Mr President

I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNOCA, Mr Abarry, for his presentation.

As we have heard today, the Central African region is currently facing unprecedented risks to peace and security. Given that the challenges are mainly regional, so must be the responses. Cooperation between all the actors in Central Africa is therefore necessary to consolidate peace. With this in mind, I would like to highlight three points:

Firstly, the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in certain parts is affecting the whole Central Africa region. Armed conflicts, intercommunity violence and forced displacement continue to exacerbate the humanitarian and security crisis.

In Sudan, for example, the impact of the fighting between the SAF and the RSF on the civilian population has been catastrophic. This conflict has caused the biggest displacement crisis known to the world today, with a pronounced impact in neighboring countries too. We remind all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law. We would like to thank the ECCAS countries, in particular Chad and CAR, for welcoming people fleeing this conflict and for keeping their borders open. These countries need our full support to ensure dignified protection for refugees as well as meeting the needs of their own populations.

Secondly, inclusive democratic processes that respect human rights are necessary to consolidate lasting peace in the region. Serious efforts in the area of prevention must be put at the forefront. We welcome the Special Representative's efforts to advance preventive diplomacy and consolidate peace. His good offices in Gabon and Chad in particular have been indispensable in strengthening civic space and foster dialogue between the authorities and the opposition. In this respect, Switzerland supports the transitional authorities in Chad in implementing the recommendations of the Sovereign and Inclusive National Dialogue.

To ensure peaceful democratic societies, it is essential that full respect for human rights be guaranteed. In this respect, we regret that civic space is increasingly restricted in certain contexts, notably Cameroon and Burundi. People's political affiliations, sexual orientation and work as journalists must not be used as grounds for discrimination.

Thirdly, climate change is having a negative impact on peace and security throughout Central Africa. As the Special Representative has stressed on several occasions, extreme weather events are increasingly common in the region. They force people to move, increase their insecurity, and have an impact on their ability to realise their fundamental rights.

This is why the fact that UNOCA has a climate, peace and security adviser is an important progress. This capacity provides important support in analysing the risks associated with conflicts over natural resources, which are exacerbated by the harmful effects of climate change. In response to these challenges, Switzerland supports, for example, the strengthening of pastoral livestock farming in Chad, which helps to improve adaptation to climate change. This type of project is essential in the region to contribute to food security and create economic opportunities to prevent violence.

Mr President

We thank the Special Representative and UNOCA in particular for his strong focus on conflict prevention, including climate, peace and security considerations, in line with the 2018 Presidential Statement. Switzerland supports the efforts made by Gabon and the United Kingdom for a new statement. Despite all the crises we face, we must continue our commitment to the Central African region. After three years, it is high time for this Council to send a strong signal of its support for the valuable work of this regional office.

Thank you.