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UNOWAS and UNOCA strengthen their collaboration

The United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) held a high-level joint meeting on 6 October in Dakar. The meeting was chaired by Mohamed Ibn Chambas and François Louncény Fall, Special Representatives of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in these two regions.

This high-level meeting is part of the common efforts by UNOWAS and UNOCA to strengthen their collaboration in effecting the United Nations mandate on issues of conflict prevention, human rights, peace security in the two African sub-regions of West and Central Africa.

Indeed, the two regional offices of the United Nations face common problems, which require that in some cases "we seek together common approaches to co-ordinate and treat them effectively," said Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

"Your problems are also ours," said François Loucény Fall, who stressed the need to strengthen the visibility of the United Nations in their respective regions, in particular through strong collaboration with governments, civil society, the private sector and all other partners, in carrying out their mandate of peace, security, human rights and development.

The two offices thus identified several areas that require close cooperation, including the fight against Boko Haram and support for the Lake Chad Basin Commission; the fight against maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea; support for the regional institutions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); the elections; gender issues; human rights ; reform of the security sector; issues of transhumance.

At the end of this one-day meeting, UNOWAS and UNOCA will need to implement strategies to strengthen their collaboration in the areas of joint early warning analysis for preventive diplomacy; share best practice experience; as well as strategic and operational support for maritime security in their efforts to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts.