Ban Ki-moon Declares Sahel Region a ‘Top Priority’ of the UN

NEW YORK (IDN) – As Ban Ki-moon inches closer to ending his second five-year term as the UN Secretary-General, he is setting his sights on the Saharan Sahel spanning across eight African countries – Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad – assuring that improving the situation in the region is a “top priority” for the United Nations.

The region is faced with a “triple peril” of environmental degradation, poverty and insecurity, Ban said during a visit to Mauritania on March 4. The UN estimates that one in seven Sahelians lack food, one in five children will die before their fifth birthday, and four and a half million people have been forced to flee their homes. Communities have also been struggling against harsh environmental conditions and worsening climatic shocks. Besides, many of the countries in the Sahel region are dealing with a volatile security situation.

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