Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter in the Security Council VTC meeting on Peace and Security in Africa (G5 Sahel), November 16

16.11.2020 - Speech

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Germany remains concerned about the complex and volatile security situation in the Sahel. Terrorist groups continue to be well organized and further expand their operational territory all over the region. We must reverse this trend.

We welcome the progress made by the G5 Joint Force and its partners regarding the build-up of capacities and the successful conduct of recent anti-terrorism operations. We encourage continued ownership and efforts by the G5-Joint Force, especially with a view to the development of its logistical capacities and increased efficiency. We particularly welcome ongoing and future support by bilateral partners and the African Union. Germany is ready to consider ways of how to increase support for the G5 Joint Force by the United Nations.

In this context, we express our full appreciation for the work of MINUSMA and the mission´s efforts to support the G5 Sahel Joint Force. We encourage the mission to make full use of available funds (such as EU funding) in its support for the Joint Force and to further operationalize its support for the G5 Sahel Joint Force.

It is important though that the Joint Force’s counter-terrorism activities are in compliance with human rights standards and international humanitarian law. Therefore, it remains key to further and fully operationalize the human rights compliance framework by implementing human rights due diligence as well as by conducting comprehensive investigations of potential human rights violations by the G5 Joint Force.

Closely linked to the volatile security environment, we regret that the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. More than 13 million people across the region are in need of humanitarian assistance. The Secretary General is right when he says: “the Sahel region is at a breaking point”. One positive element: it is encouraging that the international community gathered at the recent humanitarian Central Sahel conference hosted by Denmark, the EU, the UN and Germany and raised 1.7 billion USD.

This will not be sufficient in the long-term. That is why we reiterate the need for a truly integrated approach: it must simultaneously address development, security challenges, the fight against terrorist groups and the underlying causes of conflict.

And the integrated approach must strengthen governance and the rule of law. We would like to emphasize the importance of trust in state institutions. For instance, there is an undeniable need to help build civilian police capacities to achieve a trustworthy state presence. Germany is therefore supporting stabilization measures to strengthen domestic security via police cooperation and training as well as decentralization, local governance and basic services.

The integrated approach does not stop here. It also means that we need to help manage and mitigate the effects of climate change as the region is already hit disproportionally hard in this regard.

We welcome today’s briefing by the PBC´s Chair and the PBC´s continued engagement on the Sahel. It is extremely helpful to have the PBC apply its cross-pillar lens when engaging with the countries of the region.

We see a great amount of international support for the Sahel. Yet, let´s be clear: the international community must do better in coordinating and integrating this support.

The German-French P3S and Sahel Alliance initiatives are of paramount importance. The Sahel Alliance already united the biggest development donors in the Sahel and has become an important platform for donor coordination and exchange on development challenges with the G5 Sahel.

The Coalition for the Sahel, and more specifically the P3S, in close partnership with the G5 Sahel, provide the platform for such coordination. Within P3S, Germany will provide impetus to go beyond coordination to closer cooperation: we are developing multilateral instruments to support stabilization efforts in both Mali and the Sahel. These include stabilization facilities for the Lake Chad Region and the Liptako-Gourma region, the PATRIP foundation and a trust fund in support of security forces. We invite international partners to join.

In conclusion, we will need a smart combination of security measures, immediate stabilization efforts and long-term development programmes in order to bring stability to the region and help create resilient societies.

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