New York, 14 March 2023 (TDI): Martin Bille Hermann, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations (UN) spoke to the Peacebuilding Mission in Guinea-Bissau.

Denmark stressed sustaining peace during elections as a continuous and long-term process and not just a one-off event.

It acknowledged the crucial role of Guinea-Bissau as head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The ECOWAS is a political and economic union of fifteen West African countries. It remains a key partner of the UN in the region for establishing peace and stability in West Africa.

The statement by Denmark at an Ambassadorial-level meeting of the UN raised two concerns. One on the support of the foundation for peace and the second on the continuance of peace during elections.

Ambassador Martin drew attention to the negotiated foundation for peace through the ECOWAS and Conakry Agreement, but the on-ground implementations remain a daunting challenge for the authorities.

The Conakry Agreement was part of a six-point roadmap adopted by ECOWAS titled “Agreement on the Resolution of the Political Crisis in Guinea Bissau”, in September 2016.

The agreement envisaged restoring confidence, mitigating the political crisis, and enabling the international community to fulfill its pledges made at Brussels Conference in 2015.

The Ambassador further highlighted inclusive institutions, the rule of law, equitable governance of resources, and provision of essential services as instrumental features in strengthening social contracts.

Climate change in West Africa is no more a distant reality. The peacebuilding fund provides adequate support to the region to combat the menace.

The Ambassador further inquired from the briefers to highlight the impacts of peacebuilding initiatives to address climate change and related risks and how the UN can further strengthen the support.

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The elections in Guinea-Bissau are approaching. Denmark commended the efforts of political dialogue among stakeholders while emphasizing free, fair, transparent, and inclusive elections.

There is a pressing need to enhance and safeguard the meaningful participation of women, minorities, youth, and civil society in the electoral process.

The Ambassador called for inclusivity as a cornerstone to bolster public trust in the electoral, process and sustain peace. Lastly, peace in the region during the elections is not a one-off event. It should be a long-term process.

Denmark suggested that the peacebuilding commission should utilize its convening role to share and foster cross-country experiences on preventing violence during the elections.