Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the timely organization of this important meeting. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Minister Kabore of Burkina Faso. Thank you, Mr. Minister, for traveling from Ouagadougou to be with us today and for the comprehensive briefing on your country’s commendable efforts to respond to a very challenging and fast evolving situation. I am pleased that our Prevention and Peacebuilding Assessment (PPBA) partners, namely the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Union, together with members of the Peacebuilding Commission and other Member States and organisations have joined us today in support of your efforts.
I would also like to extend greetings to UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Makhetha, Mayor Dialogue of Dori, and Ms. Compaoré from Coordination Regionale des Organisations Feminines du Sahel , – as well as a number of locally based Ambassadors and partners who are joining us from Ouagadougou. And I am pleased that UNDP Resident Coordinator Mr. Ciowa has joined us in New York today.
This meeting is a clear demonstration of the fact that we have built a new and strong partnership for prevention and peacebuilding in Burkina Faso. It marks the conclusion of Phase I of PPBA - an important milestone - as we now have clear priorities for immediate action. This is also an opportune time to reiterate our commitment to help accelerate development and sustain peace in Burkina Faso through the government’s forthcoming National Development Plan (2021-2025).
In my recent visit to Burkina Faso, I discussed with the President and several ministers the worsening security situation, which has multiplied the humanitarian challenges facing the country. I share the government’s grave concern over the increasing attacks on the population by extremist and other armed groups, intercommunal violence, and human rights violations in many regions of the country.
The number of internally displaced people has rapidly risen, going from 87,000 in January last year to over 765,000 in February this year. Similarly, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased from 1.5 million in December 2019 to 2.2 million in January 2020. The Humanitarian Response Plan, launched on 27 February by the UN and the Government, is appealing for US$ 321 million, to provide direct lifesaving assistance to more than 1.2 million people. The complex security and humanitarian situation is threatening social cohesion and the culture of solidarity that the people of Burkina Faso have long enjoyed and taken pride in. Protracted insecurity has detrimental and long-term effects on a country’s development trajectory, its macro-economic stability and the resilience of the population, especially women and youth.
The Government of Burkina Faso has been working to respond to these emerging threats, including through dedicated measures such as the Emergency Program for the Sahel, which has been expanded to take into account threats beyond the North and the Sahel regions. Following the PPBA exercise in July 2019, the government and its international partners worked for months to ensure that preventive and peacebuilding support is fully aligned with the needs and priorities of the Government and the people of Burkina Faso. This led to the identification of priority actions that focus on Security and Rule of Law; Social Services; Local Governance; and Resilience and Social Cohesion, a clear sign of leadership and national ownership. A detailed description of these actions has been shared with all of you in advance of the meeting.
We must work to strengthen the resilience of the people in Burkina Faso. As the Minister just stated, security and rule of law remain key priorities. The Government recently finalised its first ever national security policy. Coordinated and coherent support for its implementation is now urgently needed.
n implementing the action plans, priority should be given to the meaningful participation of women and youth in prevention and peace processes, including through direct support to women-led and youth-lead initiatives that aim to promote social cohesion, counter violent extremism and radicalization and offer livelihood opportunities.
It is encouraging that the government has taken steps towards the strengthening of its infrastructure for peace by investing in mechanisms for conflict prevention, management, resolution and peacebuilding at all levels of society.
The Government’s openness towards broad and inclusive dialogue as a means for consensus building on issues of national interest, including on tackling the security crisis facing the country, is equally important.
The UN remains committed to providing fully integrated and system-wide support across humanitarian, development and peacebuilding areas of work, including through our strengthened presence in the five regions of the Sahel Emergency Program. In addition, the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) continues to support prevention and peacebuilding activities, in line with the government’s priorities.
I am happy to report new PBF commitments to (i) strengthen UN interventions in the Sahel, North and Center North regions; (ii) help broaden geographic support to the east within the context of the government’s Emergency Program for the Sahel; and (iii) improve cross-border cooperation in the Liptako-Gourma region (focusing on transhumance and farmers-herders conflicts), and in the border areas of Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo to prevent violent extremism and further expansion of the crisis to Western coastal states.
All PBF programmes in Burkina Faso promote the meaningful engagement of women and youth in peacebuilding processes, including by strengthening their participation in local decision-making processes.
In view of the increasing insecurity, attacks by armed groups, and threats to social cohesion values, UN support is also critical in helping to ensure the holding of credible elections in November 2020.
The United Nations remains committed to accompanying the people of Burkina Faso on their peacebuilding and sustainable development journey, together with all the partners present here today.
In conclusion, I wish to thank the Commission for helping to ensure that Burkina Faso receives the attention it deserves. I strongly encourage immediate support for the priorities articulated in the action plans. Once again, I thank you Minister Kaboré for your clear explanation of the need for urgent action to help the people of Burkina Faso.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.