Thank you, Mr. President.
At the outset, I would like to thank you for organizing this meeting to discuss the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in the implementation of its mandate. I would also like to thank SRSG Abou Moussa for his comprehensive briefing. Our thanks are also due to him for the Secretary General’s report on UNOCA and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Mr. President, we appreciate the efforts of countries in Central Africa to overcome the negative effects of decades of instability and conflicts, including through bilateral and regional cooperation. UNOCA has been effectively coordinating those efforts and has facilitated a number of meetings and promoted greater international attention to the region. We welcome and support these activities.
We have noted that the region has had overall politically stability, and successful elections were held in two countries during the reporting period. Socio-economic trends, however, present, a mixed picture. The region as a whole has high incidence of youth unemployment and poverty, and limited progress has been made in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The region continues to face serious challenges, like the proliferation of weapons, transnational organized crimes, illicit drug trafficking and terrorism. There has been an alarming increase in incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. The deteriorating situation in the Sahel region has also aggravated problems for the Central African region. Unless seriously addressed, these problems have the potential to derail the gains made so far and threaten peace, security and stability in the region.
The LRA also continues to remain active in the region, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. It is also reported to have established bases along the CAR-South Sudan border areas.
Mr. President, it is in this overall context of the situation in the region that the activities of UNOCA assume significance, particularly in the areas of conflict prevention, early warning, and partnering the countries to achieve their socio-economic development goals. UNOCA should promote regional strategies to comprehensively address the challenges facing the region. UNOCA should further strengthen this collaboration with UNOWA, ECCAS and other UN offices, and assist the efforts of governments and regional and sub-regional organizations.
With respect to the LRA, we welcome the steps taken by UNOCA and the African Union towards the implementation of the LRA Regional Strategy. We have noted that SRSG Moussa convened a meeting with national, regional and international partners in July to develop a joint roadmap, and the participants agreed to convene a general coordination meeting every six months to assess progress in the implementation of the Regional Strategy, in particular the five strategic objectives. We welcome the decision that UNOCA and the AU will organize a joint resource mobilization forum to raise additional funds for the implementation of the strategy.
The focus of this Council should lead to galvanizing the international community to provide adequate resources for the national and regional endeavours, particularly in strengthening of national capacities with regards to civil administration, police and security forces, SSR and DDR processes and socio-economic development. Given the fragility of political institutions in several countries, it is also important for the national and regional authorities to pay attention to the need for inclusive political processes, including electoral reforms. In this connection, it is important that UN Missions in the region are not burdened further without augmentation of their resources.
In conclusion, Mr. President, India stands ready to support and contribute to efforts of the African Union and United Nations to address the challenges of countries of Central African region, particularly in the fields of capacity building and human resource and socio-economic development.
I thank you.
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