The Sahel is a crucial area where European and African interests largely converge. Since 2012, the region has been confronted with growing security challenges – including jihadist terrorism, illicit trafficking, and human smuggling – that have all negatively impacted its development. Furthermore, long-term trends such as climate change, economic stagnation, and the increasing shortage of natural resources, alongside the consequences of the pandemic, have both worsened existing issues and created new ones.
The EU and its member states have been committed to supporting the G5 Sahel countries with the aim to address instability and promote sustainable development. The EU has recently renewed its commitment to the region by adopting a new Integrated Strategy. Against this backdrop, an enhanced dialogue between the EU and national governments in the region is vital in order to create stronger political cohesion around the needs, priorities, and expectations of Sahelian populations. In 2020, the Coalition for the Sahel was launched with the aim of coordinating the collective responses of the G5 Sahel states and their international partners in addressing regional challenges.
This panel will offer an opportunity to discuss the following: how are security and development challenges evolving in the Sahel? what are the needs and priorities of Sahelian countries in view of strengthening stability and promoting development in the region? What are the strengths and weaknesses in the EU approach to the Sahel? How can EU-Sahel cooperation be made more effective?