Security Council: Central African Region – Chad

10 June 2024

(Note: The final summary of this meeting will be available at a later time.)

The Security Council met this morning to hear briefings on the Central African region. Addressing the Council were Abdou Abarry, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, and Gilberto Da Piedade Verissimo, President of the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).


ABDOU ABARRY, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), presenting the twenty-sixth report of the Secretary-General (document S/2024/420), said that, during the reporting period, the region has seen positive developments. He welcomed the return of Constitutional order to Chad and Gabon, commending the facilitators of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) — Democratic Republic of the Congo President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo and Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadéra. The reporting period was marked by the conclusion of the transition in Chad with the adoption of a new constitution in December 2023 and presidential elections held on 6 May, he noted, also reiterating his intent to support the talks with the politico-military groups that have not signed the Doha peace agreement. Turning to Gabon, he highlighted the inclusive national dialogue held in April, reporting that Gabonese authorities created a National Constitutional Committee charged with drawing up a draft constitution and draft electoral code.

He further highlighted progress made in justice and security reform in São Tomé and Príncipe and the agreement signed between the authorities and the Peacebuilding Commission that provides the release of $2.5 million by the Peacebuilding Fund. Moreover, during the ECCAS Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Equatorial Guinea on 15 March, Central African States lifted sanctions against Gabon, allowing it to “return to the ECCAS family”. “Facilitating intraregional trade will play a crucial role in the promotion of stability and the prevention of conflicts in this subregion,” he added. Highlighting the threat of non-constitutional change, he called on the States of the subregion to keep the political space open. He recalled that during the fifty-sixth session of the UN Standing Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, held in Rwanda in November 2023, the regional States mandated UNOCA to organize a regional conference on unconstitutional Government changes and their root causes. The conference will take place on 1-2 July in São Tomé and Príncipe.

Noting that armed groups and violent extremists continue to “sow their reign of terror” despite the presence of military forces in the region, he welcomed the Joint Multilateral Force’s operations against Boko Haram and Da’esh-affiliated groups in the Lake Chad Basin. However, in Cameroon, separatist groups continue their atrocities in the north-west and south-west regions by imposing “dead towns” and restricting access to education. In May, more than 14 people were killed, including Government officials. Yet, Cameroon remains the “economic engine” to the region and holds the greatest foreign reserve in the Central African Monetary Community region. Further, the escalation of the 23 March Movement (M23) rebel group in the Great Lakes region caused 7.2 million internally displaced persons. In that regard, he reported on his recent trip to Luanda — along with the Special Envoy Huang Xia and the Special Representative and Head of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) Bintou Keita — to support the Luanda Process.

Pointing to the extreme rainfall in the region, induced by climate change, he said that many Central and Eastern African States were struck by flooding and consequent infrastructure damage. Such crises pose security challenges, strain Government’s limited resources and can fuel social unrest and conflicts over access to resources, he added. To that end, the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe organized a high-level conference on innovative climate financing, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development that called for the development of a road map for sustainable blue and green financing. “It is our hope that the renewal of the UNOCA’s mandate under way will take into account this ambition of the Office to respond to the expectations of Member States of ECCAS for more cooperation and good offices in the years to come,” he said.

GILBERTO DA PIEDADE VERISSIMO, President of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), said that — while “the situation in the space covered by ECCAS is deemed to be generally stable” — there are “certain fragilities”. After three years of a political-transition process supported by the Community, Chad held a presidential election on 6 May 2024. This restored the country to constitutional order, made possible through the cooperation demonstrated by authorities and Chadian stakeholders as well as ECCAS’ facilitation efforts. Meanwhile, the political-transition process under way in Gabon has “generated both hope and optimism” since its establishment on 31 August 2023, he said, noting that the drafting of the next constitution and the organization of elections are under way towards completion of the transition in September 2025. Recalling that the anti-constitutional change of that country’s Government on 30 August 2023 prompted ECCAS to sanction Gabon — notably by suspending its participation in Community activities — he reported that “positive developments have been observed since then”.

These, he said, resulted in ECCAS’ March 2024 decision to lift sanctions imposed on Gabon “provided that it stringently adheres to the transition timeline submitted in December 2023”. Meanwhile, ECCAS recently adopted measures to support that country during this critical stage in its transition process, as was the case with Chad. He stressed, however, that — despite these positive circumstances — Africa continues to encounter multiple security challenges. These include armed groups’ persistent opposition of peace processes in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the terrorist threats originating in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions. Secessionist movements also continue to pose a significant security threat — “attested to by the situation in Cameroon”, he said. Further, he noted that the region is plagued by a wide-ranging humanitarian crisis due to security challenges and the “nefarious consequences of climate change”, including a series of floods striking numerous ECCAS States.

He also pointed out that millions of internally displaced persons are located in Central Africa, alongside thousands of refugees fleeing atrocities in Sudan, Libya and elsewhere. Additionally, he recalled that diplomatic and security tensions between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, as well as between Burundi and Rwanda, “sowed the seeds of conflict” that caused a “conflagration” to break out in the Great Lakes region in the mid-1990s — “the fallout of which continues to be experienced to this date”. While the Luanda and Nairobi processes have helped to contain these crises, they have done so “without effectively and definitively resolving them”, he said. Moreover, despite significant regional and continental efforts, armed groups, terrorist organizations and secessionist movements — as well as diplomatic and security crises — in Central Africa continue to threaten international peace and security.

“Thus, this situation warrants the Security Council’s full attention,” he underscored, expressing gratitude to the United Nations for the two peace missions currently deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. Nevertheless, he called on the Council — bearing in mind MONUSCO’s imminent withdrawal — to support the regional mission deployed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He further called on the organ to step up support for the Luanda and Nairobi processes — “particularly during this period when inter-State tensions appear to have precipitously escalated in the subregion”.


The representative of the United Kingdom highlighted the positive achievements made by UNOCA in confronting challenges faced by the subregion by addressing the root causes of conflict. While welcoming Chad’s presidential election on 6 May, which took place under broadly peaceful conditions, he spotlighted allegations of irregularities and the denial of accreditation to 2,900 European Union-trained electoral observers that “risk undermining progress towards a return to constitutional order”. Accordingly, he urged Chad to set a timeline for local and legislative elections, which are an opportunity to demonstrate commitment to good governance. He also commended the Gabonese authorities’ cooperation with UNOCA and encouraged the Office to deepen its support to Cameroon in developing a political solution to the crisis in its north-west and south-west regions. Further, he voiced deep concern over the insurgent violence in the far north region and fully supported the Multinational Joint Task Force in combating jihadist groups in the Lake Chad Basin. “Delivering stability in the subregion means tackling the drivers and enablers of conflict,” he stressed.

The representative of the United States said that his country “believes it is vital to support the democratic and peaceful aspirations of the people of Central Africa”. He, however, expressed concern over the effect of Sudan’s crisis on Chad and the Central African Republic, with both countries collectively hosting over 600,000 new Sudanese refugees. In 2023, the United States was the largest aid provider to Sudan and the neighbouring countries. While welcoming Chad’s presidential elections on 6 May, he voiced regret over the transitional Government’s full control over electoral institutions. As that country prepares for legislative and local elections in 2024, he called on its Government to increase inclusivity and transparency. He also encouraged Gabon to establish, in a timely manner, a democratically elected Government. Further, he called on the Central African Republic’s Government in opposition to constructively engage in the country’s first local and regional elections since 1988.

The representative of Slovenia said the briefings “paint a picture of a dynamic region that seeks growth, democratic progress and sustainable development, but is at the same time faced with substantive political, economic and social challenges”. Welcoming the presidential elections in Chad this past May and the national dialogue that took place in April in Gabon, she expressed concern over continued restrictions of civic space and freedom of expression. Commending UNOCA for its steadfast commitment to the climate, peace and security agenda, she highlighted “the dynamics of severe outbreaks of farmer-herder conflicts that are directly caused by climate-induced natural resource scarcity” and expressed support for the operationalization of a regional transhumance protocol. Women’s participation is integral for building and sustaining lasting peace, she said, reaffirming support for the extension of UNOCA’s mandate and the adoption of a new presidential statement.

The representative of Algeria, also speaking for Guyana, Mozambique and Sierra Leone, said that Central Africa “finds itself at a crossroads, grappling with a series of complex, interconnected challenges” that include armed conflict, transnational crime and maritime insecurity. Nevertheless, he welcomed continued regional and subregional efforts to address these through ongoing peace talks, disarmament programmes and political transition processes. While noting the “positive dynamic” at the political level in several regional countries, he expressed concern over Boko Haram-related security incidents and called on all regional stakeholders to urgently address the group’s increased attacks in the Lake Chad Basin — as well was the underlying causes of violence and extremism. He also expressed concern over the increased use of improvised explosive devices by terrorist groups in the region, urging strengthened cross-border cooperation between States “in the region and beyond” in this context.

“Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea remains a pressing concern,” he went on to say, calling on all security actors present in this area to work together to end the piracy, armed robbery and other illicit activities threatening regional stability and economic development. Emphasizing that the region remains one of those most vulnerable to the consequences of climate disruption, he said that recurring floods, longer droughts and the historic shrinking of Lake Chad “are perfect illustrations in that regard”. And, noting the other pressing challenges in a region where “decades of conflict have left deep scars”, he urged the international community to play a greater role — “particularly in transformative economic recovery”. This includes investing in sustainable development in Central Africa — particularly in education and health care — and he also urged that, while the region “has the potential for prosperity”, the persistent fragility of peace and security there necessitates continued support from the United Nations.

The representative of China underlined that countries in Central Africa have vigorously advanced their processes and achieved significant progress in promoting development and stability. However, the region still faces multiple security and development challenges, he said, stating: “We must support the region in its effort to maintain stability.” Spotlighting progress achieved by Gabon, Rwanda and the Central African Republic, he emphasized that the international community must respect the sovereignty and ownership of regional countries, uphold the principle of “resolving African issues in the African way” and support regional countries in their choice of development models that align with their respective national realities. Additionally, he underscored the need to enhance regional cooperation as the threat represented by terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram and Da’esh remains rampant, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties. In this respect, he spotlighted the counter-terrorism efforts made by Chad and Cameroon. He said that to address the region’s development challenges and alleviate its debt burden, the international community must focus on closing the funding gap in the humanitarian emergency fund.

The representative of the Russian Federation, noting that hotbeds of instability are spilling over beyond the Sahara-Sahel region, expressed concern over Boko Haram’s persistent capabilities that impact Cameroon and Chad, also posing a threat to north-east Nigeria. Noting the effectiveness of the joint efforts of African States through regional multinational armed forces, she called for predictable financing and support. She voiced concern over violence in north-west and south-west Cameroon, while spotlighting the Central African Republic’s progressive stabilization with the bilateral support of Moscow and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Also noting progress in official dialogue between Bangui and Chad on cross-border cooperation, she said that Chad’s completion of the transitional period is a “milestone on the path to stability and national harmony”. Calling UNOCA “an important tool for international preventive diplomacy”, she, however, underscored the primary role of regional States in crisis prevention and resolution.

The representative of Japan, expressing appreciation for the inclusive national dialogue that took place in Gabon in April, welcomed the efforts of the people of Chad in holding last month’s presidential elections in a generally peaceful manner. Expressing concern about the continued violence in the north-west and south-west regions of Cameroon, she called on its Government to ensure the safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons. Highlighting the persistent insecurity and dire humanitarian situation in the region, she commended the shared efforts by relevant countries, ECCAS, UNOCA and other actors in promoting the climate, peace and security agenda in the region. Expressing support for the mandate renewal of UNOCA for another three years, she said: “We should strive to adopt a Security Council presidential statement,” since it has been nearly five years since the last one was issued.

The representative of France, expressing support for a three-year extension of UNOCA’s mandate, said that the Office’s work is “essential” in a region encountering major challenges. Chad and the Central African Republic are confronted by the significant displacement of civilian populations generated by the conflict in Sudan, and military operations in northern Darfur are creating humanitarian and stability risks for the entire region. Also noting that UNOCA is supporting Cameroon in resolving crises in that country’s north-west and south-west, she called on all parties to pursue dialogue. For its part, France will support the political-transition processes under way in both Chad and Gabon, and she urged authorities in the Central African Republic to guarantee the exercise of political and civil rights and create conditions conducive to holding free, transparent and inclusive local and regional elections. Welcoming, as well, UNOCA’s work regarding climate change, she urged the implementation of concrete solutions in light of the floods affecting several regional countries.

The representative of Ecuador highlighted the complex security and development challenges facing the Central African subregion, noting UNOCA’s tools to prevent political crises and promote dialogue to help countries consolidate peace. “Security challenges persist,” he cautioned, noting the increase of violence by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin and Cameroon, as well as intercommunal attacks. The fight against terrorism must be complemented by addressing the causes of violence through dialogue, tolerance, combating hate speech and misinformation, and providing the population with a decent livelihood, he underscored. Furthermore, the need for humanitarian assistance due to forced displacement caused by conflicts in the region has reached epic proportions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said, adding that they continue to receive flows of people fleeing the conflict in Sudan. The humanitarian situation is also worsened by natural hazards exacerbated by climate change, he observed, stating: “International aid must be provided without delay.”

The representative of Malta, while noting that Central Africa holds the potential for “immense social and economic growth”, expressed regret that parts of that region remain plagued by violence. Recalling the crucial role of dialogue in addressing economic, religious and ideological fractures, she echoed the Secretary-General’s appeal to support the Multinational Joint Task Force and the revised Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram-Affected Areas of the Lake Chad Basin Region. Also voicing concern over the increase in extreme weather events, she expressed support for the work of climate, peace and security advisers. “More can be done by this Council in recognizing the nexus that exists between climate and security,” she stressed. She further commended the partnership announced by the Republic of the Congo, France and the European Union at the value of $50 million to protect biodiversity and combat climate change in the region.

The representative of Switzerland said that the current transition in Chad is a “unique opportunity” to strengthen democratic governance and respect for human rights. Noting the holding of presidential elections, she encouraged authorities to complete the transition by organizing legislative elections and stressed that all Chadians must be involved in this process. “In Gabon, too, it is crucial that human rights are taken into account in the national political dialogue,” she emphasized. Welcoming progress in extending State authority in the Central African Republic, supported by MINUSCA, she said that forthcoming local elections “will be a decisive step to consolidate this progress”. She also stressed that the international community’s actions must acknowledge that climate change is exacerbating security threats in Central Africa — “in Cameroon, for example, the impact of climate change is palpable”. This illustrates the need to invest in preventing climate-related conflicts and, in this context, she welcomed collaboration between ECCAS, its member States and UNOCA in adopting a regional protocol on transhumance.

The representative of the Republic of Korea, Council President for June, speaking in his national capacity, welcomed the presidential elections in Chad and the transition progress in Gabon. He also commended the efforts of President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — as the ECCAS facilitator for Chad — in enhancing the transition’s inclusivity. “We hope to see a consolidation of these positive developments,” he stressed. Pointing to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, he reiterated the Secretary-General’s call for a Cameroonian-led conflict resolution in the north-west and south-west regions. He further noted the increased use of improvised explosives in the Lake Chad Basin and the protracted conflict in Sudan, while also highlighting the impact of climate change in the Central African region. Recalling the first Republic of Korea-Africa Summit and his country’s support through green and agricultural official development assistance (ODA), he expressed support for UNOCA’s extension until August 2027.

For information media. Not an official record.

Source link

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *