Dear Sir or Madam, dear members, dear partners,
As I write these lines, the Sahel is going through new trials. The recent events in Mali, with the removal of the President of the transition and his Prime Minister, are of great concern to us. At a time when the region needs a return of stability more than ever and when the populations hope to regain confidence in their leaders, we regret this power grab which could jeopardise the success of the transition process that has begun. In Burkina Faso, events of a different nature are shaking the country: one of the deadliest massacres of civilians that the Sahel has seen since the resurgence of violence was perpetrated on the night of 4 to 5 June, taking the lives of between 132 and 160 people. This appalling act, which comes on top of the increasing number of attacks from which the Sahelian populations are suffering, shocks and challenges us.
These tragedies must lead us to accelerate our efforts to stabilise and develop the most fragile areas and to step up our preventive actions in territories less affected by the crisis. Despite this context and the security-related lack of access or implementation difficulties, humanitarian and development actors – spearheaded by the members of the Alliance Sahel – as well as civil society remain committed on the ground alongside populations and communities. I would like to pay tribute to their work and their commitment in particularly complex conditions.
It is in this worrying context that the Alliance Sahel held its 6th Operational Steering Committee (CPO) on 2 June, which brought together more than 100 participants from Alliance members, as well as Minister Issa Doubragne, current President of the G5 Sahel Council of Ministers, the Executive Secretary of the G5 Sahel, Mr. Maman Sidikou, and the High Representative of the Coalition for the Sahel, Mr. Djimé Adoum. This CPO allowed significant progress to be made.
Discussions focused on:
- the implementation status of the Integrated Territorial Approach (ATI) in priority areas and the development of its implementation tools;
- the priorities of the dialogue and accountability framework between the Alliance Sahel and the G5 Sahel;
- recommendations for strengthening the Alliance’s support in the fight against climate change;
- the launch of the G5 Sahel Facility, a new financial tool supported by BMZ and KfW (initial endowment of 50 million Euros) in close coordination with the SEG5;
- the 2020 annual report on the Alliance’s portfolio as well as the functioning of the Alliance Sahel and its governance.
Members and partners agreed to promote the ATI as a privileged coordination tool between the different pillars of the Sahel Coalition, building on existing local strategies and coordination frameworks in the G5 countries.
At the end of the CPO, Alliance Sahel members endorsed the continuation of the mandates of Spain as Chair of the General Assembly (Minister of Foreign Affairs of the European Union and Cooperation Arancha Gonzàlez Laya) and Germany as Chair of the CPO (BMZ, Director of Africa Christoph Rauh) for the next 12 months. I look forward to continuing the work with them.
In recent weeks, our members have also been brought together in two virtual meetings organised by the Alliance’s dynamic coordination group dedicated to the private sector. The first workshop, co-hosted by the EU and UNIDO, focused on the potential of and the positive initiatives underway in the cotton sector in Burkina Faso. The second meeting, led by the OIF, highlighted the importance of digital technology as a vector for youth employment in the Sahel. In the eyes of the Alliance, the private sector is a key player to help the Sahel’s potential flourish and contribute to peace and development in the region.
Finally, I cannot close my remarks without expressing my warm thanks to two people who have meant a great deal to the Alliance Sahel, through their involvement and commitment to building a better future for the Sahel and the Sahelians: the Executive Secretary of the G5 Sahel, Mr. Maman Sidikou, and the European Union Special Representative for the Sahel, Mr. Angel Losada. I wish them the best of success for their future missions.