President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the United Nations Security Council and the global community to make the fight against terrorism and violent extremism a topmost priority.
Speaking at the UN Security Council Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo, who reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to the fight against the global canker, also emphasised the urgent need for terrorism and violent extremism to be fought at all fronts.
According to the President, the most recent report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by Da’esh to the international community, which was released in February this year, as well as the 2022 Global Terrorism Index and the 2022 report of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, all speak about an increase in the incidence of terrorism and violent extremism across Africa.
He added that with an attendant evolution in their modes of operation, data on casualties on the continent was particularly sobering.
“It is for these reasons that Ghana reaffirms her condemnation of all acts of extremism and terrorism and urges the civilised world to do the same. Our common humanity and existence depend on it’,’ he stated.
He bemoaned the steady transformation of Africa into an arena for violent extremism and terrorism, stressing the need for partnership across all levels, from the local to the regional to the global.
The effectiveness of the United Nations now more than ever, according to the President, rests on cooperation that is both deeper and more robust with regional organisations.
Highlighting some of the ways in the fight, President Akufo-Addo said the rise of violent extremism and terrorism underscores the urgent need for a collective response.
“No country, regardless of its might, is immune from the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, nor can one country alone respond effectively to such threats.”
In a rapidly changing world, he said enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and continental and regional organisations is needed to combat these emerging threats to international peace and security.
“The partnership, outlined in Chapter Eight of the United Nations Charter, has always been an important factor in preserving international peace and security and reinforcing our shared aspirations for global peace and security.”
In Africa, President Akufo-Addo said, countries on the continent have decided to fill the void by addressing the limitations that United Nations peacekeeping efforts and national capacities have in dealing with the menace of transnational terrorist threats.
To combat insurgencies in their respective regions, African regional organisations, such as the SADC and ECOWAS, have developed their unique operations, which include military and diplomatic initiatives.
The Accra Initiative, which groups together Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Mali and Burkina Faso, and hopefully, soon, Nigeria, is one such self-help regional security and intelligence mechanism, designed to assist in the fight against terrorism.
President Akufo-Addo mentioned that despite the desire for these named countries to contribute their quota to the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, “there are, nonetheless, some constraints which are militating against these efforts.”
“Yet, capacity limitations and a lack of financial resources have become significant obstacles in the fight against terrorists. Previous experiences with peacekeeping in Africa have shown us the difficulties in delivering ambitious but under-resourced mandates.
“Defeating terrorist organisations and armed groups should be the Council’s primary focus when addressing the security challenges currently confronting Africa,’’ he said.
President Akufo-Addo said that bolstering cooperation and collaboration between the United Nations and continental and regional organisations should leverage existing strengths to enhance the development of a preventative approach based on regional early warning mechanisms.
“Efforts in conflict prevention and mediation have demonstrated how working together increases our powers of persuasion to press parties to make peace and diffuse tensions in localities.
He cautioned that partnerships with regional organisations should be based on mutual respect and must not attempt to impose preferred approaches on unique regional circumstances.
“Where this is forced through, it can only be detrimental to the work of regional organisations and the global effort to defeat terrorism, adding: “our collective security demands that we find the will to act collaboratively and decisively, in line with the respective mandates, to defeat terrorism and violent extremism in Africa.
“The activities of the United Nations, the African Union and other regional organisations should complement each other,’’ he pointed out.
President Akufo-Addo said it is imperative to reinforce the capacity of regional organisations for early warning and conflict prevention.
That, he said, requires that “we enhance cooperation in the areas of intelligence, logistics, capabilities, training and deployment, as well as innovative financing arrangements, for the highest impact projects on our continents with the quickest turnaround results, for people’s lives and sustainable development.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD