Dear members, dear partners,
I cannot open this last editorial of the year without expressing our deep sadness at the news of the passing of Dr Djime Adoum. On behalf of the Sahel Alliance, I extend our deepest condolences to his wife, family and to the entire Sahel Coalition community.
The complex trajectories that characterise the situation in the Sahel are a source of uncertainty and affect populations who, faced with increasing insecurity and an alarming level of food insecurity, are forced to move in large numbers. They weigh on the regional dynamics in place, on the capacities and means of action mobilised and lead to major changes in relations with international partners.
In this context, we need to take the time to think and listen carefully, to better understand the challenges and potential of the region. 2023 is therefore coming to a close with a series of thematic meetings organised by the Sahel Alliance to strengthen coordination and continue to build meaningful partnerships.
The seminar, held in Dakar on 8 November in collaboration with the World Food Programme, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, brought together Sahelian countries, regional institutions, agricultural research and producer platforms, civil society and members of the Sahel Alliance. It provided an opportunity for an in-depth analysis of the impact of the multidimensional crisis on agricultural and food systems, to report on the initiatives undertaken by the members of the Sahel Alliance and to issue recommendations to go even further in the formulation of coordinated actions to bring responses tailored to the needs of populations in the short and long term.
The seminar held in Brussels on 12 December on understanding the factors contributing to the crisis in the Sahel and the challenges for development partners provided an opportunity to combine the work and views of a wide range of Sahelian and international researchers to consider the governance issues and the ways in which basic services can be delivered, or even replaced, in the Sahel. The rich and inspiring debates on the role of the State and the conditions for a renewed social contract in Sahelian societies were a reminder of the extent to which research and foresight are necessary to underpin the action of international partners.
Given the day-to-day reality, where misinformation is increasing and international action is sometimes denounced by some as part of the problem rather than part of the solution, we continued our work on December 13th on the issues of communication and the media. This latest meeting of communication specialists from Alliance members, including representatives of the press, provided an opportunity to discuss the work of the media in the Sahel and the role and objectives of communication by development partners. The conclusions of this workshop will help guide the Sahel Alliance’s communication activities in 2024.
Over the last few weeks, our sectoral and thematic working groups have been working hard to identify possible joint Alliance Sahel initiatives based on the 3 strategic priorities set at our last General Assembly. The members undertook the various activities planned for this last quarter as part of the priorities they had identified in their country action plans. The results of this work will be presented at our next Operational Steering Committee (CPO) on 22 January 2024.
On behalf of the entire UCA team, I would like to wish you all the best for the New Year, as I am determined to work alongside you to ensure that our joint commitment is as effective as possible for the benefit of the people of the Sahel.
Sahel Alliance Coordination Unit