UN emphasizes collective engagement across Sahel region

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Security Council on Wednesday stressed, in a newly adopted presidential statement, the need to reinforce collective engagement across the Sahel region.

"UN Security Council stresses the need for strengthening collective engagement across the Sahel region, in line with existing frameworks, and in this regard welcomes the strengthened cooperation between the UN and the AU (African Union)," said the presidential statement on West Africa and the Sahel.

The adoption of the statement came ahead of a strategic review of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), and with its three-year mandate set to expire on Dec. 31.

"The Security Council expresses its deep concern about the continued deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel region and calls for a continued regional and international engagement to help these countries to address the peace and security challenges they face," the statement said.

The statement highlighted the severity of climate change and natural disasters, noting the Council "recognizes the adverse effects of climate change, ecological changes and natural disasters, including through drought, desertification, land degradation and food insecurity among other factors on the stability of West Africa and the Sahel region."

The Council reiterated its concern over the challenging security situation in West Africa and the Sahel, "notably threats posed by terrorism, maritime piracy, conflicts between pastoralists and farmers, and transnational organized crime, including trafficking in persons, arms and drugs and illegal exploitation of natural resources."

"The Security Council encourages the consolidation of ongoing political reforms in the region to prevent violence and instability, as well as progress in the area of national reconciliation in Sierra Leone and Liberia," the statement said.

"The Security Council underlines the need for the United Nations to sustain support in this regard including in non-mission settings, and welcomes the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund in sustaining peace and peacebuilding efforts," it said. Enditem

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