replaced Italy’s Mare Nostrum specifically placed its mandate with border security rather than search and rescue. Likewise, none of the other three major EU and NATO operations taking place in the Mediterranean have a specific search and rescue mandate. Instead the Italian-led Operation Mare Sicuro is focused on protecting energy assets, NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian is focused on counter-terrorism and the EU’s Operation Sophia is mandated with battling human trafficking by targeting smuggling assets like boats — and thus stopping migrants before they can cross.

Because maritime law requires ships to respond to any other ship in distress, it is more than possible that migrants will be saved by ships participating in these various operations, particularly with Operation Sophia. But in the end, search and rescue remains a secondary concern and that is by design.

For many politicians throughout the EU, search and rescue operations are seen as encouraging migrant numbers while a higher death toll, as unfortunate as it may be, could serve as an effective deterrent.

In this setting, several NGOs stepped up to provide search and rescue operations within the international waters of the Mediterranean. The first project came about with the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) created by an Italian-American couple in 2014 who converted a fishing boat into a search and rescue boat operating off the Libyan coast. In the spring and summer of 2015 when the number of refugees crossing between Turkey and Greece spiked, several other NGOs followed the model, including the Belgian and Dutch chapters of Doctors Without Borders and Sea-Watch, a small German NGO. In 2016 as migrants increasingly opted for the more dangerous Central Mediterranean crossing over the Eastern route between Turkey and Greece, more European and international NGOs have joined in offering search and rescue services off the North African coast.

As a result, NGOs have saved tens of thousands of migrants who likely would have died, an estimated 41 per cent of those rescued according to UNHCR. Over Easter weekend this year alone, search and rescue boats saved more than 8,000 people from drowning. But even while alleviating the responsibility of governments to save migrants, the politics of search and rescue remain controversial and now those same NGOs find themselves in the crossfire.

Both European and Libyan officials have likened the NGO ship to “migrant taxis”, blaming the search and rescue operations for the continued crossings. Some Italian politicians and Frontex officials have gone as far as to accuse the NGOs as colluding with human traffickers even though a subsequent investigation found no evidence of this. In fact, a recent report warns that if NGOs are forced to stop search and rescue operations, a humanitarian catastrophe will most certainly result.

In the midst of this political quarrel is still Italy. Despite no longer conducting its own widespread search and rescue operation as it did with Mare Nostrum, Italian ports are still the primary destination for migrants rescued by NGOs. That is because most other EU member states have closed their borders, both by land and by sea. In the case of those picked up by Frontex as part of Operation Triton, they are required to go to Italian ports as part of the protocol initially agreed upon in 2014. As a result, Italy is at the center of the entire rescue framework. According to the International Organization for Migration by mid-July more than 93,000 migrants arrived in Italy in 2017 out of 111,000 migrant arrivals in the entire Mediterranean. And much like Greece before, the strain on Italy’s government and social service system is unsustainable.

The disproportionate nature of this burden led to Italy threatening to close its ports to all rescue ships late last month. The lack of burden sharing throughout the EU has been a repeated issue since migrant numbers first spiked in 2015. But despite multiple conferences, meetings, policy proposals and legal agreements, countries on the Mediterranean such as Italy and Greece are left to cope with the crisis themselves. And so the focus of anger and frustration falls back onto the NGOs who are bringing these migrants into port after rescuing them at sea.

Earlier this month the European Commission released an action plan designed to “support Italy, reduce pressure along the Central Mediterranean Route and increase solidarity.” The central tenants of the plan include stepping up support for the Libyan government to police its borders, expanding the number of detention beds and length of detention for migrants in Italy, and improving efforts to deport migrants. However one of the more controversial parts of the proposal is the new plan requiring NGOs to sign and abide by a “code of conduct” drafted by Italy in order to gain access to its ports. Once the proposed code went public last week, several NGOs and human rights groups warned it would led to further casualties rather than an improvement of the situation.

That is because the new code appears to extends the civil-military approach favored by the EU to NGOs who clearly laid out their humanitarian approach in their own voluntary code of conduct released earlier this year. It also places new burdens on smaller NGOs which make up six of the thirteen NGO ships currently operating in the Mediterranean. Ships of these smaller NGOs lack the capacity for full-scale complex search and rescue operations, and instead coordinate with other vessels – both civilian and military – in the area. By forcing them to operate alone, the new proposal will likely eliminate them from the picture and thus cut available search and rescue services by almost half.

The proposal is also being condemned by the UN. UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Route Vincent Cochetel voiced his disapproval shortly after the proposal aired. “If we want to talk about a code of conduct, no problem – but let’s have a code of conduct for everybody,” he said. Referring to allegations that commercial vessels are increasingly turning off their own transponders to avoid their obligations to respond to ships in distress, Cochetel instead proposes that any code of conduct should apply to all civilian and military ships in the area rather than just targeting NGOs.

For now, it is unclear what will happen next regarding the NGOs and their search and rescue operations. The political debate over search and rescue is not new, and in the Mediterranean it even predates the Lampedusa disaster. Any real solution will require political will that has been noticeably lacking in Europe for years.

Instead, the EU seems destined to continue pursuing half measures such as this week’s odd proposal to limit the sale of rubber boats to countries that may then export them to Libya. With or without those rubber boats, migrants will continue to try and cross the Mediterranean. The only question is who, if anyone, will be there to save them when they fail.

Discussion

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Headquarters to Host Forty-Fourth Meeting of Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf, 24 July to 8 September

NEW YORK, 19 July (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) ― The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will hold its forty-fourth session from 24 July to 8 September.

The first plenary part of the session will be held on 24 July and the second from 28 to 30 August and on 1 September, while the remainder of the time will be devoted to the technical examination of submissions at the Geographic Information Systems laboratories and other technical facilities of the Division.

This will be the first session of the Commission following the election of its members, held on 14 June at the twenty-seventh Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The following 20 members were elected for a term of five years commencing on 16 June 2017 and ending on 15 June 2022:  Adnan Rashid Nasser al-Azri (Oman), Lawrence Folajimi Awosika (Nigeria), Aldino Campos (Portugal), Wanda-Lee De Landro-Clarke (Trinidad and Tobago), Ivan F. Glumov (Russian Federation), Martin Vang Heinesen (Denmark), Emmanuel Kalngui (Cameroon), Wenzheng Lyu (China), Mazlan Bin Madon (Malaysia), Estevao Stefane Mahanjane (Mozambique), Jair Alberto Ribas Marques (Brazil), Marcin Mazurowski (Poland), Domingos de Carvalho Viana Moreira (Angola), David Cole Mosher (Canada), Simon Njuguna (Kenya), Yong Ahn Park (Republic of Korea), Carlos Marcelo Paterlini (Argentina), Clodette Raharimananirina (Madagascar), Toshitsugu Yamazaki (Japan) and Gonzalo Alejandro Yãnez Carrizo  (Chile).  At the request of the Group of Eastern European States, the election of one member of the Commission was postponed in order to allow for additional nomination(s) from that Group.

As to the workload of the forty-fourth session, eight subcommissions will continue to actively consider submissions made by the Russian Federation, in respect of the Arctic Ocean (partial revised submission); Brazil, in respect of the Brazilian Southern Region (partial revised submission); France and South Africa jointly, in respect of the area of the Crozet Archipelago and the Prince Edward Island; Kenya; Nigeria; France, in respect of La Réunion Island and Saint‑Paul and Amsterdam Islands; Côte d’Ivoire; and Sri Lanka.  A newly established subcommission will commence the examination of the submission made by Portugal.

Additionally, the Commission will further consider the course of its action with regard to the draft recommendations relating to the submission made by Norway in respect of Bouvetøya, which were put to vote at the forty-third session and were not approved.  It will also continue its consideration of the draft recommendations relating to the submission made by Seychelles in respect of the Northern Plateau region.

A further Press Release will be issued shortly regarding the election, on the first day of the forty-fourth session of the Commission, of the officers of the Commission, namely its Chair and Vice-Chairs and the appointment of members of the Commission to the subcommissions and other subsidiary bodies.

Background

The Commission is a body of 21 experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography, which was established pursuant to article 2, annex II to the Convention.  Members of the Commission are elected for a term of five years by the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention from among their nationals having due regard to the need to ensure equitable geographical representation.  They serve in their personal capacities.

The Convention provides that the State Party which submitted the nomination of a member of the Commission shall defray the expenses of that member while in performance of Commission duties.  However, the participation of several members of the Commission from developing countries has been facilitated by financial assistance from a voluntary trust fund for the purpose of defraying the cost of participation of the members of the Commission from developing countries.  With respect to the 2017 sessions, support to these members has been possible and will continue thanks to generous contributions received so far from Canada, China, Iceland, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation.

The Commission makes recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured, based on information submitted to it by coastal States.  These recommendations are based on the scientific and technical data and other material provided by States in relation to the implementation of article 76 of the Convention.  The recommendations do not prejudice matters relating to the delimitation of boundaries between States with opposite or adjacent coasts, or prejudice the position of States that are parties to a land or maritime dispute, or application of other parts of the Convention or any other treaties.  The limits of the continental shelf established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations shall be final and binding. In the case of disagreement by the coastal State with the recommendations of the Commission, the coastal State shall, within a reasonable time, make a revised or new submission to the Commission.

As required under the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, the executive summaries of all the submissions, including all charts and coordinates, have been made public by the Secretary‑General through continental shelf notifications circulated to Member States of the United Nations, as well as States Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The executive summaries are available on the Division’s website at www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/clcs_home.htm.  The summaries of recommendations adopted by the Commission are also available on the above-referenced website.

For additional information on the work of the Commission, please visit the website of the Division at www.un.org/depts/los/index.htm.

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Eighteen Nominations and Two Withdrawals Sent to the Senate Today

NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:

Kurt G. Alme, of Montana, to be United States Attorney for the District of Montana for the term of four years, vice Michael W. Cotter, resigned.

Annemarie Carney Axon, of Alabama, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama, vice Sharon Lovelace Blackburn, retired.

Peter Henry Barlerin, of Colorado, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Cameroon.

John J. Bartrum, of Indiana, to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, vice Ellen Gloninger Murray.

Liles Clifton Burke, of Alabama, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama, vice C. Lynwood Smith, retired.

Stephen Censky, of Missouri, to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, vice Krysta L. Harden, resigned.

Donald Q. Cochran, Jr., of Tennessee, to be United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee for the term of four years, vice David Rivera, resigned.

Russell M. Coleman, of Kentucky, to be United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky for the term of four years, vice David J. Hale, resigned. 

Peter E. Deegan, Jr., of Iowa, to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa for the term of four years, vice Kevin W. Techau, resigned.

Michael Dourson, of Ohio, to be Assistant Administrator for Toxic Substances of the Environmental Protection Agency, vice James J. Jones.

J. Cody Hiland, of Arkansas, to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas for the term of four years, vice Christopher R. Thyer, resigned.

Daniel J. Kaniewski, of Minnesota, to be Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, vice Timothy W. Manning.

Joseph Kernan, of Florida, to be Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, vice Marcel John Lettre, II.

Marc Krickbaum, of Iowa, to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa for the term of four years, vice Nicholas A. Klinefeldt, resigned.

Brian J. Kuester, of Oklahoma, to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma for the term of four years, vice Mark F. Green, resigned.     

Hester Maria Peirce, of Ohio, to be a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission for a term expiring June 5, 2020, vice Luis Aguilar, resigned.

Guy B. Roberts, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense, vice Andrew Charles Weber.

R. Trent Shores, of Oklahoma, to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma for the term of four years, vice Danny Chappelle Williams, Sr., resigned.

WITHDRAWALS SENT TO THE SENATE: 

James Clinger, of Pennsylvania, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for a term of six years, vice Jeremiah O’Hear Norton, resigned, which was sent to the Senate on June 19, 2017.

James Clinger, of Pennsylvania, to be Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for a term of five years, vice Martin J. Gruenberg, term expiring, which was sent to the Senate on June 19, 2017.

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Achim Steiner, UNDG Chair: Opening speech at UNDG side event at the 2017 High Level Political Forum: The SDGs in Action: Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Inclusive Prosperity in a Changing World

Achim Steiner, UNDG Chair: Opening speech at UNDG side event at the 2017 High Level Political Forum: The SDGs in Action: Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Inclusive Prosperity in a Changing World

Jul 17, 2017

The 2030 Agenda provides a unique opportunity to put the whole world on a more prosperous and sustainable development path. Credit: UNDP.

As prepared for delivery.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the UN Development Group, I am pleased to welcome you to this side event. It focuses on the “SDGs in Action”, and how countries are taking concrete measures to achieve the global goals by 2030.

The 2030 Agenda raises the bar of ambition beyond development frameworks of the past. It is universal in application, and its underlying motivation is to transform our world, in the way we live, work, and do business. This is about building low carbon, climate resilient, peaceful and inclusive societies of the future.

The challenge is formidable but today’s event will show that the commitments of the 2030 Agenda are being translated into action.

Indeed, over the past two years, we have seen SDG implementation take off in every development setting. Countries are aligning their national development plans and government programmes with the SDG targets and building their capacity to work across sectors in a more coordinated way. They are assessing bottlenecks to progress, and identifying innovative ways of financing SDG achievement.

This is clearly manifested in the scope of countries’ SDG Roadmaps. In Jamaica, for example, the SDG roadmap is focused on expanding social protection programmes; promoting health through disease prevention; and improving justice and police systems.  We see a similar momentum in the Voluntary National Reviews being presented this year – already double the number of those that volunteered last year.

In a strong signal to the rest of the world, some of the most inspiring examples of SDG action come from countries in complex situations. These include countries recovering from the effects of pandemics; those addressing the risks posed by natural hazards such as earthquakes and flooding; the collapse of commodity prices; as well as countries working to establish the conditions for peace and development despite violent conflict.

The three countries that were worst affected by the Ebola outbreak, for example, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, have taken concrete measures to foster rapid return to a sustainable development path – and are doing so in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

During our discussion today, we will be giving special attention to the challenges, and opportunities, faced by countries in complex situation as they put the SDGs into action.

The role of the UN development system

Successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires coherent and integrated support from the UN development system.

This is the raison d’être of the UNDG in this new era: a partnership of over 30 UN entities that pool their expertise and operational capacities to help deliver on the promise of the SDGs.

In line with the Secretary-General’s vision for the UN, ‘integration’ also means better connecting our efforts across the peace and security, human rights and development pillars of the organization. The overall emphasis is on the principle of ‘prevention’ – prevention of natural disasters, conflicts, human rights abuses, and economic and financial shocks.

Some 114 governments have already requested support from UN Country Teams in achieving the SDGs.  And we are responding in two crucial ways:

1) Guided by the UNDG’s Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support – or MAPS – approach, we work with national authorities to speed the pace and advance Agenda 2030 concretely.

While the first year of 2030 Agenda implementation focused on laying the ground work by integrating (or ‘mainstreaming’) the Agenda in national plans and governance structures, countries are now increasingly looking to design policies and build partnerships that can accelerate progress.

In Somalia, for example, the Government is focused on establishing a sustainable peace after decades of violence and is now moving ahead with the implementation of its national development plan. By re-establishing basic services for people based on justice, security and inclusion, Somalia is accelerating the conditions for a sustainable development pathway.

2) We focus on providing joint support from across the UN system especially for complex and crisis-affected contexts.  By working together, the UN is better able to support our national partners. 

The UN development system has a strong commitment to partnerships with humanitarian stakeholders, specifically on the New Way of Working that was agreed at the World Humanitarian Summit last year.

Together with the World Bank and humanitarian partners, we are focused on support to Yemen as the people face a crisis of an increasingly complex and dangerous nature.  And through Recovery and Peacebuilding planning, the UN, European Union and the World Bank have been working with Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria and others to address the needs of populations affected by conflict and violent extremism. 

Together, we ensure joint support to rule of law and security sectors in 19 crisis affected countries, for example in The Gambia following the recent political transition.

These types of joint initiatives exemplify how the UN should support partners in implementing the SDGs.

Building on these approaches, I would like to offer three guiding principles, which I believe are essential in these efforts:

1) The need to pursue an integrated approach versus “cherry-picking” priority areas: here the UN can help identify synergies and trade-offs in different country contexts to determine interventions that yield benefits across several SDGs;

2) The critical importance of leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first: here the UN can help countries better understand and address inequalities in all their forms; and,

The imperative of risk-informed development: to mitigate adverse effects for example of natural disasters, economic crises and violent conflict. In this regard, I note the strong conceptual linkages between the 2030 Agenda and sustaining peace.  Both agendas have Member States firmly in the lead and the UN is committed to working in a more unified, efficient and effective manner to support their implementation.

Based on these three principles, the UNDG has pulled together a collection of approaches in an “SDG Acceleration Toolkit”. We will be hearing more about that at the end of this session.

In conclusion

In conclusion, let me stress that this is the first time in history that all countries are guided by one common development agenda. This is a unique opportunity to put the whole world on a more prosperous and sustainable development path.

I look forward to an inspiring discussion and to hear about different pathways to ensure that the SDGs are achieved for everyone, everywhere.

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