The 54th ministerial session of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) ended on January 16 in Brazzaville, four days after the meeting of Focal Points and experts. The official opening ceremony was chaired by the Congolese Prime Minister, Mr. Anatole Collinet Makosso. It took place in the presence of members of the government, the diplomatic corps, representatives of regional and sub-regional organizations as well as senior United Nations officials, including the Deputy Special Representative at the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Mr. Bruno Lemarquis, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes, Mr. Huang Xia, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the African Union, Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga and his colleague for Central Africa and Head of UNOCA, Mr. Abdou Abarry. In his speech, the latter expressed his gratitude to the government “for its remarkable hospitality as well as for the efforts and resources invested in […] providing an optimal framework for consultation and reflection on security issues in Central Africa”.

 

Promoting women’s political participation

 

The Special Representative then reviewed the progress made in certain areas. He particularly hailed the involvement of women in political life and in the management of public affairs, mentioning, among other things, the accession of women to the vice-presidency of the Republic in Angola and Gabon. He stressed that this approach “reflects the need to promote their participation in all bodies for reflection, consultation and decision-making, especially since they have an important role to play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts in our sub-region”. He said he was convinced that additional efforts will be made to also take into account the good representation of women in official delegations, including within the framework of UNSAC statutory meetings,

 

The Head of UNOCA also insisted on the main challenges in terms of peace and security, highlighting maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, violent extremism in the Lake Chad basin, the shortcomings of electoral systems , inter-community violence, and in particular that between farmers and herders, the circulation of small arms and light weapons, the effects of climate change, hate speech, etc. The Committee adopted a Declaration on this crucial issue, which encourages actions with a view to political endorsement and validation, by the competent authorities of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS),

 

The participants also adopted a Declaration on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where “the resurgence of M23 is very worrying”. The Head of UNOCA regretted that the situation in the East of this country “is slow to normalize, despite the bold initiatives of the countries of the region”. Hence, according to him, “the imperative need to unite [the] efforts to preserve the peace, security and stability of the States of Central Africa”.

 

Leadership of ECCAS in the Prevention of Violent Conflicts

 

In this context, Mr. Abdou Abarry recalled the importance of ECCAS, noting its willingness to “play a leadership role in the prevention of violent conflicts and crisis management in its Member States”. In the same spirit, he indicated that UNSAC “remains a relevant tool for preventive diplomacy and confidence-building between member states”, adding that it is a valuable platform “for consultation [on] tensions that may arise between neighboring States”. He encouraged member countries to maintain their commitment to the Committee in order to ensure the continuity and fluidity of its activities “while continuing the reflection begun several years ago on a reform of working methods, in for more efficient operation.

 

During his closing speech, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francophonie and Congolese Abroad, Mr. Jean-Claude Gakosso, whose country now holds the rotating presidency of UNSAC, indicated that Congo ” will spare no effort for the prosperity of the sub-region”. The Bureau of the Committee also includes Sao Tome and Principe (First Vice-Chair), Rwanda (Second Vice-Chair) and Angola (Rapporteur). All the other Member States (Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, DRC, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad) took part in the work, as did the President of the ECCAS Commission, Mr. Gilberto da Piedade Verissimo.

 

The 55th UNSAC Ministerial Meeting will take place from 15 to 19 May 2023 in Sao Tome.

 

Source: UN Regional Office for Central Africa

By pr.web