The Liptako-Gourma region has drawn considerable political and media attention in the past few months. This region, including the border areas between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, is increasingly affected by violent extremism, organised crime and conflicts within and between communities. Finding lasting solutions to address the growing regional instability requires accurate information and better coordination among actors.
In response, the Permanent Secretariat of the G5-Sahel (G5-Sahel) and the Authority for the Integrated Development of the Liptako-Gourma Region (ALG), in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), organised a workshop to analyse the security situation in the region and provide responses to the crisis.
‘This workshop allowed us to understand the situation in all its dimensions and to propose coherent, global and inclusive solutions,’ said El Hadj Najim Mohamed, Permanent Secretary of the G5-Sahel.
The workshop, which took place from 26 to 28 July in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, brought together nearly 60 local, national, regional and international actors and experts. Preliminary research by the ISS was presented to contribute to and frame discussions. This, together with insights from local actors and experts, helped unpack the dynamics underlying insecurity in the region.
‘The meeting was an opportunity for us to better understand certain details that were missing from the puzzle, and which will certainly encourage us to be more efficient and pragmatic when we solve the region’s security challenges,’ said Kassoum Yacouba Maiga, a member of parliament in Niger.
The ISS aims to provide empirical data that will help decision makers improve their understanding of the dynamics underlying the emergence of insecurity in the Sahel. The goal of the workshop was to establish better channels, so that local research and analysis can be incorporated into political and diplomatic discussions at regional and international levels.
This initiative ‘enables dialogue and trust among those intervening in the Liptako-Gourma area which is essential for bringing stability,’ said Ambassador Jean Daniel Biéler, Special Advisor to the Human Security Division at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation.
The workshop also addressed the urgent need to identify the actors, the stakes and the responses involved. As ALG Director General, Saïdou Oua, pointed out: ‘Beyond the sometimes-passionate debates, we have managed to agree on the essentials by making pertinent recommendations on security, prevention, governance, development and peace.’
Based on the mapping of actors and causes of insecurity in the three border areas, participants recommended, among others, to deepen policymakers’ understanding of how violent extremism manifests itself and to assess the scale and socio-economic impact of transnational organised crime in the area.
The analysis and recommendations from the workshop will serve as a basis for the development of a larger ISS research project in the region. The project aims to inform discussions at a time when the G5-Sahel joint force is deploying in the region and when many international actors are about to start or increase their development interventions.
The workshop was supported by the government of the Netherlands through the African Centre for Peace and Security Training; the ENACT project, a European Union-funded project that works to enhance Africa’s response to organised crime; and the Swiss Confederation through ISS Dakar.
For more information, contact:
Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni, ISS: +221 338603304, [email protected]