Twenty- eighth High-Level Meeting of Heads of UN Peace Missions in West Africa Final communiqué
At the invitation of Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), the Heads of the United Nations Peace Missions in West Africa held their Twenty- eighth high- level consultation meeting on 11 December 2015 in Abidjan.
In attendance were the Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General and Heads of UN Missions in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Ms. Aïchatou Mindaoudou; in Liberia (UNMIL), Mr. Farid Zarif; in Mali (MINUSMA), Mr. Mongi Hamdi; in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), Mr. Miguel Trovoada; in West Africa (UNOWA), Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas.
The objective of this bi- annual meeting is to review progress in the implementation of the respective UN mandates in the region, to strengthen coordination in order to address common challenges in the areas of elections, security, organized crime and violent extremism, and to examine the prospects for democratic transitions in the West Africa region.
The heads of peace missions welcomed the peaceful and transparent electoral processes in Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea, and expressed the hope that the upcoming elections in Niger, Benin, Cabo Verde, Ghana and the Gambia will consolidate democratic processes in these countries. In addition, participants noted the need for inclusive dialogue in several countries in the region.
The heads of peace missions welcomed the maturity of the people of Burkina Faso as demonstrated during the recent elections, and called upon stakeholders to persevere with a process of security sector reform and a national reconciliation process.
The heads of peace missions welcomed reconciliation initiatives in Cote d'Ivoire and encouraged ongoing efforts related to social cohesion, the reform of the security sector, and transitional justice.
Participants noted with concern the continued activities of terrorist groups in Mali and called for the full and sustained engagement of the signatories and other stakeholders in support of the implementation of the key provisions of the Malian Peace Accord.
The heads of peace missions also noted the continuing need to address root causes of exclusion and deprivation which contribute to the rise of violent extremism.
Participants welcomed national efforts in the area of decentralization in Liberia, and expressed hope for greater progress in national reconciliation, constitutional reform, and resourcing of the ongoing security transition from UNMIL to the Government of Liberia.
The heads of mission expressed concern about the absence of a climate of lasting stability in Guinea- Bissau despite the high expectations that followed the restoration of constitutional order, and urged political and institutional stakeholders to engage in dialogue in order to create an enabling environment for the implementation of the country's development programme.
Participants recognized with satisfaction the success in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease and urged for the further strengthening of early warning mechanisms. Participants also called for the timely implementation of a transparent and accountable recovery process, and welcomed the commitment of national, regional and international partners towards this end.
The heads of peace missions strongly condemned recurring terrorist attacks in the region, in particular in Mali and around the Lake Chad Basin area. They deplored the humanitarian consequences of the attacks, and welcomed the increased collaboration of regional and international actors to effectively address the security, humanitarian and development challenges of these crises.
The heads of peace missions agreed to increased cooperation in the area of information sharing in order to reduce the threat of extremism and terrorism in the region.
The heads of peace missions expressed their gratitude to SRSG Mindaoudou of UNOCI for the warm welcome and excellent organization of the meeting.