Special Representative alerts Security Council to the situation in Central Africa

The Head of UNOCA highlighted the challenges and progress observed in the subregion over the past six months. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

14 Dec 2023

Special Representative alerts Security Council to the situation in Central Africa

The Special Representative, Abdou Abarry, presented to the Security Council on Wednesday, 13 December 2023, the 25th biannual report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the situation in Central Africa and the activities of UNOCA. He reported on his visits to the countries covered, stressing that he witnessed, once again, the positive dynamics and resilience of Central Africa despite the numerous challenges the sub-region is facing. He mentioned the persistent insecurity and the increase in terrorist threats in certain countries, maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, intercommunal conflicts, hate speech, climate change and the humanitarian situation considered of very high concern.

1.5 million people face food insecurity

On this last point, Mr. Abarry noted that more than 2.6 million people were estimated to be internally displaced in the sub-region, and more than 1.5 million face food insecurity while more 42 million were in need of humanitarian assistance in October 2023, as resources to assist them become increasingly scarce. He specified that children were unfortunately the most affected by these different crises. He announced the organization, in early 2024 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, of a regional conference which would lead to the creation of a Regional Agency for Humanitarian Action and Coordination and a Humanitarian Solidarity Fund. The Head of UNOCA invited the various actors of the international community to contribute to the success of this conference.

Facing certain countries’ institutional fragility

Another conference on the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government would take place in Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, during the same period, added Mr. Abarry, specifying that it would allow the sub-region to lay the foundations of a normative instrument intended to tackle this scourge. He indicated that the Member States of the United Nations Permanent Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) have thus learned the lessons of the coup d'état which took place on 30 August in Gabon, host country of the ECCAS and UNOCA. He took this opportunity to recall the certain countries’ institutional fragility. Regarding the case of Gabon, the Special Representative referred to a questionable electoral process, punctuated by non-consensual reforms of the electoral framework and the rejection of independent electoral observation, including that of the ECCAS, of which Gabon nevertheless ensured the presidency.

Advocating for a return to normal constitutional order

The Head of UNOCA noted that, as part of his good offices, he had drawn the attention of the Gabonese authorities to the need for an inclusive, consensual and open process that alone could have maintained peace and social tranquility and avoid a repeat of the regrettable events of 2016. He informed the Security Council of the transition timeline as well as the actions taken in this context. Mr. Abarry affirmed that he was engaged in advocating for a return to normal constitutional order within a reasonable time after an inclusive transition, respectful of human rights and with the objective of safeguarding peace, social tranquility, and the stability of the country.

The Special Representative expressed the fervent hope that the elections scheduled for 20 December in the Democratic Republic of Congo would take place in a peaceful manner as means to consolidate the democratic principles in this country and strengthen the process of building a Central Africa of peace, stability and prosperity.

All members of the Security Council praised the work of UNOCA and the efforts of Mr. Abarry to prevent conflicts, contribute to the peaceful resolution of crises and consolidate peace in Central Africa. This session was led by the Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the UN, José Javier De la Gasca Lopez Domínguez, whose country chairs the Security Council for the month of December 2023.