UN Envoy to Visit Sahel to Draw Attention to Regional Challenges
29 May 2008 ? A senior United Nations envoy heads to West Africa next week for a three-country mission aimed at spotlighting the effects of climate change, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and other challenges facing the countries of the Sahel.
Jan Egeland, a Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, will visit Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger on a six-day trip starting on Monday, the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) announced today.
Mr. Egeland, who will meet with Government officials and undertake visits to rural areas, is expected to stress the need for international assistance to help States in the Sahel region ? the semi-arid belt running across Africa south of the Sahara Desert ? cope with challenges and problems so they do not lead to conflicts in the longer-term.
The former Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs will be joined on the mission by staff from DPA, the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and a scientist from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.