Statement by Amb. Schulz at the UN Security Council meeting on UNOWAS – January 10, 2018

10.01.2019 - Speech

(check against delivery)

Core messages

  • Encourage UNOWAS to strengthen cooperation with actors in the UN system, ECOWAS, LCBC and ECCAS, and sub-regional organizations. Sound international coordination key element of success.
  • Germany’s strategic focus on crisis prevention: need long-term sustainable development, economically, socially and environmentally, also after transitions and mission exits, effective use of the Peacebuilding Commission as an advisory body to the Council.
  • Promotion and protection of human rights integral part of this prevention effort; counter-terrorism operations must comply with international humanitarian and human rights law.
  • Remain deeply concerned about the adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes on the stability of Western Africa, the Sahel and Lake Chad region, therefore intensify our own activities and welcome ongoing work by UNOWAS on the analysis on climate-related security risks in West Africa and the Sahel. Council needs to take this into account and follow up.
  • Situation of women and girls as well as youth is particularly worrisome, who are exposed to abductions, detention and sexual violence by extremist groups.
  • Serious concerns about increasingly complex and coordinated attacks conducted in the region, also by Boko Haram.
  • Essential that we effectively counter the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the region.

Further points:

Strengthen cooperation

  • Germany co-hosted a High-Level Conference in Berlin on the Lake Chad Region together with Nigeria, Norway and the UN in September 2018, over 2 billion USD were pledged. Conference showed relevance of humanitarian-development-peace nexus and contributed to the implementation of UNSCR 2349.
  • Regional cross-border cooperation is key to success. We welcome the adoption of the regional stabilization strategy of Lake Chad Basin Commission and African Union.  This strategy will be essential for future cooperation.

Strategic focus on crisis prevention

  • Strong support for efforts by UNOWAS and SRSG Chambas to support African initiatives for sustaining regional peace.
  • Appreciate holistic approach (mediation, reform processes, human rights and support to transparent, credible and peaceful elections while urging States to ensure that basic democratic principles and preconditions are fulfilled).
  • Germany one of the largest contributors to conflict prevention and peacebuilding and development activities within the UN system.
  • Small arms and light weapons are all too wide-spread in the region. Essential that we support regional initiatives. This is why we provide comprehensive support for the control of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa as part of our strategic cooperation with the ECOWAS Commission and in building local capacity in Mali, Niger and Nigeria.
  • Successful closure of the missions in Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire possible  role models for future transitions and exits, BUT:  must  consider long-term sustainable development, human rights implementation, and stabilization
  • Concerned about:
    • lack of effective participation of civil society and opposition in democratic processes
    • arrests of human rights defenders,
    • violations of freedom of expression and assembly in a number of West and Central African countries;
    • lack of independent control mechanisms in elections.

Advisory Role of the Peacebuilding Commission

  • Advocate for the effective use of the Peacebuilding Commission as an advisory body to this Council.
  • Example: the joint mission by UNOWAS and the PBC to Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and The Gambia in October 2018.
  • Germany: one of the biggest donors to the Peacebuilding Fund, encourage member states to contribute further to its budget.


  • Work of SRSG important component of an integrated approach:  diplomacy, stabilization, peacebuilding and sustainable development.
  • Germany:  active partner. Focus on preventing conflicts, inter alia through sustainable development policy.

Climate change:

  • Commend UNOWAS for the completion of the first stage of an analysis of climate-related security risks in line with S/PRST/2018/16.
  • Strong link between climate change and security (competition over scarcer resources of water and land). Clearly underlines the need for this Council to take the effects of climate change on security into account in a much more structured way.
  • Example: concern of the joint ECCAS-ECOWAS summit of 30 July 2018 about “the upsurge in and spread of violent conflict between herders and farmers due particularly to the adverse effects of climate change”.
  • Germany: Active in providing support to the LCBC since 2005 in the field of organizational development and transboundary water management. (New project phase to begin in June 2019 with focus on applied water management with direct effects for local communities. Further projects also to start in 2019, with focus on local governance, development planning & implementation as well as peace & stability.)

Fight against terrorism

  • Strongly condemn all attacks carried out by terrorist organizations, especially by Boko Haram.
  • Concerned about increasingly complex and coordinated attacks in the region.
  • Have launched a joint US/German initiative within the Global Counterterrorism Forum against the terrorist use of unmanned aerial systems. West Africa is one of the focus regions of this initiative.
  • Regional initiatives to respond to the terrorist threat are a welcome development.
  • Examples: the Multinational Joint Task Force in the Lake Chad Area, the “G-5 Sahel Regional Cell for the Prevention of Radicalization and Violent Extremism” or the ECCAS-ECOWAS joint summit on the fight against terrorism held in Lomé in July 2018
  • Any security initiatives must comply with international humanitarian and human rights law – as UNDP’s study “Journey to Extremism in Africa” has shown, one driver of extremism is human rights violations by security forces.

Women Peace and Security

  • Women and girls face particular threats as abductions, detention and sexual violence by extremist groups.
  • Good example on how to counter this: Joint UN-AU mission by DSG Amina Mohammed and AU Special Envoy Bineta Diop to the Sahel (South Sudan, Nigeria, Chad) In July 2018 with a focus on WPS.


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