Counter-terrorism in the Sahel
The spread of terrorism in the Sahel
The recent spread of terrorism and violent extremism, uncontrolled transnational organized crime and illicit cross-border trafficking in drugs, arms and people, as well as lack of good governance and risks of collapsing state authority have brought the Sahel region into the focus of the international community and significantly increased the amounts of assistance to the region.
The risks of a possible spillover of instability from the Sahel to the neighbouring countries and regions further complicate the situation. In line with the United Nations preventive approach, it is vital to address the threats of terrorism and violent extremism in the G5 Sahel region before the situation could escalate and start affecting a broader region.
Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2195 (2014), and S/PRST/2015/24, which encourages UNOCT to extend its Integrated Assistance for Countering Terrorism (I-ACT) to the G5 Sahel, UNOCT supports the G5 Sahel particularly in the following areas:
- Criminal justice
- Border security management
- Prevention of radicalization and violent extremism
I-ACT aims to support requesting governments and regional organizations in their implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy at the national and regional level in a coordinated and coherent manner. The I-ACT for the G5 Sahel is implemented within the Framework of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS).
Based on the results of regional consultations held in Nouakchott/Mauritania from 31 August-1 September 2016, under the I-ACT G5 Sahel initiative with the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat, UNCCT proposed to support efforts of the G5 Sahel countries through the operationalization of new regional initiatives. These consultations provided a platform to identify regional common needs in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism. They also explored potential cooperation between the UN system, the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat and the G5 Sahel Member States.
Following these regional consultations, UNCCT has organized capacity-building workshops to supporting the regional efforts of G5 Sahel countries to counter-terrorism and prevent violent extremism. The workshops:
- Provide support to civilian Government officials of the G5 Sahel countries from United Nations relevant agencies involved in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism, as well as regional civil society organizations from the G5 Sahel region complementing such efforts
- Will help the G5 Sahel strengthen cooperation between its member states, including in the area of border security management, prevention of violent extremism, and kidnapping for ransom
UNCCT has ensured that these activities are aligned with recommendations outlined in the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
Programme’s coordination role
The regional I-ACT capacity building framework for the G5 Sahel includes regional, strategic, mutually reinforcing, gender-and-human-rights sensitive projects, implemented by UN Women, UNESCO, UNODC, and UNOCT/UNCCT in close cooperation with UNOWAS and the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat.
This programme helped implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the G5 Sahel region and supporting the regional efforts of G5 Sahel countries to counter-terrorism and prevent violent extremism.
- Established and operationalized a regional counter-radicalization cell (CELLRAD) is and operational
- Developed and disseminated handbook on good practices for community resilience in the G5 Sahel region (including cross-border communities)
- Trained around 150 personnel of relevant counter-terrorism agencies of the G5 Sahel and enhanced the regional cooperation on countering terrorism and prevention of violent extremism among them