West and Central Africa: Heads of UN reiterate the need to promote good governance to guarantee lasting stability
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Leonardo Santos Simão, hosted, on 12 September 2023 in Dakar, Senegal, the 38th meeting of Heads of United Nations Missions. This biannual meeting provided an opportunity to take stock of political and security issues, as well as trends related to development and governance in these sub-regions and, more broadly, the situation in Central Africa and Libya. Participants noted the multiple unconstitutional changes of government, and called on the countries concerned to quickly restore constitutional order in accordance with relevant African normative instruments and United Nations declarations. While recognizing the specificities of each context, they stressed the need to redouble efforts to promote good governance and transparency in order to promote lasting stability. They committed to strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations in the area of governance, based on their respective comparative advantages. In this regard, they highlighted the essential role of political parties and civil society.
The importance of the separation of powers
Furthermore, participants at the Dakar meeting insisted on the importance of the separation of powers and checks and balances mechanisms, including during constitutional revision processes and transition periods. Reiterating the importance of the "nexus" approach for peace and security, and humanitarian and development matters, they called for more inclusive societies and a fairer global economic and financial system that favors developing countries and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the implementation of Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
In this dynamic, the Dakar meeting promoted an exchange of views on the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantages. Main challenge for the United Nations and regional organizations: providing more appropriate responses to crises. The Heads of Missions also expressed the need to leverage the opportunities offered by Africa by increasing investments with a view to transform economies and realize the aspirations of populations.
In addition to issues relating to political and socio-economic governance, the Heads of Missions discussed about violent extremism and intercommunity dynamics, particularly in the Liptako-Gourma region where security and humanitarian situations remain very complex. The ongoing withdrawal of MINUSMA from Mali was also at the heart of the discussions as well as the question of the effectiveness of the United Nations in the face of the multiple challenges posed to multilateralism in Africa and beyond.
Prioritize humanitarian and development assistance
At the end of the meeting, the UN Chiefs agreed on the need to recalibrate the approach of the United Nations and review their strategic engagement in order to better address the multifaceted challenges identified and to preserve the principles of democratic governance and rule of law, and restore confidence in governments, including in the context of relevant African instruments adopted by the African Union and other regional economic communities/regional mechanisms. They agreed that in complex contexts the main concerns should be related to both humanitarian and development assistance, as the latter is directly affected in the long term if not addressed, which leads to recurrence and is a fundamental cause of instability.
At the Dakar meeting were present: the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), El-Ghassim Wane; the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), Perfect Onanga-Anyanga; the Special Coordinator for development in the Sahel, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye; the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Abdou Abarry; the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Abdoulaye Bathily; and the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Giovanie Biha.