Statement by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye at the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission Briefing on the Situation in the Sahel region

Mar 6, 2017

United Nations Headquarters, UN Peacebuilding Commission

Monday 6 March 2017

United Nations Development Programme

Statement by Mr. Abdoulaye Mar DIEYE

Regional Director for Africa

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me first thank the PBC Chair for convening this discussion on the heel of the Security Council discussion on 20 June 2017 on “Peace consolidation in West Africa“.

It is my belief that the Sahel is a region, par excellence, where we can and must implement congruently the emerging doctrine of sustaining peace and the universal agenda on sustainable development.

Let me preamble my statement by starting with my conclusion:

  1. The challenges in the Sahel region have been largely over studied and have led to multiple initiatives, external and internal to the region. A first challenge we have is how we deal with the syndrome of oversupply of studies and initiatives. Unless we deal with this syndrome of over determination of supply, we will not properly address the heavy transaction costs of handling multiple initiatives; and this may have perverse effects. In this perspective our first order of business is to drastically beef up the capacity of coordinating structures such as the Bamako Ministerial Platform, the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
  1. A lot of programmatic proposals to support the Sahel region are on the table; but funding, internal and external, is found wanting. Unless we scale up our financing of ongoing initiatives we will not reach the tipping point to deal with the challenge of the region.
  1. Although we have many regional and sub regional entities dealing with the Sahel challenges, cross border initiatives and investments are still of low intensity and frequency. Yet, by construct, the Sahel, the greater Sahel is a borderless zone, at the periphery of most of the capitals. The principle of communicating vessels is then in full operation. A cross border strategy is a must.

I believe that the Peacebuilding Commission is a unique platform to sustain international and regional engagement on the Sahel, and help bring to focus and to effective operation, the three challenges I mentioned in my preamble. 

UNDP’s interventions are in that spirit. They are  guided by the UN Integrated Strategy on the Sahel and informed by our recent studies on the “perceptions by population in the Sahel region on radicalization, violence and security drivers “, our ongoing study on the “mapping of radicalization journeys “and our regional programme on preventing violent extremism, from a development perspective.

They focus on:

  1. Boosting progress in peacebuilding and good governance in the Sahel, including taking a broad approach to supporting community resilience by reducing conflict and improving livelihoods.
  1. Strengthening Human Security and Community Resilience in the Sahel by promoting social cohesion, community security and economic resilience. This also required strengthening the presence of the State while simultaneously building community trust and confidence in State authorities. 
  1. Tackling cross-border dynamics and development challenges; addressing development and livelihood challenges targeting communities living in cross border areas; to also further encourage regional integration, strengthen social cohesion and prevent conflicts related to natural resources in remote border lands.
  1. Promoting regional approaches in particular by developing sub regional scoping assessments (two have already been performed for Central and the Horn of Africa, a third one is planned for early 2017 for the Sahel region – these assessments incorporate the challenge of approaching entities with a flexible geographic scope).
  1. Enhancing the capacity of coordinating structures in the Sahel. WE will be signing soon a partnership agreement with the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat.  

Let me thank partners like the European Union, Japan, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg for their critical and instrumental support to our programs in the Sahel.

Let me salute the leadership of the African Union High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, His Excellency Pierre Buyoya, Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel and Special Representative of the Secretary General Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandes Taranco.

Let me also reaffirm to G5 Permanent Secretary Najim Elhadj Mohammed our continuous dedication to support his office.