High-level event on the Sahel

Remarks at High-level event on the Sahel - WB/IMF Annual Meetings

October 13, 2018


As prepared for delivery.

Development Partners,
Heads of regional organizations and UN colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining this important discussion for Africa, and the Sahel region. As we all know, peace and stability are fundamental prerequisites for strong communities and socio-economic development. The current crisis in the Sahel region demonstrates the strong interlinkages between security, stability and development issues. Institutional weaknesses, at different levels, compound the complex development context of the region and the interconnected nature of the challenges (poverty, inequality, climate change, governance, and natural resources management, to name a few) facing its people. Violent extremism, for instance, has defied any development perspective on the continent, and particularly in the Sahel region.

A collective approach with strong emphasis on development alongside security and humanitarian responses is key to a sustainable development process and the achievement of a prosperous and peaceful Sahel. This requires promoting activities that ensure social cohesion, good governance, stability, and economic livelihoods. To date, we have invested in many efforts on the ground, yet their impact is currently threatened by the volatile security situation and other growing threats that may jeopardize their effectiveness and sustainability.

Let me use this opportunity to encourage our sustained collective commitment to work closely in promoting good governance, resilience, peace and security in the Sahel, building on the gains we have achieved, to ensure sustainable development and stability in the region. Our reflections should build on the key conclusions of ongoing consultations, including the “High-level meeting on Mali and the Sahel” held in the margins of the recent UN General Assembly. A common concern throughout these consultations remains how to reinforce the “Development-Humanitarian-Peace nexus” to ensure greater impact of our interventions. While the multiplicity of interventions signifies a growing interest for the region, the imperative for an integrated, comprehensive and well-coordinated framework for partners’ interventions in the Sahel based on global and regional agendas – Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, remains a precondition.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UN Support Plan for the Sahel provides this framework. It is an innovative instrument that is forward-looking and promotes the positive narrative of the region, transforming existing opportunities into key vectors to tackle the root causes of vulnerability, including insecurity. Therefore, this change in the narrative “from poverty and despair to opportunity and hope” helps build the consensus for sustaining our collective efforts in the Sahel.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UN family will continue to engage in the Sahel at the highest level to deliver on the UN Support Plan, which builds on existing regional strategic results in the Sahel and the neighbouring sub-region, including the stabilization strategy for the Lake Chad Basin. Allow me to thank our partners for additional pledges during the recent Oslo II-Berlin Conference, to consolidate efforts in the Lake Chad Basin, which, to a large extent, is an integral part of the Sahel region.

However, let me emphasize that more effort is needed. According to the UN Support Plan, preliminary estimates of resource needs for the region range from USD 140.3 billion to USD 157.4 billion for the next 4 years in the 10 priority countries. With this in mind, we must not only increase our advocacy and resource mobilization efforts, but also work more closely to coordinate our activities and improve efficiency in our collective investment. UNDP is strongly committed to this collective effort and we will continue to support the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat to organize the upcoming Donors’ Coordination Conference for the G5 Priority Investment Program (PIP). Let me thanks all partners who joined in this effort, bringing coherence in our interventions around the G5 Priority Investment Programme.

I am convinced, more than ever, that together under the leadership of the governments in the Sahel region and the G5 Sahel Secretariat, we are well-positioned to deliver on the goals in Agendas 2030 and 2063 in the Sahel.

Thank you for your attention.