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Biarritz G7 summit: Strengthening commitments in the Sahel

At the end of August, the G7 summit in Biarritz dedicated significant attention to the situation in the Sahel. In his capacity as the President of Burkina Faso, which now holds the Presidency of the G5 Sahel, Roch Kaboré was invited to the summit along with four other African Heads of State. He called on G7 member States to provide greater resources to the region owing to the region’s acute risks of destabilisation and the many factors contributing to security incidents. These difficulties are made more complicated by demographic pressures, food insecurity and environmental degradation. Yet the Sahel is rich in assets:  The region has extensive human, cultural and natural resources that provide tremendous opportunities to build a better future for its peoples.

The Biarritz summit saw the launch of a Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel, which brings together the countries in the region of the G5 Sahel and their international partners. In a spirit of shared responsibility, it will aim to identify security needs and increase the effectiveness of domestic defence and internal security efforts. Its work will build on the current efforts of international partners and supplement the efforts deployed within the framework of the Sahel Alliance. France and Germany are planning to launch the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel through an inaugural conference in the autumn of 2019. In the declaration on the Sahel Partnership Action Plan, G7 members welcomed the fact that all G7 members were part of the Sahel Alliance, as either members or observers. They recalled the need for all stakeholders to enhance, coordinate and align their action with the priorities of the G5 Sahel in its strategy for security and development, keeping in mind the necessary humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

G7 members also supported the Joint Paris G7-G5 Sahel Communiqué adopted on 4 July by the G7 Development Ministers and their G5 Sahel counterparts. The communiqué underlined the need for development stakeholders, international organisations and financial institutions to coordinate their actions and methods of intervention on the ground, in close coordination with the G5 Sahel. They welcomed the efforts made through the Sahel Alliance as an example of an innovative framework to coordinate and monitor action between donors and partner States.

Innovating for more effective aid

One of the main objectives of the Sahel Alliance is to accelerate and strengthen the flexibility of methods of intervention in order to act more quickly and effectively, especially in fragile areas that require emergency intervention. It is now a question of innovating to change the methods of intervention and adapt them to the specific context of the Sahel. Two years following the announcement of the creation of the Sahel Alliance and after planning, launching its activities and expanding its partnerships, the focus is now on jointly pursuing all initiatives and innovations with the countries of the G5 Sahel. The aim of these initiatives and innovations is to make State action and donor assistance more effective, faster and beneficial to all those affected by poverty, inequality, a lack of public services and very poor work opportunities for young people. The Sahel Alliance has 11.6 billion euro at its disposal with over 800 projects to be implemented in the countries of the G5 Sahel over the next 5 years. A total of 1.9 billion euro was spent on implementing projects around the world in 2018. The aim of the initiative is to invest in all territories of the G5 Sahel, including areas that are not yet affected by conflict.  At the same time, it is extremely important for the Alliance, the countries of the G5 Sahel and the Permanent Secretariat of the G5 Sahel to pay particular attention to multisectoral projects in specific areas where security issues are a priority. In this regard, close coordination with the new partnership launched in Biarritz will be essential to contribute effectively to improving the living conditions of those most directly affected by the crisis. This is also the aim of the Emergency Development Programme (EDP) that was set up by the Permanent Secretariat of the G5 Sahel at the request of the Heads of State of the Sahel G5 in July 2018 in Nouakchott. The programme was set up with the support of the Alliance and is currently being implemented.