Reviewing the progress made by West African peacekeeping missions, their chiefs today called on the international community to redouble its efforts to strengthen humanitarian assistance for all needy countries in the region, especially for the drought-stricken Sahelian countries facing famine, the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) said.
In their one-day meeting in Senegal's capital, Dakar, the five Special Representatives of Secretary-General Kofi Annan (SRSGs) noted that the Consolidated Appeals Processes had brought in funding that was well short of what was required.
Meeting under the chairmanship of SRSG Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UNOWA head, were Daudi Mwakawago of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), Pierre Schori of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Abou Moussa of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Joao Honwana of the UN Peace-Building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) to update the developments in their missions.
The Special Representatives stressed the importance of steady progress towards the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections in Liberia and the reform of its security sector, and said they also hoped for early finalization of the Economic Governance Action Plan, UNOWA said.
The five noted with satisfaction the supplementary accord for Côte d'Ivoire of 29 June, called the Pretoria Declaration, and said it had given renewed impetus to the peace process, "failing which individual sanctions might be invoked," UNOWA said.
They also expressed the hope that political leaders in Guinea-Bissau would do everything to ensure that the second round of elections would take place in the same calm conditions as the first round and that they would commit themselves to accepting the results.
Though Togo has no peacekeeping mission, the SRSGs called on the Government to continue its efforts towards reconciliation after the disputes over its April elections scattered thousands of refugees into neighbouring countries.
With UNAMSIL withdrawing at the end of the year, they also discussed residual problems in Sierra Leone, the future UN presence there and the possible impact on peace-building efforts in nearby countries, UNOWA said.
Meeting after the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) conference that took place in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in late June, they called on their Intermission Cooperation Working Group to explore a regional DDR approach that would include countries that do not host UN peace missions.