The Sahel region presents some of the most important development challenges in recent history, with a commensurate magnitude of effects on communities, peoples and states. The crisis has devastating impact on the most precious resources of the Sahel people— women and youth. Since 2013 the United Nations (UN) has joined forces with the World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank, regional organizations and other institutions to confront these multidimensional crises.
The UN has developed a results-focused multidimensional approach through the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), around key priorities in governance, security and resilience. Our initiative was designed to address the root causes of the Sahel crisis while supporting national and regional capacities for peacebuilding.
The degradation of the security environment, combined with aggravating environmental and humanitarian hardships, have required significant adjustments in the UN response. We have scaled up our interventions and mobilized increasing resources for targeted areas including the Lake Chad Basin and the Liptako-Gourma region. The UNISS was given renewed impetus in 2019 through the operationalization of the United Nations Support Plan for the Sahel (UNSP), articulated around six priorities: cross border cooperation, climate action, crisis prevention, women and youth empowerment, economic revitalization and renewable energy.
To respond to the multidimensional crisis in the Sahel, our approach has brought together the political and strategic oversight of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, UN capacities in the region, namely the Regional United Nations Sustainable Development Group (R-UNSDG) comprising over 20 Agencies, Funds and Programme and country-based entities, and departments based at Headquarters. This integration has enabled us to build and develop a vast network of implementing partners. Under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Head of UNOWAS, the UN system has recently adopted a division of labor with a comprehensive matrix that defines roles, assigns responsibilities and ensures accountability. This is an innovative model of applying the Nexus in action and we hope it inspires other regions. Given the complexity and the fluidity of the Sahel crisis, the R-UNSDG in particular is working assiduously across the three pillars of Governance,
Security, and Resilience aligned to the UN reforms and the United Nations Secretary General’s crisis prevention framework for sustaining peace and peacebuilding in the region.
This report presents some of the notable achievements of the R-UNSDG working hand in hand with the people of the Sahel, national governments and regional organizations. The accomplishments described represent a fraction of the work of the R-UNSDG across the 10 countries under UNISS namely, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia. These results are intentionally field based, enabling us to share our interaction with the communities and the most vulnerable groups, with civil society organizations and government entities. This is a tribute to their indomitable spirit and resilience, which give us so much inspiration.
We take the opportunity to thank our donors and implementing partners. Together, we will continue to strive for the region’s long-term stability and prosperity.