Regional Experts Workshop Paves the Way for Climate, Peace and Security in Stabilization Contexts in the Sahel

Advancing Stabilization Efforts through Climate, Peace and Security Solutions

March 16, 2024

Somone, Senegal

Photo: Ugochukwu Kingsley Ahuchaogu

Somone, Senegal, 16th March 2024—In a collaborative effort to tackle some of the pressing challenges facing the Sahel region, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union Commission (AUC), the Liptako-Gourma Authority (LGA), and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) hosted a regional experts workshop. Held over 15th – 16th March in Somone, Senegal, the event aimed to find opportunities for advancing climate, peace and security solutions in stabilization contexts in the Sahel.

The workshop provided a platform for policymakers, climate security and stabilization experts, and other key stakeholders to delve into the complex interplay between climate change and security dynamics, particularly focusing on the Lake Chad Basin and the Liptako–Gourma regions, where stabilization interventions are ongoing and are anchored in locally developed and owned strategic frameworks on stabilization, recovery and resilience. Discussions also centred on identifying entry points for on-the-ground interventions and exploring integrated approaches to climate action and sustaining peace and concrete ways forward to advance the ministerial Bamako Declaration on Climate, Peace and Security, concluded ahead of COP28 in 2023.

“In most parts of the world, there’s still an argument on what causes climate change, but we don’t have this contestation in Africa, and for us, there’s no controversy on whether it plays a role in pushing people into poverty,” said Njoya Tikum, Director, UNDP Sub-Regional Hub for West and Central Africa and Resident Representative, UNDP Senegal. “Integrating climate responses into stabilization is going to set the pace in how we do development in fragile contexts”, he added.

The Sahel faces growing effects from the climate crisis, marked by floods, droughts, and rising sea levels, which continue to intensify the struggle for resources, displace communities and exacerbate communal tensions. Furthermore, temperatures are expected to rise 1.5 times higher than the global average, with Chad, Niger and Mali—three of the ten UNISS Sahel countries—ranking among the top seven countries most vulnerable to climate change. 

“Climate security is extremely important in the Sahel,” said Xenia Stoll, Desk Officer for Stabilization in the Lake Chad Region, German Federal Foreign Office. “Connecting it to peace and security in the region will allow us to have a more holistic understanding of root causes and also support local communities in becoming more resistant to shocks and preventing conflict over natural resources,” she added.

Regional actors, such as the Liptako Gourma Authority and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, have been instrumental in stabilization and climate security efforts. They have played significant roles in resolving conflicts, coordinating security efforts and regional cooperation, facilitating community dialogue, and promoting development initiatives. Moreover, the landmark Bamako Declaration on Climate Security and the Fourth Report of the Governors’ Forum of the Lake Chad Basin Commission drew attention to the climate, peace and security nexus.

“Regional institutions, such as the Liptako-Gourma Authority, can and should be the entry point to developing and framing policies and getting decision-makers to own the concept,” said Hawa Aw, Executive Secretary, Liptako-Gourma Authority. “It is therefore urgent to develop initiatives that would provide communities with the minimum resources to have a decent life”, she added.

After two days of deliberation, experts, partners, and donors agreed on the following: 

  • Investing in climate security solutions in stabilization settings presents opportunities to create peace-climate co-benefits that help strengthen the social contract and contribute to a transition to longer-term community resilience.
  • Taking a strategic approach, which includes re-engineering our Theories of Change so that they respond to climate-related security risks and outline clear and actionable steps for integrating climate action with peacebuilding and stabilization efforts.
  • The volatile and dynamic nature of stabilization settings requires a flexible approach. Therefore, climate, peace, and security interventions cannot follow a 'one-size-fits-all' approach but need to consider the specificities of the context and be operationalized accordingly.
  • Embedding a clear understanding of climate, peace, and security in the development of coordination mechanisms to strengthen coordination around ongoing stabilization and climate-related programming.

The event concluded with a consensus on developing strategic frameworks tailored to the unique challenges of the Sahel, combining climate action with peacebuilding and stabilization efforts. This approach promises not only to mitigate immediate threats but also to pave the way for long-term community resilience and peace.

Next Steps:

Looking ahead, the High-Level Partnerships Forum scheduled for 8th–9th April 2024 in New York aims to build on the constructive outcomes of the regional experts workshop. The forum will seek to advance the Bamako Declaration on Climate, Peace and Security, foster partnership opportunities, and solidify commitments to the intertwined goals of climate security, peace and sustainable development in the Sahel.

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Notes for the Editors:

About the LGA

Created on December 3rd 1970, by the states of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, the Liptako-Gourma Authority is a governmental organization dedicated to promoting cooperation, peace and development in 19 regions that compose the Liptako-Gourma. Its activities and missions encompass agriculture, social development, climate change, natural resources management, security, infrastructure, and environmental conservation. By addressing these interconnected fields, the Liptako-Gourma Authority aims to foster peace, sustainable development and improve the well-being of the population in the region.

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About the LCBC

The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) was established on 22 May 1964 with a focus on managing Lake Chad and its shared water resources, preserving the ecosystems and promoting regional integration, peace, security, and development in the Lake Chad Region.

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About the AUC

The African Union Commission (AUC) is the AU’s secretariat and undertakes the day-to-day activities of the Union. It is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Some of its functions include representing the AU and defending its interests under the guidance of and as mandated by the Assembly and the Executive Council and acting as the custodian of the AU Constitutive Act and all other OAU/AU legal instruments.

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About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.

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