Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13 May 2018 (ECA) - The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Group Regional Team in Central and West Africa (UNDG) and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) held a high-level side event on the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the United Nations Support Plan for the Sahel (2018-2022). The Joint United Nations intervention aims to improve security, governance and resilience in the Sahel, which comprises Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Planning of Niger, The President-in-Office of the G5 Sahel Council of Ministers, Ms. Kane Aichatou Boulama. Present at the session were ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe, Minister of Economy and Finance of Mauritania, Moctar Ould Diay, Ambassadors of the Sahel member countries accredited to Ethiopia, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General for the Sahel, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General for Africa Ms. Bience Gawanas among others.
Minister Boulama welcomed the draft support plan of the United Nations Strategy for the Sahel as a demonstration of the will of the United Nations to respond to the priorities of the Sahel and Sahelian countries and to ensure coherence between the support plan and the Priority Investment Program.
"The objectives of the new support plan are in line with the G5 Sahel's strategic objectives, particularly with regard to security, resilience and development," she said.
For his part, the Minister of Economy and Finance of Mauritania, Mr. Moctar Ould Diay stated that "the development of this strategy confirms that the international community is understanding the importance of supporting the Sahel to translate its enormous potential into concrete actions of development."
For her part, the Executive Secretary of ECA, Ms. Vera Songwe, provided a socio-economic overview of the region and stressed that "Beyond the challenges facing the Sahel, it is important to recognize the strengths of this region on which its future will be built."
"We are here to see how to make this region the engine of economic growth in Africa," she said and noted that the event was important as it informed the participants about the work in progress and to define a collective vision for the Sahel."
According to Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, "the United Nations intent is to listen to the Sahel States with a view to providing them, in a concerted manner, with the necessary support for the development of the said region."
The Director of the ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, Mr. Dimitri Sanga gave a presentation on the socio-economic prospects for the Sahel and highlighted key areas the United Nations can support ongoing efforts in the Sahel underpinned by the sustainable development imperatives in the 2030 and 2063 agendas.
This high-level event, which took place at the 2018 Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, was aimed primarily at sensitizing government officials and partners on new directions for support in the region from the United Nations.
Note to Editors:
The United Nations support plan recognizes the importance of the nexus between humanitarian and development work, on the one hand, and security and peace considerations, on the other, and enshrines an approach that is both proactive and oriented towards the
prevention of crises. A key principle of the new integrated strategy is that Governments should be in the driving seat. To that end, the United Nations has begun engaging with Governments and regional organizations on the substance of their strategic and programmatic priorities for inclusion in the integrated strategy.
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