Allow me to make a statement in my national capacity.

I would like to begin by thanking Assistant Secretary-General Pobee and Executive Secretary Tiaré for their presentations and the Peacebuilding Commission for its written contribution. Ms. Diouf, I listened carefully to your rich presentation and noted particularly your recommendation on the involvement of local communities. Thank you.

We have just heard it, and we read it in the Secretary-General's report: the G5 Sahel countries face multiple, interconnected and transnational challenges. Armed conflict, growing insecurity and the impacts of climate change are not the least of these.

The response to insecurity in the region over the past ten years has been mainly focused on security and in particular on the military. However, it has to be said that this has not been enough to reduce or even contain the threat. We must therefore strengthen stability by acting on the political, economic, social and environmental aspects in the countries of the region. This requires a coherent political strategy that balances three key measures: 

First, conflict resolution and prevention must go hand in hand. Experiences on the ground show that in order to end armed conflict, fight terrorism, and prevent violent extremism, we must address the root causes and drivers of violence in a holistic manner. Youth must play a key role. They are not just subjects vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment by extremist groups, but partners in preventing radicalization and countering violent extremism. For example, youth build resilience in communities, facilitate post-trauma healing and reconciliation. They also play a key role in raising awareness and mobilizing local capacity. This dynamic and large generation is therefore ready to act for positive change. We need to empower them and give them the opportunities to take leadership and make their voices heard.

Second, we must address the environmental and climatic factors that interact with stability in the Sahel. Climate change and extreme weather events have significant impacts on the quality and availability of natural resources. This is in addition to the destructive effects of conflict and the low resilience and response capacity of often fragile institutions. Many mechanisms for conflict resolution, natural resource management, and hosting displaced persons exist at the local level. These local experiences need to be complemented by regional and international measures. Switzerland is aware of this fact and is committed to the resilience of the pastoral sector, among others in Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. In Chad, Switzerland supports a program that helps to delay the movements to agricultural areas in the south by three months, thus reducing tensions between farmers and pastoralists in a sustainable way.

Third, human rights and international humanitarian law in armed conflict must be respected, including during security operations - whether conducted by internal security forces or the G5 Sahel Joint Force. We recognize the progress made by members of the Joint Force, in close collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the implementation of the human rights compliance framework and due diligence policy.


A collective effort is needed to clarify the contours of future responses to the security challenges in the Sahel. We therefore look forward with great interest to the strategic review of the Independent High Level Panel on Security and Development in the Sahel, chaired by Mahamadou Issoufou.

The answer to the challenges lies in cooperation, not isolation: regional actors, including the members of the G5-Sahel, must act together, supported by the international community and listening to local solutions, especially those proposed by African youth - the engine of development on the continent.