The present report covers the period from 23 June 2022 to 30 December 2022 and contains an overview of developments and trends in West Africa and the Sahel, and the activities of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS). It also highlights progress made in the implementation of the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel, and includes an update on the situation in the Lake Chad basin, pursuant to Security Council resolution 2349 (2017).
- Developments and trends in West Africa and the Sahel
During the reporting period, some Member States in West Africa and the Sahel continued working towards the consolidation of their democracies while others continued to contend with the challenges of insecurity, democratic consolidation and good governance, as well as worsening humanitarian crises. Peaceful legislative elections were held in Senegal in July. In Côte d’Ivoire, efforts to implement the agreed outcomes of the political dialogue which concluded in March 2022, as well as to promote social cohesion and reconciliation, continued. In Nigeria, ahead of the general elections scheduled for 2023, presidential contenders signed a peace pledge, committing to a peaceful and issue-based electoral campaign. Meanwhile, ahead of their upcoming legislative and general elections, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone continued to grapple with sociopolitical tensions. Against this backdrop, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with support from the United Nations, continued to engage in efforts to ensure the peaceful restoration of constitutional order in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali.
The security situation in large parts of the Sahel continued to deteriorate. The number of victims and casualties of violence, including women and children, has increased. Threats of a spread of terrorism southward to coastal West African States continued. For the first time, civilians were targeted in Togo, while Benin suffered another attack in its northern region, for which Islamic State in the Greater Sahara claimed responsibility. In addition, for the first time, an individual reportedly affiliated with Boko Haram was captured in the Upper East Region of northern Ghana. To address these challenges, some Member States of the subregion have deepened their cooperation under the Accra Initiative, which was established in 2017 in response to increased security threats to coastal West African States, stemming from the spread of terrorism and transnational organized crime.
The humanitarian situation, especially in the central Sahel, remained dire and was compounded by rising food and energy prices, as well as climate-related disasters, prompted by heavy rainfall, floods and water pollution.
Some progress was made in the reporting period on transitional justice and in the fight against impunity, although concerns regarding shrinking civic and political space persisted in some countries of the subregion. Furthermore, no significant progress was recorded in terms of women’s representation and participation in decision-making processes.
Source: UN Security Council