The United Nations (UN) Security Council primary responsibility is to maintain international peace and security, with 15 voting members: 5 permanent members and 10 rotating non-permanent members which are elected every two years. Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action as stipulated in Chapter V of the UN Charter. The Security Council is the only UN body with the authority to enact binding resolutions on member states. Resolutions of the Security Council are typically enforced by UN peacekeepers, military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget. Although it has the capacity to use military forces, when a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council’s first action is usually to recommend that the parties try to reach an agreement by peaceful means.
The world is peppered with multi-layered conflicts, one of such is the conflict in the Sahel Deserts, that is currently being overlooked. Various armed groups emerged in areas neglected by national authorities for decades. Lack of state presence, poverty and unemployment made it easy for these groups to find new recruits in areas that had long been left to fend for themselves. Today armed groups have multiplied, violence has spread from the north to more central parts of the region. As devastating as these armed conflicts are, they are in many cases a symptom of unresolved issues that plague the region namely poverty, food shortages, lack of job opportunities and climate change. This situation has created a refugee crisis, mainly in neighboring European countries. Alas, any efforts to find a solution that does not address the long-term underlying problems facing the region such as climate change and food shortages will be in vain. The various humanitarian issues affecting this vast zone should set off alarm bells and if an effort is not made immediately, the Sahel region could be facing a massive crisis. We welcome delegates under the mandates of the Security Council to give their input on this issue and cool down the hostilities in North Africa to uphold humanity’s values we deemed sacred.