Chronology of Events

revised on 3 August 2020

UNOWAS (West Africa and the Sahel)

May 2014

Following a 5 May attack by Boko Haram that killed hundreds at a market in Gamboru Ngala, Nigeria, Council members issued a press statement on 9 May that condemned the attack, and also condemned the 14 April abduction of 276 schoolgirls and the 5 May kidnapping of eight girls (SC/11387). The statement further expressed the Council’s intention to consider further measures against Boko Haram. On 22 May, the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee listed Boko Haram, subjecting the organisation to an arms embargo and assets freeze (SC/11410).

April 2014

On 14 April, Council members issued a press statement condemning the multiple terrorist attacks committed by Boko Haram in Nigeria on 13 and 14 April, causing numerous deaths and injuries (SC/11352).

December 2013

On 17 December, the Council was briefed by Special Representative Said Djinnit on the latest UNOWA report, followed by consultations. On 18 December, the Council adopted a presidential statement following a briefing on drug trafficking in West Africa and the Sahel. The Council was briefed by the Secretary-General, Special Representative Said Djinnit and Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Yuri Fedotov. The presidential statement highlighted the impact of drug trafficking in undermining governance in West African countries, as well as the involvement of terrorist groups to finance their activities. This meeting was held at the initiative of France who circulated a concept note on the issue.

September 2013

On 26 September, the Secretary-General convened a high-level meeting on the Sahel on the margins of the General Assembly. Concern was expressed over the surge in terrorist acts, arms and drugs trafficking, other transnational forms of organised crime and the spread of violent ideology across the Sahel.

July 2013

On 10 July, the Council received a briefing from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and head of UNOWA, Said Djinnit, on the UNOWA report. In his remarks Djinnit updated the Council on UNOWA’s work in the region, especially assisting the UN mission in Mali and seeking a timetable for elections in Guinea. Additionally, Djinnit touched on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, terrorism, and progress on boundary demarcation between Cameroon and Nigeria. On 16 July, the Council adopted a presidential statement on the Sahel, following its discussion on the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel presented to the Council in June. The presidential statement reaffirmed the Council’s concern about the alarming situation in the region as well as the complex security and political challenges interlinked with humanitarian and developmental issues. It also welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahel to develop the Strategy, highlighted the need for a coordinated approach by all concerned UN entities in its implementation and stressed the importance of regional and interregional cooperation to address the threat of terrorism. The Council requested the Secretary-General to keep it informed of the progress in implementing the strategy no later than 31 December 2013, and to present a written report no later than 30 June 2014.

June 2013

On 4 June, in the “horizon scanning” briefing to Council members in consultations, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco presented the three strategic goals of the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel prepared by Special Envoy Romano Prodi: inclusive governance; capacity-building to address cross-border threats; and resilience. On 26 June, Prodi briefed the Council on the strategy which had been previously circulated as an annex to the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in the Sahel region.

January 2013

On 25 January, Said Djinnit, Special Representative and head of UNOWA, briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report, followed by informal consultations. Djinnit focused on Mali and the risk that the conflict may spread to neighbouring states as a result of infiltration by militants fleeing the emergency military intervention by France. Djinnit reported that, though Ghana and Sierra Leone recently conducted peaceful elections, overall the region continues to face significant challenges to governance, peace consolidation and conflict prevention. He cited the ongoing crisis in the Sahel, especially in Mali, as well as in Guinea-Bissau, and the overall threat posed by transnational organised crime and terrorism.

December 2012

At the initiative of Morocco, the Council held a high-level meeting on the Sahel presided by Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine Al Othmani on 10 December and also adopted a presidential statement expressing serious concern over the insecurity and the significant ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region.

November 2012

Special Envoy Romano Prodi informally briefed Council members on 13 November on his meetings in Bamako, Addis Ababa, Cairo, and Algiers to coordinate a long-term approach to the myriad crises of the Sahel. On 19 November, at the initiative of India, the Council for the first time held an open debate on piracy and adopted a presidential statement expressing grave concern about the threat to international peace and security posed by piracy, condemning hostage-taking and violence against hostages and calling for a continuation of efforts to combat piracy at the national, regional and international levels.

October 2012

On 12 October, the Council met and unanimously passed resolution 2071 welcoming the appointment of Romano Prodi as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Sahel and expressing its readiness to respond positively to a request from Mali regarding an intervention force to assist the Malian armed forces to reclaim the northern half of the country pending a report by the Secretary-General on the military planning for such an intervention—due in late November.

September 2012

On 21 September, Council members issued a press statement on the progress in developing an integrated strategy for the Sahel, pursuant to resolution 2056.

July 2012

On 11 July the Special Representative and head of UNOWA introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report on West Africa to Council members. He noted that the recent coups in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, armed insurrection and continuing instability in parts of Côte d’Ivoire, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, terrorist threats and attacks in the region, and the increase in illicit drug trafficking meant that the security situation presents a new wave of challenges to governance, peace consolidation and conflict prevention.

May 2012

On 21 May, Council members held a high-level meeting with ECOWAS in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. On 11 May the head of UNOWA briefed Council members on the situation in Mali and Guinea-Bissau. Djinnit expressed concern at the resurgence of coups in the region and the impact this would have on international peace and security.

April 2012

On 4 April the Council adopted a presidential statement in response to a spreading Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali that called for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule and demanded an end to all hostilities in the north. It also condemned the seizure of territory by rebels, particularly expressing alarm over the presence of Al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists in northern Mali and in the wider Sahel region.

February 2012

On 21 February the Council issued a presidential statement expressing concern about “the serious threats to international peace and stability in different regions of the world, in particular in West Africa and the Sahel Region, posed by transnational organised crime, including illicit weapons and drug trafficking, piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as terrorism and its increasing links, in some cases, with transnational organised crime and drug trafficking.” The statement followed a high-level debate on the impact of transnational organised crime on peace and security in West Africa and the wider Sahel region.

January 2012

The head of UNOWA briefed the Council on 16 January. He mentioned the growing insecurity in the Sahel region of West Africa, in particular Mali, Mauritania and Niger, due to the influx of arms from Libya.

October 2011

On 31 October, the Council adopted resolution 2018, drawing attention to “the risk of destabilisation posed by the dissemination in the Sahel region of illicit small arms and light weapons.” The resolution also underlined a suggestion in the Secretary-General’s 20 June report that countries in the Sahel and UNOWA strengthen their cooperation to address emerging security and humanitarian issues.

July 2011

On 8 July, the Council was briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNOWA on the situation in West Africa and the Secretary-General’s report.

December 2010

On 20 December the Council extended the mandate of UNOWA for three years. On 17 December the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNOWA briefed the Council on developments affecting peace and security in the West African subregion.

November 2010

On 18 November the head of UNOWA briefed Council members in consultations on the latest developments in Guinea, in the wake of the 15 November announcement of the provisional results in the second round of the country’s presidential elections and the 17 November declaration of a state of emergency by the government.

July 2010

On 13 July the head of UNOWA briefed the Council on the overall peace and stability of the West African subregion, which he described as having witnessed “significant progress in crisis prevention and peacebuilding amidst daunting difficulties and persistent challenges.”

January 2010

On 12 January the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) briefed the Council on the Secretary General’s 31 December 2009 report on UNOWA.

December 2009

On 8 December the Council held an open debate on the topic Peace and Security in Africa: Drug Trafficking as a Threat to International Security. Many participants (including some Council members and the head of UNODC) highlighted the challenges posed by drug trafficking, as well as production and consumption of drugs in West Africa and across the African continent. The Council subsequently issued a presidential statement at the close of the meeting expressing concern about the threats posed by drug trafficking and related transnational organised crime in different regions of the world, including Africa.

July 2009

On 10 July, the Council adopted a presidential statement. On 7 July the Head of UNOWA briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in West Africa and the activities of UNOWA.

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