Briefing by Gilberto Da Piedade Verissimo, President of the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), at the Security Council meeting on the Central African Region.

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June 10, 2024

Gilberto Da Piedade Verissimo, President of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), said that — while “the situation in the space covered by ECCAS is deemed to be generally stable” — there are “certain fragilities”.  After three years of a political-transition process supported by the Community, Chad held a presidential election on 6 May 2024. This restored the country to constitutional order, made possible through the cooperation demonstrated by authorities and Chadian stakeholders as well as ECCAS’ facilitation efforts.  Meanwhile, the political-transition process under way in Gabon has “generated both hope and optimism” since its establishment on 31 August 2023, he said, noting that the drafting of the next constitution and the organization of elections are under way towards completion of the transition in September 2025.  Recalling that the anti-constitutional change of that country’s Government on 30 August 2023 prompted ECCAS to sanction Gabon — notably by suspending its participation in Community activities — he reported that “positive developments have been observed since then”.

These, he said, resulted in ECCAS’ March 2024 decision to lift sanctions imposed on Gabon “provided that it stringently adheres to the transition timeline submitted in December 2023”.  Meanwhile, ECCAS recently adopted measures to support that country during this critical stage in its transition process, as was the case with Chad.  He stressed, however, that — despite these positive circumstances — Africa continues to encounter multiple security challenges. These include armed groups’ persistent opposition of peace processes in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the terrorist threats originating in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions. Secessionist movements also continue to pose a significant security threat — “attested to by the situation in Cameroon”, he said.  Further, he noted that the region is plagued by a wide-ranging humanitarian crisis due to security challenges and the “nefarious consequences of climate change”, including a series of floods striking numerous ECCAS States.

He also pointed out that millions of internally displaced persons are located in Central Africa, alongside thousands of refugees fleeing atrocities in Sudan, Libya and elsewhere. Additionally, he recalled that diplomatic and security tensions between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, as well as between Burundi and Rwanda, “sowed the seeds of conflict” that caused a “conflagration” to break out in the Great Lakes region in the mid-1990s — “the fallout of which continues to be experienced to this date”.  While the Luanda and Nairobi processes have helped to contain these crises, they have done so “without effectively and definitively resolving them”, he said. Moreover, despite significant regional and continental efforts, armed groups, terrorist organizations and secessionist movements — as well as diplomatic and security crises — in Central Africa continue to threaten international peace and security.

“Thus, this situation warrants the Security Council’s full attention,” he underscored, expressing gratitude to the United Nations for the two peace missions currently deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. Nevertheless, he called on the Council — bearing in mind MONUSCO’s imminent withdrawal — to support the regional mission deployed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  He further called on the organ to step up support for the Luanda and Nairobi processes — “particularly during this period when inter-State tensions appear to have precipitously escalated in the subregion”.

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