|Statement by Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu, President of the Security Council, at the Opening Segment of the PBC Annual Session|
Ambassador Ion Jinga, Chair of the PBC,
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed,
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, I thank Ambassador Jinga, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), for inviting me to address the opening segment of the PBC Annual Session in my capacity as President of the Security Council.
We welcome the decision by the Chair of PBC to choose "Peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the Sahel region" as the theme of this annual session. The multidimensional challenges that the Sahel countries face require a comprehensive approach. The PBC, with its membership elected by the General Assembly, Security Council and ECOSOC, is the appropriate forum to discuss this issue. From the perspective of the Security Council, I would like to make the following points:
First, on the security situation. The security situation in the Sahel region continues to deteriorate. We are deeply concerned regarding the transnational threat posed by terrorism and organized crime, including trafficking in persons, arms, drugs and natural resources, and the smuggling of migrants, in the Sahel region, and strongly condemn all the activities of terrorist organizations in the Sahel region. We welcome the leadership demonstrated by countries in the Sahel in spearheading initiatives to address security challenges in the region and commend their efforts to strengthen border security and regional cooperation, as well as to address the impact of terrorism and transnational organized crime.
Second, on UN Integrated Strategy on the Sahel (UNISS). At the request of the Security Council by its Resolution 2056(2012), the UN Secretary-General submitted the UNISS in June 2013. In its Support Plan for the Sahel, the UN Secretariat further defines the priority areas. We welcome this effort to give renewed impetus to the implementation of the UNISS, with a view to ensuring better coordination and efficiency of the international response to the needs of the people and communities of the Sahel region, and call upon donors to mobilize their efforts and align their activities on these key priorities and objectives.
Third, on the PBC's role. The PBC's convening role in peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts is important. In this regard, to better help the countries of the Sahel, the PBC can further its collaboration with UNOWAS, in mobilizing deeper commitment and partnership between the UN system, the countries of the Sahel and other regional and international partners, including International Financial Institutions.
Finally, on the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The G5 Sahel Joint Force demonstrates determination of the G5 Sahel States to unite their efforts to address the impact of terrorism and transnational organized crime in the Sahel region. Its efforts to counter the activities of terrorist groups and other organized criminal groups will contribute to creating a more secure environment in the Sahel region. The G5 Sahel States have been making great efforts towards the full and effective operationalization of the Joint Force, and made progress towards the institutionalization of the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat. We encourage the G5 Sahel States to continue to take appropriate measures in order for the Joint Force to reach its full operational capacity as soon as possible, and encourage donors and partners to make further contribution.
As described in the UN Support Plan for the Sahel, this region is "A Land of Opportunities". Let us work hand in hand to help the Sahel region and its people reach their full potential and realize peace and prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.