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UNOWAS Magazine N13 - March 2021

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Peacebuilding in West Africa and the Sahel put to the test by COVID-19

There is no doubt that we are going through an unprecedented period in our history.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year ago, has had - and continues to have - negative consequences worldwide.

Lives have been disrupted, economies have been destroyed, and anguish is mounting as the pernicious and pervasive pandemic continues its devastating action.

The mobilization of the international community has brought salutary responses that will have to be reinforced to better assist countries and populations whose means are limited while they are already facing multiple challenges as is the case for West Africa and the Sahel countries.

Indeed, the sub-region did not need this additional challenge which accentuates the factors of instability and undermines the efforts of States to improve the living conditions of their populations and achieve sustainable development objectives.

But thanks to the launch of the COVID-19 vaccines, a new hopeful phase is emerging.
A phase that requires -from all of us - increased vigilance and solidarity of action.

As the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pointed out, “at this critical moment, vaccine equity is the greatest moral test facing the global community. We must ensure that everyone, everywhere, can be vaccinated as soon as possible. »

The mobilization displayed during the 58th Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held on 23 January, demonstrates the commitment of the countries of the sub-region to act with solidarity and synergy in their fight against the pandemic, while continuing their efforts to consolidate peace and democracy through, in particular, the holding of elections as scheduled in various countries, despite -sometimes- constraining circumstances.

In line with its regional approach, UNOWAS has intensified its good offices activities and exchanges with regional partners to better support them during this challenging period.

We must remain vigilant and not relax our efforts as the pandemic, in addition to terrorism and the effects of climate change, unfortunately remain important challenges for the governments and peoples of the sub-region.