Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has urged ECOWAS Group to support Ghana’s bid to be elected as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2022 to 2023.
“I reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to the multilateral system, I entreat you all to vote for Ghana on 11th June, to enable Ghana to contribute to ongoing work of the Security Council to address the current challenges confronting all Member States,” Madam Ayorkor Botchwey stated in her address to the ECOWAS Group in New York.
She said before she engaged with the ECOWAS Group, she chaired an Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of ECOWAS to consider proposals for making ECOWAS an effective institution for transforming the West Africa Region.
The Minister said addressing security threats in the region was one of the key challenges confronting them in raising the living standards of all their peoples in the ECOWAS Community; saying “this is why our meeting this afternoon is so important”.
“A few days from now, member States of our United Nations will be casting a crucial ballot for the election of non-permanent members to the Security Council,” she said.
“As you are aware, Ghana is the official, uncontested candidate of ECOWAS and one of the two endorsed candidates of the African Union for the term 2022-2023.”
She said Ghana was committed to cooperating with all Member States and the entire UN body in “Enhancing Global Peace and Security for Sustainable and Inclusive Development”, which was the theme for Ghana’s tenure on the Council when elected.
The Minister said the security concerns of the West Africa region would, therefore, be very much at the centre of their focus.
She noted that that would include focusing attention on the situation in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin Area.
“We need to mobilise the international community, through the leadership of the Council, to reverse the deteriorating security situation in that part of our continent and foster the conditions for economic progress,” she stated.
Madam Ayorkor Bocthwey said given that 70 per cent of the Security Council’s agenda was centered on Africa, Ghana intended to use her membership of the Council to advocate for and build support for effective responses that enabled it to deal with terrorism, protracted conflicts, cyber threats, maritime piracy, food insecurity as well as climate change.
She said Ghana also intended to pursue some priorities including conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction, and strengthening of governance, leveraging on its previous and current experience as Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as its active membership of the African Union (AU).
The Minister said evidence showed that global challenges, including insecurity, could be better managed when placed within their specific regional contexts.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said in that regard, Ghana would encourage the further deepening of cooperation between the UN and continental and regional organisations to help achieve effective results.
She said Ghana supported the ongoing partnerships between the UN and other regional arrangements such as the AU and ECOWAS in tackling security challenges; adding that “we will call for more of such complementarity.”
The Minister said the ECOWAS region had to help maintain the momentum in realising AU’s “Silencing the Guns” initiative, which provided guidelines for tackling an extensive array of political, economic, social, environmental, and legal factors identified as contributors to conflict or impediments to development, ranging from poverty, and environmental degradation, to illicit arms trafficking, cyber threats, and the erosion of democracy.
She said the recent upsurge in maritime piracy in the West Africa region as well as the situation in Mali and Chad were of immediate concern and that some concerted effort was required to stabilise governance systems in the countries.
“As co-chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates for UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo intends to use Ghana’s tenure on the Security Council to re-emphasise the urgency in accelerating progress towards the attainment of the SDGs.”
She said consequently, the continuous support for initiatives that empowered women and youth in particular, and the creation of the right opportunities for their meaningful participation in development would help in the realisation of Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security (WPS) as well as the Resolution on Youth, Peace, and Security.
“Furthermore, if elected to the Council, we are committed to highlighting the effects of climate change on the economic, human, and security situation in many parts of the continent, including the Sahel and Lake Chad.
“Concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, we must push for equitable access to global vaccines and maintain our solidarity to enable us to recover from the devastating effect from the pandemic on our economies and health systems,” she said.
“We need no reminding that we must take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the respective regional integration agendas on the continent to crystalise the socio-economic development of the African continent and her stability and durable peace and security.”
The Minister said regarding the reform of the Security Council, the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, which spelt out the Common African Position on the reform of the Council, were key decisions for moving forward the discussions for a more representative and inclusive Council that better responded to the current global challenges.
“Together we can achieve a lot more for our region and I look forward to working closely with your countries on the matters that I have enumerated,” Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said.