Six months after the Pau Summit21 July 2020
At the invitation of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, sitting President of the G5 Sahel, the Heads of State of the G5 Sahel Member States and the President of the French Republic met on 30 June 2020 in Nouakchott, to assess the situation in the Sahel and the implementation of the roadmap adopted at the Pau Summit which took place on 13 January 2020 in France. This summit took place in the presence of the President of the Government of Spain, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary General of the International Organization of the Francophonie, and attended by the President of the European Council, the German Chancellor, the President of Italy’s Council of Ministers and the United Nations Secretary-General.
This summit took place four months after the sixth ordinary summit of the G5 Sahel, which was held on 25 February 2020 in Nouakchott. Six months after the Pau Summit, the Coalition for the Sahel has grown in scale with the organization of its first ministerial meeting on 12 June 2020, bringing together more than 45 ministers of foreign affairs.
Below is a summary of some of the important actions conducted in the Sahel by the Coalition partners:
Pillar 1: Fight against terrorism:
The decision was taken in Pau to prioritize the « three-borders » area between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. The mobilization of Sahelian armies and the G5 Sahel Joint Force, with support from Barkhane, has been reinforced through:
- The newly operational joint command mechanism which facilitates coordination between the G5 Sahel Joint Force and the Barkhane force in the three-borders area;
- The redeployment of the armed forces to their posts, such as Labbezanga in Mali;
- The mobilization of European countries as part of the Takuba Task Force, enabling the engagement of European special forces in support of national armed forces. Eight European countries are expected to take part: France, Estonia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Portugal.
Africa has re-engaged alongside the Sahel countries: the African Union is providing financial support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force and has announced the deployment of a 3,000-strong force; and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) have committed to funding a counter-terrorism plan of $2.3 billion.
Pillar 2: Strengthening capabilities of the G5 Sahel states’ armed forces:
Several efforts to reinforce equipment and training have strengthened the capacities of the Sahel armies and the G5 Sahel Joint Force:
- The first tranche of the financial support committed by the European Union’s African Peace Facility, to the value of €100 million to be spent on G5 Sahel Joint Force equipment, was operated by Expertise France: equipment delivery (armoured vehicles and radios) and command post construction sites. A second tranche of €138 million, including €100 million in military equipment, delivered between summer 2020 and the end of 2021, will enable the G5 Sahel countries to gradually take responsibility of their own security. Example of the building of the new G5 Sahel Joint Force command post in Senou, supported by MINUSMA.
- The mandate for the European Union’s military training and strategic advice mission (EUTM Mali) was extended in March 2020 (assistance to troops trained to tactical level) expanding the mission’s activities to include all of the G5 Sahel countries, with priority given to Burkina Faso and Niger. Despite the pandemic, some of these training sessions took place.
Pillar 3: Support for the return of the State and administrations in the territory:
Progress made in the fight against terrorism are the result of military operations carried out in the field. However they will only be effective in the long term if the relationship between the most vulnerable populations in the G5 Sahel countries and their authorities is restored. Therefore, the Coalition partners are focusing their efforts on:
- Strengthening the internal security forces and enhancing their proximity to the populations in areas affected by the crises;
- Reinforcing operational and legal capabilities to fight terrorism, crime and trafficking;
- The return of territorial administration and support to local authorities to help boost stability.
Some examples of progress made:
- On 28 June 2020, the United Nations Security Council voted to renew the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for one year. Refocusing on Northern and Central Mali, it plays a decisive stabilizing role in Central Mali. Example of actions in Mopti, Mali.
- The European Union has committed to financing a joint investigation team to combat terrorism in Niger, to the amount of €4.5 million via the Emergency Trust Fund. The aim of this team will be to bring the atrocities perpetrated by armed terrorist groups before the courts and to combat all forms of impunity. This action is part of an overall approach to support the return of the State, which is receiving new funding of €112 million (out of the additional €194 million announced during the videoconference on 28 April 2020 between the EU and the G5 countries).
- The civilian missions of the European Union (EUCAP Sahel Niger and Mali) continue to support the effective redeployment of the State and its representatives (internal security forces, territorial administration, justice, public services, etc.) with the aim of re-engaging with the populations. In Central Mali, in the territories threatened by armed terrorist groups, the setting up of secure development and governance hubs helps achieve this objective. Example in Segou, Mali.
Pillar 4: Development assistance:
The members of the Sahel Alliance, in close coordination with the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat, are today committed to more than 800 projects, representing a total of €11.6 billion.
In particular, they are financing the G5 Sahel Emergency Development Programme (EDP) in the most fragile regions, for €266 million.
There were two major events in the past six months:
- On 25 February 2020 at Nouakchott, the first Sahel Alliance General Assembly, chaired by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, provided the opportunity to bring together the members of the Sahel Alliance to define the main guidelines, give a new ipetus to the initiative and endorse increased commitment to vulnerable areas.
- On 24 June 2020, the Sahel Alliance Operational Steering Committee, which met in the presence of the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat, approved the concept of integrated territorial approach adopted during the General Assembly. For the technical and financial partners, this approach aims to provide a coherent response to the many factors leading to crises and violence in the Sahel. It defines the target territories, a shared assessment and implementation terms suited to the crisis context.
Furthermore, the Committee highlighted the partners’ commitment to the COVID19 response: almost €800 million was allocated in less than three months (more than €200 million of which is new funding), focused on the health aspect of the crisis and in support of the economic recovery plans. The European Union, backed by Denmark and France, provided support in establishing a humanitarian air bridge to facilitate the transportation of aid. Two flights with Burkina Faso were operated on 24 and 25 June 2020. In total, these flights helped deliver 23 tonnes of humanitarian aid and the deployment of humanitarian workers to Burkina Faso.