ADDIS ABABA, July 2 (Xinhua) -- The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Tuesday stressed that the Sahel region is a major priority for the United Nations in its efforts towards the realization of universal development targets across Africa.
The statement was made by ECA's Director in West Africa Bakary Dosso, who described the ECA's various ongoing development initiatives targeting the Sahel region as its major priority towards the realization of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the African continent.
"The Sahel is a priority for the UN Secretary-General in his efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, and ECA's role is to work in this direction," an ECA statement quoted Dosso as saying on Tuesday.
The ECA director, who emphasized the need to create a link between development endeavors and efforts to tackle security challenges across the Sahel region, further stressed that "current narratives on the crisis in the Sahel region do not paint a full picture of the situation."
"It is a truism that the Sahel is blessed with an abundance of natural and human resources, which if managed equitably and sustainably, could positively transform the situation of the region," Dosso added.
According to Dosso, the ECA has been mandated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to conduct research on the root causes of the situation and on the fundamentals for structural change.
The ECA further stressed the potential advantages of the Sahel 2043 Prospective Study, which is part of the UN's initiatives towards ensuring better synergy between development actions and combating terrorism towards the promotion of peace across the Sahel region.
The ECA also indicated the need to "understand and assimilate" the long-term prospective study, which has so far received support from 10 countries in the Sahel region that are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal.
"The Sahel 2043, which should guide the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), is a forward-looking analysis whose findings should be used to recalibrate the many existing strategies in the Sahel," an ECA statement read.
The government of Burkina Faso, as one of the ten regional countries that have so far reiterated their support to the Sahel 2043 Prospective Study, also expressed the UN-led initiative as an imperative in tackling security challenges towards regional development.
"Given Burkina Faso's commitment to the Sahel, it is logical to present the first results to the Minister of Economy, Finance and Development, and Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of the G5 Sahel," an ECA statement quoted Fayama Karfa, Burkina Faso's Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Development as saying.
The African Union (AU) also recently disclosed that the security situation in the Sahel region is top of its agenda in its efforts to promote stability across the continent.
Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also in February this year reiterated that the 55-member pan African bloc would further "intensify its efforts to promote peace and stability in the Sahel as terrorism continues to ravage the region."