UNOWAS Magazine N9 – September 2019

Consolidating peace in West Africa and the Sahel is everyone’s responsibility

The State, civil society , regional and international partners, each one has a critical role to play in this long-term undertaking.

Looking at the region objectively enables us to grasp the extent of the challenges, their tenacity and their complexity. We are defied, increasingly on a daily basis, on the need for coherent action between all the actors, and on the commitment of all to embark on a dynamic of peace and prosperity in West Africa and the Sahel.

The members of the United Nations Security Council were right, following the presentation of the UN SecretaryGeneral’s report last July, to express their concern about the constant deterioration of the security and the humanitarian situation in the Sahel and to call upon regional and international actors to continue to mobilize support for these countries cope with the peace and security problems they face.

Terrorism, violent extremism, intercommunity conflict, climate change, illegal migration and its violence are challenges that now exceed the response capacity of states in the region. They can only be addressed through shared visions and coordinated approaches.

Undoubtedly, the effectiveness of the interventions of various regional and international actors to face these and many other challenges lies in the desire to integrate and involve each individualat the local, national and regional levelin an inclusive and engaged approach to peacebuilding, as formulated in the spirit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of “leaving no one behind”.

Women and youth represent the majority of humanity – and this is even more true in West Africa and the Sahel – they have a crucial role to play in different areas, including conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

There is an urgent need for women’s participation in all areas, especially in political decision-making processes, to become systematic.

This is the sense of the Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent ones, which will celebrate the twentieth anniversary next year.

The work so far accomplished by UNOWAS in collaboration with regional and international partners to support women, demonstrates the progress achieved in the countries of the region, but also underlines the need for increased vigilance and efforts to safeguard gains and further strengthen the participation of women and youth.

The Working Group Women, Youth, Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel (WGWYPS-AOS), which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary, is a good illustration of the active participation of women and youth of the region in the social, political and economic sphere.

Our support to this group and other actors in close collaboration with regional partners such as ECOWAS or G5 Sahel, is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure a greater participation of women and youth in the consolidation of peace in West Africa and the Sahel.

Source: UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel

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