- In a letter dated 23 December 2013 (S/2013/759), the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Office for West Africa until 31 December 2016 and requested me to submit a report every six months on the implementation of its mandate. Following my letter to the Council dated 14 January 2016 (S/2016/88) on the strategic review of the Office of my Special Envoy for the Sahel, the Council requested me, on 28 January 2016, to proceed with the merger of the two offices into the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and asked me to provide an update on the implementation of the mandate of UNOWAS in my next report (see S/2016/89). The present report covers the period from 30 July to 31 December 2016 and provides an overview of developments and trends in West Africa and the Sahel. It also outlines the activities of UNOWAS and the progress made in the implementation of the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel (S/2015/866).
II. Developments and trends in West Africa and the Sahel
A. Political and governance trends
Since my most recent report (S/2016/566), efforts to consolidate democracy and stability continued in the region. Noticeable progress was made in the political dialogue process in Guinea and in the development and implementation of key political, institutional and constitutional reforms in a number of countries, including Benin and Senegal. Elections were held in Cabo Verde, the Gambia and Ghana.
Cabo Verde successfully conducted peaceful local elections on 4 September and a presidential election on 2 October. Observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union applauded the elections as professional, fair, inclusive and transparent. With a 35 per cent turnout, incumbent President Jorge Carlos De Almeida Fonseca secured 74 per cent of ballots cast, while the opposition Movement for Democracy party reversed the 15-year dominance of the African Party for the Independence of Cabo Verde by winning the majority of seats in Parliament.