Statement at the UNSC Briefing on UNOCA
Statement08 December 2022
Thank you, Madam President.
Let me begin by thanking SRSG Abarry for his presentation and I join others in welcoming you back around the table. It is a pleasure to see you here today. I’d also like to thank Mr. Gilberto da Piedade Veríssimo for his briefing.
Ireland commends UNOCA’s extensive efforts to improve regional cooperation, including with the Economic Community of Central African States and other regional organisations.
Enhanced cooperation is essential to address the region’s multidimensional challenges. These include armed group activities in the Lake Chad basin, as well as cross-border threats to peace and security. Maritime insecurity, farmer herder conflicts and the adverse impacts of climate change all impact on security across the region.
One year ago, Ireland and Niger tabled a draft thematic resolution on climate and security on behalf of a group of likeminded Council members. We regret that despite the overwhelming support of the Council and the broader UN membership, the text was not adopted.
Ireland continues to call on the Security Council to investigate and address the impacts of climate change on peace and security. We cannot continue to stand by while displacement and tensions increase, lives and livelihoods are lost, and the opportunity to build sustained and sustainable peace is missed.
In addition, international efforts are needed to encourage the sustainable utilisation of natural resources. The preservation of the Congo basin, and the promoting of traditional knowledge and local peace infrastructures, can help prevent and peacefully resolve conflicts and enhance local and regional peace consolidation.
We commend the work of UNOCA, ECCAS, the Climate Security Mechanism and others. Their efforts, and the continued commitments of the countries of Central Africa, can play a leading role in illustrating the value of climate action for peacebuilding. SRSG Abarry, we know that your personal understanding of and commitment to climate and security will see climate related security risks continue to be meaningfully integrated into the work of UNOCA.
Ongoing instability is creating a dire humanitarian situation in several Central African countries, with particular impacts on women and girls, who are facing higher rates of sexual and gender based violence. Ireland condemns such acts.
We urge all parties to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel. We call for perpetrators of violations of international humanitarian law, and violations and abuses of human rights, to be held accountable.
We welcome the ongoing efforts by UNOCA, ECCAS and Governments of the region to advance the Youth, Peace and Security and the Women, Peace and Security agendas. Promoting women and youth involvement in electoral, mediation and peacebuilding processes, as well as engaging with women-led and youth-led civil society, is vital for peace and security in Central Africa, as it is everywhere.
The socioeconomic situation is also concerning, exacerbated by global instability and the consequent global rise in food prices. The prevalence of food insecurity gives cause for concern and we reiterate the need for cooperation and action to address this.
Ireland is pleased to note the improved maritime security situation in the Gulf of Guinea, and UNOCA’s cooperation with UNOWAS in this regard.
While we welcome the peaceful hosting of elections in countries throughout the region, we are concerned by the electoral governance challenges. We reiterate the need for inclusive and transparent processes.
The situation in Chad is of concern. We are dismayed by the recent violence in N’Djamena and call on the transition government, and the Chair of ECCAS, to quickly resolve the tensions and to peacefully revive the political transition and ensure the holding of free and fair elections and the return of constitutional order.
Finally, Madam President,
UNOCA’s efforts to address hate speech are vital. The adoption of a draft regional strategy and action plan for the prevention and fight against hate speech in Central Africa earlier this year can make a significant contribution to conflict prevention efforts and regional stability.
Thank you, Madam President.