Monday, 10 June 2024 23:16

Envoy highlights progress towards a new political landscape in Central Africa

© WFP/Jacques David
In addition to battling a multidimensional humanitarian crisis, Chad is also sheltering hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees.

The adoption of a new constitution in Chad alongside new inclusive dialogue in Gabon, standout as positive recent developments in Central Africa, the head of the UN office for the region said on Monday.

But, briefing the Security Council, Abdou Abarry, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the region also warned that insecurity and humanitarian crises continue to plague nations.

Observers had reported Chad’s presidential elections in May took place “under good conditions”, albeit with some isolated incidents which had not compromised the conduct or credibility of the polls, he said.

“The difficult environment in which Chad finds itself [reminds us] of the need to continue our support to the authorities to assist the country as it searches for stability, particularly at this new point in its history,” he said.

Mr. Abarry, who also heads the UN Regional Office for the Central Africa (UNOCA), added that he will continue supporting peace and reconciliation efforts in the country, in the light of the Doha Peace Agreement.

Special Representative Abdou Abarry briefing the Security Council.

‘Turning point’ in Gabon

Gabon also reached “an important turning point” with the convening of a national inclusive dialogue in April, he continued, citing recommendations and actions for a full return to constitutional order.

A national constitutional committee has been tasked with drafting a constitution and new electoral code.

“The international community, under the auspices of the United Nations…has expressed its willingness to support the authorities in the implementation of inclusive reforms and stressing dialogue,” Mr. Abarry added.

Continued challenges

But regional challenges abound, Mr. Abarry said, reporting challenges to constitutional governance and democracy, exemplified by the recent attempts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The security situation also remains volatile with increased armed and terrorist group activities, such as in eastern DRC, in the Lake Chad basin, the Great Lakes region and elsewhere.

Insecurity coupled with worsening impacts of climate change are also driving humanitarian needs, he said. Devastating rains and floods destroyed thousands of homes, displaced populations and damaged vital infrastructure in several countries.

Such climate change-related crises not only exacerbate existing socio-economic vulnerabilities but also severely test the limited resources of governments and can potentially fuel new unrest and conflicts related to access to resources, he added.

Economic integration key

Mr. Abarry also highlighted the importance of strengthening economic integration within the region.

He noted the March meeting of the Heads of States and Governments of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), where discussions focused on regional economic integration and operationalizing a common regional market for free movement of goods and services.

Member countries of the bloc lifted their sanctions against Gabon, enabling it to rejoin the group.

I remain convinced that facilitating intra-regional trade will play a crucial role in the promotion of stability and the prevention of conflicts in the region,” Mr. Abarry highlighted.