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Sahel: Violence

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 61803, tabled on 19 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his UN counterparts on resolving conflict involving farmers and herders (a) in Nigeria and (b) across the Sahel region.

Answered on

30 June 2020

The UK remains concerned about the deteriorating security situation in parts of Nigeria, and in the Sahel. The UK Government routinely engages with the UN and its agencies on conflict resolution in Nigeria, including through our Mission in New York and the UN's Office for West Africa & the Sahel (UNOWAS).

I met the head of UNOWAS in February during my visit to Mauritania where I attended the first meeting of the Sahel Alliance General Assembly and the sixth Summit of the G5 Leaders. We discussed security in the region. We have encouraged efforts by UNOWAS to develop regional solutions to preventing and resolving disputes between farming and herding communities. In particular, we encourage UNOWAS to increase engagement with regional governments on efforts to address the long-term causes and drivers of the violence. I have also raised insecurity in the Sahel with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the African Union, Hannah Tetteh.

The deteriorating security situation in the Sahel is characterised by both extremist violence and intercommunal conflict, including between farmers and herders. We are the third largest humanitarian donor to the region and committed to tackling the long-term drivers of instability, including factors relating to governance, conflict resolution and access to basic services.

We reiterated our commitment to the region in UK statements on 5 June at the UN Security Council and my statement at the Sahel Coalition meeting on 12 June. These set out our intention to work with the UN, G5 Sahel countries and international partners to ensure peace, stability, sustainable development and justice for the people of the Sahel. Later this year, the UK will be deploying to the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA. This will strengthen the Mission's ability to protect civilians from the impacts of conflict in Mali.