Briefing the Security Council, Ibrahim Thiaw, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the Sahel, said that the region’s stability and development was important not only for Africans, but also for Europe and beyond.“The Sahel is one of the least developed regions in the world, facing simultaneous challenges of extreme poverty, the dire effects of climate change, frequent food crises, rapid population growth, fragile governance, and terrorist-linked security threats,” he said.An uptick in criminal activity and cross-border organized crime, preying on the most vulnerable across the vast, mainly desert region – which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea – is only adding to the challenges, said Mr. Thiaw. “The profits generated from human, drug, and arms trafficking can only make a precarious situation even less tenable. A portion of the criminal or illegal proceeds is instead used to feed extremism and exacerbate instability,” added the Special Adviser.In his briefing, Mr. Thiaw reviewed the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, which was approved by the Security Council in 2013 and is a part of a preventive and integrated approach to strengthening governance, security and development in the region.In 2018, this Strategy was given fresh impetus by the Secretary-General, through the adoption of the Sahel Support Plan, he added, noting the importance of an approach that looks beyond the security aspect, to ensure stability of the region.Economies need to be transformed, people’s lives have to be improved, and the region’s youth have to be given hope, said the Special Adviser. At the same time, public “perception” of the Sahel needs to be changed and the many potential assets the region offers, highlighted, he said.The Sahel is ideally placed to boost its economy through renewable energy, such as solar or wind, explained Mr. Thiaw said, adding however that reaching key targets would require good governance, and the mobilization of resources across the region.He went on to note that for these reasons, a new mechanism within the Sustainable Development Goals Trust Fund has been established, to make UN interventions for the region more effective. “Such a flexible and transparent mechanism will make it possible to respond more quickly and better to the needs, often unpredictable in the long term, that arise in the Sahel,” he concluded.
Photos courtesy of Belva Hall WWll veteran John Fry asked for something specific for his 101st birthday: 101 birthday cards. Caring individuals and groups rallied and exceeded the request, gifting Fry with over 1,000 birthday cards throughout the past days.One such card was hand delivered by Lewis Hall from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #2379 and his wife Belva, the senior vice for the Post #2379 Auxiliary. The task of creating and delivering a personalized card was spearheaded by Lewis and supported by many members of the community and beyond.Beginning at a Utah Staples store, Lewis and Belva had a card created by store staff, who then took a chance to sign the card. Members from Post #2379 and the Auxiliary signed the card while members of the 11th Ward in Price also gave their John Hancock.Lewis and Belva, who reside in Price, then made the trek to Payson to visit Fry at the Central Utah Veterans Home. There, they hand delivered the card to the WWll veteran, thanking him for his service and wishing him a happy birthday.