UNSC HIGH-LEVEL DEBATE ON “COUNTERING-TERRORISM AND PREVENTING VIOLENT EXTREMISM THROUGH STRENGTHENING OF COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UN AND REGIONAL ORGANISATIONS ”
I must, perforce, commend you for your leadership of this Council at a time when the global order is being buffeted by severe headwinds. I applaud Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his thought-provoking address on this very important subject, as I do the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, for providing a valuable perspective on the matter.
Excellencies, this Council is familiar with the devastating consequences that terrorism and violent extremism have had on humanity. The international order is under threat as a result of the destabilising actions being carried out by terrorist groups all over the world. The unsettling uncertainty of where the next attack would come, the number of lives to be disrupted, lost or displaced, the annexing of national territories, and the wrecking of economies, are repercussions of this fight, except that this war has no fixed boundaries, neither does it have an end date.
For a significant number of people in Africa, the threat to their peace is their daily reality. We are, thus, gravely concerned by the steady transformation of Africa into an arena for violent extremism and terrorism.
The most recent report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by Da'esh to the international community, which was released in February this year, as well as the 2022 Global Terrorism Index, and the 2022 report of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, all speak about an increase in the incidence of terrorism and violent extremism across Africa, with an attendant evolution in their modes of operation. Indeed, data on casualties on the continent is, particularly, sobering. It is for these reasons that Ghana reaffirms her condemnation of all acts of extremism and terrorism, and urges the civilised world to do the same. Our common humanity and existence depend on it.
Mr President, we see in the Sahel the reinforcement of the presence of IS affiliates. Boko Haram continues to carry out assassinations, kidnappings, and large-scale acts of violence against civilian populations in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These acts have been ongoing for more than a decade. In Somalia, al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabaab is under pressure, but not defeated; in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, IS and Al-Shabaab elements are being contained by the Government with the support of SADC Forces and Rwanda; and in Eastern DRC, ISIS-affiliated ADF and others continue to destabilize the populations.
Over the course of the past few years, there have been a number of initiatives and advancements at the global and regional levels to combat terrorism and violent extremism. We have proven, through our combined efforts, that we are able to cooperate with one another in order to enhance our capacity to combat the threat posed by terrorism in all of its guises and manifestations, and as a serious crime that has no justification, regardless of its motivation or origin.
The United Nations Charter placed regional collaboration at the heart of the Organisation's mandate. Our founders were wise enough to see that, in today's complicated and fast-evolving world, there is no single organisation that can guarantee peace, stability, and growth on its own. It requires partnership across all levels, from the local to the regional to the global. The effectiveness of the United Nations, now more than ever, rests on cooperation that is both deeper and more robust with regional organisations. In light of this, I will highlight a few points.
First, the rise of violent extremism and terrorism underscores the urgent need for a collective response. No country, regardless of its might, is immune from the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, nor can one country alone respond effectively to such threats. In a rapidly changing world, enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and continental and regional organisations is needed to combat these emerging threats to international peace and security. The partnership, outlined in Chapter Eight of the United Nations Charter, has always been an important factor in preserving international peace and security and reinforcing our shared aspirations for global peace and security.
Secondly, in Africa, we have decided to fill the void by addressing the limitations that United Nations peacekeeping efforts and national capacities have in dealing with the menace of transnational terrorist threats. In order to combat insurgencies in their respective regions, African regional organisations, such as the SADC and ECOWAS, have developed their unique operations, which include both military and diplomatic initiatives. The Accra Initiative, which groups together Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Mali and Burkina Faso, and, hopefully, soon, Nigeria, is one such self-help regional security and intelligence mechanism, designed to assist in the fight against terrorism.
Yet, capacity limitations and a lack of financial resources have become significant obstacles in the fight against terrorists. Previous experiences with peacekeeping in Africa have shown us the difficulties in delivering ambitious but under-resourced mandates. Defeating terrorist organisations and armed groups should be the Council's primary focus when addressing the security challenges currently confronting Africa.
Thirdly, bolstering cooperation and collaboration between the United Nations, continental and regional organisations should leverage existing strengths to enhance the development of a preventative approach, based on regional early warning mechanisms. Efforts in conflict prevention and mediation have demonstrated how working together increases our powers of persuasion to press parties to make peace and diffuse tensions in localities.
Fourthly, it is important that partnerships with regional organisations are based on mutual respect, and must not attempt to impose preferred approaches on unique regional circumstances. Where this is forced through, it can only be detrimental to the work of regional organizations and the global effort to defeat terrorism. Indeed, our collective security demands that we find the will to act collaboratively and decisively, in line with the respective mandates, to defeat terrorism and violent extremism in Africa. The activities of the United Nations, the African Union and other regional organizations should complement each other.
It is important that we reinforce the capacity of regional organisations for early warning and conflict prevention. This requires that we enhance cooperation in the areas of intelligence, logistics, capabilities, training and deployment, as well as innovative financing arrangements, for the highest impact projects on our continents with the quickest turnaround results, for peoples' lives, and for sustainable development.
Finally, Mr President, let me place on record my gratitude for your leadership during this high-level meeting, which has established further the urgency needed to enhance cooperation between the UN and Regional Organisations in a meaningful way.
Thank you for your attention.