Editorial December 2020

Madam, Sir, dear members, dear partners,

This month of December brings to a close a year that was deeply shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic and its health and socio-economic impact. Like all of you, I look forward to 2021 with the hope of seeing this crisis come to a n end and of finding a world where interactions can reach beyond our screens and where we will reconnect with the human dimension and proximity that give so much meaning to our work.  The countries of the G5 Sahel, severely affected by the health, economic and social repercussions of the pandemic, are counting on our solidarity and strengthened partnership. The members of the Alliance have already fully mobilised in this respect and 2021 will have to epitomise the furtherance of these joint efforts in favour of an inclusive socio-economic future that leaves no one behind. This mobilisation will have to be coupled with increased support for displaced populations and those affected by conflicts, which are destabilising entire areas of the Sahel in the long term. Let us not forget these women and men who must remain at the heart of our ambition for a resilient and peaceful Sahel. In this regard, I would like to welcome the statement made this week by the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chairwoman of our General Assembly, on the implementation of UN resolution 1325 – women, peace and security – in the Sahel. This founding resolution stresses the central role of women as stakeholders in building sustainable peace, both in local communities and in national decision-making bodies. The members of the Sahel Alliance have committed themselves to increasingly take into account gender concerns and issues and to strengthen their support accordingly.

The work of the last operational steering committee (OSC) of the Alliance, held on 10 November and attended by the Executive Secretariat and the Mauritanian Presidency of the G5, led to important decisions. These include strengthening the framework for political dialogue and mutual accountability with the G5 Sahel and I would like to thank Mr Yahya Ould Kebd, member of the inter-ministerial committee of the current G5 Sahel Presidency, for having stressed the importance of the G5 – Sahel Alliance partnership in an interview that you can read in this newsletter. The OSC discussions also highlighted the need for adapted and increased support to the Sahelian private sector and allowed us to further strengthen the Alliance’s presence in the field and the coordination of our members’ interventions in the areas identified as priorities.  Finally, the OSC saw Norway become a full member of the Alliance – the 14th! -, and the accession of the International Organisation of the Francophonie as the 11th observer member. I welcome them once again and look forward to this further strengthening of the Alliance.

I would also like to recall the importance of the work carried out within the framework of the sectoral groups, which convene our members around our priority areas and themes of intervention. In this regard, I would like to salute the success of the round table on accelerating access to electricity in Niger, held on 4 and 5 November in Niamey.  This event, in which the Alliance’s energy sector group was heavily involved, made it possible to mobilise $640 million in favour of a sector whose development is crucial for the G5 countries, where access rates to electricity remain very low despite a strong potential in the field of renewable energies, particularly solar energy. We hope that 2021 will see the multiplication of such initiatives in the different sectors of intervention of the Alliance.

I will conclude my remarks by inviting you to a live digital conference on 20 January, which will mark the public release of the report on the results of the Sahel Alliance’s three years. This launch, which will bring together members, partners and beneficiaries, will be an opportunity to take stock of our collective action, to highlight our achievements and successes, but also to explore the challenges that we still have to tackle together to build a better future for all in the Sahel region.  We will send you the practical details for participating in this event at the beginning of January.

Dear members, dear partners, I wish you happy holidays and an excellent and solidary year 2021.

Stay well,

Adrien Haye, Chief of the Sahel Alliance Coordination Unit