Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), presented Thursday to the Security Council his activity report covering the period from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017.
During the second semester of 2017, political tensions relating to constitutional reform and political dialogue processes in Guinea, Mauritania, Niger and Togo took centre stage in those countries.
Elections were held in Liberia and Senegal. Some progress was made in key reform processes in Burkina Faso and The Gambia. Nevertheless, the security situation in West Africa and the Sahel remained fragile.
In his briefing, Mr. Ibn Chambas focused on the worrying security situation in the Sahel and in the Lake Chad Basin. He said Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria have intensified since September 2017 with the use of children as suicide bombers which has increased fivefold in 2017.
“The comprehensive response of the region to address the Boko Haram threat must be supported by the international community,” said Ibn Chambas.
He also stressed the importance of complementing security responses by measures to enhance governance, boost economic development, and strengthen resilience of the people of the Sahel as articulated in the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.
Ibn Chambas congratulated the people of Liberia on the peaceful election of their new president. “Further attention now needs to be paid to forthcoming elections in Sierra Leone and Guinea,” he said. On Togo, the Special Representative welcomed the mediation efforts by the Presidents of Ghana and Guinea and pointed out that the lack of consensus on the implementation of constitutional reforms could threaten the holding of legislative and local elections in 2018.