The 56th session of the United Nations Permanent Advisory Committee on Security Issues in Central Africa (UNSAC) started in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, with the meeting of focal points from the 11 Member States namely Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe. In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Guillaume Kavaruganda, Director General for Europe, America and International Organizations at the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, recalled the importance of this session whose main theme is “The prevention of and fight against non-constitutional changes.” He noted that his country was “ready to share its experience and actively contribute to discussions” on this topic. He underlined the importance of prevention, adding that it was an “imperative to guarantee a peaceful and prosperous future [for] citizens.” Ambassador Guillaume Kavaruganda also noted that this theme had “particular significance” in the current African context, and that the search for lasting solutions to challenges that concern everyone required “close collaboration and effective coordination between Nations.”
Rebuilding and strengthening confidence
“Rwanda remains resolutely committed to the principles of UNSAC and the objectives [it] pursues,” said the representative of the host country of the 56th session of this UN body. He also noted the other points on the agenda of this meeting, including the Ministerial segment (on 24 November) that will be preceded by that of experts (from 21 to 23 November). In addition to the review proposed by the ECCAS Commission, which will give an overview of the geopolitical and security situation in the 11 UNSAC member countries, several other topics will be discussed, including those related to climate security, the humanitarian situation, the issue of children in armed conflicts, the state of human rights, etc. In addition, a presentation will be made on ongoing efforts to adopt a regional strategy to address and counter hate speech in Central Africa.
The outgoing Bureau of the Committee will take stock of the implementation of the recommendations and decisions resulting from the 55th UNSAC meeting, which was held from 15 to 19 May, in Sao Tome. It is chaired by the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, whose Ambassador to Gabon, Elisa Pereira Afonso de Barros, chaired the meeting of focal points. She expressed the hope that the discussions during the 56th meeting would lead to good prospects for Central Africa in terms of conflict prevention and resolution. She expressed her gratitude to UNOCA for its “unwavering support” as UNSAC Secretariat (since 2011).
In addition to representatives of UNSAC Member States, numerous regional and international organizations with or without observer status participate in the meetings of this body, including UN entities. At least three senior officials from this institution will take part in the meeting in Kigali: Virginia Gamba (Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict), Huang Xia (Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region) and Abdou Abarry (Special Representative and Head of UNOCA). The ECCAS Commission team will be led by the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mangaral Bante.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Regional Office For Central Africa (UNOCA).